Tag Archives: Red Hulk

Marvel 500 Hulks… So Far…

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That’s right – there is yet another “blind package” Marvel set to get.  These blind packages seem to be taking over the entire market – and I get the appeal to some degree – but they really aren’t for me.  I usually find what I need on eBay or even at some LCS that opens the a few of these boxes or packages and happens to have a Hulk.  That’s how I ended up with the Grey Hulk.  All the others were found on the ‘bay.

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hulks whhhhha 003 - Copy (2)hulks whhhhha 003 - Copy (3)I usually enjoy the “hunt” for treasures – but with blind packages there is always so much waste that it becomes more of a chore than an enjoyable game.  That being said, I do like these simple little figures.  They remind me of the Handful of Heroes that were released a few years ago – except they are slightly bigger and painted.

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Most of the Hulks are the same mold they just yield different color schemes.  The Hulk, Grey Hulk, Red Hulk and the clear Gamma Hulk are identical in pose the only slightly different Hulk is the World War Hulk with a hand raised to attack.  If you’re looking to pick up the Classic Hulk, Red Hulk and Gamma Hulk they are from series 1 – as the Grey Hulk and World War Hulk come from season 2.

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Hulk #12 & 13 (2015) – The Review

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Duggan finally did it – he made me NOT look forward to the next issue of his spectacular run thus far.  He put Deadpool in the book!  I’ll admit it though, Deadpool wasn’t all that bad – he did link it in so that it made sense to have him there AND he handled the one issue every Hulk reader has been asking about since the beginning of the Omega story line: Is Hulk really going to de-power the original and great Sensational She Hulk?

Hulk #12 & 13
W: Duggan
A: Bagley

Before we begin the actual review I am going to give a huge shout-out to Bagley for finally bringing back some artistic consistency to the Hulk title.  Not only does the cover art mirror the illustrations inside – the cover actually gives a snapshot of what happens!  This probably isn’t the biggest deal to many – but to me it really affects the overall reading experience.  So, thank you, Mr. Bagley, for not only providing some spectacular artwork to marvel at but also for providing the constant that the Hulk has been lacking in the past few years.

Here is the biggest hurdle in destroying the gamma-beings that litter the Marvel U: we actually LIKE some of them!  We want some of them to exist and to continue to be around!  This includes the original She Hulk;  Jen Walters is a bad-ass!  Not to mention, she has a long and fantastic run in the Marvel U as an Avenger and part of the Fantastic Four!  Wait, are we still allowed to mention the FF on a blog about Marvel?  Anyways, let’s not forget about the great gamma powered villains that we need – such as the Leader!  Sure, the last we saw him he was red – but I don’t want a Hulk universe without the Leader in it!  If my choice is a red Leader or none at all – I would crow “Give me red all day long!”  Thankfully, Duggan has written a clever way out of that debacle.

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The rogue AI that Doc Green has created and then lost control of?  Well, it knows every step the Doctor is going to make – and while that’s scary enough – it has teamed up with the Leader.  When Greenie shows up to “cure” the Leader – after a quick battle and an even quicker injection – he leaves thinking ‘job done’.  It’s both true and not… while the cure does exactly what it’s supposed to and Sterns is reverted back to his vulnerable and of average intellect human self the change only lasts a minute as he begins to become the familiar hue of emerald.  The AI converses with the lunatic who is all but enthusiastic to be his large-headed and green self.

This issue wouldn’t be perfect without setting up the battle royal that the good doctor is in store for in the next issue.  Deadpool locates Ross and points Doc Green in the direction for what has to be the most anticipated smack down of this entire event!  Are we finally going to see Red de-powered?  Will the Hulk finally be able to pull off the one thing that every Hulk fan has cried out for ever since the Loeb series proved itself to be a crap shoot of misfirings and ill-conceived plot devices.  Grade: A (for both)

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Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Battlers (2014)

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This cartoon (helmed by Loeb) was a disaster from the start (not a shock).  But let’s be really honest – this cartoon was certainly not made for us adult collectors.  This was not Avengers… or the many superior DC animated films that come out.  Of course a weekly series is not the same as an animated film, so maybe not the best comparison but it still rings true that Marvel seems to be dropping the ball when it comes to the animated series.  It did have it’s merits though – like I’ve said many times – my daughter LOVED this series and it made me so happy to watch it with her… even though I cringed my way through a lot of the episodes.  All of that being said it should be no wonder or a shock to anyone that the series was axed.  Not before a new slew of toys was released into retail.  Let’s take a look at a few of them here.

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Toys R Us took the hit on being the exclusive holders to releasing the battlers based on this cartoon.  They released them at the same time they were having their huge clearance sale, and in a turn of good fortune, I was buying the Hulk Battler at a time when they were charging clearance prices.  So all three of these guys were able to be procured for less than $5.  Totally worth it when I only pay $1.27 for a Red Hulk.  Now either the glitch was fixed or they went back to regular prices but they are a steep $13.99.  That’s about $12.00 too much for a Red Hulk or Skaar figure.

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These figures being Battlers have a signature move – the Red Hulk has the weak move of just moving his over-sized guns up – but the Hulk’s is the best with his arms swinging and fists ready to land a few gems!  Skaar’s figure is actually pretty bad ass with his large sword – but over all, the only one to seek out in this trio is the Hulk.  Keep in mind, this is part of a game that your humble narrator doesn’t know how and will never play – so this review is based solely on aesthetics.  Grade: C- (on all three)

Thunderbolts #32 (2014) – The Review and… What Happened?

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Thunderbolts #32 (Final Issue) and a look back at the series.
W: Acker and Blacker
A: Jacinto

In 2008 things were going well for the Hulk.  He had just come off of one of the most well received and highly publicized runs in recent history that led to one of the more highly anticipated event (but ultimately disappointing) event comics of the past decade.  With Hercules taking over his title and the ending of World War Hulk leaving the fate of the Hulk uncertain it was a cliffhanger that every fanboy was taking about.  What came next was hyped around the web like nothing I had seen before regarding the Hulk – there was a new Hulk in town!  And he was RED!  The buzz surrounding this book was huge – and the sales didn’t disappoint as it sold through the roof!  Even as long time Hulk fans and comic reviewers alike questioned the book’s substance the sales stayed steady (with help mainly from multiple covers to every issue) and people all over talked about how they loved the Red Hulk!

A good portion of fans of the real Hulk didn’t share the same sentiments – and it seemed that quite a few “die-hard” Red Hulk fans didn’t even read the actual book – it didn’t stop the Red Hulk from traversing all over the Marvel U.  He was working with the Avengers, he even replaced the real Hulk in the event comics of the year (which I guess I should be thankful for) and his book sales seemingly couldn’t be stopped.  Until they were…

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By issue #24, when they stopped teasing about revealing his identity and finally showed us who he was, the readership had plummeted.  No one cared anymore.  The message boards were filled with reactions like “That’s still going on?” and “Is anyone really surprised?”  It seemed as though the days of the Red Hulk’s soaring popularity were over.  Loeb left the book – along with the real star of the book, McGuinness – and a new writer was brought on to keep his exploits going.  Jeff Parker was suddenly writing the Hulk and you know what?  It was good.  I mean, really, really good!  He made one of the most one-dimensional, least thought out, stylized characters of the Marvel U actually a joy to read!  You wouldn’t know that by the sales though – they continued to dwindle.  It always amazes me that people complain about the state of comics but don’t bother checking out titles that people rave over – unless they rebooted the book and they can get in on the ground floor at #1.  Jeff Parker’s Red Hulk was great.  But alas, the Red She-Hulk took over the title – a character I had absolutely NO interest in – and the book died a slow, quiet death.

