Following previous entries like “Flatline,” The Immortal Hulk: Time of Monsters #1 is a standalone one-shot that ties into the mythos of Al Ewing’s flagship Hulk title but can be read without any additional context. It’s a good approach for the sprawling world of cape comics; people interested in a particular character who aren’t necessarily looking to catch up on a full run can check into a story like this and get a resolute ending that doesn’t require followup.
Whereas “Flatline” was perfectly decent but felt somewhat superfluous, Time of Monsters succeeds in standing on its own enough that I can see it actually convincing readers to migrate to its mothership.
In Time of Monsters, we follow Tammuz, a young man from primitive times who (unknowingly) becomes the first Hulk, leaving the Green Door open for Bruce Banner to eventually pass through. It’s an origin story on top of another origin story. While there’s something to be said about not over-explaining how superheroes came to be, I do like these instances where a character’s mythos is expanded upon in ways previously unknown. I don’t need to tell you that Tammuz’s origin as Hulk is ultimately a tragic one, which Bruce eventually comes to mirror and echo in his own right. But that doesn’t mean this story isn’t worth checking out.
Written by Alex Paknadel with story credit from Ewing, the script here is terse and leans heavy on fantasy, making for an interesting combination of tone. But what really shines about Time of Monsters to me is Juan Ferreyra’s art. A rapidly rising name in comics, Ferreyra’s painterly aesthetic almost calls to mind cave paintings, befitting the setting of the story. But while it very much resembles his signature style, there’s a messier quality to the linework than usual for him that enhances Paknadel’s script as it grows more frantic and desperate. It’s subtle, but clever and incredibly effective.
Time of Monsters is bolstered with a bonus Bruce-centric story by David Vaughan and Kevin Nowlan, which is perfectly good but ultimately feels like padding to justify a higher cover price. I appreciate efforts to spotlight other creators and give them free reign to do whatever they want with characters through shorter backups, but I don’t know if this issue in particular needs it.
The Immortal Hulk: Time of Monsters #1
- Writer: Al Ewing (story, “Time of Monsters”) & Alex Paknadel (story & script, “Time of Monsters”), David Vaughan (“A Little Fire”)
- Artist: Juan Ferreyra (“Time of Monsters”), Kevin Nowlan (“A Little Fire”)
- Color Artist: Juan Ferreyra (“Time of Monsters”), Kevin Nowlan (“A Little Fire”)
- Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit (“Time of Monsters”), Kevin Nowlan (“A Little Fire”)
- Cover Artist: Juan Ferreyra
- Editors: Wil Moss & Sarah Brunstad
- Publisher: Marvel Entertainment