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“Psuedo-military operative Hulk is far less interesting than editorial believes....”

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Reviewer:
"Sweet" Can Sweet
Writer:
Jeff Parker
Artist:
Carlo Pagulayan & Wellinton Alves
Publisher:
Marvel Comics
Shipped On: 101012
Reviewed On: 101012
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RED SHE-HULK #58
As a comic book fan, and a self-proclaimed ‘Marvel Zombie’, I’m quite aware of the existence of the Red She-Hulk. I know that she’s Betty Ross, former lover of Bruce Banner, and daughter of Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross, the current Red Hulk. I know all of that because the multicolored Hulks have been running around the Marvel U for the better part of five or so years now. What I DON’T know is Ms. Ross’s motivation for doing what she does; why she has opted for a life of super-heroics. Just what IS her motivation?

With all of these questions surrounding the character, I figured the best place to find answers would be within the confines of her ‘new’ book, which is actually just the adjectiveless “Hulk”, repurposed for a new star. After all, this is the Marvel NOW era, and if there was ever a time to join someone’s bandwagon it’s NOW, because jumping-on-points are often few and far between. So while I had read SOME of Betty’s exploits in the gone-too-soon “Defenders” series, I went into this book with a fresh set of eyes, ready to be awed by the crimson amazon’s awesome adventures…but that’s not really what went down.

Jeff Parker is one of my favorite sleeper-writers at the House of Ideas. He’s not on their list of “Architects” or whatever they’re calling it, but his series have consistently caught my eye and maintained my attention, until they get the axe. It’s rough for me to admit, but I just can’t seem to find the vibe with regard to this title; there just weren’t enough meat and potatoes to sink my teeth into. I’m not satisfied; I’m not sated, and I’m not sure I want to come back for more.

The ‘story’, which is actually more of an extended fight sequence, revolves around the government (an eternal enemy of anyone who is a Hulk; red, green, chartreuse, or otherwise) and their plan to enhance soldiers using gene splicing, manipulation, mutation, radiation, and whatever else sounds weird enough to work. After all, a world full of super heroes is rather pointless if you can’t aim them at a target like a weapon, obliterating our foes without question as any good SOLDIER would.

So while a bunch of stuffed-shirts discuss how much tax-payer dollars will be funneled into a program to create living weapons, Red She-Hulk (whose moniker I find especially droll) shows up and starts to wreck stuff, because how else should a Hulk of any shade attempt to prove their point? Fight, fight, fight, smash, smash, smash, Hulk-banter (example: “Superhuman is HULK!” *sigh*) followed by a bit more fighting and smashing…and…yup that’s about it.

Captain America guest stars, but only briefly, as does Machine Man, but only to set up whatever fighting and smashing is going to go into the next issue. I was looking for a bit more from Mr. Parker and Ms. Ross, as there’s no better time like the present to breathe some fresh air into an old and tired concept such as She-Hulk, even if this time around she’s red instead of green. Psuedo-military operative Hulk is far less interesting than editorial believes, and I’m sure this title isn’t going to last too long if it doesn’t find some sort of creative direction without aping any number of other titles. Oh, and where the heck is She-Rulk’s sword? I really miss that sword.
"Sweet" Dan Sweet is a Chicago-based aspiring writer and long time customer at Alternate Reality.

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