Hulk #23 (2010) – The Review

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? 

Keown's contribution...

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.

JRJR... WTF?

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-

Kubert Variant

15 responses to “Hulk #23 (2010) – The Review

  1. What I’ll NEVER buy in this Rulk story line is the Abomination being killed by a hand gun. If that’s the case any yahoo with the same gun can kill the Hulk….awe come on! Not to much thinking went into that part. Ha,ha, if Howard the duck can lift that gun, even he can kill Hulk, lol.

  2. One plot hole is the Leader teleported away from Bruce in 610 but didn’t do that here. Why didn’t Ross just drain away the Leader’s powers earlier? It could have made things alot easier. The LMD Talbolt problem is explainable. The real Talbolt exists but they used a LMD because if things went wrong people would think he is still dead and his connnection with the black ops remains unknown. It was for his safety and the protection of the group. Killing the Ross LMD was explained in Gamma as a way to prevent the Intel from having Ross’ goverment clearance. This is a poor motive. If the Intel is working with Talbot’s black ops that should not be a problem.

  3. God, this comic is a piece of crap. Did Loeb really have to kill off the Leader. There goes another classic Hulk villain. And he was my FAVORITE One!!! First Abomination, now Leader. Whats next Zzzax? Qnax? ABSORBING MAN?? The story wasn’t even good. It sure didn’t deserve a C-, more like Z-.
    Loeb can take his Red Hulk and shove it up his A$$. I’m sorry if I seem hostile btw, I just the fact that Loeb is of classic Hulk characters as if they were nothing. I’m so glad Jeph’s nightmarish Hulk title is coming to an end. Let him go ruin some other comic. Hopefully in DC.

  4. I made some spelling mistakes in the last sentences.
    Here is what I meant to say:
    I’m sorry if I seem hostile btw, I just the fact that Loeb is off classic Hulk characters as if they were nothing. I’m so glad Jeph’s nightmarish Hulk title is coming to an end. Let him go ruin some other comic. Hopefully in DC.

    There thats better.:)

  5. What makes everyone think the Leader doesn’t have a contingency plan in case Red Hulk decides to suck the gamma out of him?

    *shakes head*

    It’s not like the Leader hasn’t been de-powered this way before. I can count…oh, at least three other, distinct occasions.

    As for the plan, it wasn’t just about preserving Ross’ military clearance. Ross was to be the public face of the Intel’s plan. He couldn’t be seen to be in league with them because they were confirmed super-villains. Upon the defeat of the Hulked-Out Heroes and the 200 Red Hulks, Ross was to obtain control of the government per the Intel’s plan. He couldn’t do that if anyone knew he was the Red Hulk. He had to be seen as the straight-up military man who’d spent his life chasing off such threats.

    So Banner and Ross killing “Ross” in such a public manner meant that the Intel couldn’t dismiss the death in such a manner as they did behind-the-scenes in HULK #2. If another Ross came back, Twain-esque, it would be difficult to deny what happened. People would be asking all the wrong questions. (Remember Ross’ previous deaths were nowhere near such public affairs, that the public likely is largely unaware of them.)

    In the wake of Ross’ public death, instead, the Intel gave that role to Talbot, who as we see in this issue, is the Leader’s puppet. It seems the Leader had no intention of letting Ross have that kind of power without strings, or perhaps, at all.

    So of course, clearly the power has all gone to Ross’ head as since he’s absorbed all the power from the Cosmic Hulkbot and the Leader, he just went on live TV, smooshed “Talbot” (who, as ratchet said, is one helluva plothole) and declared himself in control of everything. Umm….yeah, General.

    ~G.

    • I was thinking the same thing about the Leader – as I mentioned in my post – he will be back I am sure.

      The public death of Ross still makes no sense – since no one was actually around to see it – and he beat up a L.M.D.

      I read you review Gary – great stuff – although, I did see that you thought the mustache debacle was pretty well done – but I see it differently. Sure – when he hulks out the mustache and eyebrows could burn off – but then why doesn’t his head of hair burn too? And how does the mustache grow back so prominently? Boo! Boo, I say!

      I do agree with your Hulk: Gray sentiment. Is Loeb so far removed from Hulk continuity that he doesn’t know the original Grey Hulk – or any Grey Hulk for that matter – is meaner, but not stupid? Ugh… just terrible!

      Excellent stuff Gary, as usual!

      • Eh, I didn’t really think the mustache bit was “well done”–considering the way his Hulk form was based on Banner’s, I just didn’t think it was that big a deal that it went away as Rulk and came back as Ross. Not to mention the presence of a mustache would be seen by many as a dead giveaway as to Rulk’s identity.

        Sadly I think the savage gray Hulk was more a product of keeping Loeb’s own projects internally consistent than out of any sort of lack of respect for old continuity (which is totally ironic, because that’s exactly what it is). Most of the rest of the continuity that was used in telling the origin of Red Hulk was actually spot-on!

        ~G.

      • Gary – which was more frustrating to you about Hulk: Gray – the monosyllabic dialogue of the grey Hulk – or the fact that Iron Man makes an appearance and fights the Hulk – before the events in Avengers #1.

  6. Iron Man doesn’t bug me so much. In fact I was quite all right with Iron Man & the proto-Avengers meeting up in the old RAMPAGING HULK mag. It’s the characterization of the Hulk in both the RH book and in HULK: GRAY that annoyed me.

    There were a number of continuity snafus in HULK: GRAY and this issue. The relatively minor one is that Hulk in Buscema’s pages wasn’t wearing his purple shorts (he had Banner’s brain at the time…and, apparently, Banner’s fashion sense). Some clothing was swapped here and there (Ross wasn’t in his military uniform in the original scene as shown in #455/6). Betty’s hair wasn’t even colored right more than once (in Buscema’s run it was light red!). But both lapses in the Sale pages were unforgivable–the Hulk’s dialogue, and the fact that he didn’t start leaping around until INCREDIBLE HULK #3! (Not to mention that the MP’s brought Banner back on base after the G-Bomb detonation, and he changed there, on base!)

    I suppose we’ll have to chalk the Sale pages up to Ross’ failing memory. It’s the only thing that makes a lick of sense. He blended all sorts of elements together that occurred later.

    Ugh, still ugly. A decent pastiche (HULK #23 in sum) but decent is all.

    ~G.

    • Wait – so now we’re blaming the inconsistencies on the fictional character? Okay – I will go with that! 🙂

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