Updated: Oct 12
As with all reviews on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete overview of the book; rather, it is to examine how the book relates to the meaning of life.
Immortal Hulk is a Marvel comic series that started in 2018, written by Al Ewing and illustrated by Joe Bennett. As the name suggests, the story revolves around the Hulk and his immortality. Sure, the Hulk has died many times, but he keeps coming back to life. Chop him up, put the remains in glass jars ... you'll get a smile and the finger, the middle finger. Blow him up, and he'll respawn. Absorb his gamma power until there is nothing left but a shriveled up shell of a Hulk … and he'll fight his way out of Hell. The Hulk just won't stay dead, and as such, that raises deep philosophical questions about life; and as Jamie Lovett on ComicBook.com would suggest, even questions about the meaning of life.
So, can Marvel step up to the plate and tackling the question, "What is the meaning of life?" Well, yes, but not in this series. At least not in Volume 1-5, which covers issues 1-25 of the series. But it does toy with the idea and the possibility that this is the only life we have. As contemplated by Dr. Frye in Vol. 1 after thinking about his wife's death:
What is interesting here is that we have Dr. Frye pondering his mortality, the mortality of those around him, and consequently experimenting with immortality; while Bruce Banner considers the opposite, experiments with mortality.
And then, well, then we have Doc Samson who also keeps dying, rather comically I might add. Yet, he continues to come back from the dead. Eventually, Doc Samson, too, wonders what it is all about.
Ewing, teases philosophically, throws in a couple of good quotes in between chapters, but ultimately, provides no answers other than a quote from Albert Camus.
With that said, despite not providing any meaningful answers to the question "What is the meaning of life?", Immortal Hulk is still a very solid series. It is dark, and it is vibrant, and it questions "what if" immortality were a thing, and what would that do to someone. How would it change the meaning of life? Would it make our lives more meaningful or less? And that, in and of itself, is the brilliance of the series. You'll also find some of the other minor characters throughout the series finding their purpose in life, e.g., General Fortean—whose life purpose is to kill the Hulk no matter the cost.
The series thus far includes the following volumes:
Volume 6 is scheduled to be released in March 2020, but you can buy the individual issues in the interim.
Have you read the series? If so, what did you think? What did we miss? Marvel does answer the meaning of life in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.