The Jade Giant is on a rampage in Marvel’s Immortal Hulk series, and issue #46 just bought back one of his darkest attacks – only to make it worse.
Warning! Spoilers for Immortal Hulk #46
Many people think of the Hulk as a mindless mass of muscle, but the Jade Giant actually has quite a few tricks up his sleeve. However, Hulk’s most creative attack is also his most brutal – and it just got even worse.
In his most basic form, Hulk isn’t exactly known for his intellect, preferring to just smash his enemies rather than outsmart them. However, Hulk has undergone some serious changes over the years, developing multiple personalities of various levels of intelligence. While the classic Hulk is almost childlike, Marvel’s ongoing Immortal Hulk series by Al Ewing currently has Hulk’s darkest persona in control. As such, this Hulk knows how to use his physiology in more creative ways, which he demonstrates by inhaling the metahuman called Vapor in Immortal Hulk #46. Vapor has the power to alter her form to become a toxic gas, but Hulk’s incredible durability allows him to withstand the toxicity long enough to inhale Vapor entirely, then expel her into the face of one of her allies, Vector, effectively blinding him. As clever as this move is, it’s actually a callback to something Hulk has done before.
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Contest of Champions II is a limited series from Marvel published back in 1999. Written by Chris Claremont, the series consisted of one-on-one matchups between iconic Marvel characters. In issue #2, one of the fights is between Hulk and Mr. Fantastic – a classic brains vs brawn scenario. Hulk first tries to smash Mr. Fantastic, but his malleable form makes him all but impervious to Hulk’s physical attacks. Reed then tries to snag a victory by wrapping around Hulk’s face, effectively cutting off his oxygen supply, but the plan seriously backfires. Hulk counters the plan by literally inhaling Mr. Fantastic, compressing him inside his throat and suffocating him instead. This proves that even in his less-intelligent form, Hulk is still clever enough to outwit one of Marvel’s smartest characters.
It’s unclear if inhaling Vapor in Immortal Hulk was meant to be a direct callback to Contest of Champions II, but either way, it’s cool to see the consistency in Hulk’s combat tactics across his multiple personas. While he’s often reduced to just “the strong one” during team-ups with the Avengers, Hulk has a surprising amount of variety in his abilities. The thunderclap, Hulk’s most iconic move, gives him a viable ranged attack option, and being able to inhale and withstand toxic gas makes him almost impossible to take out from a safe distance. Add in a healing factor that gives even Wolverine a run for his money and Hulk truly seems like an unstoppable opponent.
All that being said, the Jade Giant has been beaten before. Believe it or not, Spider-Man defeated Hulk with a knock-knock joke, proving that there are creative ways to stop him. Still, it’s safe to say it will take more than a quip to bring down Hulk in his current state.
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