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

HULK (2008)

RULK REPORT : Marvel’s “Hulk Week” presents Q & A with writer Jeff Parker!

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In celebration of The Incredible Hulk’s 50th Anniversary (as well as General Ross’s), Marvel is launching a “Hulk Week” string of interviews featuring creators involved with the smashing goliath.  Today Marvel’s Tim Stevens interviews acclaimed Red Hulk writer Jeff Parker (found HERE)!

Without further ado, here is the interview:

Marvel.com: The Hulk is celebrating his 50th birthday this year. Can you recall your first exposure to the character?

Jeff Parker: Hulk just seemed to be always there. Kids can relate to him easily, that wanting to lash out and affect everything around them. I think that’s still how we relate to him years later.

Marvel.com: Looking back over the years, do you have a favorite era or incarnation of the Hulk?

Jeff Parker: I like early Hulk, when he’s a bit sinister and you don’t get the idea he’s dumb, he’s just being quiet deliberately.

Marvel.com: Do you draw on any depiction or characterization of The Hulk and General Ross for your work?

Jeff Parker: Yes, that early Hulk I just mentioned. That seems a good intersection point for the two men. Thinking and angry!

Marvel.com: How do you view Ross’s place in the Hulk’s history?

Jeff Parker: Ross still doesn’t like Banner; they just aren’t the kind of people who would ever be friends. But he definitely understands him as The Hulk now that he’s been living through the situation. He always thought that incredible power would be the key to control, but it’s very far from it.

Marvel.com: Looking specifically at your book, you are in the midst of the “Mayan Rule” arc. What does anyone looking to pick up the book right now need to know to be able to jump right in?

Jeff Parker: You need to know that longtime Hulk pal Rick Jones was turned into A-Bomb, the next incarnation of The Abomination, and that these Mayan figures tricked him into releasing them from an underground prison. You also might want to know that Alpha Flight are Canadian [heroes], but you don’t need much more background than that.

Marvel.com: How do you see this arc, and your run to date, changing Ross? What kind of personal evolution, if any, is he going through?

Jeff Parker: He always saw himself as the front line for humanity, keeping back the freaks and super weirdoes. And now he’s starting to see himself as one of them, even if he can’t get along with many of his fellow powered folk.

Marvel.com: If, somehow, the Red Hulk survives “Mayan Rule” where are you hoping to take him next?

Jeff Parker: Classified!

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RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 53 by talents Jeff Parker and Dale Eaglesham!

Rick Jones is always getting into trouble.  The same young man who was responsible for unleashing the world-breaking Incredible Hulk upon the Earth (and paving the way for the genesis of every Hulk currently in existence) is now responsible for freeing some evil, dormant Mayan Gods who might just bring our age to a burning apocalypse… or some other fate equivalent in nastiness.  Yes, someone at S.H.I.E.L.D. should strongly consider locking this Jones boy up and throwing away the key!  Yet along with the Red Hulk, Machine Man and the Alpha Flight team, Rick (transformed into A-Bomb) instead tries to remedy the fate befalling us due to his ineptitude… and put a stop to the Mayan doom he brought upon the world.

Writer Jeff Parker sets up an interesting story-arc in HULK Issue # 53 “Mayan Rule, Part One: Bloodletting“.  Taking advantage of the timely concerns held by some that the end of the world is coming based on the Mayan calendar, Parker craftily strikes while the iron is hot when public awareness is at its peak (regarding this real world upcoming Mayan cataclysmic event.)  Chock full of magic, bloodletting, human sacrifices, mystical mind control and a heaping load of superheroes, there is plenty of excitement to be had… which reads more like a Marvel “The Next Big Thing” Event (than a character book that focuses on the chronicles of the Red Hulk.)

