By Jeph Loeb, Ian Churchill, Whilce Portacio & various (Marvel)
Bruce Banner was a military scientist who was accidentally caught in a gamma bomb blast of his own devising. As a result stress and other factors caused him to transform into a giant green monster of unstoppable strength and fury. As both occasional hero and mindless monster he rampaged across the Marvel Universe for decades, finally finding his size 700 feet and a format that worked, swiftly becoming one of young Marvelâ€™s most popular features.
An incredibly popular character both in comics and more global media beyond, he has often undergone radical changes in scope and format to keep his stories fresh and his exploits explosively compellingâ€¦
In recent years the number of Gamma-mutated monsters rampaging across the Marvel landscape has proliferated to inconceivable proportions. The days of Bruce Banner getting angry and going Green are long gone, so anybody taking their cues from the TV or movie incarnations will be wise to assume a level of unavoidable confusion. There are now numerous assorted Hulks, She-Hulks, Abominations and all kinds of ancillary atomic berserkers roaming the planet, so be prepared to experience a little confusion if youâ€™re coming to this particular character told. Nevertheless these always epic stories are generally worth the effort so persist if you can.
Even if you are familiar with Hulk history ancient and modern, you might be forgiven for foundering on the odd point of narrative, so this book, collecting a more-or-less self-contained episode of gamma-generated chaos and calamity (originally published in the latter part of 2009 as â€˜Code Redâ€™ in Hulk #14-18) provides a cathartic dose of destructive diversion with a minimum of head-hurting continuity conundrums.
What you need to know: a new, intelligent, ruthless and awesomely efficient Red Hulk has been operating in America, clearly not Banner but nevertheless quite to able to hold his own against such powerhouses as The Abomination and even Thor. His origins and intentions are unknown and he guards his human identity with terrifying ferocityâ€¦
This is all part of an overlong, ongoing plot by the worldâ€™s wickedest brain trust to conquer everything (as would be later seen in the epic Fall of the Hulks) but here the action is immediate and starts in â€˜Eyewitnessâ€™ (by Loeb, Ian Churchill & Mark Farmer) when mutant bounty hunter Domino accidentally sees the Red Hulk transform and flees for her life, knowing the Crimson Colossus will stop at nothing to protect his secretâ€¦
The Bloody Behemoth, who has unspecified shady links to Gamma-endowed metahuman psychiatrist Doctor Leonard Samson and professional Hulk-hunter General â€œThunderboltâ€ Ross, gives chase, but soon loses the luck-warping mutant and so recruits a team of ruthless trackers comprising Deadpool, the Punisher, Crimson Dynamo, Thundra and Elektra with orders to silence her at all costsâ€¦
However Domino has friends of her own and in â€˜Collisionâ€™ seeks help from Wolverineâ€™s ultra-covert mutant wet-works squad which includes X-23, Archangel and Warpath: a lethal X-Force prepared to do whateverâ€™s necessary to protect one of their ownâ€¦
After a blockbusting battle the mutants seem to be gaining the upper hand until a new wild card emergesâ€¦ a brutal Red She-Hulk who changes the game and demands the death of erstwhile ally Elektra in returnâ€¦
â€˜Sheâ€™ reveals plots within ploys inside schemes as the Scarlet Juggernaut betrays both sides for her hidden masters, culminating with all-out carnage in the concluding episode â€˜Man in the Mirrorâ€™ as a few apparent coincidences are revealed as part of a engrossing master-planâ€¦
With his complicity exposed Doc Samson takes centre-stage for the epilogue â€˜Delilahâ€™ (illustrated by Whilce Portacio & Danny Miki): a fascinating psycho-drama revealing the origins, motivations and hidden edges to the shrink all the heroes once trusted with their darkest, deepest secretsâ€¦
This bracing, bombastic battlebook also includes a 17 page cover gallery by Churchill, Farmer, Peter Steigerwald, Ed McGuiness, Dexter Vines, Chris Sotomayor, Dave Stewart and Jason Keith plus sketchbook/interview features with Churchill and Portacio with lots of pencil art and comedy strip bonus features â€˜Hulk Gymâ€™, â€˜Hulk Movieâ€™, â€˜Hulk Dateâ€™, â€˜Hulk Tonsilsâ€™ and â€˜Hulk Dentistâ€™ by Audrey Loeb, Carlos Silva & Dario Brizuela.
Whenever staggering, monumental Fights â€˜nâ€™ Tights turmoil is your fancy, the Hulk is always going to be at the top of every thrill-seekers hit listâ€¦
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