Deja Vu but with more red
Red Hulk's space mission doesn't go exactly to plan, and he ends up on another planet where he fights people for others amusement.
It was actually a really fun issue, believe it or not. I do enjoy Jeff Parker's take on an almost "What If..." story featuring the Red Hulk. The book is fast paced, but not to the point where you feel lost or overwhelmed by what's happening. The art work is great on this issue as well. Carlo Pagulayan has some amazing, detailed art that makes you feel like you're right back in the world of Planet Hulk.
It is just a quick version of Planet Hulk, but at the end, when the locals start calling Red Hulk "Red King," I got a few shivers down the old spine. Why? Well, in Planet Hulk Red King is the name of the dictator of Sakaar that Hulk eventually beats. So, a part of me wonders... It may be a giant leap in logic, but is there a chance Red Hulk actually landed on Sakaar is the past? It's a giant jump in logic, I know, but it seems like there's more of a connection between these two stories than meets the eye. Red Hulk mentions that the transport that took him there wasn't Russian technology, so could it be alien? Was it a trap?
I love Planet Hulk. In fact, it's my favorite Hulk storyline of all time, and you'd think I'd be completely enamored with the same story, but with Red Hulk in it. Sadly, I wasn't. I felt myself comparing everything in the issue to something from the Planet Hulk story arc: from the mindroot, to the battle, to Red Hulk becoming king. It just felt like a very slimmed down version of Planet Hulk minus all the mysticism elements. I'm 50/50 on whether or not I liked the story, as a whole. Who am I kidding? I did like it. A second read through of the book made me realize that I don't care if it feels a bit like a rehash because the issue is just so darn good.
A large part of me wants to dislike this story, but I can't. This issue was a lot of fun, even if it did feel like a rehash of Planet Hulk with Red Hulk in Banner's place. I really hope there's a connection between the two stories and this two-parter isn't just "for fun." Jeff Parker has turned this book around and brought it back to life. He brought fun to the table, without going overboard. This book is no longer about "Who is the Red Hulk?" It's all about how can Ross redeem himself as a person and as a super-hero. I recommend this story whether you read Planet Hulk or not. You'll have fun, regardless.