But that was not all for the ill-christened “Rulk”, no, straight from the pages of the Red Hulk came a team that no one asked for!  A team brought together for no other real reason than they all matched.  Yeah – it’s important for a team not to clash when they are fighting crime!  But you know what?  It wasn’t terrible.  Sure, people complained about the art style of Dillon being a little too bland for their tastes – they are entitled to their opinion of course, but I disagreed.  I enjoy his style.  People didn’t see too excited over the stories – but they didn’t complain about them either.  To me, Thunderbolts should have been every real Hulk fan’s wet dream!  Way brought back classic Hulk villains like Mercy and Madman – at the same time as dragging his now dullard brother Sam Sterns.  Sure, I would have enjoyed seeing the Leader stay his true emerald color – but remember what I said about this whole team having to match and all…

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The stories were good.  Fun!  They had some witty dialogue, they even made Deadpool, a character I loathe, an enjoyable part of the book!  This was a testament to Way and what he was bringing to the table with the new “non-team” of Marvel.  That title was always used for the Defenders – a group of heroes who were, far and away, loners – but worked together in times of crisis to bring down some big bads.  This term could certainly apply to the Thunderbolts – while not all of them thought of as heroes – they were a group of loners who came together to take on the cases no one else could and try to do some good.

The book really hit its stride though at issue #12 when Soule took over the writing duties!  He started to explore each of the teammates trust in others.  Showing just where their weaknesses are in becoming a cohesive, cooperative team.  Even better was Red decided to let every member choose to do the next mission – whatever they thought needed to be done the team would work to fixing it.  Things didn’t even slow down with having to tie into the event of the year Infinity.  Tying into an event can be disastrous for the flow of a story – but Soule handles things perfectly for this cast of misfits.  So well that you worry where they could possibly go next.  Well, sure enough the questioned is answered with the Ghost Rider coming into the fray to take down Mercy, who had inadvertently joined the team.  Even then, the team wasn’t all flowers and ass-kicking – Venom suddenly decided to test the other members to see who could destroy him.  All this time the Red Leader was both a help and a secret plotter on how to take every last member down.  Week after week it was exciting, hilarious and action-packed!  The Soule decided it was time to leave the title.  Things went downhill fast.

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His last outing with the crimson group had them trekking through the jungle going after a powerful force that was too much for anyone to handle.  The entire arc started off a little wonky and only disintegrated from there with the Leader using the locals as a way to off the team – of course that didn’t work – and the Red Hulk being too secretive and sketchy about his past with the power they were seeking… it all seemed too rushed and certainly wasn’t the best swan song to put out after an enjoyable year or so of great stories.  That said, new writers, Ben Acker and Blacker took over with a volatile group ready to destroy each other.  Basically that’s what happened too.  The Punisher wanted out – Red Hulk chose to let him leave the only way he saw fit – by trying to kill him – and it was all out war from there.

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They say it was the Punisher vs Thunderbolts when in fact it was actually Sterns vs the rest of the team.  The Red Leader finally put his re-acquired big brain to work in taking out the rest of the team with the Punisher as a distraction.  The final issue shows us the Leader’s hard work has paid off.  His deal with Mephisto has granted him everything he could ask for – including a front row seat to his brother’s unending torture in hell.  There is one thing Sterns can’t seem to figure out though… matters of the heart.  His lust blinds him to the fact that there is a traitor in his midst – and when the Thunderbolts come to collect – he is taken down by the one person he had been trying to impress.

Sort of fitting end to Sterns – who is taken to hell and I’m sure that’s not the last we’ll see of him (who knows, maybe he’ll come back his proper color too!).  The book, in its hey-day, was one of the first I ripped into reading it with anticipation for what was to come.  It ended with a thud – and it was Soule leaving that put the nail in the coffin, I think.  Sure the book was never a big seller – but it was decent enough.  If you were one of the ones who never picked up an issue, go out and take a look at this series… at least 1-23.  Those who gave up on this book too early – it’s a shame – take another gander at the issues you missed.  It’s so worth it!  As for the later issues – they aren’t bad – they have their merits worth reading with an inkling of opportunities to grab its height of greatness back.  Acker and Blacker did their best, I’m sure, but Soule was able to write Deadpool without making him a ridiculous, annoying twat – which is not easy to do – but he also made the other characters brooding and funny while at the same time a team you wanted to root for.  Grade for final issue: C Grade for the series: B-

Red Hulk Fists (2014)

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Another Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. piece – this time they have just recycled the pitiful version of Hulk fists released with the Avengers movie and colored them red.  I have made it abundantly clear how disappointed I was with all of the cost cutting corners that they have made with the new Hulk fists released.  It’s too bad too because the original Hulk fists from 2003 are one of the best pieces of Hulk merchandise you could ever ask for!

