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

M.O.D.O.K.

RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 38

HULK Issue # 38

Manhattan is going down.   As waves of Sin’s invasion army push through the city leaving complete utter devastation in its wake, the massive forces of evil drive forward to finish what the Worthy Thing has started.   The Red Hulk failed to stop them… the Avengers Tower has been destroyed… and it’s estimated that the city will fall in 2.3 hours.   Then all of it will be gone.   All of it.
 

No. It. Will… NOT!!!!” M.O.D.O.K screams as he stands his ground and creates a frontline!   “All Life Model Decoys!   Report to my location with PLASMA RIFLES! And Discharge ZZZAX!!

It is simply thrilling to see the new M.O.D.O.K. finally get a hell yeah moment in HULK Issue #38 “Planet of Fear Part Two“.   Writer Jeff Parker enjoyably has our favorite mental organism designed only for killing taking names and kicking ass, saving New York and its citizens in the process.   His deeds are justified (of course) by concluding that no one should conquer the world but he and no one should kill the Rulk but he, which is why M.O.D.O.K stops Zero/One’s assassin Black Fog from dealing a final death blow to a vulnerable Red Hulk moments before.   But for whatever the reasons, his actions are ultimately heroic and his come and get some attitude is just plain infectious and so much fun.   By the way, the new M.O.D.O.K digs chicks now too.   After sharing a quite logical mind merge with Zero/One and coming to the realization that it was his evil actions that created her, the large headed villain becomes quite infatuated with his shapely counterpart.   “I think I’m in love“.   A new M.O.D.O.K. indeed.

M.O.D.O.K. saves the Red Hulk

M.O.D.O.K. saves the Red Hulk

 

Where the previous issue felt like filler and manufactured, designed to lure new readers following the Fear Itself Marvel cross-over event into the fold of the Red Hulk saga, Jeff Parker manages the second tie-in to continue his terrific story and actually benefit from it.   Waving away my previous complaints, Fear Itself no longer felt forced upon this series, rather just woven and symbiotic, something that is hardly achieved in cross-overs like this.

Parker’s great work is complimented by the artistic talent of Elena Casagrande.   While her renditions of the Red Hulk leave much to be desired, Casagrande seems she was born to draw the new M.O.D.O.K.   And considering the killing organism was the centerpiece of this issue, she was definitely in her element of excellence.

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 # 37

HULK Issue # 37Cross-over tie-ins have one ultimate purpose: to boost sales. Marvel creates universe event after universe event in an effort to encourage readers to buy comic titles that they wouldn’t usually purchase, in order to grasp the entire, often cataclysmic unfolding story. With any luck, a new reader will find the added title so interesting that they will continue to pick up the book, long after the cross-over event has ended. You’ll be hard pressed to find a comic more blatantly obvious in serving this purpose than HULK Issue #37 “Planet of Fear Part One“. 
 
 

Thinly disguised as a new story, the recap of the entire recent history of the Red Hulk is mostly told through the words of the villainous M.O.D.O.K., who comes to the obvious (and conveniently timed) conclusion that knowing your enemy is the key to defeating your enemy. So what do we learn in this book? General Ross was so obsessed with destroying the Hulk he conspired with M.O.D.O.K. to become one? Check. Banner ultimately stopped the Rulk and now he works with the Avengers towards redemption? Check. Ross feels isolated? He cares deeply for the female LMD Annie? He’s worried if he continues to absorb the power of his enemies, he’ll never be able to return to his human form? Check. Check. Check. Writer Jeff Parker covers every aspect of the Rulk’s past so well that new readers will feel “up to speed” and in great shape to stick with the HULK comic long after the conclusion of “Fear Itself“. With the great lack of new material, the already loyal Red Hulk fans are the only ones who will feel slighted here.  
 

"I expect you would not"

“I expect you would not”

 

When it comes to the actual “Fear Itself” storyline, it’s practically non-existent. Except for some meaningless filler where Hawkeye and Mockingbird spectate the ensuing attack of Sin and the Worthy Thing, there’s really nothing of substance here that wasn’t told substantially more in AVENGERS Issue # 14. 

Fill-in artist Elena Casagrande does a solid job with this book. While there’s nothing terribly inspiring about her work, there’s nothing terrible either and she’s certainly at her best when drawing the sinister M.O.D.O.K.. Carlo Pagulayan does a nice job with the cover, which makes me miss his work after the spectacular two issue run the artist served HULK several months back. But none of this takes away from the “been there, done that” retread feel of this issue. 

