THE RED HULK BLOG is BACK, at a brand new home!

Welcome back to the RED HULK BLOG! After 60 days of first experiencing show-stopping technical difficulties at our first home, I am pleased to announce the blog has returned at a brand new destination : REDHULKBLOG.com! While it was a laborous task to transfer all of the reviews and posts to our new home, I am happy to report that the daunting task has been completed and we’re ready to continue to bring you everything RULK on this Blog as well as Twitter. So without further delay, our first two posts are below which are the much awaited Reviews of HULK Issue # 43 and #44 featuring the talents of Jeff Parker and Patrick Zircher. Thanks for waiting! -A.J. A general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned. Follow the RED HULK BLOG on Twitter @ RedHulkBlog www.REDHULKBLOG.com

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Problems with the RED HULK BLOG

I apologize for the lack of updates, but I have been experiencing technical difficulties with the Red Hulk Blog. Anyone familiar with ComicVine knows their web interface is buggy to say the least. Now, since their latest update, I can no longer post pictures which has prevented two articles from being posted.

One way or another either here on ComicVine or elsewhere, I will resolve this issue. In the mean time, thank you for your patience.

-AJ
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RULK REPRINT : HULK Issue # 42 Review


HULK Issue # 42
Back on August 13th, 2011 I posted an advance review of HULK Issue # 42 "Hulk of Arabia Part One".  Considering this terrific issue finally hit comic book shelves this past Wednesday, I felt this post was deserving of a second printing.  At the bottom of the review I also added the variant cover, and some results of the beautiful coloring work by Rachelle Rosenberg. 
 
Other than a few minor detail complaints... (the Rulk should be drawn without eyebrows)...  (Rulk's eyes shouldn't appear white in some panels, only yellow)... I am extremely pleased with this new creative team!  And it's terrific to see the Red Hulk back in action with an artist who knows how to draw action. 

Here's the review: 

 

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of being able to read the 42nd issue of the HULK comic series "Hulk of Arabia Part One".   Due to hit comic stands October 5th, advanced copies in the form of an ashcan became available via this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego.   Smaller than a traditional comic with only black & white interior art, this marketing tool was distributed to a select few and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy.   What I found is the best Jeff Parker HULK issue to date.

General Fortean is out hunting Rulk again and it is not surprising that Ross is finally losing his patience with him.   At any time the Red Hulk can put Fortean out of commission permanently, yet he still pulls his punches, out of compassion for the obsessed General that so mirrors his formal self.   Yet, that compassion is slipping because his former comrade doesn't let up.   Then, suddenly, General Fortean lets up.   He not only backs off... he retreats.   Rulk ponders "he's not one to retreat in battle".

Are we done here General?

It’s not long before Annie, his life model decoy companion, calls the Red Hulk back to base camp with some news to report.   General Fortean received a transmission that an ex-Colonel, current mercenary Will Krugauer was killed in the Middle East.   Fortunately the transmission doesn’t concern Ross, Annie concludes. Ross responds "It concerns me".   Krugauer was his friend, and after gathering some intel, the Rulk abruptly leaves to enact revenge on the army who killed him.   Annie can't stop Ross and fears the worst.   She has no choice but to put a call through to Steve Rogers… "This is exactly what he's always feared would happen."  
 

Rulk seeks revenge

Writer Jeff Parker masterfully strikes all the right chords with "Hulk of Arabia Part One", a tale of good but flawed intentions, a tale of revenge and regret.   Parker understands and utilizes that it's the General's brash and arrogant selfish actions (which keeps him on the outside of the hero community looking in) that makes red giant so compelling.   Just when you think you can trust the Red Hulk, you can't, and Captain America is forced to send in the Secret Avengers to stop him.

Learning that artist Gabriel Hardman's last days of drawing the Rulk are approaching won't be troublesome one bit with Patrick Zircher on the job.   His superior art in this issue results in one fantastically drawn Red Hulk and associated characters.   The art is so well done that part of me wishes this book would stay in black and white, in fear that the coloring would diminish Zircher’s beautiful work.   His use of silohettes are terrific and his action scenes are outstanding, especially the panels drawn in the Red Hulk's perspective… like when his fists smash the Earth under some soldiers feet sending them flying into the air.

