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Hulk #7 Review
Porno, porno, porno!
It makes me very sad and also very angry that Marvel is actually now calling Red Hulk 'Rulk'. Really. That's the best fucking name you could come up with, one commonly used by idiots on message boards? But it's not like anything else in Hulk makes any sense whatsoever or contains anything enjoyable. Some people like to read the comic for 'so bad it's good' reasoning, but Loeb's Hulk is not so bad it's good. It's so bad it's REALLY FUCKING BAD. The very delayed first arc of the book established the Red Hulk and didn't resolve who Red Hulk is (I bet it'll be revealed that he's no one, a synthetic being created by Ross that's in Hulk form all the time) while insulting the intelligence of everyone over 3 years old. These next three installments of the series are divided into 2 12 page parts, each telling an inane 3 part story, one with Hulk and one with Red Hulk. You'd think it'd improve Hulk to have less Red Hulk per issue, but you'd be wrong as shown by Hulk #7. I didn't think it was possible, but Jeph Loeb managed to make a Hulk issue worse than his prior six and that special. He motherfucking did it. Congratulations, fucknuts.
The first story follows the original Hulk as he tries to make up for Red Hulk's mistake in King Size Hulk (killing Wendigo). This takes him to Las Vegas. Uh, why the Wendigos would be looking for the Hulk in Las Vegas beats me too, but it happens. Almost all of Jeph Loeb's work requires the reader to add 'for some reason' the larger plot movements, of course. Moon Knight is there also in his Stephen Grant identity, along with Marlene, who hasn't been his girlfriend for many years. Nor has Moon Knight used his Grant identity in a while because he doesn't have any fucking money. But, once again, things like continuity or sense don't enter into the Loeb comics writing equation. Loeb reading the Huston/Benson run of Moon Knight would require work and it's obvious he appears in Hulk #7 solely for the Marvel version of the Trinity conceit. Anyway, Banner becomes anxious when he sees the Wendigos wrecking a casino, and he Hulks out (uh, even though he becomes Hulk when angered) into the Grey Hulk incarnation. What the fuck? Why? He also refers to Las Vegas as "Vegas", which Hulk nerd Bruce Banner tells me flies in the face of Grey Hulk always calling Las Vegas Las Vegas. Fight scene, fight scene, fight scene until Grey is about to beat Moon Knight to death. "Hulk! This stops now!" "Sez who?" "Sez us." responds the now revealed Ms. Marvel alongside the Sentry. That pretty much fucking says it all. Sez us. Sez us...GODDAMNIT.
Moon Knight's a real fucking idiot for going up against the Hulk. He's not Batman; he can't bullshit out a prep time justification.
I guess Art Adams wanted to draw Grey Hulk, which would explain the Las Vegas setting and the random occurrence of the Grey Hulk. I mean, does Las Vegas cause Banner to become Grey Hulk? Do other locations trigger specific transformations? Will he become Professor Hulk when inside a MENSA building? This is supposed to take place post-Secret Invasion, which makes no sense whatsoever since Ms. Marvel is going to kill Sentry's boss and Marc Spector is dead (the personality belonging to Moon Knight is now Jack Lockley). Continuity isn't a real issue for me, what with me having smelled pussy at some point in my life, but still, it's rather jarring. I propose all of Jeph Loeb's works be set into a self-contained universe and then flung into the sun. If you think that's being too harsh, here's a sample line from the first story, delivered by Bruce Banner's interior monologue: "Hmmm...does that make me "Grulk"?" Yeah. Adams' art is pretty good, but it cannot compensate for the deficiencies in the script, or perhaps it's more accurate to say lack of script. I'm telling you, Audrey Loeb's Mini Marvels one pagers are the fucking highlight of these Hulk issues. She should take over the goddamn book. I'd buy 22 one-pagers of Mini Marvels for $2.99 so long as it keeps little girl Loeb the Loeb at Marvel with any influence.
