Radio Dead Air

The comic medium is a unique one in a lot of ways, least of which being the fact that so many people get to lay hands on a single subject over the years. Captain America, Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman . . . pick any title and there’s at least fifty or more people who added something to it. Things have changed a lot over the years (especially with the rise of indie books), but the one constant is that writers and artists on your favorite books will rotate like a rocket on a sit n’ spin. Some of them will be phenomenal. Some of them will be stars in their own right. Some of them will take an obscure title and during their run create a legendary story that’ll be spoken of for decades to follow. And some of them . . .

Some of them will be like a goddamn bull moose locked in a port-o-john: no matter what happens, there will be an awful lot of horrible shit flung about.

News broke this weekend from San Diego Comic Con that Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness are going to be unleashing Red She-Hulk on us. Yeah, you read that right: Red She-Hulk. Don’t believe me? Have a look:

You know, just to make that image complete they could have scrawled “THIS IS GOING TO SUCK” across it, but that might have been too subtle.

For a little backstory: after the re-launch of the Hulk after Marvel’s World War Hulk storyline, Loeb and McGuinness introduced a Red Hulk into the book. The big “mystery” was supposed to be who the Red Hulk was. In fact, the real mystery was what happened to all the character development Bruce Banner went through during the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk storylines. After becoming a complex and developed character, these two yahoos chucked that concept because it didn’t work with their concept. That’s right, instead of actually accomidating the story that already existed, they decided it should be the other way around. That’s a bit like expecting the hooker to pay you.

See, the whole kitch behind the Red Hulk (or the “Rulk” as the folks at Marvel and nowhere else on the planet call it) is that this Hulk is smart, calculating, viscious and hell bent on vendetta. All well and good, except that during World War Hulk the good ol green Hulk was (wait for it) smart, calculating, viscious and hell bent on vendetta. Rather than come up with something else, they simply repackaged it in red and to ensure that the old Hulk was a contrast to their “new and improved” Red Hulk, they arbitrarily made Hulk dumb as a bag of hammers again.

Why? It’s never explained. Just happens. Poof! Instant dumbass. Like being elected to Congress!

What Marvel, Loeb and McGuinness have yet to figure out is this: no one likes the Red Hulk. The damn storyline has dragged on for over a year now, being frustratingly coy and refusing to resolve itself just for the sake of milking the very bad Red Hulk idea just a little bit longer. The Red Hulk storyline, as it compares to the World War Hulk stories that came before, is like Smash Lab compared to Mythbusters. It’s howlingly awful, with no real sense of time or progression, and always feels forced. In the recent Incredible Hulk #600, there was a Hulk Wendigo. Let me say that again: there was a Hulk Wendigo. Why? Who the fuck cares? EXPLOSIONS!

How can something be this bad? Well, let’s have a look at some of Loeb’s writing credits in other media:

Teen Wolf
Commando
Heroes (Second season)
Smallville

Jeph, buddy . . . stop hogging all the fail, huh?

What’s maddening about this whole thing is that instead of realizing this is a horrible storyline and trying to wrap it up, it looks like with the debut of Red She-Hulk, Marvel is doubling down. “What that? You hate it? Well, here! Here’s some more stuff you’ll hate! In fact, why don’t we just take everything you love and shove a big ol’ spiked metal dildo o’ doom up its rectum, whaddayasay?

The sad thing is compare this to The Incredible Hercules, done at the same publishing company, put together with leftovers from both World War Hulk and Secret Invasion. That book is actually compelling and well done. When someone else can take your b-list characters and turn them into an excellent book while you’re flounding with a rainbow of fruit Hulks, it’s time to do a little thing called “re-evaluation.”

Red She-Hulk. Christ, it’s like the Clone Saga all over again . . .

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