Review – Immortal Hulk Time of Monsters
Colours by Kevin Nowlan, Juan Ferreyra
Letters by Cory Petit, Kevin Nowlan
Main Cover by Juan Ferreyra
Publisher Marvel Comics
Release Date: 19.05.21
In Jordan in the year 9,500 BCE, a young man named Tammuz and the elder of his village, Adad, stand at the rim of a bone-strewn crater with a large green-glowing meteorite at the bottom. Adad explains that once the Mother Goddess had watched over their people, granting them bountiful providence that they’d taken for granted. The Mother Goddess, angered, had torn out her eye and cast it to Earth, resulting in the land becoming blighted and toxic. As the people starve they become more and more desperate and Adad does the unthinkable, setting the monster free.
Plus: Bruce Banner faces a challenge unlike any he’s seen before as writer David Vaughan makes his Marvel debut with a one of a kind short story with the villainous Scarecrow
Immortal Hulk scribe Al Ewing joins with writer Alex Paknadel for this one-shot, which explores the horrific tale of the first Hulk! Paknadel is a natural complement to Ewing’s stellar world of the story and he brings out some of the most terrifying moments in the series to date. The two writers contrast the humanity of Tammuz with the horror of a starving village and the shocking transformation Tammuz undertakes.
The first few pages start with a discussion between Tammuz and his surrogate father Adad and make for some of the issue’s most emotional moments with shocking betrayal and sacrifice. Regardless of whether or not readers are familiar with the Immortal Hulk story arc, this stands on its own two feet.
The second short story involves Bruce Banner going to the movies and finding himself face-to-face with Marvel’s version of the Scarecrow. The brief story is a word-perfect, award-winning lesson in short storytelling, with Vaughan’s script playing with familiar film genres and references while allowing the Hulk take over the narration as the plot pivots.
Ferreyra is a great fit for the epic landscapes of the story, making the desolate wasteland of the village feel vast and inescapable. The artwork looks hand-drawn by pastels and charcoal on rough art paper, giving it a more natural and crisp look than some of the over CGI laded titles don’t.
He employs different panel shapes to change pace and tension, tilting the page to build a sense of palpable danger like a 50s horror movie! The use of rough panel borders helps give credence to the ancient feel of the issue. The story is filled with intense imagery and Ferreyra’s talent for graphically rendering deadly action is a perfect fit for the book’s final act. This comic is a meal for hungry readers, and the stomach-churning body horror at the finale leaves you feeling starved for more.
In the second story, Nowlan’s art is at the top of his game here and Frankenstein’s Monster portrayal of the Hulk is simultaneously again leans heavily on cinema horror, this time from the 30s! The reader’s view rotates around the hulk transformation in the story to flip the twist within the tale.
Overall, this issue exceeded all expectations I had of what Time of Monsters was really about. As the main story winds down it’s great to see the full mythos of the Immortal Hulk taking on new and horrific forms. Damn it! I want more, no need more. Paknadel and Ewing may have set out to write a WHAT IF? style one shot, but they’ve stumbled on to Marvel Gold. The visuals from Ferreyra and Nowlan set and great balance on two very different ends of the Hulk spectrum. This is a story all comic fans didn’t know they wanted and now need more.
I’d need to be an idiot or blind not to score this a perfect five stars for both stories and the breath-taking artwork within.
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