When Al Ewing and Joe Bennett kicked off Immortal Hulk, their title character and his alter ego Bruce Banner were on the road and isolated from the rest of the Marvel Universe. The Hulk's strength and penchant for destruction though means he can only stay hidden for so long. The series' first arc saw both an intrepid reporter and his old college roommate Walter Langkowski (AKA Sasquatch of Alpha Flight) hot on his heels, and in Immortal Hulk #6 Ewing and artist Lee Garbett kicked off a new arc that found the circle of Hulk hunters expanding to include old foes like a shadowy arm of the U.S. Military and the Gamma Powered Goliath's former comrades in the Avengers.
These hunters are standing in the way of Hulk finding answers about the mysterious “Green Door” that causes him to resurrect after Banner dies and lead to a confrontation with the spirit of his psychopathic father. CBR spoke with Ewing about that mystery, the Hulk's coming confrontation with the Avengers, why he's pitting the Jade Juggernaut against a Red Hulk foe, and the role classic Hulk supporting characters like Betty Banner and Doc Samson will play in the series moving forward.
CBR: Al, when you kicked off Immortal Hulk Banner and the Hulk were isolated and on the move. You slowly started to bring back ties to his old life in the form of people like Brian Banner and Sasquatch, but in issue #6 it feels like Banner's ties to the Marvel Universe came back in a huge way. We got Betty Banner, a mention of Skaar, a glimpse of Doc Samson, General Fortean, and the Avengers. So is this current arc all about expanding the mystery of the “Green Door” and reestablishing the Hulk's presence in the larger Marvel U?
Al Ewing: The idea was always to keep Bruce isolated for the first arc and then to start allowing those connections to the larger world to seep in. The fact is that in a shared universe, you can't really keep one of the major parts of the shared universe totally isolated from the rest of it - we've seen people attempt that with other books, and it never really works - and you definitely can't keep a character isolated from their own past. Betty will always be a major part of Bruce's life, even if she's on the edge of it. So will Rick Jones, even if he's dead. Doc Samson will always feel an obligation towards Bruce. I consider these three to be his main support system, and right now that system is in terrible shape - Bruce is actively pushing the surviving members away. We saw how he treated Jen, for example. So we are re-establishing Bruce in the MU, but at our own pace, and in our own way.