Fall of the Hulks: Red Hulk #2

by James Hunt, Reviewer |

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Story by
Jeff Parker
Art by
Carlos Rodriguez, Vincente Cifuentes
Colors by
Guru eFX
Letters by
Simon Bowland
Cover by
Ed McGuinness
Publisher
Marvel Comics
Cover Price
$3.99 (USD)
Release Date
Feb 24th, 2010

Mon, March 1st, 2010 at 8:04PM (PST)


As a crossover, "Fall of the Hulks" has already become far more complicated than it needs to be. The shifting loyalties of the Red Hulk and those allied with (and sometimes against) him are particularly hard to get a grip on. This issue only makes things into even more of a continuity quagmire, as it attempts to explain the Red Hulk’s alliance with Thundra.

Two issues in, this series seems to be more about applying continuity-patches to the holes left by "Hulk"/"Incredible Hulk" than it does about the Red Hulk himself. At least, unlike the parent title, this series doesn’t skimp on explaining the mysteries that have plagued the Hulk family of books since their relaunch. There are no revelations that are especially interesting, but at least they can be ticked off now.

Much of the issue actually focuses on Lyra, the daughter of Green Hulk and Thundra. Unfortunately, as someone who has been actively avoiding the new She-Hulk out of disinterest, I can’t help but feel like this material belonged in a different book. Backstory is all well and good, but, in a series called “Red Hulk,” one expects the focus to be placed more heavily on that character. Instead, the attempts to tie Thundra’s story to him are the weakest part of the issue.

Parker’s characterization is one area that is generally strong, and his version of the Red Hulk is, more than any other, a fairly complete individual with discernable motives, although he is barely recognisable to the incarnation that kicked off the relaunch two years ago. Despite her undue prominence, Thundra, too, is well-defined. Parker’s version of A-Bomb, however, is painfully glib, and I can’t help wonder why Rick seems to be under the impression that he’s trapped in the “A-Bomb” form even though we’ve seen otherwise in the past. Given the sprawling mess of Hulk continuity right now, though, it wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve missed the reason for that.

Despite the attempt to tell a story about Thundra and Lyra, the reliance on flashbacks for several different characters and an inability to stick with one plot thread ultimately ruin the issue’s flow. This material would have made for a fine back-up feature, but the emotional core is too far removed, and the plot mechanics too disparate to form a satisfying story. It’s not the worst comic the Red Hulk has appeared in by a long shot, but in the bigger picture, the only thing its contents are good for is padding out future handbook entries on the Red Hulk, Thundra and Lyra – and that’s not enough of a reason for it to exist.