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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
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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 series has one of the most disturbing interpretations of the Incredible Hulk to grace the mainstream Marvel Universe.

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. However, the last time was something of a revelation to Bruce Banner, as it came with the knowledge of why he had been coming back: because the Hulk 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, stronger, smarter, and more ruthless than he has ever been.

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

As the series progresses, The Immortal Hulk deconstructs the nature of the comic book death, and explores psychological and even supernatural angles to the Hulk's powers, all of which have been given a sufficiently horrifying twist befitting of a darker narrative. With the cast of the character's world reimagined, it becomes clear that Hulk's place in the Marvel Universe will never be the same.


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Tropes included in The Immortal Hulk:

  • Accidental Truth: The kid in issue 7 predicts what happens in the battle between the Hulk and the Avengers by acting out a story with his Captain Marvel and Iron Man toys. Their dialogue mirrors the real ones' stances on whether they should cross the Godzilla Threshold and use Project: Helios or not.
  • 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.
  • Angry White Man: Amadeus Cho more or less namedrops the trope in Issue #26. Specifically, he refers to Bruce Banner as an "angry middle-class white guy" when reflecting on Bruce's plan for revolution. Fascinatingly enough, in said issue, Bruce is drawn to resemble William Foster from Falling Down, with other issues also having a bit of a resemblance.
  • 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. Issue 23 reveals that between that and the months he spent underground, he's completely lost his mind.
      • Issue 23 also reveals that Dr. McGowan has been trying to ease Del's pain.
    • 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.
  • And Show It to You: Red Harpy rips out Hulk's heart. Then she starts eating it.
  • 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 Unscrupulous Hero, 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.
    • Eyes, in what you see in them, and what's looking out through them.
  • 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".
    • "This is where we've always been. Where everyone's always been."
    • "If someone hurts him, I take it personal."
    • "This is me."
    • "There are two people in every mirror. There's the one you can see. And there's the other one. The one you don't want to."
    • "Hulk is Hulk."
    • "Something is wrong."
  • 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.
    • Dario Agger doesn't mind if his underlings talk back to him... so long as they do it respectfully. And by that, he means remembering to beg for their lives once they're done. Otherwise, he smashes their heads to pulp. He's also not above killing them just because he's angry and needs to vent.
  • Bad Future: Billions of years into the future, the Hulk (utterly controlled by the One Below All after fully eating away Bruce and Devil Hulk) kills off Franklin Richards and Mr. Immortal to take the role of Galactus's successor. Becoming a true Breaker of Worlds, in issue #25 it succeeds in destroying all life in the next universe, leaving a dark, dead, utterly broken abyss where it resides entirely alone. The last living being in that universe tries to Set Right What Once Went Wrong and avert this timeline... except they may only have created a Stable Time Loop.
  • 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?
    • And another in issue #23:
      Puck: (smashing a brain in a jar) Tell them Puck sent you. They know me down there.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Jackie McGee wished to know how to become like the Hulk. Now she's learning all about the horrors that surround the Hulk and, as she points out, she can't seem to stop learning new and terrible things.
    • Back in the day, Doctor McGowan had always wanted to meet Daredevil. She got her wish when he busted up the drug lab she was working in.
  • 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 Instinct: Besides being violently protective over Bruce, Devil Hulk coldly warns Red Harpy to never hurt Savage Hulk ever again.
  • 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.
  • Bizarre Alien Limbs: The aliens depicted in the next universe have free-floating flower like body parts they use as and call manipulators.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Joe Fixit finds himself trapped in a lab whose walls are lined with tanks filled with gamma-irradiated animals.
  • 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. And then during the fight, Hulk tears his spine out. And he still doesn't die.
    • 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 the "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, forcing Bushwhacker's plastic body through a pipe. It's not known whether he survived that beatdown.
    • In issue 18, the "Abomination" Shadow Base created has a misshapen hand-face, the hands opening to reveal two half-melted faces belonging to Rick Jones repeating "help me kill me kill you help you".
    • Happens to Creel again in issue 23, when the Gamma Base soldiers hit him with flamethrowers while he's turned to metal. It looks not unlike the T-1000 at the end of Terminator 2.
    • In issue 33 we discover that Xemnu doesn't so much take nourishment from actually eating people, as he internally converts them into freakish beings like himself. The result is a lanky, humanoid body of flesh and metal parts, with the neck and head effectively merged into one with no semblance of a mouth. Dario Agger’s minotaur form undergoes its own unique process, and by the time Hulk confronts him he’s now crawling on the floor with his own cybernetic parts, lacking a good portion of his skin and the flesh of his head draped over what twisted remains he has for a face.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Betty is shot in the head thanks to her "killer" mistaking her for Bruce. She gets better.
  • Brain in a Jar: The solar emitter units Fortean has are controlled by brains (and spines) in jars.
  • 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.
    • The Joe Fixit persona controls the "Banner" body rather than transforming into a Hulk, and lacks his old powers.
  • 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 pursued the Red Hulk in Jeff Parker's run, returns in issue 6, and surprise, has learned exactly the wrong thing after learning his mentor General Ross 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.
    • Possibly foreshadowed in Issue #18; Banner writes down a list of all his current personalities and which bodies they've taken. The two personas written down under "Missing/Dormant??" are the Professor and the Green Scar.
