“In Every Mirror”
Written By: Al Ewing
Pencils By: Joe Bennett
Inks By: Ruy Jose
Bruce Banner was dead. Then he got better. Then he died again. He came back. Well, resurrected by the Hand is more like it. Then he died again. Came back. It became apparent that the he wasn’t just being resurrected. He was IMMORTAL. Or, more accurately, the Hulk is immortal. Now, Bruce wanders the country, trying to make use of the Hulk as a means of redemption for himself.
Walter Langkowski, Sasquatch of Alpha Flight fame, goes looking for Bruce but ends up in the hospital after getting stabbed. Bruce is there waiting…
The Spoilerific Summary:
The issue opens with a flashback to Captain Marvel confronting Langkowski on Alpha Flight Space Station. She (and the rest of Alpha Flight) are concerned that Walter is spending too much time as Sasquatch, and that he is being more aggressive in combat than he once was. Walter concedes and turns back to his human form, only to realize that he’s losing control of Sasquatch.
Jumping back to now, and the hospital in Minnesota. Bruce confronts what he thinks is Walter, but Sasquatch tell him that he is not Langkowski, and he wants to talk to the “real” Bruce Banner. Sasquatch mortally wounds Bruce, but as we now know, the Hulk is immortal, and he turns.
Hulk and Sasquatch fight, and Hulk realizes that Walter is, in fact, possessed. Thinking that perhaps it is Tanaraq again, Hulk gets a mighty shock when he sees Sasquatch’s reflection in glass and he stands revealed as none other than Brian Banner, Bruce’s abusive—and deceased—father.
This revelation allows Sasquatch to get the upper hand, and he taunts Hulk as he beats him down. We see Hulk’s new sinister façade crack a little and a tiny bit of the old “Hulk Smash!” Green Genes pokes his head through. When Hulk regains his senses he realizes that Gamma radiation is what made Sasquatch, and Hulk, of course, absorbs radiation, so he does just that, “eating” all the radiation in Langkowski’s body, returning him to human.
Hulk then leaves the hospital, but not before he catches his own reflection in a car window, revealing that he didn’t just absorb the radiation from Sasquatch…but also Brian Banner!
The story. I’ve been a Hulk fan since the late 1970’s. If you read my bio on this blog, you’ll see that Hulk was my first comic. I grew up on the old Herb Trimpe, Sal Buscema, Bill Mantlo Hulk. I matured with the Peter David Hulk. I grew to an adult with Bruce Jones’ Hulk. Hulk has been in my life for almost my whole life, and while I have liked some iterations and detested others, this version is, and I say this with no intended hyperbole, the very best the Hulk has been in decades. Hulk as a monster just WORKS. Hulk as a sinister force for good? Works. Story-wise, this is my absolute top pick title right now for superhero comics.
The cover. Alex Ross’ main cover is stunning, the green and orange of Hulk vs Sasquatch highlighting what’s to come in this issue.
What doesn’t work:
Joe Bennett. I’m not a fan, sorry to say. I’ve liked his work when he’s working with human subjects. Like his Spider-Man issues. But his monsters are just too…exaggerated. I’m not the kind of reader who stops reading a comic based solely on the art, but if I was, this would be a book that I would drop.