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

Avengers

NEW RULK : AVENGERS (7-12) Trade Paperback out now!

It’s history in the making! Read how the Red Hulk continues his path to redemption and joins the mighty AVENGERS!  Originally released in a hardcover format, this trade paperback is out now and comes highly recommended!  It’s a terrific read!

Here are the details:

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AVENGERS Volume 2 (Issues 7-12)

Published Date: January 11, 2012

Format: Trade Paperback

Retail Price: $19.99

The Story: One of the greatest secrets in Marvel history is laid bare – and it just may reignite the Civil War between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers! The Illuminati thought their days as the world’s protectors were over – until the Hood escaped from prison and embarked on a quest to gather the all-powerful Infinity Gems, which the super-secret brain trust had taken responsibility for safeguarding. Now, Iron Man, Professor X, Mr. Fantastic, the Sub-Mariner, Dr. Strange and Black Bolt will face a reckoning like never before when Steve Rogers learns of their years-long subterfuge. Will even the combined might of the Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers and Illuminati be enough to take down a cosmically powered Hood? And did somebody say “Thanos”‌? Plus: What is the mystery of the Spaceknight?

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


RULK REVIEW : AVENGING SPIDER-MAN Issue # 1 and 2

Pure fun.  Sometimes, comics are at their best when they are just pure fun.  Not extremely deep nor heavy handed, a comic can be a wonderful experience simply equipped with a light story, clever humor, great art and a boat load of action.  AVENGING SPIDER-MAN Issues #1 and #2 are both great example of pure fun.

The story begins with the Avengers putting the finishing touches on their latest battle to save humanity.  Upon wrapping up a team victory against some AIM Agents and assorted riffraff, Spider-Man announces he needs a lift back to New York City, a request essentially met with moans and groans.  Since no one wanted to lend a hand, the entire lot of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes humorously took a figurative step backwards, leaving the Red Hulk in the forefront to unofficially “volunteer” as Spidey’s ticket home.

So begrudgingly, Rulk allows Spider-Man to hitch a ride as he leaps towards the East Coast.  But when the heroes arrive, they find the city of New York at a crisis, overrun with Mole Man’s army of Moloids who have crept up from the depths of Subterranea and declared war on the shinning city. Looks can be deceiving though as this massive attack on the “Big Apple” turns out not to be an act of war… but an act of desperation… a recruitment effort by Mole-Man to help him reclaim his fallen city, a realm now invaded by a race called Molans and taken over by their King… Ra’ktar.  Will the heroes be able to stop them?

Writer Zeb Wells does a bang up job penning the first two issues of AVENGING SPIDER-MAN.  The pace is refreshingly brisk and the humor is spot on, certain to make the most discerning reader chuckle with delight.  Wells recognizes and takes full advantage of the wellspring of comedy that comes from the pairing of Spider-Man and Red Hulk.  It’s the classic funny guy and straight man routine, and the Red Hulk is one hell of a straight man… someone who sets up the joke so that Spider-Man can deliver the punch line.

Zeb Well’s high octane writing tempo is well complimented by Joe Madureira’s insane art.  Finally returning to comics, his illustrations are bold, intense and brimming with excitement.  Madureira’s work is just plain gorgeous to look at, inspiring one to simply drool over his art… especially the splash pages.  And with the brilliant coloring of Ferran Daniel (a perfect fit for Joe’s penicls) the Red Hulk hasn’t looked more massive or awe inspiring.

A WORTHY NOTE :  RULK (a nick-name for Red Hulk only ever used within the “previously in HULK” intro pages of the Jeph Loeb HULK books as a tool to catch readers up to speed) was used for the first time by an actual character of the Marvel Universe, referring to the Red Hulk as “RULK” in-story.   In the cliffhanger end of Issue #2 when Ra’ktar’s blade pierces the chest of the Big Red, Spider-Man calls out towards Red Hulk as “Rulk” with great concern.  Let’s hope we see more of that.

[ ISSUE#1 ]  4 out of 5 Stars 

[ ISSUE #2 ] 4 out of 5 Stars 

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


RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 43

Sometimes you just get it right.  Sometimes the stars align and all the pieces of creativity symbiotically fit into place like it was meant to be… resulting in a slice of perfection that is just heavenly to behold.  And that’s exactly what HULK Issue # 43 has with this artist, this colorist, this writer and this storyline.

