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Comic Book / Immortal Hulk

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"See... I don't think there was a cover-up. I don't think it was a lie. Bruce Banner was dead. Bruce Banner can die. But then... there's that other guy."
Detective Gloria Mayes

The Immortal Hulk is a 2018 Marvel comic book written by Al Ewing and illustrated by Joe Bennett, with covers by Alex Ross. It's a spin-off of Avengers: No Surrender starring a resurrected Bruce Banner... and the Hulk, who cannot die.

A few years ago, Bruce Banner died. And then he came back... again and again. It wasn't even that difficult — all it took was a nudge, a prod, and the Hulk would come back to life before returning to death. And then, due to the Challenger, the Hulk returned permanently... but this time with the knowledge of why he had been coming back: because he can't die.

So now Bruce wanders the country, trying to slip by unnoticed. And if someone shoots him, well, he'll die. And then night will fall. And the Immortal Hulk will rise.

No more Hulk Speak. No more Gentle Giant. The Immortal Hulk is a horror comic.


Tropes included in The Immortal Hulk:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Sandy's mother sends her into a gas station by herself to buy a drink... where she runs into an armed robber, who accidentally shoots her dead.
    • Dr. Frye kills his own son while trying to save his life. And unknowingly condemns him to an afterlife of unrelenting pain.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Inverted; the One Below All, when it is shown, still doesn't present its true form lest it shatter mortal minds, but it specifically chooses forms that discomfort witnesses the most. For the Hulk this is his abusive father, for anyone else it's a Nightmare Face.
  • A God Am I: Inverted, in that the narrator of "Hulk in Hell" apparently views Devil Hulk as the true Satanic Archetype, with the potential to go either way, the accuser or the adversary.
  • Ambiguous Situation: As the old woman recounts in issue 3, Hotshot insists that Jess was still alive in the hotel room when he left for the church, and he does not know how her neck got snapped.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Del Frye isn't entirely dead. And he's in constant, agonizing pain. Pain the scientists at Gamma Base won't bother trying to cure because, essentially, they can't be bothered.
    • At the end of issue 7, Hulk winds up in the hands of Fortean's mad scientist, chopped up into pieces kept in separate jars... and still alive.
  • The Anti-God: The-One-Below All is an entity that Mephisto has claimed to be far stronger than he to Doctor Strange and is presented as the evil counterpart to the Marvel universe's version of God, The-One-Above-All. It even uses the same line, "They are themselves but they are also me".
  • Anti-Hero: While previous Hulks usually ranged between Nominal Hero and Chaotic Neutral, this one specifically seeks out people that have done bad things... and doles out his trademark punishment.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • The green door, as established in Avengers: No Surrender. It's something connected with death and dying, but Bruce has never been able to go through it.
    • Reflections, in both a literal and thematic sense, reflecting gamma mutates' alter-egos, and revealing both what we can face about ourselves and what we can't.
  • Arc Welding:
    • Walter Langowski, the Sasquatch, was initially a man mutated by gamma rays before being revealed as inadvertently opening a portal to another dimension with his gamma ray machine and being possessed by a supernatural being from the other side. Here gamma radiation is associated with a "green door" that has something supernatural on the other side, and Walter seeks out Banner because something's happening to his Sasquatch persona.
    • Meanwhile, the fact Walter has been more frequently portrayed in Sasquatch form rather than his human one is explored, with the notion Walter's actually having difficulty turning back.
  • Arc Words:
    • "The night is his time."
    • "Devil".
  • Art Shift: Issue #3 is a "Rashomon"-Style story in which the art and atmosphere changes for each bystander's segment of the tale.
    • The Cop: Silver Age-style punch 'em up super heroics with lots of quipping and bombastic narration.
    • The Bartender: Subdued, indie "art-comix"-style minimalism with an emphasis on talking heads.
    • The Parishioner: Mushy, melodramatic romance, complete with a Bishōnen Hotshot doing a lot of over-exaggerated posing.
    • The Priest: Jagged, intense and heavily shadowed horror.
