Artist: Ed McGuinness
I have been a fan of the Hulk for a long time now, with him being one of my favourite comic book characters. Due to this I've always meant to try this series of the Hulk, which would introduce the Red Hulk to the Marvel Universe, as although I've heard a lot of negative comments about the series as a whole, I am wanting to read it for myself, as to see Red Hulk's development.
When the Abomination is found dead with a huge hole in his chest, but with reports of this Hulk being red, as well as the fact that Bruce Banner is still in a maximum security cell the question is... who it this Red Hulk?
This was overall a brilliant story, as although it wasn't outstanding, it was very fun and entertaining. Although Jeph Loeb's run on the Hulk hasn't been met kindly by fans, I personally couldn't see much to hate about this story, as he did a wonderful job of it (though I have heard that it's following this that the series gets poor). It was very dramatic and suspenseful, having a lot of mystery to it as well as some very exciting moments. I also loved the character interaction and how Loeb handled the dialogue, as although I wasn't too sure on Hulk seeming as dumb as he did (as he seemed much smarter through Greg Pak's run), the other character interactions were brilliant, and I loved seeing not only some of the most well known Hulk side characters, but also the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. and then director Iron Man being involved. I did however find other characters like Namor to be slightly out of character though.
The artwork on this story was simply phenomenal, and Ed McGuinness did a fantastic job as usual, showing why he's one of the best artists at drawing powerful characters. The detail in McGuinness' artwork was simply amazing, with it being very consistent throughout. The layout of McGuinness' art was also brilliant, and added a lot of depth and tone to the story, as well as being very dynamic and dramatic, also making the story that bit more exciting. Talking of excitement, McGuinness' action sequences added a lot of excitement to the story, with them all being very explosive, as well as at times emotional. I also loved the way that McGuinness managed to show the characters emotions in this story, as well as the general atmosphere throughout, as due to this he managed to make the story much more lively, giving a lot more depth and realism at the same time.
This story would introduce the Red Hulk to the Marvel Universe, with his identity being a mystery throughout. Now although I know the identity of the Red Hulk due to it having been revealed in a later story I won't mention it here for anyone who knows nothing about the character but is considering reading this story. Now what I liked about this Hulk was that he was quite different from the others, being much more tactical and determined. I also loved that there was differences to this Hulk and the other, and how anger affects this one differently. Besides that it was the reaction of the other characters that interested me the most, as it added more suspense and drama.
Red Hulk wouldn't be the only new monster to be revealed in this story, as a blue Abomination type creature named A-Bomb would be introduced. Now this characters identity would be revealed in this story, but again I won't reveal it as to avoid spoilers for people who don't know. Anyway I found A-Bomb to be a very interesting character, and was happy to finally see his original introduction. I also loved the characteristics that A-Bomb has, and how he considers himself Hulk's friend. At the same time I also find Hulk's reaction to A-Bomb to be rather interesting, as well as the fact that Hulk knows who A-Bomb is.
Now with two Hulks with completely different characteristics featuring in this story it was only a matter of time before the two squared off, so it was a good thing that Loeb didn't wait about in doing so. Apart from being exciting the fight was also very interesting and dramatic, and the dialogue between the two Hulks was simply amazing, even if green Hulk seemed less intelligent than he did throughout Pak's run. I did however also love how the fighting between these Hulks was split into two sides, and Loeb would have some very clever development points throughout it, making it all that more interesting.
The fight between the two Hulks wouldn't be the only fight in this story, as Red Hulk would also fight A-Bomb, and eventually Thor. Now it was the fight with Thor that I most enjoyed, and Loeb would produce some very clever development points throughout. I did however feel at times that the fight was a little one sided, and not very respectable towards Thor, but Loeb would rectify this to a certain extent later on in the story. I also loved Red Hulk's reaction to Thor as well, as although the normal Hulk has never had much of an opinion about Thor, I have always considered that to be down to the fact that Hulk only knows what he's seen of Thor, and not the myths, whereas this Red Hulk appears to know him well enough, and yet still has a very disrespectful view towards him.
This was a fantastic story, and although it isn't one of the best Hulk stories I've ever read, it was one of the most mysterious, having a lot of drama and suspense throughout. It also had a wonderful supporting cast, as well as some brilliant cameos, also having some very exciting action sequences as well. Due to all this I'd recommend this story, as although Loeb's Hulk run isn't considered as one of the best, this story was in my opinion very good.