by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Jeff Parker, Art by Gabriel Hardman
Published: March 2011
Hulk #29 brings the “Scorched Earth” story to a close with a lot of action and a few new developments for the
title character. It also features the red and green Hulks working side by side, which is a rare and enjoyable
With Rick injured and Ross unable to change, things look bad for the title character until the Hulk shows up. The Hulk’s presence is enough to get Ross furious and make him change, resulting in the two smashing their way through the jungle to a volcano where MODOK has his central computer which is running the Scorched Earth program.
Even then, things look bad for the heroes, with the island’s defenses enough to put two Hulks through their paces. The tide changes when the Hulk tells Ross that Banner lied – he can absorb energy. This leads us back to the red Hulk becoming the guy of old who could beat up just about anything. Of course, when the Hulk turns back to Banner, Bruce explains that it wasn’t entirely a lie – the red Hulk’s energy absorption abilities will eventually burn out his ability to change and lock him in one form or the other if he keeps using him. Future writers take note: this is a convenient way to get him to turn back to General Ross permanently when this whole red Hulk experiment starts to lose sales.
In reality, Scorched Earth was actually a distraction so a new MODOK – apparently an improved clone of the original – can be born without the heroes interfering. I like this. It gives MODOK a chance to return to comics while also letting George Tarleton, the original, to have a peaceful rehabilitation. I hope this change sticks.
Our backup story features Uatu the Watcher and his companion Uravo, who was looking for him after he disappeared. Uatu is observing a “red hole” which killed many red-skinned creatures and which itself unleashes a robotic weapon called the Omegex. The Omegex winds up going after the red Hulk after sensing the energies left behind from Rulk’s punching of the Watcher. Uatu says this is unfortunate, but gives the vibe that he’s not exactly sad. It’s interesting to see the Watcher suddenly become this petty, and hopefully that will go somewhere.
Overall, this issue is a solid conclusion to the red Hulk’s first post-Loeb arc. Jeff Parker writes a good Banner, and the interaction between the Hulk and his red counterpart is entertaining. Parker’s Hulk seems a little off, lacking in the rage that the Hulk is known for, but not so much so as to take the reader out of the issue. “Scorched Earth” overall provided a lot of fun smashing, interesting locales, and good characterization. It also gave us some cathartic beatdowns from people who had some revenge against the red Hulk coming. Finally, it was the start of some interesting new character development for General Ross. Overall, while this storyline doesn’t quite launch itself into the realm of truly great comics, it is a good tale and well worth the effort of tracking down the issues or the compiled Scorched Earth trade paperback.