  • Assimilation Backfire: The Hulk absorbing Sasquatch's gamma energy allows the One Below All to Body Surf into him. Then, the Absorbing Man doing the same to him passes it on to him.
  • Bad Boss: General Fortean demotes a monitor to janitorial duty just for momentarily expressing sympathy for Betty Ross. He also threatens to send his head scientist back to jail for raising his voice in exasperation.
  • Bad Dreams:
    • Issue #2 starts with Banner having one, and explaining that they're recurring, but previously he dreamt about the gamma bomb going off while now he dreams about just sitting around and waiting for the radiation sickness symptoms to manifest.
    • His father Brian Banner had a theory about a third form besides a particle or wave that gamma energy takes that was getting some recognition in his field. Then he had nightmares about the Green Door and the One Below All and was so frightened he sacrificed his renown denouncing it.
  • Badass Boast: Puck (of Alpha Flight) gives a great one when Crusher Creel asks how he can be so composed after everyone ends up in The One Below All's hell.
    Puck: When I was eight, I hunted my first bear. Big grizzly. That was 1922, in the Yukon, and he kept us through a cold winter. In Spain, I fought bulls and fascists—and I let the bulls live. In Nepal, I hunted the tiger god and killed all fear in me. I've fought queens of dreams and the world's secret master. I've fought demons in Hell and stolen their thrones—and those thrones haven't bound me. And it all comes back to one thing. I was eight, full of bear meat and adventure—and I made a vow, Mr. Creel. I vowed I would live an interesting life. I think I've done okay so far, eh?
  • Beyond the Impossible: Vibranium absorbs kinetic energy. A few blows from the Hulk during his fight with the Avengers nearly overloads the Vibranium lining T'Challa's suit.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Fortean is keeping tabs on Betty Ross, and all of Banner's friends and associates. Betty is aware of this, and has taken steps to counteract it.
  • Big Damn Kiss: When Betty and Bruce reunite in issue 14, when Betty is still mad about Bruce not having contacted her for all the time since his revival back in Avengers: No Surrender.
  • Body Horror:
    • What happens to Creel during his fight with the Hulk. His torso gets torn in half, leaving his skull and spine exposed. And he's still alive.
    • Downplayed but present with Hulk from the end of issue 9 through to issue 13, having lost the majority of his muscle mass. His unnaturally lanky body just looks creepily off, but is a rather fitting look for his new "Devil Hulk" personality and the horror focus of the series.
    • Some of Joe Bennett's Bruce-Hulk transformation sequences are this, namely the ones that don't look like someone growing or shrinking, but instead look more as if one of them's being absorbed into the other.
    • Issue 17 gives us a seething mass of Hulk, faces and limbs appearing from every which where.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Betty is shot in the head thanks to her "killer" mistaking her for Bruce. She gets better.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Gamma Base and Bushwhacker use powerful sun-lamps to prevent Bruce from becoming the Hulk. Unfortunately for them, that doesn't stop Joe Fixit from taking over the body...
  • Brought Down to Normal: While Bruce Banner is still a scientist and a pretty smart man, he's no longer a super genius, which he attributes to the brain injury that killed him in Civil War II.
  • Brutal Honesty: The new Hulk doesn't hold back. When Samson asks what happened at Shadow Base, Bruce dodges the question. When night comes, he asks Hulk, who immediately answers "ate a man".
  • Buried Alive: A particularly disturbing example: Hulk regenerates himself after a prolonged period of being dismembered, with the unfortunate Dr. Clive getting caught in the middle and being left to suffocate in his guts.
    • It gets worse. It's heavily implied that Hulk had actually absorbed Dr. Clive in order to properly resurrect Bruce, since when he turns back to normal when the sun rises, it's less "big green man shrinking" and more "symbiote vanishing from person".
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The third issue sees the return of Louis "Hotshot" Lembert and his girlfriend Jess "Jailbait" Harrison, a gamma-powered teenager that Peter David originally created. Jess dies under mysterious circumstances, and Louis hangs himself in his jail cell soon after.
    • Bruce's late unlamented father Brian is revealed to have returned in issue 5, having last been seen confronting the Hulk family in Chaos War.
