Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1: Review

Feb 2021
Declan Shalvey, Declan Shalvey

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1 Review by (February 17, 2021)

Review: Another of the occasional spinoffs from the main IMMORTAL HULK series is a tour-de-force for Declan Shalvey, writer, artist, colorist. A figure from Bruce’s past arrives to care for her tormented former student and that takes the form of a smashfest. Problem is, no matter how often I’ve read this, I can’t see what the writer is getting at. I don’t understand what Bruce and Hulk are supposed to have learned. I’ve read over several reviews, some by critics who also admit to having to reread the story to see what it was about. But I still can’t see it, even with a multitude of raving critics pointing it out to me. So…I shall give them the benefit of the doubt and rate his as four out of five stars hope that my negativism doesn’t discourage anyone from picking up this apparently classic issue.

Comments: Story seems to take place early in the run of THE IMMORTAL HULK, when everything was still simple with Bruce as Hulk, before they become involved with Gamma Flight, General Fortean, Roxxon, the returning Leader and all of the other complicating story arcs of the series. First (and likely only) appearance of Noreen Noolan. Issue includes a one-page tribute to Richard Corben (1940-2020), HEAVY METAL artist who also worked for Marvel.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Bruce Banner again wakes up in a place where he didn’t go to sleep last night. He’s in Albuquerque, not far from the diner where he has been working as a dish washer. He goes to work and changes into the fresh clothes he keeps there. He is approached by an elderly woman he recognizes as Dr. Noreen Noolan, a scientist associated with the Gamma project who left before Bruce’s “accident.” Bruce can also tell that she is riddled with Gamma radiation; she explains that after the detonation, she was in charge of the clean-up team and was exposed. She wants to know how Bruce deals with his situation i.e. the Hulk problem. Bruce then notices the time: it’s getting dark, the time when Hulk comes to life. He dashes out and sees in the parking lot a man harassing a woman. Unable to pass this by, he asks the man to leave her alone and gets punched for his trouble. He turns into the Hulk and puts the man on the bed of a pickup truck and folds the truck over to trap him and then kicks the ball of metal into the distance. The woman is angry because it’s her truck Hulk destroyed. Noreen scolds Hulk and tells him both Bruce and Hulk need a smack upside the head; Hulk challengers her to do it. So she does…and Hulk goes flying into the city, crashing inside a warehouse. Noreen has followed, floating in the air and continues to hurl rubble at him mentally as the Big Guy tries to fight back. Noreen throws an entire train at Hulk who catches onto the front, while Noreen says she just wants to help Bruce. Hulk insists he protects Bruce—but not from himself. She sends the train up into the sky and brings it down on Hulk. SMASH! She informs him that the line between man and monster is a flatline. After more attempts to destroy her, she takes the Hulk apart (literally)….

Bruce awakens on the roof of a hospital; he goes inside and finds Dr. Noreen Noolan, dying of cancer, caused by her exposure to Gamma radiation. As she dies, Bruce and Hulk realize this was her final lesson: what keeps the two of them apart is the same thing that brings them together. Each other. The Gamma. And Noreen flatlines….

Declan Shalvey
Declan Shalvey
Declan Shalvey
Declan Shalvey (Cover Penciler)
Declan Shalvey (Cover Inker)
Declan Shalvey (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)

(Bruce Banner)

> Immortal Hulk: Flatline: Book info and issue index

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