After “Fear Itself” and assumingly “Planet Red Hulk“, we’ve been hitting many corporate mandated speed bumps as of late, breaking up the flow of Parker’s well crafted story. Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of them for a while. 
 

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


RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 36

HULK Issue # 36Ross is dreaming about death.   Calling them bad dreams is an understatement… but these nightmares have been feeling so real that they appear like premonitions… so the Rulk is compelled to investigate.   What the Red Hulk and his life model decoy Annie find is he has actually been viewing killings through the eyes of the evil entity Zzzax… becoming an unwilling spectator to the people the electrifying villain lays to waste.   But why?

 

After a side-step with the poorly concluded Planet Red Hulk, writer Jeff Parker’s HULK Issue # 36 “Shock to the System” puts the series back on track and marks the return of both Zzzax and the devious M.O.D.O.K., finally revealing to the red behemoth that he has returned despite the aftermath of “World War Hulks”.   As with the Rulk’s previous violent interaction with The Watcher, Parker takes another thread from the past of Thaddeus Ross and explores its ramifications again, one being why such a mental link between Rulk and Zzzax now exists. 

''Why.. am I... seeing myself?

”Why.. am I… seeing myself?

 

Also, for someone who hates LMD’s, it’s nice to see the close relationship Ross has formed with Annie, which is no doubt a product of the disgraced General’s loneliness.   The most compelling piece of Parker’s tale is the offer from M.O.D.O.K. to Rulk to re-form their now broken alliance.   It almost seems… just for a moment… that Ross considers it. 

The great work of Parker is evenly matched here by artist Patrick Zircher.   Zircher does a real terrific job in this issue and manages to maintain the same artistic, greatly praised tone that Gabriel Hardman started back in Issue 30.1.   When drawing the caricature of Red Hulk is concerned, Zircher actually is better than Hardman, surpassing the simplicity and adding the necessary facial details that Hardman’s Rulk lacked.   All of his talents makes this issue a real feast for the eyes… and assists in making a great book entirely.  

4 out of 5 Stars  
 
-A.J. 
A general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned.  


ESSENTIAL RULK : Review of HULK Issue # 23

As a young man, Thaddeus E. Ross was involved in a plane crash that nearly took his life.  Doctors said he’d never recover.  Doctors said he’d never walk again.  But with sheer will and determination he proved all the experts wrong. Thaddeus Ross rehabilitated himself to perfect health and subsequently lost all respect for anyone who referred to themselves as ”doctor”.  Enter Doctor Bruce Banner.
  
So begins General Ross’s recollection of key moments in his life which led him to this pivotal point in time… this point in history.  Lying half-naked on the floor, powerless, his old tired human form crawling down a dark cold corridor of a Hellcarrier with a cosmic hulk lurking after him, while the white house was under attack.  How did it come to this…?
 
”Who is the General Ross” is so much more an accurate description of this outstanding 23rd issue of HULK than ”Who is the Red Hulk”.  Ross’ best moments, and his worst, are compellingly recalled in the General’s own words that led him to this fall from grace, a life riddled with good but flawed intentions.  From struggling with his feelings towards his daughter Betty (both in life and in death) to his blind vengeful obsession to bring down the Hulk once and for all, the real breaking point came when his true love had fallen apart. His country.  It was broken. It had turned to hell, and the assassination of Captain America, maybe the one superhero he truly secretly admired, was more than likely the last straw.  Up was down.  Right was wrong.  And making some unholy alliances and becoming the one thing he hated the most, a red version of the Hulk, seemed the best way for Ross to fix everything…. to bring his daughter back… to save the country.. and to finally destroy the Hulk. 
 
When it comes to the art, the dream team who worked on this comic speaks for themselves.  Ed Mcguinness, Dale Keown, Herb Trimpe, Ian Churchill, Tim Sale, John Romita JR., Mike Deodato, Sal Buscema and Leinil Francis Yu.  It’s quite an all-star lineup.  Often multiple artists working on the same book doesn’t quite work, but here it works masterfully.  Mcguinness’ art representing the current day while art like Tim Sale’s work represents flashbacks of the past is so wonderfully put together.  Bravo.

Red Hulk vs Cosmic Hulk

Red Hulk vs Cosmic Hulk
 
 
 
Ross transforms into Rulk

Ross transforms into Rulk
 
 
HULK Issue 23 is not just essential for Rulk fans, not just essential for Hulk fans, but essential reading for everyone who has a love for the Marvel Universe and the characters that live and breathe it.  This one shouldn’t be missed.
 
5 out of 5 Stars 
 
VARIANT COVERS:    
 
Hulk Issue #23 Variant