Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Loeb & McGuinness
The finale of Jeph Loeb’s red Hulk run ends much the way you would expect: red Hulk versus green Hulk. This issue pits the Hulks against each other not only in a battle of strength but in a battle of wills and common rationale for hating the other. The issue in many ways mirrors the Jeph Loeb run. It has a lot of awesome art and if you think too much about the story you end up getting frustrated with the whole thing. My suspicion is if someone were to read the issue blind that they would find it to be a fun comic with a concise story. However, if you’ve read the whole run this finale might be a painful reminder of how strange the run has really been.
One of the struggles throughout this title’s run has been the reasoning behind the red Hulk fighting the various opponents. In this issue a strong attempt is made to add a story to the fact that the two Hulks are waging war. In essence they are fighting because each has ruined the other’s life.
The comic book is told from an opposing narrative perspective which can be a little complicated when you mix in their dialogue with each other. Basically, green Hulk (as Banner) blames Ross for screwing up his marriage with Betty. Red Hulk (as Ross) blames Banner for screwing up his relationship with Betty, his daughter. This is all well and good but doesn’t really work. Not just from a continuity perspective but from just this issue’s perspective.
If anything I would argue that both Banner and Ross have massive egos and they are fighting simply because each wants to be the strongest and possess a hold over the other. It seems like the classic alpha male versus the alpha male. This doesn’t take away from the issue at all, it just makes the issue seem to present something that it may actually not be. It leaves a debate which is a good thing I think.
The aspect of the issue that I didn’t really care for was the inclusion of both (or three) She Hulks. I understand it was necessary to jam Betty in there because she was the focus of the argument and fight but it just didn’t all fit that well. However, not fitting all that well has been the problem I’ve had with much of the Loeb run.
Loeb writes a letter at the end of the issue that explains a lot of his run and makes it seem more digestible as opposed to reading it month after month. I think this title tried to be too much conspiracy and too much raw fighting instead of sticking with one or the other as the primary focus of the book. I hated the whole robot aspect of the story and this issue managed to remind me of that fact.
The art is exactly what you would expect. Loeb writes in his letter in the back that Ed McGuinness was born to draw the Hulk and he was correct. The unsung hero of the issue is the coloring that is done here. Everything jumps out of the page and makes sure the mood is angry. It’s perfect for the story. The issue also was not just a series of splash pages as there were plenty of panels to tell the story over a wide range of space.
If you like fighting and the fighting to look great then this is a great issue to pick up. You may even like the double narrative and the link between them. In that regard the issue is quite entertaining. If you have struggled with the run and reveal of the red Hulk’s identity then this issue might be like reopening an old wound. As a cap to the Jeph Loeb era it seems like this was the only way it could end.
3.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles