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