In 1962, the legendary Marvel Comics creative team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the world to the Incredible Hulk; a decidedly different comic character with one foot in the world of superheroics and the other in monsters and horror. It was a unique combination that often made the Hulk both the hero and villain of his own story. It also leads the Jade Giant to achieve worldwide fame as the star of television, video games, and blockbuster feature films. These days, though, some of the best Hulk stories, especially for fans of the darker and more monstrous elements of the character, are being told in Marvel’s current crop of Hulk comics; Immortal Hulk by writer Al Ewing and artist Joe Bennett and Weapon H by writer Greg Pak and artist Cory Smith.
If you’re looking for stories that feature supernatural, psychological, or even cosmic horror than Immortal Hulk is definitely the series for you.
That’s because in this series the dynamic between Bruce Banner and his Gamma fueled alter ego has changed. It’s no longer fueled by rage. Instead, it’s death and darkness that drives Banner’s transformation into the Hulk. See, the Hulk is always there glaring out at Banner from the mirror, but when darkness falls the monster is unleashed. And this is the Hulk at his most monstrous. He’s strong, smart, cruel, and ready to take on whatever evil Banner aims him at. Making him even more monstrous is the fact that he truly lives up to the titular Immortal adjective. Bruce Banner can still die, but when night falls the Hulk arises hungry for vengeance.
The source of the Hulk’s immortality is rooted in the character’s continuity, but also part of the book’s ongoing mystery. Essentially when Bruce Banner was exposed to the gamma bomb test he opened up a mysterious (and possibly interdimensional) green door. So whenever he dies the Hulk always comes back. And there just might be something behind the green door; a larger, sinister entity with dark designs for Banner and this world.
Each issue of Immortal Hulk opens with an ominous quote that sets the tone for the issue. Plus, the book has a great feel reminiscent of classic horror comic/magazines like Eerie and Creepy, thanks to Bennett’s fantastic and atmospheric art.
Five issues have been released so far with issue #6 set for a September 19th release. For those who prefer to do their comic reading in collected graphic novel form Immortal Hulk Volume 1: Or Is He Both? hits stores on November 21st and collects issues #1-5 of the series and material from issue #684 of Marvel’s Avengers series.
In Weapon H Greg Pak and Cory Smith have fully embraced the imaginative nature of the comics medium by taking a premise that’s insane, over the top fun, and grounding it with a great character with a believable motivation. That’s because the title character of Weapon H is an amnesiac former mercenary who’s been given the powers of both Wolverine and the Hulk. So the book features an insanely powerful and visceral character who routinely goes up against an equally over the top menagerie of monsters that includes gigantic wendigos; parasitic aliens, swamp monsters, and a ruthless corporate C.E.O. that can transform into a . . . minotaur.
All of that wild fun is coupled with great character moments because when he’s not a monstrous “Hulkverine” the title character of Weapon H is a man named Clay. When the series begins he has very little memory of his past, and unlike other classic amnesiac characters like Jason Bourne or Wolverine he doesn’t want to recover what he’s lost. Because Clay knows he had a family, and he knows they could be used as leverage by someone looking to control the monster he can transform into. Unfortunately for Clay his family wants to find him and doesn’t believe the story his former comrades spun about his death.
So there’s monster fighting action, poignant family drama, and intrigue. Plus Clay’s adventures lead him to cross paths with some iconic Marvel characters. In issue #2 he encounters Doctor Strange, and in issues #6-7 he has a very fun team up with Captain America.
Seven issues of the series have been released so far and it’s clear from each one that Pak and his artists Smith (who drew issues #1-5) and Ario Anindito (who penciled) #6-7 are having the time of their lives working on the book. Their fun translates for the reader as well. Weapon H is one of the most enjoyable and imaginative series Marvel publishes right now. The series first collected edition Weapon H Vol. 1 arrives October 31st.
So if you’re looking for some incredibly fun, well written, and exquisitely drawn horror and monster comics head down to your local comic shop and pick up Immortal Hulk and Weapon H Both series are also available digitally through services like Comixology. Plus, each book is very accessible. You don’t need to really know anything about the title character’s previous adventures to jump right in.