HULK #41

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a monkey. Now personally speaking, I think that this was largely due to me watching all of those Tarzan movies at such an impressionable age, and how ‘Cheater’ (the monkey) always seemed so content with his funny ape-like ways. And do you know what, the strange thing is, is that a similar tale is told in this issue of the Hulk, Written by Jeff Parker; Drawn by Gabriel Hardman; and Published by Marvel Comics in October 2011.

Just for the time being, the alternate entity named Zero / One, has taken Rulk away from his final battle with Omegex, so that she can show him his past life amidst the time-stream. Granted, her aide, Jacob, secretly warns the Rulk that this is all to do with her plans to ‘wipe out the population’. Still, this is by the by when she shows Rulk his adolescence – his despondent father – his adulterous mother – as well as his motivation for joining the army in the first place – Rulk sees it all. Moreover, this point is punched home even more so when Rulk sees his now deceased wife and his daughter Betty – though not during the loving time that they’d shared together. Plus, lets not forget about Rulks part within the Hulks origin, oh no, and how his subsequent defeats have steered him into becoming the Rulk.

Eventually, Omegex tracks down Rulk and Zero One, thus setting the stage for a battle that will end all battles. However, prompted by the sudden appearance of Uatu, the Watcher, Rulk decides to seal his fate as the man he is, General Thunderbolt Ross. And is this a good thing? HELL YES!  Because what next transpires is a shock ending of surprising proportions – though not in the way that most people may think. 

So finally, the final fate of Rulk is sealed in a comic book storyline of insurmountable proportions, NOT! Still, by in large, this fact is not a bad thing overall – because this tale did present to us yet another story of times past, whilst simultaneously resolving a story arc that was a long time in the coming (kind of).

OK, so what did it do? Well, firstly, it gave us a bit more back-story on General Ross’s character – which I found to be as revealing and as pertinent as some of the stuff we have been shown before. Granted, this part of the story was a bit fragmented in the telling, though it did manage to convey that Ross is a product of his time, as well as a person with a strained and rather turbulent upbringing.

After that, there was the battle with Omegex – or lack of one if I want to be funny about it. Personally speaking, I did not mind the lack of action in this issue, as – for me – I thought that the story was about something else – coming to terms with who you are. Well, why else would Zero / One call Ross a loser at the beginning of the issue, and then show him why this is to be the case – in a manner of speaking. Also, what made this ‘justification’ that much more compelling, was the way in which both Ross and Zero / One took a different view of ‘Ross’s origins’ – as if it were a game of ‘Rashomon’.

Now if this ‘Rulk’ story did have any negative connotations associated about it, it would be that the initial ‘plucking of the Rulk away from Omegex’ was a tad too groan-worthy a device to start off this issue with. Plus, that in places, the sterile tone of Zero / One does not appear to aide this tale for a dramatic purpose. Fair enough, I understand that Zero / One is a mechanised entity, but that is not to say that she could not have a pithy bit of dialogue here and there – just like Arnie in Terminator. Also, another thing that is not clear about this issue, is what is going to happen next with Hulk – the real one! OK, I know that a reboot is in the works, but what is going to happen to the Rulk and his clan, huh?

Now please, if anyone can answer this question, or alternately tell me that I have no idea what I am talking about? Come dear reader – spam-spam-spam.