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The Marvel Rundown: Supplemental heroics in GAMMA FLIGHT #5


Welcome back to another weekly installment of the Marvel Rundown, live from Stately Beat Manor! This week, our spotlight review features the fifth and final issue of Gamma Flight, spinning out of the panels of The Immortal Hulk!

Plus, we’ve got a rapid review of Immortal Hulk‘s conclusive issue.

(Note: the following review contains spoilers for the issue being discussed. For a spoiler-free verdict on the comic, scroll down to the bottom of the review.)


Gamma Flight
Gamma Flight #5

Gamma Flight #5

Written by Al Ewing & Crystal Frasier
Art by Lan Medina
Colors by Antonio Fabela
Letters by Joe Sabino
Main Cover by Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho

In the fifth and final issue of Gamma Flight, we arrive at the end of the multiple plot threads that have defined this spinoff of The Immortal Hulk… and they’re each brought to a reasonably satisfactory conclusion.

Among the most interesting aspects of this ongoing story has been the way that the doses of Gamma radiation have been distributed to the unwitting town folks: it’s all thanks to the popularity of a local AM radio show, which has lead the residents of the small town where most of the five-issues take place to be corrupted. 

By thematically connecting the Gamma-laden supplements taken by the town residents with the radicalization that can happen to those who listen to too much conservative radio, the story is given a very interesting extended set of antagonists.

Furthermore, this book distinguishes itself by maintaining a more empathetic perspective towards these radicalized townspeople… in fact, empathy has been a defining aspect of this story overall. 

A variant by Dustin Weaver for issue one featuring Del and Rick.

In all five issues, much of that empathy has been expressed in the way the various members of Gamma Flight care for Del Frye & Rick Jones. The “subplot” concerning Del and Rick, which has been an ongoing concern since partway through The Immortal Hulk’s run, is brought to a satisfactory resolution in this issue (and it’s even accomplished via an effective bit of narrative bait-and-switch).

As is suitable for a book that has such a focus on body horror, this issue features some of the strangest art in the series, with Dionne (the suitably-nicknamed “Stockpile”) continuing to receive treatment so weird, it’s eye-popping. Plus, there are plenty of well-laid-out pages as the action-packed issue runs towards it conclusion.

Gamma Flight
The connecting variant for Gamma Flight #5 by Carlos Pacheo.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that Doctor Charlene McGowan got a chance to prove that she is far from personally defenseless, utilizing a neat bit of technological trickery in order to ensure her continued survival. Just as with her appearance in a story in Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1, McGowan once again proves that she has loads of potential – and given that Puck even observes that she’s a “proper super villain now,” there’s plenty of possibilities open for her to make another appearance, either as a protagonist or an antagonist.

The biggest compliant about Gamma Flight as a whole is the same as the biggest complaint about the five-issue run of Silk or the four-issue run of Reptil: these are outstanding stories from incredible creative teams! Give us more of all three, please.

Gamma Flight #5 represents the culmination of the four issues that came before it, with the story having been well planned for five issue of serialized storytelling. Consequently, if you haven’t been reading along with this series, you may find yourself perplexed by the events in this issue. But so long as you’ve been following along with this series, this (regrettably) conclusive entry is a definite BUY.


Rapid Rundown!

  • Immortal Hulk #50
    • Since Peter David’s run, way back when, we’ve known that Banner has some serious Daddy issues, but what Al Ewing and Joe Bennett have done in this issue should come with a trigger warning if you suffer like me. if you’re also someone like me who didn’t buy into the hype, we both have a lot to look forward to going back to the beginning to see how Ewing and Bennett got here. This swansong takes us through the Green Door, to the depths of Hell as the other aspects of Banner and journalist Jackie McGee, journey to save him. Like the best kids on a sleepover, they took all the toys out and had a gang of horrific fun with them, showing us new takes on the angriest man in the world. And after all the uber grotesque body warping, they find a way to put the toys back in the box, maybe not with the same accessories, but maybe a little bit more fun with a different add-on for some other kids to play with. In the current world of comics, where a creative team bangs out a 12 issue run, if you’re lucky, a run of 50 issues is a tremendous accomplishment for creators, and this one brings it home in a visceral horror-filled showdown. The true shame is that this incredible run is marred by Bennett’s dumb window stunt.



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