It would seem that the stage is being set for Red Hulk to make his way into the MCU, though it may not be the Hulk you’re picturing.
For years, there have been rumors circulating that some brand new Hulks were coming to the MCU. We’ve already got She-Hulk incoming, and Red Hulk’s time could begin with Thunderbolts and eventually lead to a showdown with Bruce Banner. Don’t expect to see General Thunderbolt Ross transform into his gamma-powered alter ego. Instead, it could be another version of the character straight from the comics. That will give you more Red Hulk keys to track down.
Originally, the mystery of Red Hulk’s alter ego kept fans hooked during his first appearances. The big reveal was that he was Bruce’s longtime nemesis, General Thunderbolt Ross, who became a monster to defeat one. Initially a villain, Red Hulk would later become an anti-hero and lead his own team of Thunderbolts, which is causing the speculation.
Although Red didn’t appear in the actual story, fans got their first glimpse of him on the front of 2008’s Hulk #1. That cover art is what has made this the prime target in the Red Hulk collection. If you’re looking for a graded 9.8, expect to pay between $300-$325, but that price will kick in the afterburners if there’s a hint that he will join the Thunderbolts.
Here is a case in which the first cover outperforms the actual first appearance in Hulk #2. Red Hulk would make his in-story debut in this issue as the newest gamma-powered villain began his reign of terror. Along with Red Hulk, this comic featured the premiere of another gamma monster, A-Bomb, who was actually Hulk’s longtime sidekick, Rick Jones, who isn’t a bad bet for the MCU. Since the end of May, the 9.8 has been earning around $165, making Hulk #2 a cheaper option than its predecessor.
Here is the comic that is causing a stir in the collecting circles. In late 2012, Marvel brought together a new Thunderbolts lineup. This time, the team was spearheaded by its namesake, Thunderbolt Ross in his Red Hulk guise. He would lead a strike force that was similar to the Uncanny X-Force and Savage Avengers with Deadpool, Elektra, the Punisher, and Agent Venom joining the ranks. While I don’t imagine we’ll see this particular team on the big screen, Red Hulk is speculated to be in the movie, which is what’s driving sales for the second Thunderbolts #1.
After the Thunderbolts movie gossip began last year, the standard cover graded at a 9.8 sold for a record $200 in July 2021. So far in 2022, it hasn’t exceeded $160, which it reached on June 11.
In the MCU, Ross was played by famed actor William Hurt, who passed away in March. Marvel Studios is not keen on recasting its roles, and it would seem Hurt’s death brought an end to the Red Hulk speculation.
In the words of Yoda, there is another: General Robert L. Maverick. Very much in line with Thunderbolt Ross, Maverick is a mustached military man in charge of the superhuman-making government program, Project: Troubleshooter. As you may have guessed, Maverick offered himself as a guinea pig and was transformed into the second Red Hulk. Only this time, he was a true patriot and the first Hulk with a bushy mustache.
There weren’t any graded 9.8s sold online in 2020 or 2021, but this year has seen three copies trade hands. So far, it has twice sold for $100.
At the moment, the Red Hulk speculation is just that, speculation. There aren’t any rumors of Red entering the MCU that I am aware of. However, with She-Hulk kicking off this year, that show could hide some Easter eggs that point to his arrival.