WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Immortal Hulk #24 from Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Belardino Brabo, Marc Deering, Roberto Poggi, Paul Mounts and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
The Immortal Hulk is once more redefining everything we thought we knew about Bruce Banner's fractured psyche. With the revelation that the gamma energy that turned Banner into the Jade Giant in New Mexico is actually linked to the mystical One Below All and the Sentience of the Cosmos, we're inching towards the idea that the Devil Hulk will become the ultimate destroyer of the Marvel Universe.
Even though the Devil Hulk is proving to be the perfect blend of brains and brawn, and the Savage Hulk we've known for years is still caged up, depressed and waiting to be unleashed, neither of them is the most dangerous version of the Green Goliath in Banner's mental prison. Following the events of Immortal Hulk #24, it's clear that Joe Fixit is Marvel's most dangerous Hulk.
As a Hulk, Joe's most distinctive feature is his gray skin. While the Hulk was originally that color in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Incredible Hulk #1, that color was difficult for that era's printing technology to consistently create, and he quickly became his familiar green hue.
However, the Hulk turned gray again decades later in Al Milgrom's Incredible Hulk #324 During writer Peter David's lengthy subsequent run on the title, he reenvisioned the Gray Hulk as Joe Fixit, a calculating and manipulative individual fully in control of his senses who worked as a mob enforcer. He wasn't as powerful as the Savage Hulk, but he got stronger as he grew angrier. Admittedly, many considered him the smallest, weakest Hulk, but it also seems like he was the smartest thanks to his unparalleled cunning.
While the Banner-esque Professor Hulk is a more intelligent scientist, Mister Fixit excels at street smarts and scheming. Joe isn't a manifestation of Banner's fears and anger; he's really Banner's repressed desires, which is why he's often seen gallivanting with women, gambling and loving the high life. He knows that smashing isn't the solution all the time, and Joe's all about playing the long con to success. It's been obvious that he's been planning something since he he popped up earlier in this book, which became all the more obvious with Joe not longer rocking his Grey Hulk form, but appearing as a slim Banner with shades of grey in his eyes.
It's clear he doesn't like or want to use the Grey Hulk form anymore. and it could be because he's tasked with keeping Banner alive in the day and being incognito so Devil Hulk can come out at night. But while we're assuming there's a trust there, Joe's the kind of sniveling, conniving figure who could be plotting against everyone else, waiting for his chance to get them out of the way to take over. This comes to light when General Fortean (the new Abomination) is transported to the Green Door where all gamma-beings go, only for Joe to sneak up behind him and break his neck.
Readers didn't know he was lurking in the background and likely assumed that Bruce or the Devil Hulk was the main driver of this realm when Joe jumped forward to make his big play. As he says, "Party's over," the sinister look says it all and makes us think that everyone has been underestimating him.
With the epilogue illustrating the Devil Hulk absorbing the Sentience as well, preparing himself to become a Devourer and then a creator for the next Marvel cosmos, it leaves us wondering if somewhere Joe's secretly steering the wheel, continuing to deceive us before making his big reveal. It'd be a clever move for the schemer, which could prove that he's truly the deadliest Hulk in the Marvel Universe.