In my last post about GIANT SIZE AVENGERS I was a bit negative so I thought : Why not write something a bit more positive ? So I decided to impart on you my thoughts about the awesome Hulk 1. Like I said in my last RELEVANT COMIC CONTENT post there will be lots of spoilers. Spoilers about this series, spoilers about other series and spoilers about issues of the Hulk you don´t even remember. This post will include preview pages that will spoil a few things and there will be some things I have to talk about that will spoil the issue for you. So if you don´t want to ruin your reading experience and have total faith in the team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness as well as in my humble opinion just go buy the book and have fun.
For all those who are still with me we will now talk about the issue. And of course about the new Hulk. Or how I will call him for the rest of this post ( because " new Hulk " sounds too much like " new coke " for me ) el toro rojo.
In this post I will tell you who is el toro rojo.
In this post I will not tell you who is el toro rojo.
Confused ? Good.
Rick Jones is el toro rojo.
Now that we know that he didn´t die at the end of WORLD WAR HULK Rick is of course the number one suspect. He already was turned into another Hulk waaay back when Todd McFarlane was on Hulk - or shortly before that. Bruce was the intelligent grey Hulk and Rick was astronger but not so clever green Hulk. There were two Hulks before so it´s reasonable that it´s happened again.
One of the things that are always a requirement for a transformation into a Hulk was rage and anger. And if the Hulk´s old sidekick hasn´t a motivation to be peed off than nobody has. All the time he´s trying to stop the Hulk from something he might regret and all he get´s for his trouble is dead. Or almost dead as we now learned. That´s a pretty strong motivation I would say.
Additionally he was seen wearing nothing more than rags in the middle of WherethefuckamI, Alaska. Does that remind anyone else of what Bruce used to experience with the Hulk ? Since I don´t believe in coincidences that´s the final piece of evidence.
Rick Jones is el toro rojo.
Steve Rogers is el toro rojo.
I know what I just said but speaking about people being upset about the way they died.....let´s face it : compared to Steve Rogers Rick Jones is a piker. If you think being killed by some alien bug to keep the Hulk angry and smashing things is a bum deal - try being shot by your lover who was brainwashed by your archenemy while you are being escorted to jail like a common criminal for the crime of standing up for the civil rights of the superhero community. Now THAT sucks. So maybe the government did a few new experiments with Steve Rogers which resluted in the creation of el toro rojo. The way S.H.I.E.L.D. is right now we can never be sure that is was really Steve Rogers who was buried. And of course there´s always the posssibility of cloning. I mean, if you can clone a god how difficult can it be to clone yourself a supersoldier ?
When I really think about it I´m not so sure if Rick Jones could shoot anybody in cold blood. Even if it´s only the Abomination. Steve on the other hand is a soldier who has killed before when need be ( and don´t tell me you really think that all those years of fighting Nazis all he did was give them a slap on the wrist ) so that´s not that much of a stretch.
Steve Rogers is el toro rojo.
Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo.
Okay, I was sure that Steve Rogers is el toro rojo but - why not ? Sure, Steve seems like the perfect candidate to take an opponent down without mercy. But shooting a defenseless and defeated guy - even if it´s a monster like the Abomination ? That sounds a lot more like Thunderbolt Ross than Steve. If there´s one thing that has remained constant in Ross´life then that he always did what he deemed necessary. And he was always prepared to sacrifice a few foot soldiers for the greater good. That´s what being a general is all about. Being able to send your people to certain death. Or taking care of problems permanently.
And it´s not like Ross doesn´t have a reason to be angry himself. All those years he keeps telling the world that the Hulk is dangerous. But do they listen to him ? No. They coddle him. The say that he´s just misunderstood. He just wants to be left alone. The give him amnesty, they declare him a hero and they build him a big shiny statue. And then the Hulk becomes angry again and he opens a can of whupass on their asses. He takes their big shiny statue, puts it sideways and shoves it up their.....well, you get the idea. They never have the guts to do what is necessary and they put him into exile, strand him in a multidimensional nexus or shoot him into space.
The only problem is that he always comes back. Stronger and angrier than before. And this time he brought his own extraterrestial black ops team with him and wiped the floor with earth´s mightiest heroes. Because once again they didn´t listen to him. But maybe this time Thunderbolt Ross has had enough. Maybe this time he finally went over the edge and transformed himself into somebody who could not be ignored any longer.