    • General Fortean, who chased General Ross during his time as the Red Hulk, returns in issue 6, and surprise, has learned exactly the wrong thing after learning his mentor was a Hulk.
    • How shaken is the Hulk by his trip to Hell? Immortal Hulk is momentarily replaced by the regular Savage Hulk.
    • Issue 15 clarifies that the Devil Hulk is the same one that showed up in Bruce's Journey to the Center of the Mind during Paul Jenkins's run. The reason he doesn't look and sound like a reptilian monster is because back then Bruce's fear of him altered his appearance.
    • Issue #16 gives us the return of the Joe Fixit personality, albeit in Banner's body instead of his own.
  • Call-Back:
    • When lamenting his brought down to normal status, Bruce laments he can't build the sort of super-scientific gadgets he built during the Greg Pak Hulk run.
    • The story arc suggesting an interdimensional aspect of gamma radiation harkens back to a much earlier issue detailing the early days of the Hulk, where there was nothing but speculation surrounding who or what he is. One of the theories mentioned in the narration proposed that Bruce's bomb punched a hole into another dimension, and the Hulk was what crossed over. The story arc here gives that theory some merit.
    • Just before the end of issue 6, Carol Danvers notes that the last time any Avenger saw Hulk, he helped save the world, and that's why they've been giving him leeway. But then Carol notes this is a different team of Avengers.
    • During the battle with the Avengers in issue 7, a shaken Thor notes to Cap that there is something more otherworldly to the Immortal Hulk, and that from science and natural law the mortal world has created something very close to a god, or the opposite. The Jade Giant, who is partially possessed by the spirit of Brian Banner, is amused.
    Immortal/Devil Hulk: Hnh. "Devil Hulk." Works for me.
    • During their chat in issue 11, McGee brings up, as an example of the mercy the Hulk is shown, that time he was shot into space. She then adds "instead of just shot". Hulk doesn't respond to that.
    • When The One Below All makes an appearance at the end of issue 12, it uses an inverted echo of what The One Above All said in the last issue of Ultimates Squared, only echoing the last line about love in the very next issue.
    • The beginning of issue 14, dealing with the funeral of General Ross, mentions the other two times he's apparently been buried, and how his funeral is barely attended thanks to that and the whole "attempted treason" thing when he was the Red Hulk.
    • Betty is still sore about being forcibly depowered by Doc Omega back during Gerry Duggan's Hulk run. The Ancient Order of the Shield she signed up with that pushed her to kill Bruce during that run has also cut ties with her. As it turns out, her depowering didn't last. She's also a little pissed about Hulk's apparent siding with HYDRA during Secret Empire (not knowing Hulk was being controlled at the time).
    • Samson thinks back over his death during Jeph Loeb's run and his temporary return during Chaos War. He came back permanently in time to see Amadeus Cho absorb the Hulk from Bruce, and then Bruce's death in Civil War II. Whatever there'd been between him and Betty back in the day, it's gone; now they're drawn together because they both need a friend, someone else who understands what they've gone through.
    • The Hulk explains that the Hulk that appeared during Secret Empire was a previously-unseen personality, a wordless ball of rage that didn't care who it hurt, that didn't see people at all. He confirms he is indeed the Devil Hulk from Paul Jenkins's run, and the different appearance and speech patterns he had when he first showed up was thanks to Bruce's fear of him temporarily reshaping him.
    • Rather than her Red She-Hulk form, when Betty transforms after getting shot by Bushwhacker she becomes a composite of her Red She-Hulk and Harpy forms.
  • Call-Forward: Langowski's flashbacks in issue 4 show college-aged Bruce buying tons of purple pants, declaring he'll never need to worry about what to wear again. Well, he turned out to be right on that score.
  • The Cameo: Crusher Creel's lawyer, who helps get him into the situation with Gamma Base, is one of the Krask siblings, Marvel's greasy lawyers par excellence.
  • Canon Immigrant: Jack(ie) McGee from the The Incredible Hulk show and the Dogs of Hell from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Immortal Hulk's ability to absorb gamma radiation, established back in No Surrender when he depowered General Maverick, comes back in issue 5, when he depowers Sasquatch. And it's turned against him in issue 10 and 11 by Fortean's lab people, and the One Below All.