Parker’s and Zircher’s work combined has resulted in a perfect issue.   Can’t wait for Part Two.

 
 

 
 

5 out of 5 Stars 


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

 
HULK Issue # 42 Variant Cover
 
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RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 6


HULK Issue # 6

It was the legendary Albert Einstein who coined the phrase that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.   Yet it's apparent that in writer Jeph Loeb's universe, this principal does not exist... maybe a display of temporary insanity on Loeb's part while drafting "Blood Red" HULK Issue #6.   Unfortunately, Rulk’s first story-arc "Red Hulk" ends on a weaker note because of it.

What started out strong as a classic “whodunit” tale and transformed into an even stronger “who's next” thriller, Loeb finishes the arc in a somewhat anticlimactic, head-scratcher sort of way. In the previous issues #4 and #5, we witnessed an all powerful, unstoppable Red Hulk that was capable of (and executed) the defeats of both the Incredible Hulk and the all mighty Thor.   What was most fascinating was the Rulk didn't just overcome his opponents... he dominated them.. and conquered these titans with the simplest of ease.   What would decimate the most common enemy, Thor's repeated blows of his mighty hammer fell upon the Red Hulk with the impact of a mere nuisance versus the destructive force one would expect from the Thunder God.   And Rulk's ability to overcome the Banner Hulk so quickly and break the arm of the atomic powered beast was equally jaw dropping and impressive. 

Hulk versus Rulk, Round Two

Yet, in issue #6, not long after defeating the son of Odin, both Thor and Hulk come looking for some payback... certain to be a second helping of another Red Hulk beat down right?   Wrong.   Thor attacks the Red Monster with the same strategy as before, yet somehow achieves a different result. Suddenly, without any reasonable explanation from Loeb, the Rulk is no longer trouble for Thor regardless of the cosmic powered absorption ability that gives him quite the edge.   Inexplicably "nerfed", Thor gets devastatingly close to causing the Red Hulk's demise until the Green Hulk gets in his way.

"Unbelievable." Rulk confesses to Hulk.  "I'm big enough to admit that Thor had me on the ropes .. and in your stupidity, you may have just spared my life. "   

It doesn't make sense.   At least when the big green conquers the big red in his rematch, there is some reasoning applied to the different outcome: Hulk recognizes the Red Hulk is much like a radioactive core that can overheat with time, and uses that to his advantage.   But the hits the Hulk takes while waiting for Red to reach that boiling point are now much more ineffective.   Unfortunately, it would have been more logical (and gratifying) to simply see Thor and Hulk work together to bring the Red Hulk down.   Gratifying indeed.

Sweeping those frustrating gaps of logic aside, the plot does enjoyably thicken as we finally learn the mysterious Red Hulk is not working alone.   After the crimson giant's defeat, both General Ross and Leonard Samson surface showing their displeasure with Rulk's lack of progress.   They also stunningly reveal to have a hand in Red’s creation.   "We gave you everything you needed to destroy the green monster.   Everything.   Still you failed."   Intriguing.  

"...and worse, you failed yourself"

And there is no faltering in the artwork of Ed 'Born to draw Rulk’ McGuinness.   While I don't feel this issue is among his best work, his art remains a joy to behold.   His consistency in maintaining such a high level of quality is simply tremendous.  I just wish this story arc's conclusion matched that quality.
 

2.5 out of 5 Stars 


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

HULK Issue # 6 Variant Cover A
HULK Issue # 6 Variant Cover B


 

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TOY RULK : New Compound Hulk Action Figure!

Marvel and Hasbro has just announced a new addition to their popular MARVEL UNIVERSE toy line... an exclusive Compound Hulk figure!   Anyone who doesn't recall the Compound Hulk can refresh their memory by revisiting my review of his appearance in HULK Issue # 30 by clicking here :   http://www.comicvine.com/myvine/redhulk/rulk-review-hulk-issue-30/87-70197/

Here are the details:

MARVEL UNIVERSE SPECIAL EDITION COMPOUND HULK FIGURE What’s more powerful than Hulk and Red Hulk? The two Hulks combined into Compound Hulk! This 3 3/4" Marvel Universe figure recreates a memorable moment from this year’s HULK #30, when the two hulking enemies were combined into one red-and-green behemoth! The figure is based on the artwork of superstar artist Ed McGuinness, and his artwork adorns the special edition blister card and outer packaging of this one-of-a-kind figure!

