This week’s Marvel Rundown takes you to The Threshing Place for a new Immortal Hulk story by creators Jeff Lemire and Mike Del Mundo. The one-shot presents the team’s particular spin on everyone’s favorite Green Giant as Banner – and the Hulk – look for a lost little girl.
We’ve got a full review for that book, plus your weekly Rapid Rundown of other new Marvel books, including looks at new title Shang-Chi, Fantastic Four, Avengers, and more, all ahead in this week’s installment of The Marvel Rundown!
Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Color Artist: Mike Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Mike Del Mundo
I was late to Al Ewing’s current Immortal Hulk run, a super-powered body horror fest that is living up to the hype. The Threshing Place is a nice side trip from the current storyline, as Ewing lets Jeff Lemire and Mike Del Mundo play with his toys to give us an alternate take on this era of gamma gonzo-ness.
This one-shot is a simple story that scratches a very nostalgic itch if you’re a Hulk fan of a certain age. Every once in a while you might reminisce fondly on the Incredible Hulk tv show from the late ’70s/early ’80s. Each episode found Banner walking the US helping various people while staying ahead of the government, and a reporter trying to expose him and the Hulk — episodic television at its best.
Lemire zeroes in on that by giving Banner a rural mystery when a young girl goes missing and searchers end up dead and mutilated. Banner makes his way to this small town to investigate witness reports of a monster. In this one issue, Lemire is able to give you a snapshot of what the current status quo is for Banner and his more muscular alter ego.
It’s the dichotomy of the Hulk that is most intriguing with this issue. For the past few years, readers have seen a Hulk that is closer to his inspiration Mr. Hyde, a menacing and conniving murderer, crossing a line that is generally not done with the Big Guy. Lemire’s balancing act with this Immortal version is spot-on as the Hulk hands out justice like The Punisher on gamma steroids, squeezing to death a few of the evildoers, while alternately being incredibly thoughtful and even tender when dealing with the missing girl and her father.
Del Mundo and co-colorist Marco D’Alfonso‘s art is weirdly beautiful, with its pastel color pallet and airbrush look. That bright and illuminating style works well as a counter for the dark content of this standalone story. Del Mundo’s Hulk design is as fantastical as it is grotesque, and the over-the-top transformation sequence is an acid-induced masterpiece, a biological train wreck that will pull you in and haunt your dreams.
Final Verdict: If the moody, powerful, totally engaging storytelling and tone of The Threshing Place is Lemire’s audition tape for the job, he would be the logical and natural choice to succeed Ewing should he wake up tomorrow and say “I’m not going to write the Hulk anymore.” HULK BUY
- Avengers #36
- This was…kind of a mess. Jason Aaron juggles one too many scenes and the entire plot of this issue is really muddled as a result. Moon Knight’s whole deal here is honestly very convoluted and things don’t clear up until the final page, which certainly helped, but didn’t entirely provide enough context for the rest of the issue. Javier Garron is wonderful but I feel like he was hampered by a subpar script. To delve into it too much would mean to divulge spoilers, but let’s just say some things related to a character’s point of view could have been much more clear. This arc has lost me and I just want this book to move on. —HW
- Fantastic Four #24
- This book was caught in that whole Empyre whirlwind for what feels like years now, but this was a welcome return to form. It only lightly touched on the fallout from Empyre and focused on that throwaway reference to Iceman’s adventures with the FF in the first arc of this series. Paco Medina’s art was wonderful and really brought the house down with his gorgeous flashback pages. Dan Slott really filled this issue to the brim and injected a lot of heart and soul into Johnny and Bobby’s relationship. I highly recommend this. —HW
- Shang-Chi #1
- Gene Luen Yang‘s Marvel debut is a solid action story. I’m not terribly familiar with the mythology behind Shang-Chi, but Yang and artists Dike Ruan and Philip Tan present a lot of new information clearly and in an entertaining manner, balancing exposition with energetic visuals and a fast-paced plot. A totally accessible, supremely entertaining comic. —JG
- Giant-Size X-Men #1 Tribute to Wein & Cockrum
- Reading the story of Giant-Size X-Men #1 is a somewhat odd experience now, given the current status quo for the X-books (read: they’re all living on the villain of GSXM, who they hurl off into space at the end of the issue). Setting aside some cognitive dissonance, this book is the comic book equivalent of a jam piece featuring a wide array of Marvel artists. Whether or not it works for you will likely depend on your opinion of each individual artist, and some pages will certainly stand out compared to others. Not at all an essential read, but still a neat experiment. —JG
Next week, the young heroes of the Champions return to the spotlight, and X of Swords continues!