Hulk of Arabia Part Two” resumes exactly where Part One left off:  Red Hulk fending off an intervention lead by Secret Avengers’ War Machine, Valkyrie & Black Widow.  The assembled heroes are trying to prevent Rulk’s personal war in the name of vengeance for the killing of a soldier… a fellow warrior… ex-Colonel William Krugauer.  They know the thirst of revenge the formal General feels can voluntarily blind one to the global tension an unsanctioned attack can create, which is why Steve Rogers orders and supervises the counterattack to stop Ross’ personal vendetta before it’s too late.  Provided a self serving opportunity to assess his unknown enemy (Dagan Shah), Rulk sees the interruption as strategically sound and agrees to temporarily cease his attack and meet with the Avengers (and local hero Arabian Knight) to gather as much intel as he possibly can before resuming his attack…. sanctioned or not.

The pure excellence of writer Jeff Parker has not shined brighter than in this amazing work, the “Hulk of Arabia” story arc.  The way Parker masterfully interjects the Red Hulk into today’s political hotbed that is the Middle East and saturates the event with all the realities of the hyper-sensitive fear of ramification that surround it, is outstanding.  It all feels real and resonates with a low underlying tension like an unrelenting pulse… suffering from a dangerously high blood-pressure.  Parker continues to understand and exploit the appeal of Red Hulk like no other, superbly stressing that the arrogance and self-righteousness that swells in Ross had multiplied tenfold upon gaining his new found crimson powers, superseding all respect for that ol’ chain of command he followed so religiously (to what benefit?). And just when you think it can’t get any better, Parker enters a new character into the fold.  Machine Man!

 

When Parker’s brilliance is equally matched with artistic brilliance, it’s time to revel in all the goodness with the realization you have one hell of a comic book in your hand.  Patrick Zircher’s art is glorious.  His characters are stunningly drawn.. and with such a flare of realism that fits superbly with very realistic story such as this.  The angles and perspective he chooses are elaborately intense… while his character poses are so extremely dynamic yet perfectly formed (a testament to his craft and his ability to properly keep the human anatomy proportioned, no matter where the point of view.)  What about his layouts?  Zircher is the King of Layouts… which are cinematic and exciting.  And while many colorists have been guilty of diminishing great artwork (Hulk #22 – #24 anyone?), the talents of Rachelle Rosenberg have proven to be an excellent compliment to Patrick’s work.

 

If you haven’t picked up this issue, do so now.  This is truly great work.

5 out of 5 Stars 

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


RULK REPRINT : HULK Issue # 42 Review

HULK Issue # 42Back on August 13th, 2011 I posted an advance review of HULK Issue # 42 “Hulk of Arabia Part One”.  Considering this terrific issue finally hit comic book shelves this past Wednesday, I felt this post was deserving of a second printing.  At the bottom of the review I also added the variant cover, and some results of the beautiful coloring work by Rachelle Rosenberg. 
 
Other than a few minor detail complaints… (the Rulk should be drawn without eyebrows)…  (Rulk’s eyes shouldn’t appear white in some panels, only yellow)… I am extremely pleased with this new creative team!  And it’s terrific to see the Red Hulk back in action with an artist who knows how to draw action. 

Here’s the review: 

 

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of being able to read the 42nd issue of the HULK comic series “Hulk of Arabia Part One“.   Due to hit comic stands October 5th, advanced copies in the form of an ashcan became available via this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego.   Smaller than a traditional comic with only black & white interior art, this marketing tool was distributed to a select few and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy.   What I found is the best Jeff Parker HULK issue to date.

General Fortean is out hunting Rulk again and it is not surprising that Ross is finally losing his patience with him.   At any time the Red Hulk can put Fortean out of commission permanently, yet he still pulls his punches, out of compassion for the obsessed General that so mirrors his formal self.   Yet, that compassion is slipping because his former comrade doesn’t let up.   Then, suddenly, General Fortean lets up.   He not only backs off… he retreats.   Rulk ponders “he’s not one to retreat in battle“.

Are we done here General?

Are we done here General?