    • Issue 20 features a brief non-speaking appearance from Bruce's mother Rebecca, also last seen in Chaos War.
    • Issue 25 sees the Leader's return to the main Hulk series, having last been seen in Hulkverines.
    • Issue 26 has a guest appearance by Amadeus Cho and Sub-Mariner and return of Dario Agger, CEO of Roxxon.
    • Issue 30 brings back Xemnu the Living Hulk.
    • The Green Scar shows up at the end of Issue 32, presumably intending to take the wheel now that Bruce has been brainwashed by Xemnu.
    • Few were possibly foreshadowed by Word of God in letters collumn, Al Ewing apparently having a list of characters he wants to bring to the book at some point. In issue #15 he admits he has an idea for a story featuring Hulk's son Skaar, but it will require many issues before he can do it. In #26, per fan suggestion, he adds Moon Knight to the list.
  • 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.
    • In issue 18, Samson brings up Amadeus Cho's theory about why no civilians get killed in the Hulk's rampages: Bruce is subconsciously working to make sure it doesn't happen. Devil Hulk responds it applies to other Hulks.
    • 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.
    • In issue #20, Brian Banner lists off the other gamma-touched who've passed through the One Below All's down-below: "the delinquent" (Rick Jones), "the quack" (Doc Samson), "the old goat" (General Ross), "the copycat" (possibly the Abomination, Sasquatch, or Amadeus Cho), "my sister's idiot child" (Jen Walters), and Betty Ross.
    • Issue #20's Flash Forward is based on an alternate universe where the only survivors are the Hulk and Mr. Immortal, first seen on a single screen in a single panel in an issue of Exiles fifteen years before. Apparently Bruce ended up outliving Craig.
    • Jackie's narration in issue #23 states that her father's health started really declining on the exact same day the Hulk got that presidential pardon and big shiny statue.
    • Issue #24 begins with a recounting of the origins of Galactus and then the Hulk and the Fantastic Four, to tie-in with the far future Hulk forcibly making himself the Galactus of the next multiverse.
    • In the Absolute Carnage tie-in Bruce and his alters have a conversation with Venom in their mind about joining forces. Devil Hulk manifests in the scaly orange Hulk form he's shown in prior appearances on the mental plane.
    • In his appearance in issue 26 Amadeus Cho mentions his own time as the Hulk and disappearance of the Green Scar.
    • Also in #26, Namor and Bruce talk about old times, even quoting a line all the way back from their first meeting in Avengers #3.
    Bruce: I don't go for all the flowery talk, but I hate humans too.
  • 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.
  • Came Back Wrong: In issue 22, Rick Jones comes back from death... he just doesn't come back to life. He's a gamma zombie, and he makes it pretty clear he was aware when Fortean had his corpse dug up, and he remembers it all. Issue 23 reveals he also got a few extra goodies, such as the ability to float and shoot wall-melting blasts of gamma out of his hands.
  • 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, Jeffrey Clive, and Del Frye 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.
    • Through the Hulk's stay in Hell, an unidentified voice narrates through the issues on the definition of the words "Hulk" and "Satan". The voice returns in issue #20, and at the end of the issue turns out to be the Metatron, also known as the Voice of God.
  • Close on Title: A recurring stylistic touch of this series, either because the titles are thematic summaries ("Or Is He Both", "His Hideous Heart") or because they're spoilers for the events of the issue ("Time of Death", "It's Joe").
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The rather skinny looking Bruce Banner here looks a lot like Edward Norton from The Incredible Hulk.
  • 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.
    • Rick Jones' qlippoth is carrying a harmonica, just like the one he was playing in Incredible Hulk #1 before Bruce ran out to rescue him. The cover of issue #16 is another homage to that scene.
    • 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.
    • Issue #18 has a slew of past references:
      • Jackie mentions a piece called "Elf Army Invades Earth".
      • Bruce wonders what happened to Marlo Chandler.
      • Bruce checks off his personalities' current status, listing the Professor and Green Scar as "Missing/Dormant??".
      • Samson and Titania discuss her history of trying to kill his friend.
      • Bruce gets cut off talking about how Devil Hulk's choice of name could be worse, like starting to call himself the Maestro.
      • Similarly to Doc Green and the original Red Hulk, when Bruce hulks out this issue he doesn't keep his newly grown mustache, nor does the Hulk have it as a reflection.
    • In Issue #19, among Betty's flashbacks of her relationship with Bruce is a (clearly ironic) one to her first line back in The Incredible Hulk #1:
      Betty: Oh daddy, don't be so unfair! Dr. Bruce Banner is one of our most famous scientists! I'm sure he knows what he's doing!
    • In issue #20, Fortean's attack on Hulk involves two war wagons, the same machine Glenn Talbot tried to kill the Hulk with way back when. This time, however, they're dealing with two gamma mutates, neither of whom subscribe to Thou Shalt Not Kill.
    • At the end of issue #24, the future Hulk notes that the now dead Mr. Immortal was meant to be a placeholder for the also immortal Franklin Richards, who was apparently supposed to live until the end of time then merge with Galactus (as established in Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four).
    • The protagonists of issue #25 describe the Breaker of Worlds' apparent motivation as being "never stop making them pay".
