October 14's Immortal Hulk #38 (opens in new tab) revisits the childhood of Bruce Banner and delves into even more of the trauma he experienced at the hands of his father, Brian. This time, it's over a then-three-year-old Bruce reading Paradise Lost.
Check out this preview:
"He's been chained. He's been suppressed. He doesn't even know if he's real," reads Marvel's solicitation for this issue. "But something is reaching through the Green Door. It wants to hurt Bruce Banner. And when you hurt Banner… the Devil Hulk takes it personally."
The Devil Hulk is one of many alternate personalities of Bruce Banner, one based on his self-hatred and reaction to the way he's treated by others as both Banner and the Hulk. Devil Hulk became the dominant personality of the Hulk at the onset of Immortal Hulk (even gaining the secondary name of 'Immortal Hulk'), but was later pushed out of the pilot's seat, as it were, but is still inside Bruce's head.
That's the Devil Hulk imprisoned on the final page of the above Immortal Hulk #38 preview.
This all comes after the pivotal Immortal Hulk #37 (opens in new tab), in which the Leader stepped out of the shadows, revealing he's been behind-the-scenes, manipulating Hulk's experiences and adventures for the previous few years.(opens in new tab)
"This issue operates at a couple of speeds. There's the slow, deliberate building that Ewing and Bennett have been practicing for a couple of years now. Their character work, not just on the Hulk but on Rick Jones, Doc Sampson, Alpha Flight's Puck, Titania, and the Absorbing Man, has been building layer upon layer and each issue reveals a new layer," reads a review of Immortal Hulk #37 by Newsarama's Scott Cederlund.
"For most of this issue, Hulk is a punching bag, getting knocked down over and over again by a gamma-powered Absorbing Man. This is a beat-down issue for the Hulk and that's where it really builds up speed as the true threats of the Immortal Hulk are revealed. The Leader, the big-brained but usually scrawny bodied counterweight to the Hulk, steps to the front of the plot, revealing his mastery over everything."
Bennett has said that he and Ewing's Immortal Hulk run will end with its fiftieth issue - so consider this a countdown to that finale.
Immortal Hulk #38 goes on sale on October 14.
Immortal Hulk is one - but just one - of the best Hulk stories of all time.