    • In the first glimpses of Shadow Base, there's a shot of an animal skeleton that's bright green. Several issues later, the lab techs show off a gamma-enhanced mouse to Creel. And in issue #16 Hulk and Doc Samson run into some more of their "Hulkimals".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In issue 9, mention is made of someone at Gamma Base called "Red Dog". They appear in the next issue, and it's Crusher Creel, sporting an upgrade.
  • Comic Book Death: One of the themes, especially in issues 14 and 15, with 14 dealing with everyone's reaction to General Ross's latest death, and then Betty's own reaction to Bruce's coming back to life, and 15 focusing on Samson's own Unexplained Recovery from Civil War II, and how upsetting it is not just when someone dies, but comes back, both for their loved ones, and the person who came back.
  • Composite Character: Betty's newest form, the "Red Harpy", combines elements of both her Red She-Hulk and Harpy forms.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Once "Hulk in Hell" starts there is narration explaining the theological history of morality and the Satanic Archetype, with specific references to Zoroastrian and Judaic belief systems. Who/whatever the narrator is, they close out the arc by addressing Bruce as "Bruce Banner of Earth".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The arc of exploring the supernatural qualities of gamma radiation harkens back to when the Hulk was visited by an alternate future self during a period where he was suffering Sanity Slippage from lingering shrapnel in his brain. His future self explained then that there's always been mystical aspects of the Hulk.
    • Averted in one case — issue #3 deliberately avoids mentioning what Jess Harrison's "super name" was due to the Unfortunate Implications of a character called "Jailbait".
    • The scalpel the Shadow Base scientists use to slice Banner apart is named "Jarella II", after Hulk's long-dead girlfriend (for extra nastiness, it's a visual pun - they use it to slice up his heart).
    • Puck has a pretty casual reaction to winding up in Hell. Of course, he's been to one of them before.
    • During his recounting of their history together, Brian Banner reminds Bruce of that time in Chaos War he was resurrected and sent after the Hulk.
    • The end of issue #12 evokes one of the Hulk's other names from Greg Pak's run, the Worldbreaker... with all the apocalyptic meaning it carries.
    • Issue #14 starts off with the funeral of General Ross, who was killed over in Captain America. Betty notes that Steve Rogers isn't there for the eulogy as Rogers was framed for his murder.
    • In McGee's reappearance in issue #16, it's noted the last big Hulk sighting involved him talking to raccoons in Manhattan.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The series does this with gamma radiation. In the second issue, when Del Frye was injected with a gamma-irradiated serum, he saw a "green door" that was "below everything" before dying. The next issue, Lew Lembert also mentions a "green door" but this time with what's beyond it: the One Below All. According to Brian Banner in issue 12, his research into gamma energy hypothesized a third form that energy takes when it's neither a wave or a particle, but when he had a nightmore of the Green Door and the One Below All he denounced it out of fear.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • General Fortean's people are made to monitor Bruce's friends and associates, including the presently very dead Rick Jones' grave (just in case, apparently).
    • Betty is wearing her old Red She-Hulk outfit underneath her civilian clothes, since it's bulletproof. She also has a magic item to block surveillance, knowing full well Fortean is watching her.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • The Hulk doesn't kill Tommy Hill... he just breaks most of his bones and leaves him in a coma. If he's lucky, he will never walk again. If he isn't, he will never wake again.
    • Neither did he kill Dr. Frye. Just told him how his quest for immortality cost him everything he held dear, then tore his arms and legs off, and buried him alive.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Hulk's fight with the Avengers is even worse than his fight with them in Avengers: No Surrender. He tears apart a Hulkbuster Armor, dents Ghost Rider's car, nearly overloads Black Panther's Vibranium Armor, punches Thor so hard he cracks his skull, launches She-Hulk two miles away and pounds Captain America's shield so hard that Cap's nose starts bleeding from the impact.
  • Dark World: When the Green Door is opened and the Hulk among others are pulled through, they end up in "Hell", which is the lowest point of creation, stated to span the entire multiverse, and is a dark reflection of the many versions of reality, full of hollow lifeless versions of people. The hollow people are just husks that talk and act out the memories of the people they represent with no real sentience or consciousness.