I figured that since I have the Abomination fists (in the first disastrous revamp of the Hulk fists when they made them from cloth) I mine as well pick up the Red Hulk fists too.  They were $20 at Toys R Us  – another questionable aspect of these little clenched hands – the green Hulk versions are $27.  Anyways, I will someday look to be battling my family in an arena, Thunderdome style, tournament with everyone wearing Hulk fists – and I will be donning the 2003 classic versions and be handing out the rouge’s gallery fists to others so that I may destroy them… as it should be!

Catching Up With…

So… by tomorrow I obviously meant in a few days.  It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed, well, pretty much anything – so this might be a bit long (that’s what she said) buckle up and enjoy the ride here, folks!  There is a lot of ground to cover!  Let’s begin with:

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Hulk #4

W: Mark Waid
A: Mark Bagley

What can I say that hasn’t already been said (by me) with this swan song from the ultimately cut short Hulk saga from the ultra-talented Mark Waid?  Well, he left us with quite the doozy – extremis not only saves Bruce Banner but also gives us a mysterious future with Banner being maybe even more brilliant than before – who knows?  I liked the last issue – the Abomination returning (even a clone) is still a great thing to me – I just wish since the recently launched Savage Hulk also has the Green Goliath battling the age-old foe that we could have had a different baddie.  It almost seemed redundant reading the Savage Hulk.  Over all, I will miss Waid and will forever be bummed we didn’t get to see his ultimate vision come to fruition.  Grade: A-

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Thunderbolts

W: Soule, and then the Bens
A: Diaz Luque and then Barberi

What can I say abou… wait, that’s how I started out the last issue review – nevermind.  I have enjoyed the Thunderbolts and thought it hit its real stride with the Infinity tie-ins.  Bringing back Madman and the Leader (even though he was turned red – big mistake in my opinion) was fun to start things out but when Red turned the deciding missions over to the rest of the group that’s when the real fun began!  Watching these personalities clash with each other and how they never seemed to agree but still made winning a possibility was entertaining as heck.  Too bad it didn’t last.  Soule’s final issues seemed rushed and sloppy.  What began as a haunted ride down a murky swamp in search of a mystical treasure quickly turned into a “Crystal Skull” type ending.  Unsatisfactory and unfair.  Unfair to all the readers who were following this unconventional team of super-mercenaries with questionable morals and even more questionable methods.  This book made me even tolerate Deadpool – which says a lot!  The art was even getting better with each issue!  Overall, I think dwindling sales turned this series on its belly and it will end its run at issue #32.

So far the Punisher vs Thunderbolts story line has delivered some great moments but nothing worth real mention – the magic seems to have been dropped from the book – and they are even recycling earlier events back into the fray.  The Punisher shot the Leader… again.  Haven’t we been here before?  I liked when the Leader allowed Red to berate him all the while plotting to take the entire team down – but even that has become tiresome since nothing ever comes of it.  Soule had a real knack for making these characters interesting – but we’re seeing more clichés of these characters rather than the hilarious “Odd Couple” scenarios that made the earlier issues so much better.  Grade: C-

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Original Sin:

W: Aaron
A: Deodato

Everyone said to read other Aaron works – to just turn a blind eye to his ill-suited Hulk run and read his other stories – and I did.  I read his Wolverine Omnibus – fantastic, I read some of his Punisher – great stuff.  This Marvel event, though, takes the cake. It’s fast paced, exciting and the best part – thus far it actually makes sense.  Every issue delivers a great “What the-?” moment that makes you want to pick up the next issue!  Not to mention, I have not picked up every variant, only the Hulk ones and the “Eye” variants, but there are two sets that actually look really decent together!  The Art Adam’s variants combine to create a huge mural type scene and the “Eye” variants look amazing displayed together!

