Sir. PoeTree, it seems Immortal Hulk is gonna be a love letter to the character, and, from Ewing's interview, he basically corroborates everything you've stated before!
Favorite bits from the article:
When night falls across the Marvel Universe its heroes must be extra vigilant because that’s when the monsters come out; both the human and supernatural kind. This summer though a new monster with incredible strength will lay claim to the night.
Al Ewing: Okay – to begin with, the title character is Bruce Banner, and Bruce Banner is the Immortal Hulk, the World’s Mightiest Mortal, the Green Goliath, the Strongest One There Is, et cetera, et cetera.
Al Ewing: Because this is going to be a very good comic, and hopefully unlike any Hulk comic you’ve read before. It’s a comic about a monster who can’t die. It’s about a man who believes he can use the darkest elements of his personality to do good in the world, and where that belief leads him. It’s about mortality, atonement and denial. It’s about all the parts of ourselves we don’t like to look at. It’s a horror comic. And if we’ve done even half the job I think we have, it’ll be one of the most talked-about comics of 2018.
Joe Bennett: Tom Brevoort asked me if I’d be interested in a new Hulk series featuring unique visuals and atmosphere. Al’s scripts really evoke those elements, too, so I decided I should approach the book with a style reminiscent of Bernie Wrightson. The Green Goliath will have a darker and more nocturnal look in this book. I’m trying to evoke the feel of all those great Warren magazines like Eerie, and Creepy
Ewing: There’s one line that resonates strongly with me when it comes to Banner and Hulk. It’s the line from the cover of the very first issue – “Is he man or monster or… is he both?” And that’s the line we explore with Bruce Banner. When we join him, he’s walking the Earth, his return from the dead whispered about but not yet public knowledge. He’s attempting to use the power inside him – the rage inside him – to atone for his sins, to right wrongs, to bring a measure of justice – or vengeance – to the situations he finds himself in. He’s allowing the Hulk to guide him a little. And if that idea sends a little chill down your spine… you’re not alone.
Ewing:In terms of the Banner/Hulk dynamic – I’ve been getting a little Jungian. I’ve been thinking of the Hulk as Banner’s shadow, the personification of all the things he doesn’t like to see in himself. That leads to some interesting interplay between them – the Hulk side lives in mirrors, and during the day he brings hunches, sudden intuitions, magical thinking – but there’s one difference between them I think people will want to know about right away.
Ewing:Banner can die. The Hulk can’t. If you shoot Banner in the head – he’ll fall over dead. He’ll lie there all day, dead as dirt, growing cold, getting stiff… right up until the sun goes down. And then… well, night is the Hulk’s time.
And the Hulk remembers.
Ewing: And finally, there’s an old favorite who’s new to this title – Walter Langkowski, aka the Sasquatch. He’s taking a leave of absence from Alpha Flight to sort out some personal issues, and he needs Bruce Banner to do it. Langkowski and Banner were college friends, and Langkowski ended up duplicating Banner’s experiments and becoming Canada’s own hairy half-a-Hulk – I’ve been fascinated by Langkowski as a kind of healthy version of Banner, an intellectual jock, a big, handsome ex-Quarterback, millionaire, beloved hero of his country and his planet, and gosh-darned nice with it. How did Banner ever get along with this guy? And maybe more importantly – if Langkowski is so healthy and normal, why doesn’t he want to change into Sasquatch any more? And why does Sasquatch suddenly have matted, filthy fur, drool on his muzzle and a vicious gleam in his eye? Alpha Flight fans might remember the Great Beasts – but as I said, we’re not doing old continuity. This is something new…
Ewing: The status quo of the book, to begin with, is fairly classic – Banner walking the Earth, using the power of the Hulk to address situations he comes across – but it’s all in the tonal shift. Tone is very important for this – it was the first thing I talked about in the pitch – and in terms of the general feel of the book, it’s probably closest to some of the horror work I did when I was working solely in the UK comics field, where I got my start in the writing game. That said, I don’t think I could have written this in my twenties – I’m got a command of my craft now that I didn’t have then, and the confidence to take the work in a more interesting direction. What I’m hoping here is that this will be another of the periodic big shifts in what can be done with the character – in the same way that the Peter David era opened up the psychology of Banner and the Hulk a lot more, and that led to an explosion of story possibilities, I’d like to take the Hulk down a new path of my own and see where that leads. I think the readers are going to enjoy joining us on that journey.
