Favorite Graphic Novel Of The Moment | Red Hulk: Scorched Earth
Jeff parker & Gabriel Hardman’s new run on Red Hulk might just be one of my favorite things going on at Marvel right now that I’m not reading in single issues. Jeff Parker’s writing on Thunderbolts has elevated that book to my favorite Avenger-related title, but now after reading the most recent collection of Parker’s Red Hulk issues, I have a new found love for The Red Hulk that I never thought was possible.
Jeff Loeb’s run on the Red Hulk turned me off of that character. The reveal of the Red Hulk being Thunder Bolt Ross uneventful and obvious from the first issue Loeb wrote. Jeff Parker has found a way to reinvigorate the Red Hulk. General Thunderbolt Ross should not be as engaging as he is within this title as he is, but the dynamic Parker has created for the character is highly engaging. The Red Hulk is nothing more than an old burnt-out general who the world believes is dead. After coming to terms with his new powers and realizing his war against Bruce Banner was for nothing agrees to do secret missions for Steve Rogers, and his handler is none other than the real Hulk, Bruce Banner. It’s a premise that probably shouldn’t work but it does, and in a superb manner.
Former Hulk artist Ed McGuinness, has always delivered amazing covers and interiors for the various Hulk books, but Gabriel Hardman’s art style feels more suited to the overall look Marvel is currently going for in their titles. It’s a classic superhero style that has enough photo-realistic elements to it to keep it grounded and visually in-line with the rest of Marvel’s Avenger-related titles. Ed McGuinness is a great comic book artist and among my top favorites of all-time, but it’s such a nice change to see Marvel letting another artist take a crack at drawing The Red Hulk.
Hardman’s art looks comparable to Captain America artist Mitch Breitweiser’s style. It’s classic, gritty and action packed. The downside of this trade is that the last issue within the collection is drawn by Ed McGuinness, and it’s a drastic change of pace and style after reading several issues illustrated by Gabriel Hardman.
As mentioned earlier, the new Red Hulk narrative has each issue as a stand-alone issue story. Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner dispatch The Red Hulk about various Doomsday scenarios created by M.O.D.O.K & The Leader and it’s up to the Red Hulk to stop them. General Thunderbolt Ross has become the most interesting of Steve Roger’s Secret Avengers. The new Red Hulk series has the Red Hulk at all ends of the Marvel Universe, attempting to stop all kinds of Doomsday events set in motion. Jeff Parker is writing fun comics, that involve little knowledge of the surprisingly dense Red Hulk continuity.
Between Thunderbolts and Red Hulk, Jeff Parker is quickly becoming my favorite writer at Marvel, and hopefully Marvel realizes what an asset Parker is to the greater continuity of their comics. Parker’s comics are fun, simple and not usually tied into all of the extraneous events going on in Marvel’s continuity. Red Hulk: Scorched Earth contains Red Hulk #25-30 and is a great package that catches up old and new Readers on the status of The Red Hulk and Bruce Banner.