    • In issue #26 Bruce mentions X-Men new mutant nation and Doc Samson brings up She-Hulk's current status in Avengers. In the same issue Dario Agger talks about how Roxxon pretty much got away with a slap on a wrist for betraying the human race to Malekith.
  • 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 nightmare of the Green Door and the One Below All he denounced it out of fear. Issue #25 is an entire issue of the concept: the last survivors of a dead universe, faced with an unstoppable monstrosity they cannot comprehend.
  • 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.
    • Nor the Puppet Master over in Fantastic Four, equally breaking his bones.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Red Harpy tearing out Hulk's heart turns out to be partly this, giving Hulk's healing factor a jump-start after Abomination's acid disabled it.
  • Cumulonemesis: The One Below All forms itself out of the clouds oventrance. The Hell Hulk and the group are trapped in. It then proceeds to vomit up a swarm of qlippoths all as big and mean as the Hulk. What an entrance.
  • 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 and knocks a tooth out, launches She-Hulk two miles away and pounds Captain America's shield so hard that Cap's nose starts bleeding from the impact.
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • Red Harpy has a very direct approach to problems, usually involving dismemberment. Case in point: New Abomination's stomach acid? Remove the stomach. No more stomach, no more acid.
    • At the end of issue 23, Hulk gets a face-full of said acid. He solves the problem by tearing his skin off before the acid can melt it.
  • Dark World: When the Green Door is opened and the Hulk and 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.
  • Deader Than Dead: In issue 24, Hulk kills Fortean, and he gets dragged down to Hell. While there, Joe Fixit snaps his neck. Hulk and Doc Samson get back up, but Fortean stays dead.
  • Death Amnesia: In issue 20, Bruce and Brian have a little chat in Hell. Brian explains Bruce has been there all the other times he's died over the years, and they've had similar conversations, but Bruce doesn't remember them.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • For Bruce Banner, certainly — and it's Played for Drama and Played for Horror in equal measure. Being an incredibly-powerful, unkillable killing machine is every bit as horrifying for him to experience as it is to everyone else in the setting to live through.
    • 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.
    • In issue 21, Fortean kills Doc Samson and Langowski. The next issue shows Len, still gamma powered, is up and about, with the note his resurrections are getting quicker. Walter... not so much, but Puck notes they're waiting around, since Alpha Flight members have experience with dying and not-dying. Meanwhile, Rick Jones comes back... partly. In issue 23, Samson gets filled with lead again. He gets better in issue 24, noting he'd been holding off on it in an attempt to stay dead.
    • Ironically averted with Thunderbolt Ross who was recently killed in a different title Captain America - in response to an ask in the letters column Al Ewing said he is reluctant to resurrect the character, not wanting to undermine the impact his death had in that book.
    • Further discussed in #26 with Amadeus Cho wondering if would come back to life if he died and Banner warning him to not try since neither Walter nor Fortean came back, so there are seemingly no hard rules on who gets to return and who doesn't.
  • 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.
    • In the bleak far future of issue #25 it's revealed that the Breaker of Worlds is an utterly hollow being, any trace of the soul of Bruce Banner and the Hulks long since eaten away. All there is left is the vast abyss of hate that is the One Below All.
  • 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.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Dario Agger had merely been planning to fleece the US government for some money, meant to be spent on anti-Hulk measures, do absolutely nothing with it and pocket the cash (which, frankly, probably is more sensible than actually trying to attack the Hulk). He just didn't expect the Hulk to have an axe to grind against Roxxon.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the stinger of issue 24, the future Hulk reveals he killed Mr. Immortal. And Galactus. And Franklin Richards. Then he eats the living personification of the multiverse, the Sentience of the Cosmos.
  • Dirty Coward: Dr. Clive spends most of issue 8 with a smug grin, and gloating over the dismembered Hulk, but when Hulk escapes he immediately pleads that he's sorry and that they made him do it.
  • 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.
    • Brian Banner tries doing this when in Hell. Hulk doesn't agree with him.
    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.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: A flashback in issue #23 has General Ross and Major Talbot showing Fortean a young Jackie as an reminder of the people they're supposed to be protecting from Hulk attacks. Fortean takes it as a reason to ignore any moral qualms he might feel instead.
  • 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.
  • Emotional Regression: Though the Devil Hulk is usually the one in charge at night, if he suffers enough emotional or physical distress the child-like Savage Hulk persona inexorably asserts itself.
  • Empty Shell: Another running theme of the series, introduced during the cast's trip to Hell with the narration on qlippoth, musing on the corruption of sin.
    • Subject B, the new Abomination created around Rick Jones, which displays rudimentary intelligence, but isn't really Rick. Langowski mutters in issue 21 that it might as well be a qlippoth.
    • What the Hulk becomes as a Galactus-like entity in the next universe, having been hollowed out by the One Below All billions of years before the end of the previous one.
  • 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. However, after that, he's perfectly okay with trying to kill her.
  • 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 corpse to create a new Abomination to sic on the Hulk. At the end of issue 21, he decides to touch it... and it absorbs him.
    • Dario Agger learns too little too late that trying to take an advantage of a being that can induce Fake Memories can horribly backfire.
  • 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.
  • Exact Words: On the subject of "subconsciously calculating so as not to kill people", Hulk acknowledges that while it's "a little screwy", it does make sense. For the other Hulks, anyway.
