In Avengers #28, the Red Hulk goes on a mission to take out the head of the Phoenix Five.
The Red Hulk talks about his experiences as an Avenger. Knowing he was once a villain, but now a trusted adviser to Captain America, he knows the other Avengers look at him as if he’s a monster and someone who can’t be trusted. He knows that his place on the team, oddly enough for also being Bruce Banner’s greatest nemesis, is to simply be a Hulk – a blunt instrument. However, he also knows why he’s given such a large role in this war against the X-Men… It’s to do the things that Captain America can’t and Wolverine won’t – to assassinate Cyclops.
I’ve been in the minority over how much I’ve appreciated “Rulk” being with the Avengers. I have a soft spot for the situation. The Avengers have a long history of giving people a chance to fix the wrongs they’ve done in their lives. The Sandman was an Avenger for a brief time. The Vision was created to destroy them, and, while a big chunk of the Avengers were away during the Secret Wars, he tried to take over the world, and yet he’s one of the greatest Avengers ever. The first team to be formed after the original members left was made up of reformed villains under the leadership of America’s greatest hero.
What I’m getting at is that Rulk became an Avenger as a throwback to that idea that the Avengers could find more in someone that goes beyond their past transgressions. If they truly wanted to do better and make up for those wrongs, Captain America was willing to give them a shot. That’s exactly what Thunderbolt Ross was looking to do. He had come to terms with him being a Hulk now, as karmic as it seems.
This issue gives his perspective for the first time since he joined the team and I liked it quite a bit. It’s a good fit for the Brian Michael Bendis era of writing this section of the Marvel Universe. What began with a horrible event that eventually led into a new team with a new vision came with sage advice from Tony Stark at the end of the very first arc of New Avengers when he advised Cap to bring Wolverine in to do the things they never could, even if that meant killing.
Now, nearly eight years later, Bendis gets to revisit that idea of having someone on the team to do the unspoken things that only men who spent time at war know. It gives this book a feel of Bendis continuing to close up some loose ends from his time as Avengers scribe. He’s quietly been doing this over the past couple months and it is mostly working. This issue, in particular, is a good pre-cursor to Avengers Vs. X-Men #8 that finds Rulk taking a pretty nasty injury from yet another of the Phoenix Five, Namor.
This issue also features some great art from Walt Simonson with a huge boost from Scott Hanna on inks and Jason Keith on colors. With the way that Bendis wrote this issue in a slightly more prose style for half the issue, Simonson is getting the chance to really show what he can do as a storyteller. This issue just proves why Simonson is a true master and one of my very favorite artists ever.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Good Rulk story from Bendis. Great art from Simonson, Hanna and Keith. Nice standalone for AvX.||Poor advertising in the solicits eluding to Rulk’s potential last stand.|
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