 

It’s not long before Annie, his life model decoy companion, calls the Red Hulk back to base camp with some news to report.   General Fortean received a transmission that an ex-Colonel, current mercenary Will Krugauer was killed in the Middle East.   Fortunately the transmission doesn’t concern Ross, Annie concludes. Ross responds “It concerns me“.   Krugauer was his friend, and after gathering some intel, the Rulk abruptly leaves to enact revenge on the army who killed him.   Annie can’t stop Ross and fears the worst.   She has no choice but to put a call through to Steve Rogers… “This is exactly what he’s always feared would happen.”  
 

Rulk seeks revenge

Rulk seeks revenge

 

Writer Jeff Parker masterfully strikes all the right chords with “Hulk of Arabia Part One“, a tale of good but flawed intentions, a tale of revenge and regret.   Parker understands and utilizes that it’s the General’s brash and arrogant selfish actions (which keeps him on the outside of the hero community looking in) that makes red giant so compelling.   Just when you think you can trust the Red Hulk, you can’t, and Captain America is forced to send in the Secret Avengers to stop him.

Learning that artist Gabriel Hardman’s last days of drawing the Rulk are approaching won’t be troublesome one bit with Patrick Zircher on the job.   His superior art in this issue results in one fantastically drawn Red Hulk and associated characters.   The art is so well done that part of me wishes this book would stay in black and white, in fear that the coloring would diminish Zircher’s beautiful work.   His use of silohettes are terrific and his action scenes are outstanding, especially the panels drawn in the Red Hulk’s perspective… like when his fists smash the Earth under some soldiers feet sending them flying into the air.

Parker’s and Zircher’s work combined has resulted in a perfect issue.   Can’t wait for Part Two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 # 42 Variant Cover

HULK Issue # 42 Variant Cover

RULK REVIEW : AVENGERS Issue # 9

AVENGERS Issue # 9So… gentlemen” the Red Hulk inquires, staring down the former members of the covert (now defunct) think-tank The Illuminati, who years ago tasked themselves protectors of the all powerful Infinity Gems. “Where are they?
 

In AVENGERS Issue #9, never has Charles Xavier, Reed Richards, Dr. Strange and Tony Stark appeared so uncertain to answer a simple question.  Taking such a trusting leap of faith in the Red Hulk and Steve Roger’s belief that this once declared enemy of the state has now been truly and successfully rehabilitated was more than difficult. True, both the Reality and Power gems stolen by the villainous Parker Robbins were used to defeat the red monster, and the Red Hulk did facilitate the plan to use the remaining gems to re-obtain them. But would the red beast, who failed to take over the country before, betray the Avengers by seizing the power of the Infinity Gems for himself and reattempt the same feat of mutiny? 
 
Who can you trust
is the underlying theme of this issue, expertly written by Brian Michael Bendis. Without a single punch thrown yet drenched with incredible tension, the electrifying exposure of The Illuminati by the Avengers, which fuels Steve Roger’s disdain for Tony Stark, is effectively balanced by a terrific prison back story that details how Parker Robbins manipulated an Inhuman with kindness into revealing the location of the first Infinity gem. The dialog is sharp, the pace is excellent, and Bendis knocks this story out of the park leaving the reader in an extreme state of suspicion where Rogers distrusts Stark, the Inhuman mistrusts Robbins, and no one but Captain America trusts the Rulk. 
 

To Trust or Not to Trust

To Trust or Not to Trust
 

 

The most pleasant surprise is the artwork of John Romita Jr. While his work has been severely disappointing as of late, Romita seemingly takes his time and puts forth more of an effort in this issue, resulting in some well drawn characters (especially when it comes to their display of emotions.) Of course, it does help that one of Romita’s biggest weaknesses as an artist… i.e. action scenes.. are nonexistent in this issue. And while he still has trouble drawing a good Red Hulk, Romita deserves a bit of praise here for turning the quality up a notch versus his usual lackluster artwork, resulting in one fantastic Avengers comic. 
 

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 


RULK REVIEW : AVENGERS Issue # 8

AVENGERS Issue # 8When we last left the AVENGERS, a badly beaten Red Hulk awkwardly crashed through a window of the Avengers Tower to warn the Earth’s Mightiest of a new, grave threat. Someone evil has obtained two of the all-powerful infinity gems and did the improbable: Single handedly obliterated the Rulk.

