A general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned.

RULK REVIEW : “Nightmare in Red” Season 2, Episode 9 of AVENGERS : Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Red Hulk’s Television debut!

History has been made Rulk fans!

“Nightmare in Red” marks the thrilling television debut of the monstrous Red Hulk, which is the 9th episode of the second season of the immensely popular animated series AVENGERS : Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.  While this landmark episode will not air in the United States until Sunday, June 24th, the crimson giant’s debut has already premiered in other countries (as well as streamed online), enabling this advance review… which does indeed contain spoilers to a degree that varies depending on the reader’s previous knowledge of the Red Hulk’s true identity and lore.  So how did the Red Hulk’s television premiere measure up?

The episode begins with an airborne General “Thunderbolt” Ross and Major Glenn Talbot arriving on the landing pad of a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier.  The decorated officers have flown there to argue their case with Maria Hill that the U.S. Military needs the sample of Hulk’s blood, currently stored in a secure chamber of the helicarrier, in their effort to militarize it.  They also express their utter disdain for allowing the Avengers to harbor a monster such as the “Hulk” under the protection and guise of a heroic teammate.

During this heated exchange, unbeknownst to Hill, the blood sample of the Hulk is stolen… and later mixed with an unknown reddish component and ultimately injected into the arm a mysterious person on board:  his identity hidden by shadows.  The injection transforms the figure into the raging Red Hulk, who begins to dismantle the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and his crew.

It’s soon obvious that the Rulk is not the one calling the shots however and there is a master plan afoot to capture Bruce Banner.  But the Red Hulk has a plan of his own… a plan to finally defeat the Incredible Hulk and prove he is no longer the strongest one there is.

There has been a lot of creative changes made to Red Hulk’s origin in “Nightmare in Red”.  Some are due to time constraints.  Others are due to the nature of being a children’s television show.  Yet some key changes were made simply because the show’s creators are trying to tell a larger tale over a great deal of episodes (like the looming Skrull invasion) versus many self-contained more origin accurate stories told in one or two part episodes.  The show’s writers opted to take a creative license (or uncreative license) and made changes to the Red Hulk continuity to make the character fit within the series current “big picture”.  The result is an initial level of frustration, like when the realization is made that neither Leader, M.O.D.O.K, nor any member of the Intellegencia seem to be involved with the Red Hulk’s creation.  This really doesn’t do the character justice.

Not all of the Red Hulk comic history was discarded for the sake of this television series’ continuity however.  The SHIELD Helicarrier attack and the assault on Agent Quartermain was ripped from the pages of HULK Issue #2.  Doc Samson appears to be playing a role in duality again… and the theme “Who is the Red Hulk” is honored here, never revealing that General Ross is the Rulk in this episode (which pretty much all but guarantees this is not the last we’ve seen of crimson giant this season.)

And while his absorbing powers are nowhere to be found, the Rulk’s radioactive heat core is on display numerous times.  The Red Hulk also has a scene where he expresses an oh so enjoyable sinister, arrogant laugh (that gets to the core of why we find the red villain so enjoyable.)

As with the AVENGERS : EMH series as a whole, the animation suffers from a subpar quality, yet it’s offset by some terrific voice acting and enjoyable action scenes that are pretty well choreographed.

Even with all the disappointing origin changes, it was extremely exciting to finally see the Red Hulk grace the small screen.  Let’s hope the Rulk’s next appearance is even better.. and more faithful to the character we’ve grown to love!

3.5 out of 5 Stars

-A.J.
A general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned.
Follow the RED HULK BLOG on Twitter @ RedHulkBlog

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14 responses

  1. Zombie-Wolf

    I was just happy to see big Red acting and moving around. Although I hope that the next few episodes with him in it (which may or may not be canceled due to Avengers: EMH being canned or whatever) make him more singular and leader-like, rather than stock muscle.

    Also I think the red stuff was Ross’ blood. By mixing the gamma blood with his blood (assuming that Hulk is O-), it would make it easier for Ross’ body to accept the injection. Although it doesn’t mean his transformation was any less severe, since his snarls kind of hint that he probably tried tearing something off of himself when he was bulking up.

    June 5, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    • Even if Season Two happens to be the last and Disney replaces it with another Avengers cartoon next year that is produced in-house and more profitable, the ratings right now for EMH are terrific…. so everything will air that was already made and we’ll get to see what’s in store for Ross. 🙂

      I have to believe that red fluid was more than Ross’s blood ZW. It was a cosmic agent. Otherwise the only conclusion one could make is if you inject the Hulk’s blood into you, you would not only hulk out… but turn red and obtain new powers (which really doesn’t make sense… and She-Hulk would be Red too) 😉

      -AJ

      June 5, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      • Zombie-Wolf

        Lol, for all we know, maybe Ross had his blood mixed with some blood from Galactus. That’ll definitely give you a cosmic agent to bring out your inner red demon (or make you sick. But I vote for turning Red and kicking butt.)

        June 5, 2012 at 4:36 PM

  2. David

    This was very fun to watch. I could not believe my eyes that the Rulk was animated. I cannot wait for the conclusion. It is sad to hear there will not be a seaon three where Ross might have joined the Avengers. Maybe there is still time for Marvel to change their mind.

    June 5, 2012 at 12:21 PM

  3. strudelbullets

    The Red Hulk in this episode??? EPIC!!!

    Samson,Falcon,Winter Guard is the new Code Red Team???
    LAME!!!

    That evil grin Ross pic is gonna be my new wallpaper!!!

    June 5, 2012 at 1:20 PM

  4. Gamma Grey

    Mark my words. When the Skrull War begins the Hulk and the Red Hulk will be fighting side by side.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    • Zombie-Wolf

      Cross my heart and hope to cry.

      Stick a gamma pen in Thor’s eyes.

      Please let that happen.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    • Do you know something we don’t know? Care to share more? 🙂

      -AJ

      June 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM

  5. Whooo! 😀 He’s movin’ and growlin’ and laughin’!

    Not so happy that they decided to carry over Ross’ plans to weaponise the Hulk from the second movie, though. (Which gets worse ever time I see it) I don’t know every little bit of background from 50 years of comics, so I could be mistaken here; but I always liked the fact that whatever obsessive depths he plumbed, Ross always though he was doing the right thing by trying to *protect* the world from Hulk(s).

    If and when they decide to reveal that the Red Hulk is Ross, and show the transformation on-screen, I’ll be interested to see if they focus on the ‘tache. 😉

    June 6, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    • I think even when Ross wanted to weaponize the Hulk power, it was always with misguided “good intentions” to protect his beloved country. Ross always sort of lived by the “might makes right” proverb…

      -AJ

      June 6, 2012 at 10:43 PM

  6. Stonezone

    Can someone please post a link of this so I can watch it?

    June 6, 2012 at 11:31 AM

  7. If Ross is indeed Red Hulk in this series, it looks like he’s also using an LMD. He showed up way too fast with the Hulkbusters after Rulk leaped away.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    • David

      True however Ross can transform very fast and this is just a cartoon with limited minutes to tell a story

      June 9, 2012 at 8:16 AM

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