Monday, May 24, 2010

Hulk TPB 1: Red Hulk

I've heard all the complaints about this series by Jeph Loeb. And you know what, those criticisms are legit. This is big, loud, stupid, and doesn't really work in context of the Marvel U. But it is also fun. Seeing Rulk punch out the Watcher as a throwaway joke is funny. Seeing Rulk use Thor's hammer in space weakens Thor, but at least Loeb doesn't give Rulk a clean win. Thor is still very much in the fight.

This whole trade basically consists of Iron Man and some random heroes chasing Rulk around as he beats the crap out of them. That's not a complicated plot, but Loeb does make it entertaining. I think I'd like to see more from She-Hulk rather than standing around and complaining, but I can't complain about his take on Iron Man or the regular Hulk. I don't think we know who Rulk is even now, but at least the weird appearances by Doc Samson have been explained. (SHIELD finds his ripped clothes and he shows up once in his evil "Samson" persona. It's a dumb idea, but at least it is explained.) I'm totally confused why Loeb felt it was necessary to turn Rick Jones into the new Abomination "A-Bomb." The ideas in this trade are so simple and nonsensical that I think a kid could write it. But there is a kid's sense of fun present too. Say what you want about the story, but seeing Hulk, Rulk, A-Bomb, Thor, Thing, Namor, She-Hulk, Ares, and more cracking the Earth's crust while beating the crap out of each other is pretty exciting.

The art by Ed McGuinness makes the book. If his electric pencils weren't blowing the pages apart with powerful Hulk punches, this book wouldn't be half as fun. It's weird, I'm obviously really behind in my Hulk reading, but this trade actually gets me excited to try and catch up on what's happening with the guy. The Hulk universe has really expanded since I dropped these monthlies, what with Red Hulks, Red She-Hulks, Falling Hulks, Hulk Wars, Amazing Hulks, and so on, but I think I will track them down and see what's going on.


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