  • Death Glare: Betty spends a lot of issue 14 glowering at Fortean whenever she gets the chance.
  • Death of a Child: Children are not off limits in this series, with the first issue opening with a 12-year-old girl being shot and killed.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • Walter Langowski is killed in issue 4, and comes back to life controlled by Brian Banner. Who is himself being empowered by the One Below All.
    • Happens to Crusher Creel during his own fight with the Hulk.
  • Depending on the Artist: Hulk's mug may not always be pretty to look at, but with this particular take's emphasis on his brow and "classic" Hulk hairline, he comes off more similar to typical depictions of Frankenstein's Monster than anything else.
  • Doing In the Scientist: Zigzagged; This series explores a supernatural quality of gamma radiation and how it relates not only to the Hulk but all gamma mutates. Puck ultimately concludes that gamma radiation combines both science and magic, as it is scientifically understood yet still capable of unpredictable phenomena like turning people into living metaphors of their psychological issues.
    Hulk: Look at you trying to figure me out. Learn the rules. Find the secret. You think you ever knew what I was, old man? Here's your special theory, dad. The only equation you need. HULK. IS. HULK!
    *Hulk blows Brian and the One Below All away with a gamma clap*
  • Double Standard: During Issue #11, Jackie McGee reveals that she views the Hulk as the ultimate example of white privilege-cum-outrage and that she wants to be a gamma-irradiated bruiser so her own indignation can rampage against what vexes her without consequence. Partially justified, as she still feels a great deal of pain and anger in regards to her town being destroyed by the Hulk and how her father eventually died as a direct consequence. She hates feeling that she has no means of expressing this anger, while the Hulk is notorious for his destructive rages and is frequently shown mercy by the superhero community.
    • As an example, when the Hulk points out he was once shot into space as punishment, Jackie reminds him he was shot into space not just shot to death. note 
  • Dramatic Irony: The detective that interviews Jackie at the hospital in issue #4 quite literally walks past Bruce as he tells her to contact him if she sees Bruce.
    Detective: (as a man with a trucker's cap walks by him) Though, ah... if you do find Bruce Banner, Ms. McGee... ...we'd sure love to talk to him, you know?
    Jackie: Yeah. (leans back and closes eyes as the man sits down next to her) Yeah, me too.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The One Below All, the counterpart to the One Above All. Like its benevolent counterpart, it is simultaneously one bodiless individual and a multitude of hosts it acts through. Just horrifically evil and corruptive, rather than benevolent and loving. It can't assume an actual form, but uses other beings, like Brian Banner, as faces.
  • Eldritch Location: Hell. As least as our heroes see it, it looks like a ruined cityscape, and shells of loved ones appear to taunt and mock anyone who winds up there.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The gas station robber gunning down a 12-year-old girl, then Bruce (as his eyes are turning green), then the cashier.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Fortean is reluctant to do anything to Betty Ross, even when she's got Bruce at her house, on the day of her father's funeral.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: One of Fortean's plans for getting at the Hulk involves digging up Rick Jones' corpse, and mixing it with some of the Abomination's to create a new Abomination to sic on the Hulk.
  • Evil Knockoff: The One Below All assails the Hulk with hollow copies of Rick Jones and Ross to enrage him to the point that he'll sever ties with Banner completely, who has been separated from him. Though hollow Rick ends up helping the Hulk.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: As Dr. Clive rants to the Hulk's remains about how they are going to turn him into their weapon due to their studies on his body, he slowly comes the horrifying realization that this was planned:
    Dr. Clive: Oh god. You let us do this to you. You wanted us to... to test you. Because if we know what you can do... do you.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Brian Banner in Sasquatch's body jabs out Hulk's eyes in their fight. Fortunately for Hulk, they soon heal.
    • In issue 11, Bushwhacker shoots out one of Hulk's eyes. He does it again in issue 14.
