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HULK #34


Deja Vu is a somewhat unusual experience to behold – it’s as though you have repeated a past experience without even trying. Not why does this transpire I wonder? Is it subconscious? Is it neurological? Or is it by design? And if it is the latter of these three questions posed, is it similar to this initial chapter to ‘Planet Red Hulk’, Written by Jeff Parker; Drawn by Carlo Pagulayan; and Published by Marvel Comics in July 2011?

At the bequest of Bruce (Hulk) Banner and Steve (Captain America) Rogers – Thunderbolt (Rulk) Ross – has been sent out into space to aide a Russian satellite in distress. However, once Rulk is within the satellite, he knows straight away that something is amiss. Firstly, because the astronauts onboard are dead for no apparent reason – and secondly, because the satellite quickly whisks off into the distance, only to finally halt in front of  two planets – a yellow planet and a red planet.

Now which one does Rulk chose to land on? Correct – red.

Unfortunately, thing’s do not go the way Rulk would like them to went he lands upon this rustic red planet. And why is that? (1) He is beaten up by some of the populace – including the King, Warka. (2) He is implanted with an organic device that subdues him and then makes him understand what the aliens on this planet are saying. (3) After a productive night, he is forced into an arena match, and fights the King – and wins. And (4) He is then deems the King of this planet.

Rulk is confused? As doesn’t all this sound somewhat familiar?


Hmmm? Now this is an interesting development for the Rulk, isn’t it? Rulk is shot off into space – he lands on a savage planet – he is forced to fight in a gladiatorial competition – and then, went he wins, he is pronounced King of this world. Déjà vu! But what is so interesting about this story, isn’t that we have seen it before, but it is because you have to ask yourself one very revealing question – is Bruce Banner behind Rulks dilemma? Personally speaking, I do not think that this is the case at all – as that would be too obvious. However, obvious still, would be that all this was instigated by an old Hulk adversary, who wants to Rulk to think that it is Bruce – which is probably the case. 

Anyway, saying all of this, does any of what I say mean that this first chapter of ‘Planet Red Hulk’ is any good? Yes – I suppose it does. Initially, because of the question raised, and the rest all down to the creative time – Parker and Pagulayan. Now in all sincerity, I do love Pagulayan pencils (even though I am always apprehensive in pronouncing his name) – as he gives this issue two things: (1) A visual connection to the original Planet Hulk saga that he drew. And (2) A dynamism in his line work that suits this type of rustic / space / battle storyline. Then there is his Pagulayan partner in crime – Parker – who also gives this issue two things as well: (1) A simple and bold narrative. And (2) The question that we asked ourselves at the beginning – is it Bruce?

So far, this is a fairly good beginning to a thematic storyline, I just hope that the creative team can do something with it that isn’t predicable, but rather subversive. Nice start.


HULK #34 HULK #34 Reviewed by David Lee Andrews on June 22, 2011 Rating: 5
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