Hulk #23 - The Origin of the Red Hulk
This star-studded issue filled with Hulk artists of the past was… well, enjoyable. Enjoyable – but classic Loeb stupidity. Since this series has began there are many, many simple questions that Loeb has ignored in place of telling ridiculous, flashy stories that really make no sense when someone with half a brain thinks about it for half a second. If this series went the original 6 issues as it was supposed to – then maybe we would all be singing a different tune – because, again, the whole idea is pretty decent!
Ross vs the Robot!
First off – let me get right into the stories – then I will talk about the art – we begin with a flashback of a teenage Ross who got into a terrible accident where he was pronounced dead – and then his condition was upgraded to “still alive” – but the doctor said he would never walk again – and then he did. These events made Ross hate all Doctors. Because they gave a professional opinion – and it turned out to be not true… man, I wonder how Ross feels about weather men?
But then Ross wakes up present day and is faced with the Cosmic Hulk Robot. Where the heck did Betty go? Weren’t they just fighting? Didn’t they just get reunited? I know Betty went to help Bruce, but WTF? She just leaves her father alone, drained of all power, in a crashing Hell-Carrier?
Buscema makes an outstanding showing!
Back to another flashback – where Ross first meets the Hulk – and he admits that he actually coveted the Hulk’s power. Which makes sense, since he spent so much time trying to destroy it. By the way – the last comment is to be said laced with sarcasm… Ross recounts his many ways of trying to capture the Hulk – and even the first time he aligned himself with M.O.D.O.K.
Ross as Redeemer - getting his catatonic ass handed to him...
Ross takes some power from the Cosmic Hulk Robot and Hulks out, ripping the robot in half. Ross also recounts when the Leader used his body and turned him into the Redeemer. Even though it seemed he was catatonic – he actually had his wits about him. He liked the power he had – the power to destroy the Hulk – but was angry he couldn’t use it at the time… so when Leader and M.O.D.O.K. come calling again with promises of power – real power – Ross agrees. Now, with the events of WWH, where the Hulk is hit with the satellite ray – it didn’t knock him out, but instead, compromised by the Leader and Co., it drained the Hulk’s energy and collected it into the cathexis ray.
And thus the Red Hulk is born! The events of the Hulk series are now recounted – including what really happened to Quartermain. And the events of the Red Hulk killing “himself” in the Redeemer suit. Which still makes absolutely no sense – I don’t get why Banner and Ross had to stage the Ross death – other than unconvincingly trying to trick the readers? We also see the Leader – who we thought got away in TIH #610 – but actually Ross caught up to him and drained his power, leaving him a weak, stupid man. But he’s been that way before and was able to turn himself back into the Leader – so I don’t think this is the last we will see of him. The end of the issue is where we are left with classic Loeb idiocy. We learned that Talbot was not an L.M.D. – Cho told Banner this… but we are left with the Red Hulk holding the robotic head of Talbot… so how the he ll is this possible? Oh right – because Loeb is too busy patting himself on the back to concern himself with continuity… So, the story? It’s about as good as this series has been. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you put even a small amount of thought into it.
Why is his hand so freakin' huge?
Now the art? I am not usually a fan of different artists taking parts in the same book – but it worked alright here. The highlights being Buscema, Churchill, and Deodato. I think Keown’s double page was too brief and a little boring – Sale’s part was too close to his Gray series – I mean, did he even do new artwork for this issue? I’ll have to take a look – but it’s really close to the art we saw in the mini – McG does some stellar stuff – but goodness gracious – he makes the Red Hulk;s hand WAY TOO BIG in those last pages – it just looks silly at some points! Leinil Yu’s stuff is pretty nice as well – but the JRJR stuff is terrible in comparison! Well, that’s it. All the secrets are out! And it’s obvious that Loeb not only needed the help in telling a coherent story – but he needs to stop patting himself on the back for this jumbled mess. Thanks for the answers – but seriously? This ride was terrible. This issue gets a: C-