WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Absolute Carnage: The Immortal Hulk #1, by Al Ewing, Filipe Andrade, Chris O'Halloran and Travis Lanham, on sale now.
Debuting last year, The Immortal Hulk has been a riveting new chapter in Bruce Banner's nearly six-decade story, bringing other personas to life like we've never seen before. Joe Fixit has been in charge, preserving Banner during the day, while at night the Devil Hulk takes control and places Banner on a path to break the world.
However, one persona that's been buried deep down is none other than the Hulk with which readers are most familiar: the Savage Hulk. In the series' Absolute Carnage tie-in, that Jade Giant rears his head once more in a cameo, but rather than appear in the name of smashing, he pops up to complain about a very crucial piece of the dynamic he has with his host.
Banner is between a rock and a hard place following the events of Absolute Carnage #3, in which he was taken over by the Venom symbiote because it required a stronger host to battle Carnage's army at the Maker's lab. It possessed Banner, exclaiming, "We are Hulk!" But here, we see that act was effectively a democratic process.
Banner holds council within his mind with Devil Hulk, Joe Fixit and, last but not least, the Savage Hulk, in his iconic purple pants. It takes place within a black box, representing the symbiote bargaining to use the behemoth as an instrument of war. Savage Hulk knows his body is about to be sold off once more, so to speak, so he interjects to let Banner know he isn't happy about being used again, by him or anyone else.
Savage Hulk makes it clear he is still hurting, as he is repressed, and is more or less a prisoner. In fact, all he does is hurt, and it's been that way since he was created. He blames Banner, and hints that all of those years of aggression was a manifestation of that pain. What makes it worse is that he holds Banner accountable for alienating him from his friends in the outside world. It's actually similar to Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Hulk, who didn't want to emerge in Avengers: Infinity War because he was tired of being used as a weapon. Savage Hulk thinks Banner turned Betty against him, as seen when her Harpy form gruesomely killed Hulk in The Immortal Hulk.
It's a vulnerable moment with which readers can empathize. There's clearly lingering PTSD in the mindscape, and Savage Hulk simply wants to be treated like an equal. However, he's had to take a backseat as the Devil persona plots a way toward the apocalypse, but all we know is this loss isn't going to bode well for the future. Savage Hulk might not only rebel against Banner but the other personalities who are able to emerge in the day and night. And when he does, it could be a full-blown disaster for everyone, the Avengers included.
He sees Banner as the one responsible for this pain from the moment he was born, and he'll most likely go after his loved ones to show them the human was the true villain, not him. But even if Savage Hulk tries to run to live a free life, there will be no shortage of people pursuing him. With all of that angst, he could inadvertently end up becoming the destroyer the Devil Hulk wanted to be all along.