Yet there in lies one of this issue’s problems.  Ross and his red alter ego takes a major backseat to the events and the characters that surround him.  Replacing the main Hulk logo with an “Alpha Flight” title might even seem more applicable here.  And while Jeff Parker remains the ultimate weaver of well constructed stories, the way the events leading into this issue’s present day can be uncharacteristically confusing.  In this order… the story contains a flashback, followed by a later flashback, followed by the A-Bomb in real time describing too briefly the events that occurred prior to both flashbacks… all based on an old A-Bomb backup story one may have trouble recalling told back in HULK Issue # 31.  You won’t be alone if you find yourself skipping back a few panels asking yourself “what did I just read?”

Artist Dale Eaglesham is quite a talent. While he seems to alternate back and forth from a properly drawn Rulk (one without eyebrows) to a Red Hulk with scraggily gray hairs above his eyes, the powerful frame he gives the crimson beast is quite delightful and imposing. Dale also gives the Red Hulk a military cut of hair that really suits the Ross alter ego, and looks extremely sharp.

Dale Eaglesham definitely seems to be born to draw Alpha Flight. The way Dale draws these underappreciated characters is outstanding, and he may just well hold the prestigious honor of drawing the best Sasquatch and Puck to ever grace a comic book page. And who could not love the double page splash of this team, accompanied by the Rulk and crew as they ascend upon the mysterious new Canadian Mayan temple?

The unique borders Eaglesham adorns around various panels of this book is spectacular.  They resemble Mayan aged-old hieroglyphics which demand recognition for its sheer creativity, as well as the fascinating cover for this issue.

Sadly however, in an unfortunate move, the solicitation trumpeting the next installment’s cover (issue # 54 hitting stands in two weeks) prematurely revealed this issue’s shocking ending, ultimately dulling the blow of Jeff Parker’s otherwise dramatic and climactic punch.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

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


NEW RULK : HULK Issue # 53 and AVENGERS vs X-MEN Issue # 5 is out today!


HULK Issue # 53

Writer: Jeff Parker
Penciller (cover): Dale Eaglesham
Orig. Published:  June 06, 2012
Imprint: MARVEL UNIVERSE
Rating: T+
Format: Comic
UPC: 5960605992-05311
Price: $2.99

The Story:
The Mayan Gods are here! Guest starring Alpha Flight, Machine Man, She-Hulks, A-Bomb!


AVENGERS VS XMEN Issue # 5

Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciller (cover): Jim Cheung
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Orig. Published:  June 06, 2012
Format: Comic
UPC: 5960607748-00511
Price: $3.99

The Story:
The fiery conclusion of Act One is here! Clashing on a lunar battlefield, the tide of the conflict will be turned…



RULK PREVIEW : HULK Issue # 53 by Jeff Parker and Dale Eaglesham!


RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 52 by Jeff Parker and Carlo Pagulayan

WARNING : There is a MAJOR SPOILER in this review, so stop right here if you’ve yet to read this outstanding issue.  Get your @#$ to the comic book store now, enjoy all the goodness that is Jeff Parker’s HULK and we’ll wait for you here!  Now, without further ado…

In this oh so enjoyable issue of HULK #52 “I  am Legion“, the Red Hulk takes on the final lap of his quest to rid himself of the evil apparition that has latched onto him ever since the events of Circle Of Four.  After successfully ridding himself of the “haunts” that were unleashed upon him in the last issue, Dr. Strange now leads the Rulk through a subterranean network called Monster Metropolis to find the underground lab run by the Legion of Monsters, a team of creatures that do their best to enforce law in the monster world.  With the help of some “strange” enchantments, a key member of the Legion may be able to trap the menacing apparition that wants Ross dead… and even identify it.  And once its identity is revealed, Dr. Strange is confident the excavation of this menacing spirit will be elementary, finally relieving Ross of his supernatural burden.