    • Joe Fixit throws some gamma mutated ants into Bushwhacker's eye in their fight, though it only freaks him out for a moment.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Dr. Frye discovers something that scares him more than oblivion - being buried alive in the heart of a mountain, forever.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Fortean and his scientists manipulate Crusher Creel into being their guinea pig, using his pride to stop him backing out when he starts to get cold feet.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At the beginning of issue 2, Bruce talks about the "ghost state", when you've got radiation poisoning but feel fine. Later in the issue Hulk raises the possibility Dr. Frye never noticed the adverse side-effects of his gamma poisoning because he was in a ghost state of his own from his research.
    • Jackie's reaction to Walter's story in issue 4.
    • Also, when Jackie runs in to Doctor Banner, she never once actually looks at him. Turns out in the next issue that the Hulk noticed.
    • The Rick Jones qlippoth Hulk and Jackie meet is more capable of apparent independent thought than the ones of Jackie's dad or General Ross. Come issue 13, it (he?) even tries to help the Hulk out.
  • Gender Flip: Jack McGee of the The Incredible Hulk show is now Jackie McGee. Also counts as a Race Lift.
  • Good Is Not Soft: In an interesting both sides way in issue #3 where the Hulk flattens the Bartender's car for being rude to Banner, from which he learns that the Hulk is a jerk. And to be fair he is not wrong.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Whoever (or whatever) killed Jess Harrison, when the cops find her corpse, she's got a peaceful smile on her face. While her neck's been completely twisted around.
  • Groin Attack: Joe Fixit knees Bushwhacker in the nards after punching the enhanced cyborg in the face doesn't work.
  • Hate Plague: As Walter and Jackie are looking for the Hulk, two patrons at the bar they're in suddenly start fighting for no reason whatsoever, ending when one fatally stabs Walter. It later turns out to be the One Below All, using them to get into Walter.
  • He Had a Name: What is the first thing out of the Hulk's mouth when facing Tommy Hill in the climax of Issue #1?
    Hulk: Sandra Ann Brockhurst. That was her name. She was twelve.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Devil Hulk assures a suicidal Banner that while he has a gruff way of showing it, at the end of the day, he'll always love him... because someone has to.
  • I Have a Family: Tommy tries this in issue #1 when the Hulk is about to kick his ass. It doesn't help.
  • Immortality Seeker: Dr. Frye became this after his wife's death, and developed an immortality serum based on Bruce Banner's research. It works on him, with horrible consequences, but kills his son and makes his corpse radioactive, killing everyone who gets too close. And several issues later, it turns out it had worked on his son... just not in the way he'd hoped.
  • Kick the Dog: Bushwhacker, working for Fortean, interviews a rural man who just narrowly survived an encounter with the Hulk, and once he's done shoots him in the head.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Betty is shot partway through saying "Bruce, I'm sorry. But I- [hate you]". She doesn't stay dead for very long, though.
  • Living Lie Detector: The Hulk claims that he can smell lies, including the ones we tell ourselves, a claim Thor backs up after his fight with him.
  • Madness Mantra: Bushwhacker keeps saying "I can take him. It'll be a rush." as a very pissed Hulk bears down on him in issue 14.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • In the climax of issue #1, we have Tommy pleading to the Hulk "I'm not a bad guy. Am I?" and Hulk responding "What do you think?". The issue ends with Bruce repeating both lines as he looks at his (or, rather, the Hulk's) reflection in a bathroom mirror.
    • During the fight with the Avengers, Black Panther tries zapping Hulk, claiming "this will bring you back to your senses". Problem is, Hulk hadn't lost them in the first place, so it just makes him mad(der). A few pages later, Hulk bludgeons T'Challa with the Hulkbuster's arm, throwing his words back at him.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: A gamma thing in this series; Bruce, the Hulk and Walter all see their alter-egos in their reflections, and the Hulk sees Brian Banner's reflection first in place of Sasquatch, then in place of himself.
  • Mook Horror Show: The Hulk's rampage through the Dogs of Hell is presented like this: someone screaming off-screen, another guy bursting in, babbling about the devil, giant green hands tearing through a wall, the Dogs of Hell pumping bullets into the monster to no avail, Tommy Hill running for his car, then finally... silence, as everything falls quiet. Then Tommy turns, and sees the Hulk.