  • 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... ...so 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.
    • Hulk gets a face full of the new Abomination's acidic spit in issue 19, and the audience gets a lovingly drawn look at the results.
  • The Faceless: Curiously, while Rebecca Banner is shown and heard in flashbacks, her face is never seen, always being obscured by shadows (or in the case of Bruce's flashback to her death, by a narration box). When she appears to Bruce and Brian in Hell, she's facing away from them and doesn't turn around.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Dr. Frye discovers something that scares him more than oblivion - being buried alive in the heart of a mountain, forever.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: At the end of issue 31, Doctor McGowan and the Hulk talk about the Savage Hulk persona, only exclusively referring to him as "the big guy". What seems to be a nod to the movies soon turns a lot sinister when the Wham Line is dropped.
  • Flash Forward: The end of issue 20, which offers up a glimpse of what "Immortal Hulk" truly means. The end of issue 24 and issue 25 show what happens afterwards.
  • 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.
  • Flipping the Bird: Hulk manages to do this with his disembodied hand in the eighth issue.
  • 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.
    • In issue 5, the Hulk roars that David Banner only has the power he gives him by being afraid of him. A while down the line, the One-Below-All, which David serves as a mouthpiece for, states it has "all the power you give me."
    • 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.
    • The opening quote of issue 20 is from Timothy Leary's The Psychedelic Experience on rebirth, which is a key theme of the issue, and becomes very pertinent at the end. Also pertinent (albeit probably not to Ewing's story) is that among the gamma mutates Brian Banner lists as having passed through the One Below All's 'below-place' is "the old goat".
    • In issue 20's Flash Forward, the mystery voice lists some of the moments that led Bruce to that point, including what could be Fortean wearing the Abomination shell as armor as the 'Horseman of War', and the Hulk sitting himself down on Fortean's 'steel throne' in issue 24, along with 'the beast of myth and the Hulk-that-was' (Dario Agger and Xemnu The Living Hulk) and 'the thing in the tube and the thoughtful man' (Which probably refers to the Leader and what he was holding at the end of Issue #25).
    • The closing quote to issue 25 (written in mirror-writing) hints at the event that brought it about.
    • Amadeus Cho in #25 mentions he will be keeping an eye on Bruce, possibly hinting at their their future confrontation. The fact he and Namor end up with opposite opinions on Banner's new plan may also foreshadow them fighting on opposite sides in Greg Pak's upcoming Atlantis Attacks miniseries.
    • In issue #33, Hulk literally explodes out of Banner's body when he breaks through Xemnu's brainwashing. Rick and Betty's reactions are largely indifferent after all that's happened, but Rick notes that this has happened to Bruce before and expresses a scientific interest in the permutations of these types of transformations. The end of the issue reveals he's being controlled by the Leader.
  • 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.
  • Gender Flip: Jack McGee of the The Incredible Hulk show is now Jackie McGee. Also counts as a Race Lift.
  • Genre Throwback: Immortal Hulk is heavily inspired by the Atomic Age horror comics of yesteryear, specifically the earliest portrayal by Lee and Kirby, but with a contemporary spin.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Grand Theft Me: The One Below All's ultimate plan is to steal the Hulk's undying and limitlessly strong body so it can survive into the next iteration of the cosmos and ravage it until it's the sole being in all of existence.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: A weird\creepy variant in that the Hulk beats the Absorbing Man with his own spine.
  • Groin Attack: Joe Fixit knees Bushwhacker in the nards after punching the enhanced cyborg in the face doesn't work.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Hulk rips the new Abomination in half in issue #20, revealing the dessicated body of Rick Jones inside.
  • 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.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Roxxon manage to make the Hulk look bad through a mix of engineered Kaiju attacks and a large dose of Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Hollywood Acid: The new Abomination spits out acid which can overcome the Hulk's healing factor. And in order to synthesize it, it needs to eat people.
  • Hulking Out:
    • Rick Jones' biography, which Jackie McGee reads at one point, has an acknowledgement that witnessing this happening is not a pretty sight.
    • While on the run with Bruce and Rick's corpse, Betty turns into Red Harpy whenever Bruce tries to talk to her, insisting "this is me".
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: Issue 25 is from the point of view of a Starfish Alien who encounters the Hulk in the far future. Although the Hulk is now a cosmic entity on the level of Galactus if not greater, the alien observes his very human anatomy as he moves and expresses with the kind of unfamiliarity humans would have about them.
  • Hypocrite: Much like General Ross — who tasked him with carrying on his fight — Fortean chases the Hulk with the intent to destroy him no matter what is destroyed in the crossfire, despite it being established that Hulk doesn't kill innocents despite astronomical property damage. Unlike Ross, Fortean sees no problem executing civilians that witness his plans in motion and even goes as far as to resurrect the Abomination using the corpse of Rick Jones for the sake of creating a weapon to kill him. Then he winds up wearing the Abomination shell himself.
  • 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 Did What I Had to Do: A pre-emptive declaration. Fortean says he's proud to "make the hard decisions" (translation: kill any witnesses to his made-to-order horror show, regardless of just how many corpses that might make). It also manages to overlook the pretty big issue that he wouldn't need to kill people if he hadn't unleashed a murderous gamma mutant undead in the first place.