 

In Issue #8, this revelation is especially alarming to Tony Stark because he, Reed Richards, Dr. Strange and the rest of the now disbanded secret organization called “The Illuminati” was each charged with hiding the infinity gems many years ago. So Iron Man abruptly leaves to meet with the group’s former members, with a suspicious Captain America not far behind. 
 
Once again writer Brian Michael Bendis gives Avengers fans another solid entry in this enjoyable story arc with an old school feel. When it comes to the Red Hulk, it’s interesting to see while most of the Avengers have a level of understandable caution and mistrust towards Rulk, Steve Rogers clearly has more concern and content towards Stark, likely based on a lingering “civil war” bad blood between him and Tony (while Ross has been slowly working with Steve towards redemption.) 

Of course, the rest of the heroes clearly don’t see it the same way and feel a level of unease with the Rulk’s presence. Thor goes so far as warning Spider-man and others that the Red Hulk is tougher than the Green Hulk… a much debated topic among fans… showing that writer Bendis’ perspective is the contest is not all about brute strength, but the training and the ability to use that strength effectively, that tips the scales towards Ross when equally matched. And where every learned detail of their unknown enemy is crucial, that very military training and knowledge of hand-to-hand combat also enabled the Rulk to assess their mysterious infinity gemmed villain as an inexperienced fighter, something the Avengers might be able to exploit when the time comes. 
 

The red Infinity Gem is power

The red Infinity Gem is power
 

Once again, the only gripe is with the average art of John Romita Jr. While this issue certainly appears less rushed than his last entry, Romita’s artwork is still missing a level of expertise that this series truly deserves. 
 

3.5 out of 5 Stars 

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


RULK REVIEW : AVENGERS Issue # 7

AVENGERS Issue # 7”In… finity”

 

That is the Rulk’s final word in AVENGERS issue #7, after crashing a superhero party literally when he smashes through an Avengers Tower window, landing at the feet of the Earth’s mightiest.   Referring to the all-powerful infinity gems, the Red Hulk had just gotten his ass handed to him by a man who now possessed two of them, just a few minutes before his rough entrance.

This appearance of the Red Hulk caps off the beginning of an interesting, new story arc of this fledging young assemble series.   Parker Robbins.. formally known as The Hood.. has begun a quest to claim all the infinity gems hidden around the world.   No one knows quite what his plans are if successful, but by issue’s end, he does successfully obtain two of them:   The yellow reality gem discovered in the ruins of a former Inhuman city and the red power gem… stolen right from under Reed Richard’s nose in the Baxter Building.

Unfortunately for the Rulk (due to his bad karma that continues to rear its ugly head) he becomes Robbin’s first test of his new Infinity powers and is beaten into a bloody pulp as a result… a beating that his cosmic powered body is certainly not used to. This leads him to another act he’s not accustomed to.. seeking the Avengers to ask for their help. 

A beaten Rulk

A beaten Rulk

 

Writer Brian Michael Bendis is churning up a good story here and it will be quite interesting to see what he has in store for the Red Hulk as the series progresses.   As far as teammates go, where Bruce Banner offered an intellect to the Avengers team (other than brawn) that theoretically could be replaced with other ”brains” in the Marvel universe, Ross has an asset that can’t be so easily matched, even by Captain America.   The Rulk has maybe the best tactical military mind on Earth… and he’s a genius at modern warfare.   This can be very valuable to the Avengers, yet a question remains.   Can he be trusted?

With all the good going for this book, sadly the only thing that suffers is the art.   Penciled by John Romita Jr., one can recognize his unique style, but a lot of his art appears lazy, rushed, and ultimately very lackluster, especially when it comes to the angles and poses he draws.   His figures sorely lack a certain degree of intensity that’s needed in a book like this, and some panels like the get-together in the Avengers tower appear… to be blunt… downright amateurish.   Marvel fans have come to expect a certain level of artistic quality in their comics, so it’s not a surprise that many have found Romita’s work here simply falling short.   
 

3.5 out of 5 Stars 

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

VARIANT COVERS:

AVENGERS Issue # 7 Rulk Variant AAVENGERS Issue # 7 Rulk Variant B