King in Black Immortal Hulk issue #1 details a diminished version of Savage Hulk as he roams the streets of New York seemingly unaware of the invasion of the symbiotes. The issue is published by Marvel Comics, written by Al Ewing, art by Aaron Kuder, colors by Frank Martin, and Erick Arciniega, and letters by VC’s Cory Petit. While the issue loosely ties into the King in Black #1, it serves more as a standalone Christmas themed issue.
Previously, the Hulk has been figuratively, and literally ripped apart. Bruce Banner has been dragged to hell, the Devil Hulk is dead, and all that remains is a broken Savage Hulk, and Joe Fixit in human form. During the current issue, Savage Hulk, who is the manifestation of Bruce’s child-like state, walks the street of New York broken. Having caused the death, and abduction of some of his alters, Hulk is in a fragile place causing him to revisit the smashed tatters of childhood memories.
All the Hulk wants is the love of his absent Father, but things are about to get worse as a symbiote soldier of Knull slinks from the shadows and attempts to subdue the Big Guy. Savage Hulk, and Joe Fixit team up in this holiday-themed King in Black one-off issue.
Ewing really leaves nothing to chance here, as the issue itself contains no spoken dialogue from any character that’s featured. The story is quite heavy throughout this issue, and when you burrow into the subtext of the Hulk’s wants it grapples with those heartstrings. Bruce’s painful past, his buried trauma, manifested the Savage Hulk, but now Bruce is gone leaving only two alters. So Hulk is forced to confront the pain of the holidays, of visions and dreams that never were due to his abusive Father.
Kuder is really the structural reinforcement of the entire issue, delivering some sublime art. The opening of the issue sets a truly distinct tone, as it depicts a visual of the Grendel dragon symbiotes en-route to Manhattan as it appears to snow. From the ground up, the buildings are engulfed in a black living mass that is seemingly consuming the city. Kuder absolutely PACKS his panels, creating an insane level of depth in detail.
Kuder also is able to capture a brilliant amount of emotion upon the faces of his characters, most notably through Joe, and Hulk. Each scene depicts a different face, and while there’s no dialogue, Kuder more than makes up for filling those gaps. The artist’s work on the deformed symbiote creates a spectacularly horrifying villain.
Martin and Arciniega’s coloring works to elevate the art within the issue. The story takes place over a snowy evening in New York, which to anyone who hasn’t experienced it, has a certain dimmed glow. The white snow reflecting the night air and dampening the darkness. Then in the moments where lights are shone, like the introduction of the NYPD and their squad cars, the flashing lights explode with brightness casting their colors over everything in sight.
Petit’s lettering, well sadly there’s minimal of that to speak of given the issues ‘silent’ nature. There is literally one line at the very beginning of the issue that reads ” ‘Twas the night before Christmas…” and hey, the font was beautifully done, it’s a good size, and it sets the tone immediately. So based on that alone, I have zero criticisms.
Overall, this was a solid issue, albeit rather heavy. If the holidays are a difficult period for you, this could hit you particularly hard. Additionally, the lack of dialogue may leave some readers left wanting. That being said, as a standalone issue, it merged two powerhouse storylines together in a unique and entertaining fashion.
King in Black Immortal Hulk issue #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
King in Black: Immortal Hulk #1
Overall, this was a solid issue, albeit rather heavy. If the holidays are a difficult period for you, this could hit particularly hard. Additionally, the lack of dialogue may leave some readers left wanting. That being said, as a standalone issue, it merged two powerhouse storylines together in a unique and entertaining fashion.
Aaron is a contributing writer at But Why Tho, serving as a reviewer for TV and Film. He is also the co-host and social media manager of the Nerds Social Club podcast.
Hailing originally from England, and after some lengthy questing, he’s currently set up shop in Pennsylvania. He spends his days reading comics, podcasting, and being attacked by his small offspring.