Saturday, October 25, 2008

Reviews Plus: HULK #7

Written by Jeph Loeb
Art by Art Adams and Frank Cho

There's a reason why I don't buy Jeph Loeb comic books.

Case in point: HULK, a rediculously over-the-top action romp starring "Rulk," a red-skinned homicidal version of the Hulk. He's not actually Bruce Banner, because Banner is out attempting to track down the Rulk while staying out of trouble himself. In the middle of all this, She-Hulk has gathered together a group of female strongarms dubbed "The Lady Liberators" who are out to stop Rulk after Rulk beat the shit out of Shulkie. HULK has been divided into two half-comics: the first half is HULK, the second is RULK, and you can guess who stars in which.

In HULK: So Rulk killed a Wendigo, of which there used to be only one but now (somehow) there's more, and what's even worse is that the original was mystically bound to Canadian soil, but these new ones are not. Banner, tracking Rulk, runs into the Wendigos in Las Vegas, and in the fray he transforms into the GREY Hulk, referred to in narration as "Grulk." But then he runs afoul of Moon Knight during his attempt to beat down the Wendigos, and as he turns his attention to beating the shit out of Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel and Sentry arrive to beat the shit out of Grulk. To be continued.

In RULK: Shulkie makes a few phone calls to some of her superheroine gal pals, until she gets Valkyrie and Thundra to join her on a hunt for Rulk. Somehow SHIELD already knows where he is within a few panels, and the Liberators are off to "spank some red ass." <----(this is actual dialogue.) They show up, and between the three of them they're unable to hold off Rulk as he makes short work of the Liberators and holds Shulkie over a cliff, threatening to drop her unless Valkyrie and Thundra agree to come back to his place, have a beer, and play spin the bottle. To be continued.

In short: are you fucking kidding me?

Okay, let's ignore the writing for a moment. Art Adams and Frank Cho draw two things like nobody's business: monsters and really hot babes. This book has plenty of both, and the artwork is phenomenal. Adams provides the art for HULK and Cho does the chores on RULK, so Cho gets the load of the Lady Liberators, which, thank god, provides lots of ass shots. There's just nothing short of beautiful artwork on display, with women, beasts, action, explosions, and lots of great, epic action in the style of Michael Bay.

But then Jeph Loeb puts his pen to paper.

Hulk? Rulk? GRULK? Shulk? Bulk. The story is all filler, no killer, complete with trademark bad dialogue and horrible plot twists. I really [sarcasm] love how the Grulk stops fighting the Wendigoes to battle Moon Knight, and then Ms. Marvel and Sentry bypass the Wendigoes to face off with Grulk. [/sarcasm] So, er, the heroes just need to fight each other? Granted, when the Hulk shows up people get nervous, but he was obviously battling BLOODTHIRSTY MONSTERS who were tearing up a casino. Aaaaaaand, the problem there is? Meanwhile, in one of the most painful scenes ever, Shulkie calls up female heroes on the phone and gets turned down for joining the Liberators. Her response to Tigra: "No, it's alright. It takes a while to wash hair. Especially yours." Ha. Ha. Oh, Loeb! You comedian, you! And then there's the "Let's go spank some red ass" line. That wins for worst line I've ever read in a comic anywhere. I was alternating between "I could write better than this!" and "Why does this man have a job writing comics and I don't?!" when reading HULK.

There's so many question to ask: why is the Grey Hulk suddenly appearing out of nowhere? How the hell can SHIELD track Rulk with no problem, but Banner, a certified GENIUS, can't find his way out of Las Vegas? Why is the Grey Hulk fighting what is essentially the Marvel version of DC's "Big Three" (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman=Sentry, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel)? And if Loeb did that on purpose, does that make Grulk the Marvel version of Solomon Grundy? And if you enjoy this book, does that mean that there's no world for tomorrow?

Some people cite this as a guilty pleasure. Well, if the art is this stellar all the time, I can see why. Me, I saw right through the pretty coat of paint straight to the wonky engine underneath, and as much as I want to rate this higher simply for the art, I just can't.

Overall: 1/5

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