Ewing: One thing I will say, for anyone reading that and feeling nervous – I’ve been a fan of the Hulk since I was a little kid. He was my first ever “favorite superhero” – I had a Hulk cake for my birthday, I had a Hulk cardboard decal hanging on my wall, Hulk stickers on my door, a tape of Hulk cartoons on VHS that almost wore out with the number of times I watched them. I have nothing but love for the Hulk, and I’m showing that love by doing my absolute very best work on the character – and, with any luck, by making his solo book the most read, most talked-about, most exciting cape comic of the year. I famously don’t even believe in “A-list” heroes, but if they exist, the Hulk is definitely one of them. And I’m bringing my A-game.
Ewing: For Immortal Hulk, I’m going very structured – laying out panels per page, what’s in the panels, being very mindful of how the beats fall and where. Then, when the art comes back, I tinker with the dialogue until it works perfectly before it goes to the letterer. So in a way, it’s Full Script Plus. Joe’s been absolutely fantastic on his end – he brings a beautiful mix of realism and stylistic touches that really makes everything jump off the page. And then our inker, Ruy Jose, adds a wonderful Wrightson-esque shadowy tone. There’s a particular moment in issue #1 that I think people are going to be talking about for a very long time to come.
Bennett: If you thought I drew some creepy scenes in Phoenix Resurrection, you ain’t seen nothing yet! The pages of the first issue will feature some pure psychological horror. I’ll set up a lot of bad things there. [Laughs]
I started my career doing horror stories for Brazilian publishers. So the lines of time are crossing and I now can do a horror story with a superhero book. For that hero to be the Hulk is a dream come true. I’ve always loved the character and to have the chance to work with this classic hero and give him a brand new look has been amazing.
Ewing: Actually, the Hulk being able to see ghosts was one of the earliest things that popped into my mind with this. Over time, we’ll see why that is – and how it’s connected to his inability to die.
Ewing: In the spirit of “no baggage”, one thing that I’m very adamant about is having no crossovers if at all possible. If you have to buy another comic to enjoy Immortal Hulk, that means I’ve failed in my duty to you. In terms of his connection to the main Marvel Universe – at first, we’re very deliberately avoiding it. Bruce Banner walks the world alone, and that’s how he wants it. The Avengers know he’s alive, and the government are more than likely aware of him and working out what to do about it – but officially, the Hulk died and all those sightings cropping up are so much swamp gas. Which is the way Hulk likes it – but being a gigantic green monster makes it tough to keep a low profile, and over time we’ll start to see more of the Marvel Universe become involved in our green goliath’s comings and goings.
Ewing: It’s likely that’ll lead to a run-in with some old friends and foes further down the line… but when it happens, it’ll be in our own special Immortal Hulk style. (And if you see him guest in any other books before that point? Relax, it’s the lifelike Hulk robot from the Eternals! And that’s canon!)
I find that focusing on continuity usually leaves little room for doubt; and I love that they are presenting this depiction with an obvious nod to the Hulk's history. The notion that Banner can get shot & killed during the day, and then resurrect as the Hulk at night, is spot-on to the first example I gave in my recent post about the Hulk's resistance to death. Banner is shot several times, once in the head, and outright killed; D-E-A-D. But Rick suspects changing him back into the Hulk could yet save his life, and lo & behold it does!
The next several issues, as the Banner/Hulk amalgam dealt with the bullet that remained in their head, continued to point out that turning back into Banner would result in his instant death but that the Hulk's strength prevented them from dying as long as they remained in Hulk-form. Even the Leader didn't understand how they were able to survive with a bullet in the brain.
That they are hearkening back to the roots of the character and only having the transformation come at night, such as it was in the beginning and
with the Grey Hulk, is also a welcome nod to continuity. Not that I'd want it to stay that way forever; I like the emotional trigger of the transformation and think it pays homage to the heart of the character. But for this "horror" take on the Hulk I think it fits perfectly, and of course, is straight out of the annals of continuity.
Very cool. Hopefully Marvel is done trying to come up with a clever Hulk "schtick" and are committed to simply writing good stories about the Hulk.
Time will tell.
First Knight, Church of Hulk
"And when his anger is incalculable, the Hulk is simply the strongest one there is."