Story “The Rising Fog”
Writer Jeff Parker
Artist Gabriel Hardman
Colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letters Ed Dukeshire
Editor Mark Panccia
Readers, you may remember my original opinions on the comic book menace known as the Red Hulk. I truly, deeply, incessantly hated the big red lug. From the second he debuted it was obvious he existed as a foil to simply keep one-upping the Hulk; once he picked up Thor’s hammer, I was already pretty well over it. His storyline dragged on far too long, and the revelation that he was really Thunderbolt Ross felt weak and uninspired.
However immediately after the revelation that Red Hulk was Ross, things began to change. Now forced to work for Bruce Banner and his Gamma Base in order to earn his atonement, Red Hulk immediately got his comeuppance in the form of beatings handed down by Iron Man, Thor and Namor. The more human aspects of Ross began to shine through the nuclear red exterior, and slowly but surely Red Hulk has evolved from an overly fantastical Mary Sue to a likable character.
Recently, Red Hulk has been on the run for General Fortean, a soldier who previously swore revenge on Red Hulk believing he had murdered Ross. Ross previously attempted to inform Fortean the he was, in fact, actually the Red Hulk, but Fortean didn’t hear him. Now there’s a bunch of nanobots in Red Hulk’s head that are going to kill him the second he reverts to a human. In the background of these events, the mysterious Zero/One is reviving a man known as the Black Fog.
You’ve probably heard a little bit about this issue and, while this is a review to let everyone know how much I’m enjoying the character now as opposed to this time a year ago, let’s not make any qualms about it: I’m writing this to share one scene with you.
Picking up Thor’s hammer? That violates a character’s main attribute, something that goes to the core of his origins. But breaking a tornado? That’s a very Hulk thing, and that’s just fucking awesome.
This has been the status quo ever since Jeff Parker took over back in #25. Red Hulk’s no longer an annoying Mary Sue, he’s someone with a military background and a lot of common sense thrown into a world where none of those things matter. Watching him discover how the world he’s in is affected by the gifts he’s acquired puts a fresh new layer on the character, and one he desperately needed. Coupled with the gorgeous art work of Gabriel Hardman, who brings a life and expression to the character previously lost in a high stylized musculature, and you’ve got a great book. Red Hulk and his title, Hulk, is easily the most improved book of the past year. A simple change of direction has saved not only the title, but the character itself, making this book one that fans of any Hulk needs to check out.