"Thor. I heard you were dead." - Rulk
"I heard you were green. Monster. It matters little... ...since by morning's light, THOU WILT BE DEAD!" - Thor
"Yeah. About that. You're welcome to give it a whirl... .. but it's going to be a LONG night." - Rulk
Simply bad ass. When Thor returns from his long absence from Earth expecting to confront a World War Green Hulk, he instead steps up as the next Red Hulk challenger in HULK Issue #5 "Rolling Thunder". While so many in the Marvel Universe would dread such a confrontation, the Rulk doesn't even flinch. Red studied and prepared for such a contingency and learned how to exploit certain weaknesses of the blonde haired warrior and his mighty hammer Mjolnir... so much so he was brazen and brash enough to mock a God. "Did I happen to mention I don't believe in gods?" Rulk roared.
This arrogantly drenched dialogue of the Red Hulk penned by Jeph Loeb is a key factor in what made the Rulk such a permanent iconic character in the Marvel Universe. Just the concept of speaking such disrespect to the greatly respected God of Thunder alone invited readers to relish in the red beast's irreverent behavior. And then to back up those words with action as the Red Hulk dismantled Thor's attack and used his weapon against him, was an unbelievable feat that was thrilling to watch unfold. The Red Hulk's sinfully enjoyable cockiness and the gradual move from a "whodunit" to "who's next" storyline left readers actually rooting for the bad guy, which is task easier said than done and a deserved credit to Loeb.
Of course, superb action is handled no better than artist Ed 'Born to draw Rulk' McGuinness, and here it's more of the same. Exciting panel layouts and glorious double splash pages are all in abundance here, and while Ed draws a hell of an intimidating Rulk.. he even looks more sinister with an "X" shaped wound on his head left by a mighty blow of Thor's hammer.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
A general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned.
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