(Ages 4 and up; Approximate Retail Price $11.00; Available through HasbroToyShop.com and Booth #302 at New York Comic Con)

 
Compound Hulk (loose)

Compound Hulk (packaged)
-A.J. 
A general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned.  
Follow the RED HULK BLOG on Twitter @ RedHulkBlog 
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ESSENTIAL RULK : Review of HULK Issue # 41


HULK Issue # 41

HULK Issue 41 "Omegex 3: Finality" marks the last issue of artist Gabriel Hardman's run as the penciler on this series.   While he’s incredibly gifted with a classic pulpy style, my relationship with Hardman’s work has been strained at best, specifically when it comes to his incarnation of the Red Hulk.   Drawing him with a stocky, swollen looking frame with a face often greatly lacking in detail, Hardman's Rulk often looked like one of those giant helium balloons you'd find in a Thanksgiving Day Parade down the streets of New York versus the powerful visual feast past artists have accustomed (maybe even spoiled) fans to.

But as the Red Hulk is about to meet his demise at the hands of the cosmic Omegex, this issue reveals it has really nothing to do with the Red Giant and everything to do with the man… Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross. So it's fitting that Hardman's swan song is an issue that allows him to draw what he draws best: Humans. Unequivocally, Gabriel Hardman draws a wonderful General Ross.   It's a fantastic artistic rendition, drawn full of heart. 

Ross and Annie
And Ross is the heart of this issue, the centerpiece of a superbly crafted story written by Jeff Parker that explores the emotional underpinnings of the man within the beast.   As Essential Rulk Issue #23 "Who is the Red Hulk?" masterfully chronicled the life changing events that drove a man down the road to become a monster, this gem of an issue works as a companion piece that explores how the boy became this man.   The results are sad, even poetically tragic, that will spur sympathy towards the long misunderstood hard ass General. 
We finally learn what happens to that mustache!

This is a tale that is most difficult to relive by Ross himself, who can no longer hide within his forever cold and hardened shell.   Buried memories so easily exposed by the advanced being Zero-One haunts Thaddeus, yet he proceeds because he realizes all of humanity.. not just his repressed emotional safety.. may be on the line.   So he tries to win Zero-One over for us, knowing he won't win against the Omegex just like any other challenge he's faced.   As Zero-One puts it to the Red Hulk... "This is all cyclical. cyclical loss.   You lose to the hulk.   You lose your daughter to him.   Year after year, you lose."   But thanks to Parker, issue after issue, the readers win.   This one's essential.   Pick it up.


4.5 out of 5 Stars 


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

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RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 5


HULK Issue # 5

"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.  

Thor meets his match

 
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. 
 

A menacing sight
It all results in an action packed hell of a ride.   Loads of fun. 

4.5 out of 5 Stars 


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

HULK Issue # 5 Variant A
HULK Issue # 5 Variant B 2nd Printing

 

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RULK TV : Red Hulk debuts on television at last!!


Already a great series in it's own right, a trailer has now hit the web for Season Two of AVENGERS: EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES.  This time, among it's cast of characters, it features the long awaited televison debut of no one other than General Thaddeus Ross as the Red Hulk! 
 
Check out these Screenshots: 
 

Red Hulk debuts on television at last!


 

Hulk versus Rulk
 
And here is the link to the Trailer : http://www.twitvid.com/1ATDB 
 
 
-A.J. 
A general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned.  
Follow the RED HULK BLOG on Twitter @ RedHulkBlog
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RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 40

HULK Issue # 40

In HULK Issue #40 "Omegex: Part Two", writer Jeff Parker spins an unexpectedly interesting tale.   The battle between the two incredible titans Red Hulk and Omegex trumpeted on the cover are never in the forefront, but daringly become the backdrop to something a hundred times more subtle.   All the focus rests on the Red Hulk's enemy Zero-One and her struggle with her own identity, hinged on finding the answer to a single question that has eluded her purely logical mind:   Was her humanity worth losing?