  • 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.
  • Infectious Insanity: Amadeus Cho came up with a theory of Hulk Syndrome, to explain why so many people with Gamma Powers - himself, Doc Samson, She-Hulk - develop some form of Split Personality, at least temporarily, believing gamma makes their minds take on some aspects of the person from whom they got their powers, Bruce Banner, particularly his Dissociative Personality Disorder. Samson, however, believes gamma is causing Hulk Syndrome and Banner has it on top of his DID.
  • Invincible Boogeymen: Already close to this, the Hulk truly embodies this trope in the Bad Future, having become an apocalyptic threat to what little remains of the universe through sheer unstoppability.
  • In Their Own Image: The One Below All's ultimate goal as shown in issue 25 is to make all of creation as hollow as they are and finally be alone.
  • Ironic Echo: In his introduction, Darrio Agger declares business has "winners and losers". When Xemnu inevitably turns against him, he repeats this phrase to Agger.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: As Agger boasts about his B.E.R.S.E.R.K.E.R. goons, he states they don't feel fear, while the readers sees the Hulk working through four guarding a Roxxon facility, one of whom is quite clearly bricking herself.
  • Just Following Orders:
    • The thugs working for General Fortean with the job of murdering any civilian who sees the new Abomination try doing this when they run into Red Harpy. It doesn't work.
    • In issue 23, Doctor McGowan tries pleading for the lives of her scientists by saying they were just doing their jobs.
  • Karma Houdini: Discussed in issue 26 where the CEO of Roxxon, Dario Agger pretty much brags about how Roxxon got away with siding with the Elves during the War of the Realms and decided to no longer hide his minotaur form because "no one important cares" as he puts it. Eventually, Xemnu absolutely mangles him while noting that Agger is as expendable to him as all of Agger's employees were.
    • It's acknowledged by Bruce in the same issue that this is a major problem in current human societal systems that are ruining the planet. Various "entities" engineer and profit from disaster and human weakness with no consequences, with only brief moments of justice where the powerful and rich pay fines of pocket change. Instead, Bruce firmly notes that he and Hulk will start off their anti-society war by teaching said entities true consequences.
  • 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.
    • Red Harpy rips out the Hulk's heart when he's blinded and crippled. Making it worse is that it's the childlike Savage Hulk, not the Devil Hulk, who doesn't understand why "Betty" is acting the way she is, and was pleading for her to help him. The next issue reveals it was a Cruel to Be Kind gesture, to kick-start his healing factor, but Devil Hulk is still pissed at Betty for putting Savage Hulk through that.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Betty is shot partway through saying "Bruce, I'm sorry. But I-". She doesn't stay dead for very long, though.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • When the subject of the idea that Hulk subconsciously calculates things so as to avoid hurting folk is brought up in issue #18, it's immediately pointed out this is ridiculous. But, then again...
    • Joe Fixit, who's been out of circulation for a while, comments on the Hulk's movie-synergy given nickname of "the Big Guy" with a sarcastic "since we're calling him that now".
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Xemnu, the Living Hulk, uses his powers to make everyone forget who the Hulk is. Including the Hulk(s). Only Savage Hulk and the Green Scar manage to remember.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Amadeus Cho's theory that people with Gamma powers who perodically develop a Split Personality may be caused by them getting it from Bruce Banner, who has Dissociative Personality Disorder, seems like a roundaround way to adress how Marvel writers like to recycle Hulk's plots or plot-points for characters connected to him.
  • 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.
    • The "Abomination" Shadow Base creates doesn't seem capable of speech at first, simply hunting Banner while grumbling "Hhlll-Kk" through its misshapen hand-face. But when the hands open, it reveals two half-melted faces belonging to Rick Jones repeating "Help me kill me kill you help you".
  • Mass Hypnosis: In Issue 31 Xemnu is employing his mind control powers to brainwash the watching populace into believing he is a fictional character from a childhood show.
  • 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.
    • When Xemnu and Darrio Agger are talking, Agger tells him not to bother using his hypnotic powers on him, since he "knows how the sausage is made". When Xemnu inevitably turns on Agger, as the man pleads not to be eaten, Xemnu states "you know how the sausage is made" back at him.
  • Meat Puppet: Issue 33 reveals that the Leader has been controlling Rick Jones' body the entire time from Hell, playing the part of Bruce/Hulk's wise-cracking best friend to manipulate them for his own plans.
  • 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. In issue 18, it turns out Bruce sees the Hulk in his reflection all the time, and complains that as a result he never knows whether there's something on his face.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: After several issues of Fortean being a Bad Boss to everyone at Shadow Base, they finally realize he's gone nuts when he kills two of his own troops for no reason, and let the Hulk do his thing.
  • 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.
  • Motive Rant: Issue #26 mostly focuses on on Bruce Banner gives when he tries to convince Amadeus Cho to join him and Hulk, listing various societal issues (see Status Quois God and Karma Houdini) that he hopes he can, if not fix then smash whatever is standing in the way to a solution.
  • 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.
    • When we see the grave of General Ross in issue #14, it states his year of birth as 1962. That's also the year when the character (as well as Hulk himself) first appeared, in Incredible Hulk #1.
    • 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. Similarly the psychological exploration of the Hulk, involving military conspiracies, an abusive father, bad dreams and communing with his alter ego through reflections are also things emulating that adaptation.