Writer Jeff Parker crafts a simply wonderful conclusion to his “Haunted Hulk” storyline, an issue that gratifyingly has it all.  The opening is all action, where Parker throws monster upon goulishly delicious monster at the Rulk… and at the Legion’s Manphibian and Werewolf who quickly come to the Red Hulk’s aid when the situation starts looking bleak.  Much like how L.M.D.s and androids appeal to Thad’s cold and efficient human side, it’s terrific how Ross relates to the Legion team with his alternate monstrous side.. leaving only interaction with humans and their super powered freaks as undesirables.  Parker also recognizes that Ross is the ultimate comedic straight man, a fact that Jeff exploits wonderfully thanks to some sadistic humor by Manphibian which results in a more than hilarious payoff.  It begs you to wonder how many other writers in comics can actually make you laugh out loud like this?

We’ll get to the satisfying conclusion momentarily, but the amazing “wow factor” spurred on by the numerous wonderful beasts that artist Carlo Pagulayan creates reaches a heavenly critical mass in this issue.  His genius talent of bringing such glorious monsters to life almost has me convinced these ghoulish creatures actually live in Pagulayan’s basement, only to pose for the mighty Carlo for panels in this very arc!  They’re all so brilliant, as well as Pagulayan’s rendition of the Red Hulk (that already has garnered tons of praise.)  His Legion of Monsters is superb too, proving when Carlo is drawing various monstrosities… look out… because this talent is really in his element!  Now while some of the color choices are odd and confusing (a green colored hand that appears to be Manphibian’s swipes at the throat of a banshee… yet reveals to be the Werewolf’s) Val Staples hits more than he misses.  These monsters are colored beautifully.

The conclusion of this issue finally reveals the long awaited identity of the ghost that has plagued the Red Hulk for so long, with absolutely thrilling results. Shockingly… the spectre is revealed as no one other than… Dark Samson, the evil alter ego of Dr. Leonard Samson!

The big reveal brought a level of anticipation and excitement to the read that has been rarely matched in comics today. And the fascinating nature of Dark Samson’s return asks more questions than it answers, a testament to writer Jeff Parker’s craft.  What are we suggesting here when a shadow of Samson’s evil alter ego (that should have passed on with his spirit) was actually capable of latching on to traces of gamma radiation left by Rulk’s brief visit to the underworld, allowing him to begin reconstituting himself?  Could all gamma beings have this capability, a chance at immortality?  Does it only apply to gamma beings who haven’t passed on peacefully?  Why couldn’t the gamma infused Abomination attempt the same feat, or did the essence of Dark Samson simply get to the traces of gamma radiation first?  Enquiring fans want to know, and will be debating the implications for years to come.

Jeff Parker’s magnificent decision to return the dead Leonard Samson into the fray (as well as the method behind the evil doctor’s resurrection) is drenched in brilliance.  Issues like this reveal Parker at his best: A story telling mastermind… especially when his tales draw from the distant echoes of the past.  Much like re-exploring the mental reconnection between Ross and Zzaxx to the repercussions of assaulting a Watcher, when Parker weaves in threads of the Red Hulk’s past into today’s storied tapestry, Jeff reaches a new level of awe, excitement and fascination.  It pours the reader a glass full of comic wonder… and craftily reminds us why we loved comics in the first place.

5 out of 5 Stars 

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


NEW RULK : HULK Issue # 52 is out today!

In Stores:  May 23, 2012
Imprint: MARVEL UNIVERSE
Rating: T+
Format: Comic
UPC: 5960605992-05211
Price: $2.99

The Story:
General Ross is being haunted by ghosts from his past. but WHOSE ghosts are they?
Red Hulk wants answers, but so do. RAIZO KODO and THE FORGIVEN?!?!
Does salvation lie in the hands of the LEGION OF MONSTERS?


RULK PREVIEW : HULK Issue # 52 by Jeff Parker and Carlo Pagulayan!

After a brief stint at being a monthly release, Jeff Parker’s HULK returns to a twice a month publication schedule! So here is the preview of next week’s issue, HULK # 52 by writer Jeff Parker and artist Carlo Pagulayan!