Zero-One's appearance comes at a time when the Rulk is in grave danger of losing his life.   Onlookers Annie and the Watcher Uravo know it, General Fortean (who joins in on the Omegex's beat down of the Red Hulk) knows it, and even Ross knows it.   At the hands of the "walking apocalypse", this may be the Red Hulk's last stand.   But to understand herself, Zero-One feels she needs to understand the Rulk.   Both her and Ross have clearly evolved to greater beings. Yet, after effectively eliminating all their imperfections, why does the Red Hulk refrain from using his cosmic absorption powers in fear of losing his frail former humanoid self?   Why does he value the weaker state of being?   Why does he value humanity?   This does not compute with Zero-One, so she temporarily pulls Ross out of battle to comprehend his illogical ways.

Omegex has the upper hand

It's hard not to admire the risky, yet exceptional story writer Jeff Parker has written in these pages of HULK.   Zero-One's attempt at comprehending the value of humanity and all its frailties is a tale that feels worthy of a classic Star Trek episode, at its refreshingly best.   Will all fans of the Red Hulk enjoy this type of story? I'm not sure... but it's brave... and it would be difficult to imagine anyone not feeling moved when the Red Hulk pleads with Zero-One to be released back into battle to save his fallen former friend, while knowing the tremendous price he will pay for it.   And how cool was it finally understand Zero-One's presence at the Ross family farm in the opening of the previous issue?    Bravo Jeff.

When it comes to the art, this issue highlights artist Gabriel Hardman's biggest weakness.   While he's a terrific talent, and his panel layout is creative, battle scenes are just not Hardman's specialty and it clearly shows. His expertise is definitely more suited for the quieter moments and just doesn't give the monsters nor their carnage the power they deserve.   It's like a great pair of shoes that… while they’re extremely well made… just doesn’t quite match the outfit.


4 out of 5 Stars 


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

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RULK REVIEW : HULK Issue # 4


HULK Issue # 4

Once again, it's the amazing art of Ed McGuinness that reigns supreme in HULK Issue #4 "Red Light, Green Light" as the Red Hulk and the Green finally go mano-a-mano in a no holds barred battle to truly prove which Hulk is the strongest one there is.

Of course, the first ever confrontation between these two titans has various widespread implications in the Marvel universe, so much so that it has come to the attention of Uato the Watcher to observe.   BIG MISTAKE.   In a controversial move, Red Hulk's cosmic energy enables the arrogant beast drunk on power & rage to give Uato a fistful of dissent, giving him a beat down he never experienced nor will forget.   Repercussions for these actions are not even an afterthought when you consider yourself the most powerful force in the universe, so it's fortunate for the brutalized Watcher that the Green Hulk intervenes when he does...   leading to the main event between the two monsters with thunderous results.

 

A Red Hulk distracted

After successfully ripping through Abomination, Iron Man, She-Hulk, A-Bomb, Robot Harpies and a Helicarrier singlehandedly, writer Jeph Loeb successfully frames the intriguing question as he faces off with the Hulk.. can anyone stop the Red Hulk?   Big Red doesn't think so... "THERE'S NO ONE WHO CAN BEAT ME" Rulk roars.. and also reveals his true identity holds a lot of resentment towards the Hulk.   With lines like "For years all I wanted was to destroy you" and "I'm going to choke the life out of you, ending years of ruining other people's lives" Loeb gives the readers a taste of what hatred lingers in the dark corners of the Rulk's mind towards the green goliath.

"I've waited a long time for this!"

Albeit, while the story is still thin, its main design is to showcase the amazing artwork of Ed McGuinness.   Clearly put on this planet to draw the   Hulks, this battle royale of artistic brilliance leaves the reader staring at splash pages with awe much longer than any balloon of dialogue or narrative could hold one's attention.   The monsters' brute strength McGuinness conveys in their frames, feels like an abundance of power just barely contained by all the skin that holds the muscles in place.   And his sinister look of the Red Hulk remains unmatched.

 

A battle for the ages

Ending with an appearance of our favorite god of thunder teasing what the next Red Hulk challenger will be, this book is a very enjoyable read.   It may not be extremely deep... but it sure is fun.


4 out of 5 Stars 


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

HULK Issue # 4 Variant A
HULK Issue # 4 Variant B 2nd Printing

 

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