    • Fortean calls a Hulk in the story "incredible".
    • Dario Agger concludes that he "needs a Hulk" to beat the Hulk, so approaches and makes a deal with Xemnu the Titan, previously known as Xemnu the (Living) Hulk.
    • Xemnu's brainwashing makes the world believe he was a character from a beloved children's tv show. He did much the same thing in his first modern appearance, in Marvel Feature #3, which also saw him battling the Hulk who was with the Defenders at the time. He also once again claims to hail from a "magic planet".
    • As part of Xemnu's brainwashing he makes Bruce start going by his first name, Robert, which was accidentally retconned in from script errors in his earliest days.
  • 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?
  • Natural End of Time: Issues 23 shows the end of the current Marvel universe, where the Sentience of the Universe is present to create the new Galactus for the Ninth Cosmos. Banner possessed by The One Below All shows up to hijack the process to make sure there won't be a Tenth Cosmos.
  • Necessarily Evil: Issue 26 more or less has Bruce Banner's plan be this. He sees that the human world is being driven toward self destruction despite the efforts of brilliant minds such as Stark, Brashear and Richards. He also notes Wakanda and Krakoa will basically let humanity kill each other. As such, he as the Hulk is basically going to tear down and destroy the old establishment, so that the newer generation can fix the problems. Understandably, Cho has doubts.
  • 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.
    • When his head scientist is appalled at what the new Abomination is doing, General Fortean dismisses any responsibility for it, putting all the onus on the scientist. Just a reminder that it was Fortean's idea the whole way.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Lampshaded; in issue 31, Creel absorbs the jump ship but concentrates on absorbing it's form, managing to adapt its rocket jets into his legs for flight. He points out the fact that he was empowered by a chaos god and not only is he sure there aren't really any rules to it, he's unsure there are even guidelines.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Fortean's reaction to seeing Red Harpy? Awe.
    Fortean: What she's become. The weapon she's become. Incredible.
  • Nighttime Transformation: Part and parcel of returning to the Hulk's roots.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the "post-credits" in issue #20, Fortean is let known that something has stolen Thunderbolt Ross's body from the grave.
  • One Degree of Separation: Issue 21 reveals Fortean was part of the unit fighting the Hulk the night he destroyed Jackie's house, and she was used as an example by Ross of why he fought the Hulk.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: Dr. McGowan doesn't get much leeway with Fortean looming over her, but she does mention she has tried to help Del Frye, even though his mind is apparently too far gone for it to be of any use. Rick Jones at least tells her he appreciates the effort.
  • Plot Detour: Absolute Carnage: Immortal Hulk concerns how Bruce is involved in Carnage's rampage and how Ross was involved while his title was gearing up to fight Fortean. The Hulk even points out how he feels their involvement in the event is contrary to what he wants to do.
  • Punch-Clock Villain:
    • Dr. McGowan is not by any means a bad person, and is repeatedly shown to be appalled by what Fortean makes her do... but she doesn't have a choice in the matter (and Fortean just ignores her attempts at being sensible).
    • In issue #23, Jackie notices that Dr. McGowan's scientists have, in amongst the scientific equipment and reports, scattered "World's Best Dad" mugs and golf reports. Thanks to Fortean's managerial policies ("do as I say or else"), they're forced to follow his unpleasant orders, and McGowan pleads for their lives.
    • The flashback that opens issue #31 shows McGowan during her time in an MGH lab, working for Wilson Fisk. She tries using her time there to do more positive things on the side, which her higher-ups approved. Then Daredevil burst in on the scene...
  • The Quisling: Dario Agger once again cuts a deal like this. His agreement with Xemnu is for help brainwashing the populace to advance his plans, in exchange for leaving the husk of the planet that's left when he's done with it as well as any survivors for Xemnu to convert into beings like him.
  • 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.
  • Re-Cut: The six-issue Immortal Hulk Director's Cut miniseries, reprinting the first six issues along with the artists' pencils, sketches, and character designs.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Issue #20 acknowledges what happens when severely radioactive critters are around giving off massive amounts of radiation - huge radioactive fallout, which isn't good for anyone still standing around (at least, anyone who isn't immune.)
    • During their first battle, the One Below All takes on the form of a living cloud of Gamma Bomb fallout to both overpower and intimidate the Hulk. While hideously strong, he's still a cloud and is vulnerable to what usually happens to clouds when the Hulk claps his hands together.
    • Due to the numerous superheroes around, Bruce questions why he needs to put everything down and fight Roxxon’s giant monsters in Issue #29. When there are literally hundreds of superheroes and teams with teleportation technology, individual superheroes aren’t going to be motivated to handle a crisis that isn’t happening in their vicinity. Of course, since Roxxon is targeting him specifically, they deliberately timed the attack so that every other hero is busy, forcing him to fight.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Bruce points this out rather bitterly in issue 26. Reed Richards, Tony Stark and Adam Brashear are all technological geniuses, but none of their efforts at green tech ever seem to catch on. The same applies to advanced nations like Wakanda and Krakoa; no one in power wants to hear about any solutions they might have to offer.
  • 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, and per Brian Banner, so do Rick, General Ross and Jen Walters.
  • Retcon:
    • Issue 6 has Bruce say he actually did get killed in the explosion that unleashed the Hulk, but came back thanks to his Resurrective Immortality, as seen in No Surrender.
    • When Brian Banner talks about his past in issue 12, he says he feared having children would break some kind of spell, rather than his previous fear of passing on a "monster gene", and reveals he had an encounter with the Green Door.
    • Issue 15 has the Hulk state the version seen during Secret Empire was in fact a new, different personality from the others.
    • Peter David's The Incredible Hulk #81 (2005) retconned the Devil Hulk into being nothing but an illusion conjured by Nightmare. The Immortal Hulk #15 ignores this by revealing that the Immortal Hulk is the true form of the Devil Hulk. Additionally, the Immortal/Devil Hulk is actually the Hulk seen in the Hulk's first few adventures.
    • Devil Hulk is shown to be not a single-minded creature of destruction. He has strong fatherly love towards Bruce and is fiercely protective of him. Devil Hulk's previous negative portrayals in the mindscape are explained as the result of Bruce's traumatic childhood, which makes him (and other personas) immediately view a father figure like a devil.
  • 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.)
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant:
    • General Fortean was originally an antagonist of the Red Hulk over in Hulk before setting himself against Bruce here.
    • Fortean's main agent is Bushwhacker, who is best known for fighting Daredevil and the Punisher.
    • Fortean actually discusses it in one of the issues, talking about himself and about Thunderbolt Ross being reassigned to handle Captain America. Fortean believes Ross was always too close and too personally invested in the problem of the Hulk, and he himself was too close to Ross to capture Red Hulk, and they will both be more effective now that it's Nothing Personal. Considering both he and Ross got themselves killed, he couldn't be more wrong.
    • Dario Agger/Minotaur, the CEO of Roxxon, was a major Thor antagonist during Jason Aaron's run, and now he's up against the Hulk.
  • Running Gag: Dario Agger has decided to remain in his Minotaur form permanently, and keeps offhandedly crushing things (cups, tablets, lackeys, etc.) as soon as he is done with them.
  • Secret Keeper: Immortal Hulk: Great Power shows that Devil Hulk has never forgotten that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, even though every other personality was affected by the mind-wipe that came about in the aftermath of One More Day.
  • Shapeshifting Squick: Hulk's transformations were never exactly pretty but now the full disgusting process is on display as the comic returns to its horror roots.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Seeing the dismembered Hulk's heart, Fortean's head scientist decides to quote "The Telltale Heart".
    • 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.
    • Bruce has picked up a Wham! t-shirt from somewhere when issue 16 opens.
    • After Hulk sees Doc Samson struggling against a Hulked-out bat...
      Hulk: Yeah, yeah. I've seen the movies. The bat guy always wins.
    • 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.
    • Bruce wonders why so many of the Hulks talk like Ralph Meeker in Kiss Me Deadly.
    • When the One Below All reveals itself to Par%l, its speech is similar to that Nemesis the Warlock gave to Brother Gogol to seal the Terminator's fate.
    • In Shadow Base, Puck violently disassembles a cyborg that's identical to Cain, in the exact same manner as the film.
    • Dario's office features a collection that seems to include Bottled City of Kandor, Excalibur, the Ark of the Covenant, a photo of Aleister Crowley, and the Lament Configuration.
    • The Kaiju are named for two effects artists in monster movies ("Harryhausen" and "O'Brien") and two horror writers ("Lovecraft" and "Bradbury").
    • The Kaiju monsters are infested with man-sized parasites. Those infesting Lovecraft resemble Elder Things.
    • One of the people in the television montage of civilians under Xemnu's brainwashing resembles Bart Simpson. Behind him is a lookalike for Nelson Muntz, Milhouse van Houten with Lisa Simpson in the background. Their schools name is blocked by speech bubbles but appears to be Springfield. The reference is driven home when he uses the word "Embiggen".
    • Dario winds up strongly resembling Brundle Pod courtesy of The Fly (1986).
  • Sizeshifter: The Breaker of Worlds, being a cosmically empowered entity, can go from big enough to smash planets to big enough to crush stars like they were grapefruit.
  • Slasher Smile: Hulk gets a lot of these, and the creepy factor is complimented by Hulk's face having a much more garish appearance than it usually does.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Exactly how villainous the Green Scar is can be debated, but when he assumes control of Hulk's body to fight Xemnu, bony spikes resembling the Green Scar's iconic armor erupt from the side of Hulk's arm.
  • 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.
    • Played with in the case of Devil Hulk and the others. He took over after Banner's deaths between Civil War II and Secret Empire, and is generally averse to handing back the metaphorical wheel. He's perturbed in issue #31 when the Savage Hulk manages to hold off switching for some time.
    • In issue #33, the Green Scar locks up Devil Hulk, and Joe Fixit, leaving only the Savage Hulk and himself.
  • Split-Personality Team: The main four active aspects of Banner function like this. Bruce is the main aspect active during the day, with Joe Fixit stepping in when he cannot handle the situation. Devil Hulk is active at night, but able to handle the wheel to Savage Hulk if he needs more brutal strength.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    Bartender: So, yeah. I mean, I don't know how he knew. But that's confirmed. It was him. (Beat) And he sucks!
    • In issue #32, Doctor Mc Gowan approaches Samson with security footage of her specifically mentioning Daredevil as the hero who caused her to go to prison, though she herself remembers Xemnu and has no memory of even saying anything about old Horn-Head. Increasingly suspicious, Doctor Mcgowan discusses the Mandela effectnote , pointing out that while everyone can remember the beloved children's show "The Magic Planet" where Xemnu starred, they struggle to remember exactly if they actually watched it.
  • Stepford Smiler: Jackie McGee notes that even as a gamma zombie, Rick Jones is trying to maintain a cheerful, upbeat demeanour, but she can see he's pissed.
  • Status Quo Is God: Banner discusses this with Amadeus Cho, pointing out that no matter what anyone does, what anyone builds, it never gains traction and the rich continues to get richer and only gets a slap on the wrist for their actions.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: In issue 17 both Joe and Fortean point out the flaw in having a room locked behind a steel door with an aquarium for the wall adjoining the hallway.
  • The Moral Substitute: Issue #28 has Roxxon plan to try and do this to the Hulk. They note that the traditional tactics of commercializing the Hulk will fail and thus they decide to try and "make their own". Cue Roxxon going to an island of monsters and meeting up with Xemnu.
  • The Stinger:
    • The post-letters page "Everyone is a Target" tie-in to Absolute Carnage in issue #20 is a one-page follow up of one of Fortean's monitors telling him something: Something just happened at General Ross's now very empty grave...
    • Issue 24 closes on its title page... and then goes on for a few more pages, showing the Hulk in the very far future.
    • Issue 25 closes out with a quote, before going on to reveal how the far future events are affecting the present.
    • Issue 33 reveals that Rick Jones hasn't really come back to life and another consciousness is controlling his body. The closing page shows that this person is none other than the Leader, who is in Hell and holds the Green Door in the palm of his hand.
  • Terse Talker: Betty, as Red Harpy, only tends to speak in short sentences of about five to eight words at a time, if that.
  • 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.
    • The same occurs with Doc Samson.
  • 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.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: When the One Below All possesses someone it usually operates subtly until found out, in which case it forces a hideous deformation on the possessed to unnerve witnesses.
  • 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.
  • Visual Pun: Roxxon CEO Dario Agger is a Minotaur who deliberately breaks everything he touches; a bull in a china shop.
  • 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.
    • Issue #33. The Savage Hulk emerges as the dominant Hulk persona, with Devil indefinitely held captive at the mercy of Green Scar. Not only is Agger defeated, but it's revealed that Rick Jones is actually the Leader, who in turn is in Hell, emerging from the skin of Brian Banner, and holding the Green Door in his hand.
  • 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.
    • "What the Hell's a Hulk?" As said by the Hulk.
  • 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".
    • Issue 20 closes with another busted open grave: that of "Thunderbolt" Ross. Which is covered with some red and black residue.
    • In panel 22 of Issue 21, General Fortean, against the wishes of the scientists present, reaches for the "shell" of Specimen B. After musing about "ruling over chaos" some more (a running theme in the issue), we get a shot of him having been absorbed into the new Abomination. He's sitting on a throne of what appears to be flesh, and looks to be in control of the body he now inhabits.
    • Issue 27 ends with The Devil Hulk basking in the sunlight.
    • Issue 32 closes with Savage Hulk angrily trying to smash his way free from "Robert" Banner's Xemnu influenced mind, with the familiar green figure of the Worldbreaker himself, the Green Scar, appearing to lend a hand.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Fortean executes Doc Samson and a depowered Walter Langkowski before reporting that "there were no human casualties", seemingly referring to gamma mutates.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Amadeus Cho theorizes that disappearance of the Professor and Green Scar, Banner's two most heroic aspects, may be their way to voice disapproval over what Bruce and Devil Hulk are doing.
  • What You Are in the Dark: A major theme of this series is of people indulging their vices whenever they get the opportunity/capacity to do so.
    • The first issue opens with a guy desperate for money, killing a little girl. He swears it wasn't by accident, but even he can't be sure.
    • When Hulk faces the She-Hulk, he gives her a Breaking Speech that they are both Not So Different, which shocks her for some time.
    • When Betty Ross turns into a monstrous fusion of her Harpy and Red She-Hulk forms, she goes on a killing spree. Jackie McGee pleads with her to restrain herself, but she simply says, "This is me." However, she spares the sole living innocent she encounters, the hotel's busboy.
    • Issue #28 shows the point of view of a conservative Roxxon security guard who longs for the good old days, and privately admits to himself that he's just waiting to be given an excuse to use violence to protect himself and his way of life from the young people in Hulk masks who are protesting against his employers. Even when he identifies one of the protestors as his teenaged daughter, he raises his gun and thinks that if he shoots, it won't be his fault as long as he felt threatened because "the devil got into her".
  • Whole Plot Reference: Issue 8 is meant to evoke Issue 21 of Alan Moore’s run of Swamp Thing, The Anatomy Lesson, where the “corpse” of the hero is cut up and studied by the villains to reveal truths about their biology. And, much like Swamp Thing, after learning the truth Hulk kills his tormentor via smothering. Though unlike Swamp Thing, Hulk didn’t do this in a fit of existential madness.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: In issue 17, Banner is able to get the login for a computer by using this method on a note-it lying next to the terminal.

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