  • Mortality Phobia: Dr. Frye developed this after his wife died; unable to make himself believe in any sort of afterlife, he became terrified of The Nothing After Death.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The first issue is titled "Or Is He Both?", which comes from the cover of the very first issue of Incredible Hulk: "Is he Man or Monster or... is he Both?"
    • The second issue features Buscema's diner. Sal Buscema had a 10 year run as the main Hulk artist.
    • Outside of Jackie McGee, Dr. Frye and his son Del are both shout-outs toward the character Del Frye, the original Hulk in the two-part episode "The First" in the live-action series.
    • When confronted by the Avengers at the end of issue #6, Bruce gives a darker variation of a certain line from the 2012 film:
      Captain Marvel: But to set the Hulk free, Bruce Banner has to die. And that's just not going to happen, Bruce.
      Bruce: ...But that's my secret, Captain. I'm already dead.
    • Issue 16 features the Hulk fighting a host of gamma-irradiated animals, which is not just a homage to the "Dogs of War" comic story (where the Hulk fought Hulk dogs) but also to the 2003 Hulk film which it inspired.
      • Though YMMV the Immortal Hulk bears similarities with the 2003 film: a nightmarish feel involving split psyches, military involvement and the presence/impact of an abusive father.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "The One Below All" sounds like an inverse of "The One Above All", who is essentially capital-g God over the entire Marvel multiverse, so what does that make it?
  • Neck Snap: Doctor Frye manages to break Bruce's neck. Meaning he has to deal with a very angry Hulk.
  • Never My Fault: Even when he is in Hell itself, Brian Banner still refuses to admit his circumstances might be even partially his fault, instead blaming the Hulk (who he sees as separate from Bruce) or the One Below All.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: This is Hulk's new method of crime-fighting, judging by the Cruel Mercy he gave Tommy Hill and Dr. Frye.
  • Race Lift: Jack McGee from The Incredible Hulk was a white man. Jackie is a black woman.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Issue three involves Jackie interviewing multiple witnesses over the Hulk's latest sighting in confronting Hotshot. The different interviewees and their accounts are depicted in different art styles.
  • Resurrective Immortality: What the Hulk has. If Banner gets killed, the Hulk will rise from the dead when night falls. Walter, Betty and Samson have it too.
  • Retcon: Issue 15 has the Hulk state the version seen during Secret Empire was in fact a new, different personality from the others.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Not only is Bruce Banner Walking the Earth once again, but the book revisits the horror tone of the earliest Hulk comics. Instead of the "wounded child" or "bar-room brawler" interpretations, this Hulk is a smirking monster who enjoys taunting people about their unspeakable desires. And he's back to hulking out at night. (He tries the rage hulk-out in issue #1, but it doesn't trigger; as shown in Avengers: No Road Home, the stress-based transformation only works at night.)
  • Shout-Out:
    • At the beginning of their fight, Hulk wonders if Creel is quoting Rocky IV, and follows up by quoting it himself.
    • The monsters that the One Below All pukes up include Brundlefly and Emil Antonowsky.
    • One of the experiments in Shadow Base shown in issue 17 are gamma mutated ants that look exactly like glowing green Arachnids.
    • The user name and password to the Shadow Base's computers? GIGER/HR and no5tR0m0.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: At first, the case with Joe seems like this. In the next issue, though, he reveals that "Devil" Hulk let him out on purpose.
  • Spot the Thread: The bartender in issue #3 managed to figure out that Bruce was the Hulk because, after he locked up for the night, he discovered that his car had been smashed to shit in the parking lot down the road.
    Bartender: So, yeah. I mean, I don't know how he knew. But that's confirmed. It was him. (Beat) And he sucks!
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: In order to stop the Hulk, Iron Man uses a killsat which takes out the entire town the Avengers find him in. Everyone's aware of how awful a solution this is, but it's the only way they can think of to stop him.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Thanks to how the Hulk's immortality works Bruce Banner is likely to die in most issues. As in at the time of writing this 2 times out of 3 he brutally died on panel.
