Before I even bother with this review, yes – I knew that the Red Hulk’s identity would not be revealed in this issue – in fact, Loeb said in an interview that it would not be revealed until sometime in 2010 – but I’m not holding my breath, we’ve been lied to before. As in… this is the Hulk’s 600th issue… no matter how you add it up this is not the Hulk’s 600th issue! It’s either very close to 600 – or over – or not even close.
Let’s get this over with, shall we? Already, this comic begins with Ben Urich saying he will never print this story… why couldn’t Loeb have taken a cue from his own writing? Now, Ben recounts where WWH (another disappointing Hulk story) left off – with Stark shooting the Hulk with the laser (although, it totally forgets to mention that the Hulk TOLD Stark to do so!) and how Ross took Banner away. Then Urich meets She Hulk in a parking garage where she asks him to look into who the Red Hulk is. He agrees to look into it – and he also brings Peter Parker with him to take photos. Samson meets up with everyone holding radiation suite for Parker and Urich – he also has short hair and keeps mentioning that they have to move before “he” comes back. As they go through the sewers and make it inside Gamma Base where we see A-Bomb (missing since issue #6), Ross (same), M.O.D.O.C.K. (what? when did? what the?) and Banner (when was he captured?).
Suddenly Samson says “HE” is coming and She Hulk looks to see Samson is now long-haired and he says “Good Doctor is out – Bad Doctor is in!” (I want to stop reading here – drive to Loeb’s house and ask for my money back – ALREADY!) Well the two start to brawl but MODOCK puts a quick end to that but that’s when Urich comes face to face with the Red Hulk. As the Crimson Idiot is reaching for Urich Spiderman saves the day. There is a pretty funny Watchmen reference – I admit, I laughed – I won’t spoil it though. Spiderman takes on the Red Hulk in a huge splash page (I know, a splash page in Hulk? McGuiness is doing splash pages? Crazy talk!) Anyways, MODOCK, in an attempt to shoot Spiderman accidentally releases A-Bomb.
The Red Hulk finally catches Spiderman only to be seen by Banner who is in a Luke Skywalker type bubble bath and he hulks out to help Spiderman. The Hulks face off and slam into a wall that opens the gamma core and starts a meltdown. Then, in the most brilliantly asinine plot device, the Red Hulk uses his made up “absorbing” power that was just introduced in the last issue of the Hulk to completely drain the Hulk right out of Banner. The Red Hulk then states “Bruce Banner can never turn into the Hulk again” (This is where I wanted to drive to Loeb’s house, ask for my money back, buy the comic from him, then ask for my money back all over again) If he could have done this before – then why did he try to kill the Hulk with a gun in issue #4? Why didn’t he just drain him then? Or how about when when he killed the Hulk in issue #10? Why didn’t he just drain him then? Why? WHY? What kind of sense does any of this make?
As Gamma Base is about to blow Spiderman saves Urich, A-Bomb saves Banner, and the Crimson Idiot stays with She Hulk and Samson as the place blows sky-high! This non-event issue ends with Urich being confronted by The Crimson Idiot in the parking garage where She Hulk first met up with him. He tells him to bury the story – and then gives goes into a diatribe about the Hulk destroying buildings in his rampages – and what if he did it to a building that housed the people Ben Urich cared about. Is that supposed to be a reason to bury the story? Was it a threat? Who knows? Urich says there is a war coming. All I know is that the Hulk’s landmark premature 600th issue had the Hulk in only 4 pages. 4. And then was defeated and killed off. Again, the Hulk was killed in his own book in less than a few months.
Onto the grade… what can I say? I could care less who the Crimson Idiot is at this point – the whole story has lost my interest and this issue didn’t spark any more interest. I read out of loyalty and that is it. I wish I cared more. Who knows Loeb may surprise everyone in the end – but I doubt this will pan out positively. Grade: D