Two months ago, Jeph Loeb left us all hanging as the big green lug we all know as the ever-lovin’ Hulk showed up to face down his red counterpart.
This issue opens up…right before that? Maybe.
Uatu…the Watcher…shows up to explain how his noble race watches all of the important events in the multiverse. As he’s explaining this, Rock Reddy knocks him on his backside. This is a moment that fans have cheered across the board Me? I don’t know. It didn’t do anything for me.
BUT…what came next did.
Basically, what ensues is exactly what a fan of the Hulk would want to see happen. Red an Green go at it. There are punches, crotch shots, taunts, growls, broken bones, blood, and a clue to the identity of Big Red.
As the two fight, the real Hulk almost gets the upper hand, then the Red Hulk takes over. He breaks the Hulk’s arm and knocks him out. As the Hulk begins slipping into unconsciousness, Red-eye tells him to stay awake because he doesn’t want that “milksop” Banner to show his face…hmmm….milksop…now who uses that term?
We then cut to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the remains of the Helicarrier that Red Hulk attacked in issue #2. Clay Quartermain is dead. If you’ve been a reader of Marvel (especially the Hulk title) for a long time, this may make you a bit sad. I know it made me sad to learn that this interesting peripheral character was gone. He’s one of those supporting cast guys that you don’t miss until you know you won’t see him again.
Also, among the remains of the Helicarrier, Doc Samson’s jacket is found. It’s highly irradiated with gamma and ripped to shreds…like he grew out of it…hmmmm.
Green Hulk wakes up in the clutches of Red Hulk on top of the Golden Gate bridge. Red Hulk actually monologues a bit telling Hulk how the world will finally see him detroyed at his hands. The Hulk tries to fight back a little but to no avail as he is promptly disposed of by Red Foxx Hulk who proceeds to make the claim that he cannot be beaten.
With a flash of lightning and a crash of thunder someone speaks from behind the Red Monster. Looking angry and ready for a fight, Odin’s Son, The God Of Thunder, THE MIGHTY THOR stand ready to do battle.
Story 5 out of 5 – Jeph Loeb has done it again. He has written a knock down drag out fight that is interesting and surprising. Not only that, in the midst of all the action, Loeb drops more clues and hints as to the identity of the Red Hulk. Which leads me to a call….it’s about a 150 pointer due to the obvious nature of the call coupled with a somewhat crazy idea. I think the Red Hulk is somehow Ross and Samson merged.
My problem with my theory is that Jeph Loeb is as a sneaky as Mr. Deeds butler. These clues could be nothing more than red herrings meant to throw us off. Red Hulk could be Zzzzaaxxxx for all we know.
I like the fact the Red Hulk is obviously not a nice guy. He has no scruples, no sense of honor and he wants to see Banner and The real Hulk dead.
My only problem was the opening scene with the Watcher, it didn’t seem to fit. It seemed like something Loeb threw in there because he wanted to see it. Even with the explanation that this battle is so big it merits the Watcher’s attention, it just seemed a bit of a time waster and stuck in at an awkward moment. But, it wasn’t awkward enought to dock any points.
Art 5 out of 5 – McGuinness does a great job of resisting the splash page in this issue. They are there, but they are used very well. The fight between the Hulk’s plays out well in multiple panels on pages, but when something big or surprising happens in the fight, McGuinness uses bigger images to drive it home. The final splash of Thor and Red really works to make me hate the two month intervals between issues.
Cover Art 5 out of 5 – I just really like the way these covers interact. The image above (photoshopped on the fly by my good friend Arkwulf – check the about the Geeks Section to find out more about him) is the two covers put together to form the image you see. It was a great idea, I would love to see a third alternate of the two fighting, but I like the concept as it is.
So all in all good stuff, I continue to be entertained by Loeb and company and can’t wait for Thor v. Red…and you know Green vs. Red round 2 is coming somewhere down the line.