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

Ed McGuinness

RULK PREVIEW : Artist and Red Hulk Co-Creator Ed McGuinness returns to drawing Rulk in AVENGERS vs X-MEN : VERSUS # 3!

In AVENGERS vs X-MEN : VERSUS Issue # 3 (which hits comic stands everywhere on June 13th), not only will this AvX battle book feature a bout between the legendary assassin Black Widow and Magik, but will also feature the return of the Red Hulk creator duo… writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed “Born to Draw Rulk” McGuinness!
 
Loeb and McGuinness will take on the other title bout on the card, a Colossus versus Thing smash-fest that will feature an appearance by no one other than the Red Hulk himself! 
 
Check out the preview art:
 
 
 
 

RULK REPORT : The RED HULK is General Ross… or is he?

*SPOILERS*

Writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuinness (the talents that gave birth to the Red Hulk) are the creative team behind the new miniseries AVENGERS X-SANCTION that marks the time-travelling return of the former mercenary mutant Nathan Summers… otherwise known as Cable.  One by one members of the Avengers are finding themselves between Cable’s crosshairs and before the night is over… Falcon, Captain America and Iron Man have all become his prisoners.

Enter the Red Hulk to the rescue.

When Rulk secretly enters Cable’s lair in Issue # 2, Red Hulk puts the mutant down with the help of some major artillery.  But as Cable seemingly undergoes his death throes… he recognizes Rulk not as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross…. but as no one other than Major Glenn Talbot!  Here is their exchange:

So what does this all mean?  Why does Cable think the Red behemoth is Glenn Talbot?  Is it simply just a wink and a nod from writer Jeph Loeb to all the Marvel readers that thought the Red Hulk was Major Glenn Talbot prior to the big reveal that it was General Ross?  Or does this have deeper meaning?

Cable did come from the future.  Could it be that Talbot becomes some sort of a Hulk in our distant future?  Or could Talbot have become the Red Hulk in an alternate timeline instead of Ross… and the future Cable returned from was not our current timeline?

It is an intriguing mystery, which hopefully will shed more answers within the upcoming issue # 3.

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


RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 6

HULK Issue # 6 It was the legendary Albert Einstein who coined the phrase that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.   Yet it’s apparent that in writer Jeph Loeb’s universe, this principal does not exist… maybe a display of temporary insanity on Loeb’s part while drafting “Blood Red” HULK Issue #6.   Unfortunately, Rulk’s first story-arc “Red Hulk” ends on a weaker note because of it.

 

What started out strong as a classic “whodunit” tale and transformed into an even stronger “who’s next” thriller, Loeb finishes the arc in a somewhat anticlimactic, head-scratcher sort of way. In the previous issues #4 and #5, we witnessed an all powerful, unstoppable Red Hulk that was capable of (and executed) the defeats of both the Incredible Hulk and the all mighty Thor.   What was most fascinating was the Rulk didn’t just overcome his opponents… he dominated them.. and conquered these titans with the simplest of ease.   What would decimate the most common enemy, Thor’s repeated blows of his mighty hammer fell upon the Red Hulk with the impact of a mere nuisance versus the destructive force one would expect from the Thunder God.   And Rulk’s ability to overcome the Banner Hulk so quickly and break the arm of the atomic powered beast was equally jaw dropping and impressive. 

Hulk versus Rulk, Round Two

Hulk versus Rulk, Round Two

 

Yet, in issue #6, not long after defeating the son of Odin, both Thor and Hulk come looking for some payback… certain to be a second helping of another Red Hulk beat down right?   Wrong.   Thor attacks the Red Monster with the same strategy as before, yet somehow achieves a different result. Suddenly, without any reasonable explanation from Loeb, the Rulk is no longer trouble for Thor regardless of the cosmic powered absorption ability that gives him quite the edge.   Inexplicably “nerfed“, Thor gets devastatingly close to causing the Red Hulk’s demise until the Green Hulk gets in his way.

Unbelievable.” Rulk confesses to Hulk.  “I’m big enough to admit that Thor had me on the ropes .. and in your stupidity, you may have just spared my life. ”   

It doesn’t make sense.   At least when the big green conquers the big red in his rematch, there is some reasoning applied to the different outcome: Hulk recognizes the Red Hulk is much like a radioactive core that can overheat with time, and uses that to his advantage.   But the hits the Hulk takes while waiting for Red to reach that boiling point are now much more ineffective.   Unfortunately, it would have been more logical (and gratifying) to simply see Thor and Hulk work together to bring the Red Hulk down.   Gratifying indeed.

