The Immortal Hulk #45 just transformed a key player into a new kind of Hulk, and it’s one of the most powerful and terrifying gamma creatures yet.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Immortal Hulk #45 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy José, Belardino Brabo, Paul Mounts and VC’s Cory Petit on sale now.
In Immortal Hulk, the dark god, the One-Below-All, has broken Bruce Banner like never before by taking over the Leader. The genius Hulk villain has manipulated his life, possessed Rick Jones and played a master chess game that finally ends with Bruce and the Devil Hulk being taken to the hell that the One Below All rules.
As they’re literally being ripped apart so the Leader can consume their essence and truly become a demonic avatar, though, Bruce gets help from the unlikeliest figure. Joe Fixit. And just when all hope seems lost in Immortal Hulk #45, Fixit transforms into a new, terrifying Red Hulk that wants blood, and he doesn’t stop there.
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Bruce is hearing voices as the Leader, in his most monstrous form yet, toys with him. It seems like he’s hearing about a contingency plan, all while Joe Fixit and an emaciated Savage Hulk try to escape through the Green Door and get back to the real world. They were sent plunging down there thanks to a beatdown by the U-Foes but ironically, this attack turns out to be their saving grace.
The cosmic rays used to burn them out and drop them into this hellish dimension almost seem to power up Joe who can sense a massive change coming. As a result, Joe turns into a mammoth version of the Red Hulk, rips the monster apart that’s torturing them, and punches his way out through the other side of the Green Door, the Red Door, with the Savage Hulk in tow.
This ties back into the original Red Hulk, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, who was created using cosmic rays and gamma by Sterns and M.O.D.O.K. Interestingly, while gamma rays have been tied to the Below Place, cosmic rays have been linked to the One Above All, which makes this new version of the Hulk the perfect counter to the Leader and his boss, and it could even be part of a plan by the Devil Hulk to grown even more powerful.
The emaciated Savage Hulk is in awe of this plan to turn Hulk’s big weakness into a strength, but the real kicker comes with what the Red Hulk does next as he quickly changes form. As he breaks out, he absorbs Savage and emerges the real world again, ready to fight the U-Foes, as the newly formed “Cosmic Hulk.”
With Fixit’s attitude, the Savage Hulk’s strength and cosmic red energy flowing through his veins, the Cosmic Hulk makes everything that came before look like preamble. The U-Foes can only look on in stunned horror as Joe gets ready for another round, thirsty for revenge. In what may very well be his final form for the series, the Cosmic Hulk seems ready to unleash the ultimate beatdown on the Hulk’s latest killers. And in all likelihood, the Cosmic Hulk won’t stop smashing until he shows everyone why he’s the strongest one there is.
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