Review: Hulk #23

Published on June 28th, 2010

If there is one thing for certain it is that we FINALLY can lay to rest who the RED HULK or Rulk is..but at this point in the game are there are any readers still left who care? That is what keeps coming up in my mind as I read through HULK#23.

hulk23coverI know for a lot of the HULK readers may have given up along time ago with all the allegations of “Who is the Red Hulk” which quickly from a lot of the people I have talked to turned into “Who cares who the Red Hulk is”. I can’t say that I don’t understand where they are coming from  but well I kinda love the Red Hulk  and in many ways I find him far more interesting then the green one..but not as interesting as Banner is with out the powers.Let me explain. At this point in the game  not every one knows the Red Hulk’s identity or even his origin (until this issue). Red Hulk is an unknown card,someone who plays outside of the conventional rules.He is not as plan or straight forward a story as Green Hulk. He has multiple levels to him ,a lot of grey if you will. Banner (as a man) is a lot the same way.Banner as a regular guy is super smart (maybe smarter then Tony Stark?!?) and always one step ahead of everyone around him which is why I have loved the story line for World War Hulks.It plays against convention. It gives us what you expect from a Hulk book but not from the regular players you would expect it from. I would love to watch Banner and Red Hulk Team up more. I want that story line to continue. Unfortunately from the last issue of Incredible Hulk we all know that Banner let the genie out of the bottle and that now can not be undone. Or can it?

With this issue of Hulk it plays from the perspective of General Ross. It gives us a little “This is your life” from different times in the mans time line. In other words we get to experience his heart ache with Betty and his many run ins with the Hulk as well his own death and subsequent rebirth.The story itself is written by Jeph Loeb with each few pages drawn by comic heavy weights from current series artist Ed McGuinness to names like Tim Sale,Mike Deodato,Lenil Francis Yu,& John Romita Jr. it is even lettered by Elephantman creator Richard Starkings! This issue on top of being a GREAT jumping on point it is also a good Hulk history lesson. Think of it as a road map for why Ross became the Rulk and what he plans on doing with that power. That “power” is something else I would like to bring up because from what I know of him he can suck the gamma right out of Hulk and revert him back to Banner. Which is why I think he is a great foil to Banner and why I HOPE they put those two in a running comic together (I hope your listening Marvel!). By the end of issue #23 we find out everything about Rulk AND we learn that Talbot was a L.M.D (Life Model Decoy). How does this happen you ask? Well Talbot is on LIVE national television  and Red Hulk reaches up behind him and rips his had off reveling that he is a LMD and Rulk proclaims “I’m In Charge Now!” to millions of viewers. He is a bad, bad man!This book really has been both a fun ride so far and something completely new! Watching Rulk leave a trail of bodies from Hulk long stays such as Abomination and Windigo was a surprise but for me watching him drain the gamma smarts off of the Leader was priceless!

Final Verdict:Pick this one up!The mystery is over now we all know(if you didn’t you do now..teehee;)!!Let’s just sit back and watch the carnage unfold and enjoy what looks to be a good ride with RULK at the wheel!

Sheldon Lee