Sweeping those frustrating gaps of logic aside, the plot does enjoyably thicken as we finally learn the mysterious Red Hulk is not working alone.   After the crimson giant’s defeat, both General Ross and Leonard Samson surface showing their displeasure with Rulk’s lack of progress.   They also stunningly reveal to have a hand in Red’s creation.   “We gave you everything you needed to destroy the green monster.   Everything.   Still you failed.”   Intriguing.  

"...and worse, you failed yourself"

“…and worse, you failed yourself”

 

And there is no faltering in the artwork of Ed ‘Born to draw Rulk’ McGuinness.   While I don’t feel this issue is among his best work, his art remains a joy to behold.   His consistency in maintaining such a high level of quality is simply tremendous.  I just wish this story arc’s conclusion matched that quality.
 

2.5 out of 5 Stars 

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

 

VARIANT COVERS:


 

HULK Issue # 6 Variant Cover A HULK Issue # 6 Variant Cover B

RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 5

HULK Issue # 5

Thor.   I heard you were dead.”   – Rulk

 

I heard you were green.   Monster.   It matters little… …since by morning’s light, THOU WILT BE DEAD!” – Thor

Yeah. About that.   You’re welcome to give it a whirl… .. but it’s going to be a LONG night.” – Rulk  

 Simply bad ass.   When Thor returns from his long absence from Earth expecting to confront a World War Green Hulk, he instead steps up as the next Red Hulk challenger in HULK Issue #5 “Rolling Thunder“.   While so many in the Marvel Universe would dread such a confrontation, the Rulk doesn’t even flinch.   Red studied and prepared for such a contingency and learned how to exploit certain weaknesses of the blonde haired warrior and his mighty hammer Mjolnir… so much so he was brazen and brash enough to mock a God.   “Did I happen to mention I don’t believe in gods?” Rulk roared.  

Thor meets his match

Thor meets his match

 

This arrogantly drenched dialogue of the Red Hulk penned by Jeph Loeb is a key factor in what made the Rulk such a permanent iconic character in the Marvel Universe.   Just the concept of speaking such disrespect to the greatly respected God of Thunder alone invited readers to relish in the red beast’s irreverent behavior.   And then to back up those words with action as the Red Hulk dismantled Thor’s attack and used his weapon against him, was an unbelievable feat that was thrilling to watch unfold.   The Red Hulk’s sinfully enjoyable cockiness and the gradual move from a “whodunit” to “who’s next” storyline left readers actually rooting for the bad guy, which is task easier said than done and a deserved credit to Loeb.

Of course, superb action is handled no better than artist Ed ‘Born to draw Rulk‘ McGuinness, and here it’s more of the same.   Exciting panel layouts and glorious double splash pages are all in abundance here, and while Ed draws a hell of an intimidating Rulk.. he even looks more sinister with an “X” shaped wound on his head left by a mighty blow of Thor’s hammer. 
 

A menacing sight

A menacing sight

 

It all results in an action packed hell of a ride.   Loads of fun. 

4.5 out of 5 Stars 

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

 

VARIANT COVERS:

HULK Issue # 5 Variant AHULK Issue # 5 Variant B 2nd Printing

 

RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 4

HULK Issue # 4Once again, it’s the amazing art of Ed McGuinness that reigns supreme in HULK Issue #4 “Red Light, Green Light” as the Red Hulk and the Green finally go mano-a-mano in a no holds barred battle to truly prove which Hulk isthe strongest one there is.

 

Of course, the first ever confrontation between these two titans has various widespread implications in the Marvel universe, so much so that it has come to the attention of Uato the Watcher to observe.   BIG MISTAKE.   In a controversial move, Red Hulk’s cosmic energy enables the arrogant beast drunk on power & rage to give Uato a fistful of dissent, giving him a beat down he never experienced nor will forget.   Repercussions for these actions are not even an afterthought when you consider yourself the most powerful force in the universe, so it’s fortunate for the brutalized Watcher that the Green Hulk intervenes when he does…   leading to the main event between the two monsters with thunderous results.

 

A Red Hulk distracted

A Red Hulk distracted

 

After successfully ripping through Abomination, Iron Man, She-Hulk, A-Bomb, Robot Harpies and a Helicarrier singlehandedly, writer Jeph Loeb successfully frames the intriguing question as he faces off with the Hulk.. can anyone stop the Red Hulk?   Big Red doesn’t think so… “THERE’S NO ONE WHO CAN BEAT ME” Rulk roars.. and also reveals his true identity holds a lot of resentment towards the Hulk.   With lines like “For years all I wanted was to destroy you” and “I’m going to choke the life out of you, ending years of ruining other people’s lives” Loeb gives the readers a taste of what hatred lingers in the dark corners of the Rulk’s mind towards the green goliath.

"I&squot;ve waited a long time for this!"

“I’ve waited a long time for this!”

 

Albeit, while the story is still thin, its main design is to showcase the amazing artwork of Ed McGuinness.   Clearly put on this planet to draw the   Hulks, this battle royale of artistic brilliance leaves the reader staring at splash pages with awe much longer than any balloon of dialogue or narrative could hold one’s attention.   The monsters’ brute strength McGuinness conveys in their frames, feels like an abundance of power just barely contained by all the skin that holds the muscles in place.   And his sinister look of the Red Hulk remains unmatched.

 

A battle for the ages

A battle for the ages

 

Ending with an appearance of our favorite god of thunder teasing what the next Red Hulk challenger will be, this book is a very enjoyable read.   It may not be extremely deep… but it sure is fun.

 

4 out of 5 Stars 

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

 

VARIANT COVERS:

HULK Issue # 4 Variant A

HULK Issue # 4 Variant B 2nd Printing
 

 


RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 3

HULK Issue # 3Every artist has a portfolio, a collection of art that defines its creator. That body of work highlights the illustrator’s talents and always features the best artwork he or she has ever done. Undoubtedly, in the massive portfolio of Ed McGuinness, we would find HULK Issue #3. It’s that good.

 

Now when we last left the Red Hulk, everything to this point had presented the crimson menace as a terrifying monster. Uncaring and unfeeling, the Rulk was an unrelenting beast that lurked in the shadows until his moment of strike… a moment one would likely not survive. Yet he was a monster with a plan who was deliberate, methodical and precise. And except for the occasional growl, he was a silent killer. This all changes in issue #3 “Creatures on the Loose

Seemingly drunk with arrogance over his new found power, the Red Hulk steps out of the shadows and lets his bravado show. Relishing an opportunity to beat on Rick Jones as A-Bomb (who seems to know the secret identity of the red behemoth only in the form of Rick), the Rulk lets himself break out of his shell and reveals his brash & cocky personality. The Red Hulk even reveals a moral compass within while bragging over his takedown of the first Abomination. Rows of houses came crumbling down and innocent lives were lost as a result of that battle… but the Rulk self servingly blames the collateral damage on Emil Blonsky’s “cowardice“. It was his decision to hide in that small Russian village rather than face his attacker.

Even with these revelations and compelling turn of events, there is not much writing to critique. Except for some intrigue over a tampered recording between General Ross and the imprisoned Bruce Banner that Iron Man reviews, the bulk of the story is the no holds barred battle between the A-Bomb and the Red Hulk. Somewhat lackluster in story progression, to be fair, there’s not much to work with in the terms of dialogue for Jeph Loeb when it comes to A-Bomb’s child like intellect.. but Rulk’s braised attitude shines nicely.

What the lack of plot development leaves room for is the main course, an opportunity for artist Ed McGuinness to let loose and stunningly draw the hell out of this book. As a complete issue, it may well be the best book he’s ever drawn and would explain why this issue was not on schedule and frustratingly delayed for several months. It’s a rare situation when I should just stop writing and let the art speak for itself. That situation is now. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 out of 5 Stars 

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

VARIANT COVERS:

HULK Issue # 3 Variant CoverHULK Issue # 3 Variant Cover 2nd Printing

 

ORIGINAL RULK ART : HULK Issue # 1, Page # 22

This is more about history than it is art.

Some time ago, I was able to obtain the original art of the last page of HULK Issue #1.   Penciled by my favorite Hulk artist Ed McGuinness and inked by Dexter Vines on official Marvel 11 x 17 comic board, this is the page that revealed to the world that the fiendish new Red Hulk with devilish yellow eyes was not Bruce Banner… but someone else entirely.

Artistically speaking, it’s not a stunning piece of work.   The scene is quite basic where Banner sits on a cell bed as the glare of General Ross and Leonard Samson (drawn separately, then overlaid via a computer graphics program) can be seen staring at Bruce through the prison security glass.   The page is of course, certainly well drawn, but not a work to be considered by many as a full “gallery piece“.

Historically speaking though, this page has importance…   and in terms of the ever expanding Red Hulk legacy, it can’t get much better than a final splash page of a #1 book.   Check it out! 
 

Original Art : HULK Issue #1 Page #22

Original Art : HULK Issue #1 Page #22
 

 

Bruce in Captivity

Bruce in Captivity
 

  
-A.J.  

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