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

Iron Man

GREEN HULK : AVENGERS PRELUDE Movie Tie-In Cover Art Revealed!

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Marvel’s The Avengers Prelude #1 (of Four) hits comic stores this March, setting the stage for the movie event of 2012!

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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 : 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 : 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 : 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

 

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