I know what you think : How high is the probability that Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo when he is right there with Doc Samson, She Hulk, Iron Man and Maria Hill ? Wouldn´t he give himself away somehow ? First of all just because Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo doesn´t mean he remembers being el toro rojo. It´s absolutely possible that he has no knowledge of being el toro rojo. Remember : everyone is a suspect. And doesn´t el toro rojo have the same haircut like Ross ? I know that Ross´motto is most likely : better dead than red. But I guess in this case he made an exception.
Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo.
Doc Samson is el toro rojo.
Or not ? He always seems the silent and calculating guy. Always analyzing others. But what do we really know about the premier psychatrist of the superhero community ? In all the years he always played second fiddle to the Hulk. Never the hero always the sidekick. Even when he was fighting side by side with old green genes the Hulk was always on first. Yes, he was smarter and more skillful but at the end of the day the Hulk always saved the day by brute force and sheer force of will and determination. Doc Samson never was really famous. Like that guy who shot John Lennon his only claim to fame was that he was the expert on the Hulk. Without the Hulk he was nothing. So maybe he has finally taken centerstage. Could be he´s tired of being just the byline. And aren´t all psychiatrists a bit wacko themselves ?
And he has always displayed a certain recklessness paired with the tendency to overestimate his own abilities. He even took on the Rhino and the Abomination although he was clearly outclassed. Which reminds me that maybe what happened in this issue was payback for a previous defeat at the hands of Emil blonsky. Maybe he was so enraged that defeating him was not enough. Doctor heal thyself.
Doc Samson could be el toro rojo.
What of the other suspects ? Iron Man seems to be the only one who most definitely is NOT el toro rojo. Which is mainly based on the fact that the cover of issue 2 shows Iron Man getting his butt kicked by el toro rojo. But it wouldn´t be the first time that a cover is misleading. Maybe that´s not really a reflection.....maybe it´s symbolical. And one thing with Iron Man is that you never know who is really inside the armor. Do we really know it´s Tony Stark ? Maybe it´s someone else. It´s not as if Tony had not to take some hits during and after CIVIL WAR. I mean he only wanted to prevent a catastrophe and make everyone´s life better and safer. And suddenly he is the most hated man on the face of the earth. It would serve those ungrateful wretches right if he suddenly snapped and went all Apokalypse Now on their asses.
She Hulk and Maria Hill seem the least likely because el toro rojo is a guy - or at least that´s how it looks. Both have definitely reasons to be angry and to want revenge. Hill for having to do all the dirty work during CIVIL WAR only to become the chick who gets Tony his coffee. And She Hulk for trusting Tony ( and even shagging up with him - wait, that was her evil doppelganger from a parallel dimension ), supporting the registration only to have Tony de - hulk her with nanorobots when she turns on him. Yep, sounds like the classic wham - bam - thank you mam routine. Really, at this rate it could be anybody.
So what have we learned ?
I have told you who is el toro rojo.
Rick Jones is el toro rojo. Steve Rogers is el toro rojo. Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo. Doc Samson could be el toro rojo. Iron Man is probably not el toro rojo. She Hulk and Maria Hill are most probable not el toro rojo.
I have not told you who is el toro rojo.
Anyone is a suspect. Oh, and Banner is in a cell. Surely one of the most intelligent scientists on the planet couldn´t break out of it ( I can´t believe that I just wrote the lead up for one of Peter David´s infamous " and don´t call me Shirley " punchlines - which by the way he totally stole from COUNT DUCKULA one of the best cartoon shows ever.....not to mention the comic book ). Even if he can´t break out...it´s not the first time Banner and the Hulk were two seperate beings. You just never know on this title.
Right now I´m really exited to find out how this continues and not only because I´m a sucker for a well written murder mystery. In all my musings if Marvel really needs a second Hulk title so far I´ve always been like : " Are you kidding me ? Do you really ask me if Marvel needs a Hulk comic with creative superstars about the Hulk just smashing things ? Hell yeah, they need one. " And judging from the first issue it seems I was right. Aside from the always excellent art by Ed McGuiness who must have a special genetic component like a hulkdrawawesomenessability or something that makes him draw the Hulk like no one else Jeph Loeb has cooked up a captivating drama that grabs the readers attention.
In the immortal words of the great philosopher : Hulk 1. I allow it !
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Hulk smash !