Friday, January 17, 2014

Better read than Red, I think.

Is there a name for when you should re-read a book you didn't even like that much, just because you think you may have missed something, that may not be there anyway? I felt that way when I finished Hulk No More, a hardcover collection written by Jeph Loeb, with art by Ed McGuinness, Ian Churchill, and Whilce Portacio.

This was one of the books I picked up from Hastings for $2.99 a while back, and I just got around to flipping through it. I mentioned when I got that Red Hulk figure that I hadn't read any Red Hulk comics, so here we go: this contains Hulk #10-18 and #600. These stories all feature the Red Hulk, whose identity was still a secret at the time.

The good: The art is all pretty solid, but Ed McGuinness has a lot of fun in his sections. There's a Defenders reunion of sorts, as the Grandmaster and the Collector play a game, with the Collector picking the Red Hulk and his "Offenders" Tiger Shark, Baron Mordo, and Terrax the Tamer. Later, the Red Hulk puts together another team, with the Punisher, Deadpool, the Crimson Dynamo, and Elektra; three of whom would later join Red Hulk in his Thunderbolts. The Red She-Hulk makes her first appearance in these issues as well, with a couple of red herrings (so to speak!) but in retrospect her and Red Hulk's identities seem obvious. Did anyone guess right at the time?

The bad: The Red Hulk is kind of a dick. Wait, strike "kind of." He's judgmental, mean-spirited, a hypocrite and a cheat and a liar. Previous issues featured Red Hulk punching out the Watcher and beating Thor, and this book features him murdering the Defenders, then cruising around on the Silver Surfer's board with Terrax's ax. It's probably supposed to seem like a "Hell yeah!" moment, but just seems dickish. He also chases Domino around during the second portion of the book, for possibly having seen his true identity, and it very much seems like he's more than willing to murder her to protect his secret.

Also protecting the Red Hulk's secret? Jeph Loeb, since there is a scene where the Red Hulk and his secret identity are in the same place! Shades of Silver Age Superman, it was a S.H.I.E.L.D. Life Model Decoy robot, or some sort of hallucination, and a huge cheat! The Red Hulk also has some sort of boss, and may not be completely responsible for his actions, but other times seems either a loose cannon or completely devoted to his mission. And Doc Samson is turned into the villainous "Bad Doctor." I suspect he went bad just to seem worse than the Red Hulk.

I wasn't entirely impressed with this one, but that may be in part because I find the Red Hulk unlikable. We'll flip through it again some other time...

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Oh fuck yeah he ws a dick. Kinda' still is, just softened up a good bit after the last chewing out he got from Cap when he was an Avenger. How the hell did that happen anyways? Didn't She-Hulk and Bruce fill Cap and the rest of em in on how much of a royal, hulk-sized douche Ross ws at that point? Thor?

Anyhoo, I have those Ed McGuinness Defender/Offender War issues, and they're awesome! You can clearly tell McGuinness had just as much fun drawing those issues as I did reading them. Just a huge retro vibe all the way through. Then I was done after that. Poor Hulk though. Having to watch jarella die a second time? Fuck.