by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Jeph Loeb, Art by Arthur Adams
Published: July 2008
King-Size Hulk is a fill-in for those who want to know a bit more about the red Hulk. To be more accurate, it’s another issue for the red Hulk to strut around and talk about how great he is. There’s nothing new to be learned here, although there are a couple leads as to where the story is about to go in the next few issues of Hulk.
As with most giant- or king-size comics, this one has multiple one-shots stories between its covers. First up is “Where Monsters Dwell,” which involves Bruce Banner writing a letter to General Ross about the red Hulk. The story takes place between Hulk #1 and Hulk #2 and recount the events prior to the red Hulk’s murder of the Abomination. Unfortunately, for a genius, Bruce Banner has very little new information to give us. He details an encounter between the red Hulk and a Wendigo (a Wendigo, because there is now a pack of them) in the Canadian wilderness. He tells us that this Hulk likes guns, which we know, and that he is a mean SOB, which we also know. There is a meaningful shot at the end with Ross pondering Banner’s words while a picture of Betty sits on his desk, which actually serves as some foreshadowing for the future.
Next up is “Wait Until Dark,” which details the red Hulk’s battle with the She-Hulk in Hulk #2. Again, there’s not much to be learned here. The red Hulk beats up She-Hulk and tells her he could kill her anytime he wanted – words which the She-Hulk conveyed to Iron Man back in Hulk #2. The art is nice, as should be expected any time that Frank Cho draws the She-Hulk. (It also features a lot of gratuitous butt-shots of the She-Hulk, which should also be expected from Cho.)
Finally, we get “The Death and Life of the Abomination,” wherein General Ross goes over the history of Emil Blonsky, aka the Abomination. Again, there’s nothing new here – just a rehash of the Abomination’s history in comics, which I suppose is useful for newcomers. The story doesn’t mention the last fight between the Hulk and the Abomination during Bruce Jones’ run on the book, in which the Abomination was killed. I guess we’re going to have to relegate that to a bad dream, since it now flies in the face of what has been established in this story.
It wouldn’t be a king-size issue without some reprints, and there are actually some good ones here. First, we get a Wendigo story and the first appearance of Wolverine in Incredible Hulk #180 and #181, which are two very hard-to-get issues due to the popularity of Wolverine and the relative rarity of those comics. We also get Avengers #83, which is a non-Hulk related story that introduces the short-lived team known as the Lady Liberators. This is basically a plug for the next issue of Hulk, which will feature the She-Hulk forming a new team of Lady Liberators to take down the red Hulk.
The reprints probably make this issue worth buying. It’s one of the few chances you’ll get to own Incredible Hulk #180 and #181 without buying it in one of the black and white Essential compilations. As to new stuff, though, this comic is pretty pointless. We don’t learn anything more about the red Hulk, we don’t have time to really establish anything with the ongoing story, and even the hints of things to come, such as a battle with some Wendigos and the formation of the Lady Liberators, could have been just as easily learned about through reading solicits online.
The art is decent, although there are some disturbing bits to it. Aside from Frank Cho’s obsession with women’s derrieres, there’s a really disturbing scene between the red Hulk and the Wendigo where the red Hulk pins the monster face down, grabs a hot knife, and seems to be about to brutally sodomize the thing. We then get shots of the Wendigo’s hands writhing in the snow in pain until it dies. I don’t think this was intended, but it’s a very disturbing scene that suggests some really awful stuff about the red Hulk. So far, the rallying cry for Jeph Loeb’s Hulk series has been “lousy writing,” great art, but scenes like that make me wonder if the great art is coming to an end. There are certain things I don’t need to ever see or think about, and that scene is pretty high on that list. The art so far has made these stories at least a little tolerable, but how long will that last?