Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Who's afraid of the big bad Rulk?

All right, corny title aside, really, is there really a problem with the Rulk? With the release of volume 1 of the new Hulk series coming out this week, I thought it a good time to discuss the controversial newest incarnation of Gamma irradiated power, or in simpler terms, the Red Hulk.

The most controversial thing about the Red Hulk, hands down, has been his power level. (Insert the “over 9,000 video).

Red Hulk, or Rulk as we’ll call him for the interest of saving space, is ridiculously strong. Having taken down opponents such as Thor, Hulk and A-Bomb, all powerful beings who would an insane challenge for anyone else on their own. (Though I recognize that A-bomb is a new character)

While I will admit, it is frustrating to see Rulk toss Thor into space like a piece of trash, at the same time, isn’t that what the Hulk is all about? An incredible threat that no one can handle alone and is an incredible challenge for even the greatest heroes? Hell, we’ve seen Green Hulk toss Thor around plenty of times in the past, even seen Thor forced into retreating, at one time, as Hulk overwhelmed him. Now that Rulk does it, it’s suddenly new and awful?

I can only figure that the biggest aspect that stirred controversy was Rulk wielding Thor’s hammer. To that, I must say “bah” as in a prior event in Avengers Iron man did the same in zero gravity, now Rulk cannot do the same?

I am beginning to see that all the hate for Rulk is not simply at his actions, but that it is HIM doing the actions, not exactly what he does in general. It seems a large portion of the bashers are more simply looking for something to hate, rather then really caring about what they hate, as Rulk is just another victim of anti-fanboys.

What is an anti-fanboy? Someone who is so against anything that a fan, or in this case, fanboy, would like, that they demonize it to try and spite the fans and fanboys without any clear motive.

Though I do respect people’s opinions on Rulk, as to not liking him, I find it hard to really criticize the series when compared to some of the utter tripe we got with Hulk in the 90’s. Never was there a darker age for the not so jolly green giant, and whenever I compare Hulk to those dark days, I smile because at least Hulk is both an interesting and fun read, even if more on the fun then interesting.

Now another thing to note about Rulk himself, not the series, is that he is far more villainous and maniacal then our Green Hulk has ever been. He doesn’t simply enjoy fighting; he goes looking for it, trying to stir up chaos and fights for his own amusement. It’s one of the more interesting parts to his character and I like how Loeb has really been playing strong to this. Making the perfect “love to hate him” character. Throw him into the bin of being a rapist, and we have the world’s most perfect villain.

Having insane strength like Hulk, but a cunning and witty mind that is sharp as a blade? That is an insane kind of danger, and feels more like Abomination in that sense, but far more wicked then Abomination ever could have been.

Speaking of the Abomination, the Rulk’s first victim, while I was sad at his death I find A-bomb to be a nice replacement. Sure, it’s kind of a stupid twist on how things works out, but I really like the character of A-bomb and hope we get to see more of him.

Now as for Rulk in general, I really like this character and enjoy seeing him every month and seeing his latest shenanigans. But for now, lets talk about the first story arc of the new Hulk series.

Outside of a week chapter in issues 2 and 4, I’ve really enjoyed this new series. Oh sure, it isn’t Planet or World War Hulk good but it is still a nice and enjoyable series. While it lacks the emotional punch that books like World War Hulk held, I find this to be an oddly engrossing series.

My life is stressful at times, and it’s nice to be able to read a comic that is both fun like what I read as a child, and entertaining for me as an adult. Rulk has a solid balance of classic fun stories and solid storytelling from issue to issue, and that is more then most people will dare give it credit for.

Now addressing the whole Thor debate that still seems to rage on and off today, we all saw it, Thor got his ass beat and came back for seconds only to shove those turkey legs back in Rulk’s face. It was awesome. To put it pure and simple, that was f***ing incredible and I loved every single minute of it.

Thor was great in the first story, oh sure, it was annoying to see him get his face pounded for a minute, but in chapter 6 he was great. I, for one, was incredibly happy to see that he sympathized with the Original Hulk for his loss and considered him a friend. While I’m sure people will call it uninspired, these 2 are long time allies and rivals, this is perfectly in character for the 2 to befriend each other and it really spoke to me when Thor admitted that he felt Hulk’s rage in the World War, was justified, because that is how I felt as well and was glad to see Thor actually understand something as simple as this and not let his godly presence cloud his judgment

Now as for the mislead as to who is Rulk…I am very frustrated by that, it was a huge middle finger to all us fans that we didn’t get to find out who he was, as before the series even started, we where promised that by #6 we would know who Rulk is, not who he isn’t. By now, he could be anyone, and I find it incredibly annoying that we have to keep on waiting to find out now.

Though despite this, I very much love the series and will no doubt keep it on my pull list until Loeb actually does something that ends it. I know in previous posts I’ve bashed the story, but in the end, I’ve come to really appreciate and enjoy it.

So to answer my question, who’s afraid of the big bad Rulk? Not Me.


CSC said...

He takes down Thor? I instantly don't like this Rulk "guy". I mean, come on! Thor's hammer of lightning could totally take down this guy. If anything, Rulk is a bigger target.

...I don't know what I'm talking about, huh? ;)

Andrenn said...

If you dislike Rulk for your reasons, then I respect that and your reasons. Though I myself like Rulk.

Keith Gammage said...

Its good to see that someone likes 'Rulk' and can give sensible reasons for it. I like Jeph Loeb, and it seemed to me he was working hard on the book, but I was feeling guilty for thinking that way cause everyone else seemed to hate the new Hulk book. I can now safely like Loeb again, thanks.

I think a part of the problem comes from people comparing Loeb's work to Pak's work. Its unfair to compare anyone to Greg Pak.

Andrenn said...

People will hate what they will and love what they will. I agree that Loeb has definitely been working hard on the series, as he has Ultimatum and other projects. It's funny, despite how big his projects are, he's becoming the most underrated Marvel writer.

Greg Pak did a great job in his first 2 Hulk projects, but I have been finding the new volume of Hulk to be much better then Skaar: son of Hulk. Ironic.

Keith Gammage said...

Oh, yeah, I forgot about Skaar. Everyone just seems to be ignoring it.

Andrenn said...

Skaar was a great premise that fell out of the spotlight when Pak insisted on awful pacing and telling a boring storyline. Though I may return to it, if word ever becomes good about Skaar again.