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

A-Bomb

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
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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

 

ESSENTIAL RULK : Review of HULK Issue # 2

HULK Issue #2THE @#$%ING HULK IS HERE!” the She-Hulk horrifyingly screams as her body is violently ripped from a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier command center by a fearsome pair of oversized red atomic hands.   “JEN!” Tony Stark calls!   “DAMMIT!   How did he get in here??   And am I the only one to see RED HANDS NOT GREEN??”
 
Making up for only a cover appearance in the first issue of the HULK, the Red Hulk appears early, exploding onto the second page of Issue #2 “The Smoking Gun” like a volcanic eruption that never lets up.
 
Moments later, pounded into a pulp and unconscious, the She-Hulk is hurdled back through the chamber’s ceiling, crashing at Stark’s feet.   Tony lurches back in shock and instinctively pushes Maria Hill away.   “Commander Hill.. Get to Safety… OR GET SOME ARMOR ON!!
 
This exciting, action-packed rollercoaster ride of an issue reads more like an action scene in a feature film than your usual comic.   Jeph Loeb successfully penned a Juggernaut of an action piece (and horror) for the Red Hulk’s first reveal, giving Iron Man, the She-Hulk and the Hellicarrier itself a beat down that will never be forgotten.   It’s extremely well paced, with a sense of urgency and dread needed for this type of issue. 
 
Iron Man hunting the Rulk

Iron Man hunting the Rulk

 

None of this would be possible of course without the brilliance of artist Ed McGuiness who designed and draws the thunderous Rulk so devilishly menacing in this book… having the red monster lurk and attack from the shadows of the Helicarrier (reminiscent of film classics like “Alien”.)   The dread and panic drawn in the faces of the heroes are all exceptional as well as the intense armored look of a pissed off Iron Man as he tries to save his crew and his ship.   The corridors of the Helicarrier have an appropriate dark, claustrophobic feel creating a tension that the hellish creature can jump out at you at any time… and all this great art is surrounded by Ed’s trademark action panels, fittingly grand in scale. 
 

Red Hulk's first inside comic appearance

Red Hulk’s first inside comic appearance

 

Presenting the first inside comic page appearance of the Red Hulk (as well as Rick Jones’ first appearance of his new alter ego A-Bomb) and you have one essential issue… and where action comics are concerned.. among the best of the best.  

5 out of 5 Stars 

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

VARIANT COVERS:

HULK Issue #2 Variant A

HULK Issue #2 Variant B
HULK Issue #2 Variant C Second Printing