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What is red, with a firm exterior, and a black fleck on top? An apple. WHAT! You though I was going to say Rulk, right? Well, I suppose I could have! But where is the fun in that? Fun – fun – fun that is just like this issue, Written by Jeff Parker; Drawn by Gabriel Hardman; and Published by Marvel comics, in April 2011.
His body is mush due to the Red Hulks confrontation with M.O.D.O.C.K – his family does not care about him anymore – and he is cooped up in a hospital bed, waiting for the inevitable to happen. Poor Jacob, he is really having a pretty rough time of it at the moment. However, one night, Jacob is visited by one of his feminine colleges who has been transformed into a computer / humanoid hybrid, Zero/One. Miraculously she heals Jacob, and then takes him with her to a secret base, where she reveals her plan – destroy the Red-Hulk. And where is the Red Hulk? At the moment, he is being perused by General Fortean, who has tracked Rulk down because he has managed to implant a device within his bulky frame. And worst of all, if Rulk de-powers, this device can kill him. Still, Rulk resists de-powering, and fights off Fortran’s rock monsters with the help of his robotic liason, Annie. And just in time too, because Omegex is coming soon. Meanwhile, in the back-up feature, ABomb – She-Hulk – and Lyra, inadvertently release some malicious Mayans.
In the past, I have slagged off this particular Hulk related title quite a bit. Honestly, it did not feel right to me, forcing a character onto an unsuspecting comic book public, just for the sake of change. And even thoe to some degree I still think this to be true, with this issue, the red b*stard – the Rulk – is starting to grown on me. Why is that? Well, I think that he has finally found his perfect enemy – a facsimile of the man he once was, called General Fortean. It is a nice way of showing how Rulk – as a character – is starting to fit in the Hulk universe, by juxtaposing who he was to who he is now. And not only is his character progressing, but also the way that writer, Jeff Parker, is writing this book. For example, this issue is a parallel tale, paving the way for an upcoming battle, whilst at the same time titivating the existing dilemma that Rulk now faces. OK, to some degree, this narrative is somewhat jittery, flopping back and forth between the two strands. But overall it manages to maintain a certain ‘themeic’ link between the two main characters – Rulk and Jacob – thus tying together the two strands on a subliminal level. Bravo both Parker and Hardman, as you have finally started to hit your stride with this issue – Parker on words and Hardman on art – thoe I still wished that we can have some Bruce in this book too, he deserves some solo spotlight as well.
THE RATING: B+