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The Marvel Rundown: IMMORTAL HULK: FLATLINE is a gorgeous shock to the heart

Reviews of this week's Marvel books, including Immortal Hulk: Flatline, and a few issues in the Rapid Rundown section!

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Welcome to the Marvel Rundown! There was a plethora of choice this week, from event tie-ins to new series debuts, but Declan Shalvey and Cory Petit’s Immortal Hulk one-shot won me over. Announced way back in October 2020 with an original release date of January 2021, the issue was delayed to this week much to my dissatisfaction. I’m a big fan of Shalvey’s work and was particularly excited to read his take on the jade giant.

We’ve got a review of that and other books in the Rapid Rundown, all ahead on this week’s edition of the Marvel Rundown!


Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1

Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1

Written by Declan Shalvey
Art by Declan Shalvey
Lettered by Cory Petit 
Cover by Declan Shalvey

Sitting down to read this one-shot, one can’t help but think of the recent controversy surrounding Immortal Hulk. After all, it only happened a couple of weeks ago. I say this not to detract from Declan Shalvey’s work on this one-shot but to highlight the fact that Joe Bennett’s actions are inextricable from this take on the character, and that Shalvey’s artwork is kind of a breath of fresh air in that regard.

From Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1

The latest in a line of one-shots focusing on different parts of the character’s current status quo, Flatline focuses on a new character entering the fray who essentially aims to heal the rift between Bruce Banner and the Hulk. Shalvey’s take is one I didn’t expect, thus the breathe of fresh air I mentioned earlier, focusing on straight-up action and exposition instead of the intense body horror the series is known for. It’s more about the emotional and sentimental relationship between the two characters, and of how the existence of one of them seems to only serve the other as opposed to something a little more mutual. It’s a clever conceit and something I hadn’t really considered, which is why I find this so successful. It works within the confines of the Al Ewing take on the character while expanding on it and offering up another way with which to view the dichotomy of Banner.

I truly do love Shalvey’s artwork and frankly am upset that I don’t get to see it more often on interiors these days. As I mentioned before, this is more of an action issue than a horror issue, but I didn’t exactly miss the horror. Shalvey creates this momentum from the beginning and, aside from a slightly overlong conversation scene, maintains it throughout the whole issue. He even coloured his own art, resulting in just some gorgeous pages where every colour choice matches the exact intent on the scene. Banner’s scenes in the bar early on are almost dulled but are broken apart with these intense shades of green that Shalvey throws in, to subconsciously remind the reader of what awaits Banner as night approaches. It’s really clever and simply gorgeous.

Final Verdict: These almost quarterly one-shots, like Jeff Lemire and Mike Del Mundo‘s Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place and Tom Taylor and Jorge Molina‘s Immortal Hulk: Great Power, are fun explorations of the Hulk’s current status quo, and Flatline is no exception, providing a unique creative vision with gorgeous artwork. I’m giving this a BUY.

From Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1

Rapid Rundown! 

  • Champions #4
    • The Champs get some Krakoan assistance as they continue to evade the agents of C.R.A.D.L.E. After several issues of basically non-stop running, it was nice to see Eve EwingBob QuinnFederico Blee, and Clayton Cowles give the group a chance to slow down and consider their next moves. There’s great stuff here — about accountability, policing, and the necessity of getting in good trouble — and it’s all presented in an organic, entertaining manner. I’m sad that we’ve only got one issue left with this creative team, but confident that they’re leaving the Champions in a great position going forward. —JG
  • King in Black #4
    • Marvel’s latest invading army with an unbeatable villain event kicks into high gear with some pretty big moments that, despite my dislike for the pace of the overall story, got me excited nonetheless! This issue doesn’t do much to redeem the series but I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing how Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman conclude this event. Come for the gorgeous art and stay for the character moments that you didn’t think you’d see. HW
  • Marauders #18
    • Marauders #18 continues its dance towards the Hellfire Gala with all the grace and humor readers have come to expect and makes for a fantastic, and eventful, issue. Gerry Duggan‘s scripting is as strong as ever, with genuinely effective punchlines and emotional haymakers all landing throughout the issue. Stefano Casseli and Matteo Lolli have found a rhythm as dual series artists and their complimentary styles make an issue that could have been very jarring an easy, and gorgeous read. Marauders is one of Marvel’s most consistently enjoyable books, and this issue doesn’t change that status. —ZT

Next week, a whole slew of X-books, and the beginning of the next Amazing Spider-Man arc!

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