Grade so far: A-

This mini may fizzle in the end – but with two issues left and the story still going strong – I have high hopes for a “blow me away” kind of ending.  I can’t even tell you how refreshing it is to read an event comic that isn’t making me roll my eyes.  It’s been a while – I loved AvX but even that one had its moments that didn’t keep my attention.  Age of Ultron was a disaster from the get-go – and I didn’t mind Infinity but it really crapped the bed with the “homage” ending.  Even World War Hulk, coming off of one of the greatest Hulk stories of recent memory, was a bit of a let down.  We all knew the ending before it even began.  Original Sin, on the other hand, has even served up a pretty thrilling tie-in series with:

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Original Sin: Hulk vs Iron Man

Let me begin with the idea that I never usually enjoy the idea of going back to origin and changing status quo.  Hell, it usually opens a can of continuity worms that the writers explain by saying “It’s just a fun story – don’t worry about the history” and that never sits well with people.  When this series was announced I was immediately thrown back to the Hulk: Gray moment when Iron Man showed up when everyone knows the first time the two powerhouses met was Avengers #1.  Of course, Loeb has never been one for continuity – it takes a more skilled writer to care about such things (let’s face it, he’s no Jeff Parker) – but I was worried that this was just another Marvel moment.  You know, just write a story and see if people have a god memory or not.

With all of that in mind this new (awkwardly numbered) mini-series promises to serve up an interesting take on what went down that fateful day the green Goliath was created.  So far all we know is that Stark was acting like his pompous self and, thinking he knew best, let his clouded judgement take president over what Banner’s ultimate vision was for the gamma-bomb.  Stark knew how to make it into a more destructive weapon which is exactly what Ross always wanted.  This series still hasn’t let the car out of the bag just yet of what Stark actually did – but it is shaping up nicely.  Grade: B+

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Savage Hulk

W: Alan Davis
A: Alan Davis, Mark Farmer

For all the people who have griping that Waid didn’t bring back the classic Hulk stories that they thought he would – I give you – Alan Davis.  There is only one Hulk guest-spot issue that I had a terrible time finding.  eBay not withstanding, I’ve only seen this issue once – The Uncanny X-Men #66 – and it’s the one in my collection.  With Xaiver is real trouble he needs Banner to help him heal.  The X-Men go to retrieve Banner but have to deal with the Hulk first.  It’s a fun issue with Banner coming out victorious in saving the Professor.

Davis brings us back to that point of time and we re-examine the super-hero battle and it is truly a blast from the past.  The classic Hulk that graced the comics (and television to a lesser extent) is back in full form here.  For everyone hoping for that 80’s child-like Hulk back in action – it’s finally here!  The follow up issue gives us a wild gamma-romp with the real Abomination tearing up the desert in a classic tussle with our favorite Jade Jaws!  This is an entertaining series so far – let’s hope they can keep this train chugging along at a great speed!  Hell, they ended the second issue with the Leader in his original color!  What a refreshing sight!  If only current times were the same!  Grade: B+

I’ve also been asked what my opinion is on the recent news that Thor is being turned into a woman.  Well, it turns out that he isn’t.  Thor isn’t worthy of Mjolnir anymore – and this new chick is.  Thor now battles with an axe.  If you’re wondering what I think about that – well, I haven’t read it.  In fact, no one has – because it’s not out yet – and I remember not too long ago that people were freaking out because Doc Ock was going to inhabit Peter Parker’s body – and look how all of that turned out.  So, let’s be patient – it may turn out kind of cool.  If not, no worries, these are comics – nothing lasts for ever.

Catching Up With… Thunderbolts!

