Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Mike Del Mundo have teamed up for a one-shot story set in Al Ewing's ongoing Immortal Hulk run, a take on Bruce Banner that rides the line between superhero action and pitch-black horror. How does Lemire's take on this current "Devil Hulk" hold up?
Lemire is one of the best writers working today due to his knack for well-structured stories that feel alive with dynamic characters, thought-provoking narration, and mind-bending sci-fi and horror. All of that is present in The Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place, as Banner visits a town where a little girl has gone missing. A town that smells of gamma. If you're already familiar with what's going on with the main Immortal Hulk series, it will be no surprise to you when the "Devil Hulk" rears his head and goes on a rampage. He pops a police officer's head off, stomps another one, and squeezes a scient until she pops in her hazmat suit while she screams that she has a family. The story itself has a neat twist that doesn't surprise but does lead to an emotional payoff… but there is also something empty about Banner and Hulk here. That's very much the point of the issue, and Lemire writes with great skill as always, but while the storytelling is graceful in execution, the ugliness of the lead character's actions leaves a bad taste. Mike Del Mundo's simple, painterly artwork is striking in both the way it portrays the beautiful scenery as well as the horrific gore, complimenting Lemire's script well.
The Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place is undeniably well-crafted. From the writing to the artwork to the colors from Mundo and Marco D'Alfonso to the letters from VC's Cory Petit, the craftsmanship in this issue is admirable. However, as Banner's current Hulk revels in actions as dark as the villains he faces, I can't say that this was an enjoyable read. Neither thought-provoking enough to balance out the darkness nor deep enough to make for a poignant exploration of this Devil Hulk, The Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place may be a comic that some love, but some, too, will find this story to be dark, empty, and cold.