I had to re-read this issue a few times because a few things bugged me – the first being the somewhat lame “I lied to you about your absorbing powers being gone” twist. I am not a fan of this type of writer’s trick. It’s seems lazy to me – and I honestly thought better of Parker.
The issue itself was a pretty decent wrap up to the Scorched Earth storyline. Ross is able to Hulk back out once the original arrives on Monster island. And once both Hulks are set into action they make pretty quick work of the brainwashed monsters. Red and Hulk arrive at the volcano and smash into a secret lab where AIM LMDs are keeping a whole slew of MODOK brains marinating for future use.
The Hulks get busy smashing brains (sounds disgusting – and if you can imagine it – IS disgusting) and destroying the lab. Afterward, Red and Bruce sit down on the side of the volcano for a heart to heart. More like Red asks Banner why he lies to him – and Banner says it’s because Red wouldn’t trust him. Well, that’s sort of a chicken and the egg scenario, isn’t it? In my experience, if you’re trying to create a relationship where one has to trust the other – lying to them rarely sets the stage for a favorable response. Yet, Bruce does it – to Ross – constantly. And Red, for the most part HAS trusted Bruce – which is the bigger kick to the nether regions for him.
It’s a lazy writer’s trick – but at least Parker explains why he used it. Bruce explains that everytime Red uses the absorbing power it’s like charging a two-cell battery. Eventually one of those cells will die – and by cells he’s referring to the personalities of Red and Ross. One of the personalities will die off. Gary – of this excellent blog – thinks it’s a very clever way of eventually de-powering Ross when the time comes. While I tend to agree it would be great to de-power Red I still think the way the revelation came to light was a little silly.
The issue ends with unfinished LMDs placing the brain into MODOK 2.0 (now with mechanical spider legs!) which is a pretty exciting way to end the issue – we all knew MODOK was coming back, of course. He says that the whole Scorched Earth plans were an effective distraction while they worked on getting the new body ready for MODOK. Grade: B+ (Although the lazy writer’s trick should warrant this issue a lower grade – but I’ll be nice)
I should say – I am loving the back story in Hulk lately with Uatu releasing the Omegex on Red for striking him all those atrocious issues ago. Can’t wait to see what comes of that!