Red Fear (Spoiler)
If ever there was a defining issue for a new Avenger (as opposed to a New Avenger) it was this one. I have honestly felt that Fear Itself (just like Chaos War, Dark Reign, Secret Invasion, Civil War and House of M before it) has WAY too many extraneous tie-ins and spin-offs, after all we don't need a story arc about a team or character in their book AND a limited series about them too. Additionally, while I have not been a huge Hulk collector over the years, I have specifically hated General Ross. His singular hatred for Bruce Banner and the Hulk went so far beyond his desire to protect his daughter (unsuccessfully I might add).
But with this Fear It installment, we saw the true test and shining moment of an American hero. Despite a personal invitation to the team from Steve Rogers, Red Hulk has not been exactly welcome in the Avengers ranks. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they don't know he's a high ranking US Army General (which I think Spider-man has some nerve having an issue with RH keeping his identity a secret), but a large portion of the problem is the terrible stigma that comes with all those that have Hulk-related abilities. I would think that Hulk's founding member status would carry SOME weigh as would all the good that Bruce Banner has done, but I suppose not. Well, any issues or reservations that *I* had are gone and I can only hope that after the dust settles, General Ross is still with us to enjoy this new found respect from his teammates.
And he was given the perfect enemy to prove his "worth" against: the newly Worthy Ben Grimm aka Future Foundation and New Avenger member Thing. He dropped in and made the honorable move and asked him to surrender knowing full well it would never happen and then proceeded to take one of the most brutal poundings a Hulk has ever endured. This man, having no really allegiance to any of these teammates of his, is a true hero who stood up for his team 100% and never backed down, taking blast after blast from Angrir's enchanted meat tenderizer. Even with having Avengers Tower toppled on top of him he refused to give up until his last breath. A breath, I might add, that could have been take in Connecticut or Pennsylvania for all we know as the reward for his heroics was to be blown across the Manhattan sky to parts unknown.
Based on the interviews at the beginning of the issue, it looks like his deeds have gained him the respect and trust of his team mate, but let us just hope that the cost wasn't too high and that trust and respect aren't too little too late.