  • Title Drop: Happens a lot with this series' issue titles.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bushwhacker wants to have fun with killing the Hulk/Banner, despite Fortean's insistence that the Hulk be neutralized as quick and effectively as possible. Doubles as Revenge Before Reason as when the Hulk went to Hell Bushwhacker was so traumatized by what he saw that he wants Banner to suffer.
  • Torso with a View: The priest's story in issue #3 has a moment where Hotshot blows a hole clean through the Hulk's torso, complete with loving description. And then, despite his spine being gone, it heals.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Issue #12 begins with a flashback to Bruce's childhood, when Brian walks in on Bruce assembling a not-LEGO set of a Gamma laboratory, which is supposed to be several years ahead of Bruce... and without even using instructions. Naturally, this angers Brian. He leaves before seeing Lil' Bruce smashing the set in a rage.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The hollow Rick Jones replica rebels against the One Below All and transforms into A-Bomb because the bond Rick has with Banner is so powerful that it transcends facsimiles.
  • Vampire Vannabe: Turns out the reason McGee has been seeking Banner is to ask how she can become like the Hulk.
  • Villain Protagonist: Devil Hulk took advantage of Banner's recent death and resurrection to take over Banner's system of personalities, including replacing the Savage Hulk as dominant gamma persona.
  • Walking the Earth: Bruce Banner, as per usual. This time round, he's doing it to bring some justice into the world through the Hulk, to atone for his sins.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Issue #4. As it turns out, Walter Langowski's attempt at making a second Hulk was a bit too successful; he dies on the operating table... and then turns into Sasquatch. This issue also sees Bruce meeting Jackie for the first time... because he arrived at the hospital fully aware that this was a possibility, with the issue ending with him saying they need to evacuate the hospital.
    • Issue #5. Brian Banner's returned from the dead, possessing first Walter, then the Hulk when he absorbs Walter's gamma radiation.
    • Issue #6. The Avengers finally catch up to Banner... who proceeds to turn and attack them.
    • Issue #10. Hulk realises that when the gamma bomb that created him detonated, it first partially opened the "Green Door" (a gateway to the realm of The One Below All). The possessed Creel absorbs a massive dose of gamma energy, allowing him to fully tear open the door and bringing everyone present to Hell.
  • Wham Line: At the end of issue #4, Bruce lays the cards on the table to Jackie after she informs him of Walter Langowski's situation:
    Bruce: Walter... he wanted to turn himself into a second Hulk. You see? His gamma structure is just like mine. Exactly like mine. And now the sun's gone down.
    • Issue #6 has this gem:
      Bruce: But that's my secret, Captain. I'm already dead.
    • In Issue #10, after the Green Door opens:
      Hulk: Where are we? Isn't it obvious? We're where we've always been. Where everybody's always been. Welcome to Hell.
    • In Issue #16, Bruce Banner goes gray and says he's not Bruce Banner.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In issue #5, the Hulk demands to know who's possessing Sasquatch, and Sasquatch tells him to look behind him. The Hulk turns, looking into a window... and sees Brian Banner reflected in Sasquatch's place.
    • Issue #14 has a big one: Bushwhacker attempts to assassinate Bruce before he can transform but can't determine which heat signature is his in a shielded house, and despite Fortean ordering him to cease fire because it's now night, he takes the shot... and shoots Betty Ross. And despite Bushwhacker's insistence that he can take the now pissed-off Hulk, Fortean orders him to get out because...
      Fortean: It's night, you damn fool! Did you fall asleep during retraining? Unless the sun's up - he doesn't die! None of them die!
      (The seemingly-dead Betty's eyes begin glowing bright red)
    • The end of issue 15 has Hulk and Samson reaching a graveyard. Specifically, the site of Rick Jones' grave. Which is busted wide open.
    • Issue 16 reveals that Betty Ross, after getting shot, is now a hybrid between her two alter-egos, Harpy and Red She-Hulk.
    • The splash page at the end of issue 16 sees the depowered Bruce smirking, opening his eyes (now grey), and delivering a Wham Line: "I ain't Bruce Banner". Topping it off is the issue title below: "IT'S JOE".


Example of: