Review by Frank Plowright
As complex as it was, during its final chapter Breaker of Worlds laid out what Al Ewing possibly intends the Hulk to become. We Believe in Bruce Banner appears to be the starting steps on that journey. Of course, the idea of a linear future mapped out with stops along the way has long been discarded by theoretical science and storytellers, who’ll now tell us a newly created universe plays out somewhere in infinity with every decision we make. So will this be the Hulk’s future?
The decision Bruce Banner makes is to go public with everything that’s happened to him of late, not least the massive government funding flowing into an organisation that attempted to vivisect him (see The Green Door). He’s appalled that such matters remain a priority while the declining condition of the planet is a secondary consideration. It’s an infusion of real world problems, with the wish-fulfilment wildcard of the Hulk. In the opening chapter he vows to be a new form of justice, one who can hold those considered too powerful to account, and then hold them to account again. Ewing paints a depressing picture of corporate accountability as represented by the Roxxon Corporation, whose leader prioritises profit over the greater good, not caring if the planet goes to hell, just how much money the company can make in the meantime. This ethical redundancy is over-egged, and there’s also a satirical aspect to the defenders of Roxxon over the first story, but it would be uncharacteristic if Ewing didn’t deliver more depth as he continues.
Joe Bennett continues as before, defining almost everything with style and clarity, although here he’s almost back to the way of the series opening chapter, as while Bruce Banner is seen enough, the Hulk is concealed and rarely on view, directly at least. A monstrous presence is maintained throughout by the Minotaur in charge of Roxxon, but Bennett takes while to settle into a consistent way of drawing him. Never mind, though, because when it comes down to the giant monsters of the final chapters Bennett more than compensates. The middle chapter has both Matías Bergara and Tom Reilly illustrating separate sections, Bergara wild and loose, and Reilly conventional but good.
As ever, we should be used to Ewing plotting for the future. There’s a frankly bizarre cameo for Namor, seemingly aligned with the Hulk, and journalist Jackie McGee continues to be seen and kept simmering seemingly without purpose, yet there is one. A nice cliffhanger ending featuring the return of another old Hulk enemy leads us into Hulk is Hulk.
It’s been another compelling ride, the action we want from the Hulk combined with intelligence and a point to make. This content is also available in hardback as Immortal Hulk Vol. 3 or the second Immortal Hulk Omnibus.