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

Doc Samson


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 general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned.  
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HULK Issue # 6 Variant Cover A HULK Issue # 6 Variant Cover B

ESSENTIAL RULK : Review of HULK Issue # 1

HULK Issue # 1‘’If you hadn’t acted so irrationally we wouldn’t be in this situation” – General Ross

“Don’t be ridiculous Ross.   This isn’t about me.   This is about you General.” – Doc Samson 

No one knew how telling those words would be, when HULK Issue #1 hit comic stands across the world with a mysterious, daunting, new symbol of unbridled power and rage on its cover:    A roaring, fiendish, electric devil of a beast, fearsome and magnificent to behold.   It was a different Hulk.   It was a new Hulk.   And he was red.    The Red Hulk was nowhere to be found in the pages of the premiere issue of the HULK, but the cover was so profound…   he didn’t need to be.   What was shockingly found was the corpse of an evil, well known nemesis of the Hulk.

The body of Emil Blonsky, the Abomination, was discovered dead in a rural part of Russia.   Savagely brutalized, chunks of flesh missing from his head and chest, the carcass of the monster was sprawled disturbingly on the ground.   And surrounding Abomination’s lifeless body was an array of aggressive, oversized footprints hot with gamma radiation.   Surveying this grim scene, there could only be one logical conclusion: The Incredible Hulk murdered the Abomination. 

Yet, there was one glaring problem with that theory.   Bruce Banner was currently imprisoned in a S.H.I.E.L.D maximum security cell with no possible way to escape.   How could it have been him?   It also became quickly obvious to the investigative team led by Doc Samson that this killing was not your ordinary Hulk ‘beat down’, a furious rage that perhaps went too far.   This attack on Abomination was very different.   Very calculated.   And it looked like revenge.   ‘’This was punishment” Samson assessed.   A very different kind of Hulk was among them now.      

Bruce in Captivity

Bruce in Captivity


HULK Issue #1 exploded onto the comic scene in January of 2008, intriguing readers around the world with the question… ”Who was the Red Hulk?”.   Combining the magnificent cover and interior art of Ed ‘born to draw Rulk’ McGuinness and a solid whodunit story by Jeph Loeb, the debut of the rip-roaring Red Hulk catapulted to the top of the sales charts, ranking #1 as the best selling comic book of its month.   It was a huge success for Marvel and a landmark issue that gave birth to a new Marvel legend… a legend who’s appeal has still not waivered.  Even after three and a half years since its debut, the Red Hulk comics continue to outsell the Green Hulk comics to this day and has built up quite an arsenal of books, posters, video game appearances, action figures, statues, t-shirts and other collectables all in his image. 

History had been made.   A new major character had joined the best of the Marvel Universe lore and he was here to stay.   The Red Hulk cometh… and this was the issue that started it all.   It’s a ”must have”.  

4 out of 5 Stars 


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


HULK Issue # 1 Variant A

HULK Issue # 1 Variant BHULK Issue # 1 Variant C
HULK Issue # 1 Variant DHULK Issue # 1 Variant EHULK Issue # 1 Variant F 2nd Printing
HULK Issue # 1 Variant G Marvel's Greatest Comics Edition