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Thunderbolts #20-22
W: Charles Soule
A: Carlo Baberi & Israel Silva

My overwhelming “to read” pile was tackled last night – I caught up with Indestructible Hulk and Thunderbolts.  I will review the Indestructible Hulk when they finish this Inhumanity story line – but for now – I have time to review the Thunderbolts for you!  If you follow my blog then you know I have been enjoying this series – it’s not amazingly well written – but it’s a fun, enjoyable ride.  It’s most outstanding feat is that it is able to make some of the worst Marvel creations, like Red Hulk and Deadpool, and some of the more bland characters, like Flash Thompson Venom, and make them not just tolerable but actually entertaining!  I started reading this book for the lost Hulk rouges gallery that has been popping up in this series, ie; Madman, Leader and Mercy – and continued to read it because it readily amused me.  The most admirable thing about this team is that is seemed like an organic creation stemming from the terrible “Code Red” arc from when Red had his own title.  I say this mainly because we’re in a day and age when it seems Marvel isn’t interested in telling compelling stories that actually follow any kind of continuity and they seem to feel the only numbered milestone for any of their books to reach is #1 as they continue to reboot and renumber.

This writers who tackle this series seem to know how to make Thunderbolts work – even if it’s not a chart topper – it is a fun read.  I think this sort of allows for them to just dip back into Marvel history and pull some classic villains out who can whale on the members of this “non-team”.  These characters grouping together remind me very much of classic Defenders stuff – where the members not only don’t like each other – they don’t care to keep working together past their agreed upon promise to do one thing for each member.  I’ve also been impressed with the seamless integration into the forced Marvel events that have littered the stands.  The Infinity side story was well done and didn’t feeling like a waste of time.  It pushed the story forward as well as dealt with the major event happening in the MU.  So, while I have been voraciously reading each issue I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of Ghost Rider coming riding into the fray.

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I like Ghost Rider, don’t get me wrong, but each of these character’s personalities bounce of each other so well thus far, to add in a new character could be disastrous.  Like, Chrissy being added to Growing Pains disastrous.  We start off catching up with Johnny Blaze trying to pick up the pieces of his life after his failed movie career by doing Evil Knievel type stunts.  Of course, he isn’t successful so why not go with Red Hulk and his crimson cronies to do some sketchy voodoo to rid the Earth of Mercy.  As things always do though – the plan does not go off without a hitch and it lands everyone – sans Punisher and Elektra – into Hell.  They run into Mephisto who, since being booted off the throne of Hell, is not as intimidating.  Enlisting the help of the Thunderbolts (with Leader drawing up the particulars) he asks that they boot the current resident out of the chair so that he may once again reside as the #1 in Hell.  Turns out though – the guy on the throne is Strong Man.  Yeah… THAT Strong Man.

Here is where I was thrown for a but of a loop in this series – with how much the writers have been faithful to bringing back the Hulk foes of yesteryear I was sure they were gearing up for a re-match with Ross and the Abomination.  I was truly disappointed that Guido was the man on the throne and not Emil.  This was a wasted opportunity to have the creature responsible for the death of Ross’ daughter confront his killer on a bigger, massive scale.  We all know Blonsky is in Hell – thanks to Pak’s Incredible Hulk #618 (tie in with the Chaos War) – so it would have made the most sense to have him there.  But not a word.  This was the biggest misstep I think this series has taken.  Otherwise it’s been a blast.

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I won’t say much more – the finale of this arc is a bit predictable but still worth the read – and when Ghost Rider decides to stay and join the group, and to fit in turn his flaming head red, I did laugh out loud.  Overall, if you’re still not reading this series that’s a darn shame – because you’re missing out on the Red Hulk actually utilized in a decent way.

As it is, I have to accept that the Leader will continue to be red – but one of the major issues with the Red Hulk in general is that he was not fleshed out as a character before he hit the printed page and ignored the basic rule that has been standing since the Hulk’s inception – which is that the Hulk was an anomaly – one that hadn’t been able to be reproduced… ever!  All of a sudden Sterns figured it out and turned EVERYONE into a Hulk – but we were told in the earliest stages (with the creation of the Leader, mind you) that gamma rays affect everyone differently.  Let’s even say that the Leader did unlock the key to making a Hulk – and realized how to make a more powerful Hulk by combining the power cosmic with the gamma rays – so why didn’t Sterns get those powers?  I am talking the unexplained “absorbing” power and more that Red showed off in the beginning – but has seemed to lose for no reason – since.  These are the things I have to over look, major plot holes from the beginning that were never explained, insulting additions contributed by Loeb that were never really corrected, while reading this series.  And I am able to because it’s so good.

Grade: B+