More tailoring the story to the artist's preferences occurs in the second plot, in which She-Hulk, Thundra and Valkyrie team up to fight Red Hulk. Take a guess as to who illustrates it. Come on. Guess! If you said Frank Cho without having to look at the art credits on the cover, you're correct. There's not really a plot to it, no real reason why She-Hulk would bring together a revamp of the Lady Liberators to take down Red Hulk when she'd be better served to cooperate with the presumed S.H.I.E.L.D. manhunt, no purpose for Thundra or Valkyrie to show up considering there is never any good reasons for them to appear in a comic book story, no fucking sense for anything in this bullshit. She-Hulk calls a lot of other female superheroes too, and all of them decline, from Ms. Marvel to Invisible Woman to Continuity Error Spider-Woman to even fucking Dazzler, Hellcat and Tigra. You know shit is bad when Tigra won't take you up on your offer to posse up to fight a guy who beats women. The trio armor up and go to confront Red Hulk, who is hanging out at Mt. Rushmore at a bar, drinking an entire keg of beer. I don't know why the fuck they bothered. If Hulk, Iron Man and Thor can't take him, fucking Valkyrie or Thundra most certainly cannot.
Replace 'red' with 'yellow' and you have Frank Cho's predominant sexual fantasy.
They get into a scuffle which manages to, amazingly, get an ass shot or a boobs shot on every page. And if you didn't think Loeb writing for Cho/Cho couldn't top themselves, Red Hulk takes Thundra's chain and uses it to strangle She-Hulk and then dangle her over a very precipitous drop. Woman in bondage peril in a story designed to show the womenfolk fighting against a big red asshole chauvinist! Nice work, Loeb and Cho. If I were a woman or a feminist I'd probably be pissed off. I'd also be pissed off by Thundra's inclusion, considering she was created solely for Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway to address women's lib (by showing a dystopian future of a dictatorship of women). Irrespective of that, "Hell Hath No Fury..." (I wonder what part 2 will be called) is a much poorer story than the Las Vegas one. Cho is good at drawing cheesecake and nothing more, so you won't be impressed by his pencils on this issue unless you intend to masturbate to it. (In which case, feel ashamed of yourself.) But if you don't intend to masturbate, the story itself is pretty fucking useless too. If you don't want to sexually fantasize about any of the women Cho draws, there's no reason to devote 12 pages to She-Hulk seeking revenge from Red Hulk and fucking up spectacularly.
I love conveniently placed gas trucks!
Loeb's scripting is terrible as well. (Does that shock you?) He gives into the fanservice predilections of Frank Cho all too easily. For example, one panel is devoted to the girls undressing and changing into their battle clothing. Was it necessary? No. Did it serve a story purpose? No. It's there just so Cho can draw and can masturbate while drawing it. Loeb includes a lot of godawful and clichéd lines in the dialogue, from Red Hulk's "If you're going to bring a weapon into battle -- LEARN HOW TO USE IT" to his Hellraiser ripoff line "Come to daddy". If you had high expectations, or any expectations for that matter, for this, you're a fucking sucker who deserves to get bilked by Marvel. Oh, the best/worst line in the story comes on the final page. Red Hulk says "Now, if you two want to come back inside with me, have a beer, play spin the bottle, I won't kill your little girlfriend here". Oh, that Red Hulk, what a cad. He's just as casually misogynistic as, say, Grey Hulk! So that's what links the two diverse plotlines together: misogyny. The Daily Raider stresses that there is an important distinction between good misogyny and shitty, stupid Maddox-style misogyny. Good misogyny blasts women for their failures; shitty misogyny is, well, like Red Hulk. Now I'm starting to think the secret identity of the guy is none other than Tucker Max. That'd be the scariest comic book ever. Yet still very fitting.
...That's an odd height discrepancy.
The two things combine to form a shittier whole than the sum of its parts, managing to not only include a retarded "Rulk" comic but also a retarded Bruce Banner/Hulk comic involving lots of Wendigos looting casinos (since the Hulk's natural habitat is casinos). Like every other issue, the characters don't act like the characters they're supposed to be, situations change without explanation and the logic belongs to some shitty WWF comic made 10 years ago. (Or maybe the Warrior series, which cannot even be described by human words.) That, that is what Jeph Loeb comics are. Wrestling matches transformed into comic books. It makes perfect fucking sense. In wrestling, actors (sorry, "wrestlers") change storyline for no particular reason, wrestling is starved for popularity so they engage in retarded, faux shocking stunts, and the dialogue is abysmal, even more so when in a wrestling match. I suggest Marvel fire Loeb and Loeb pick up a job writing for Smackdown or Raw or Guys Hugging Each Other But Not In A Gay Way, Seriously. Considering how bad wrestling plots are (Chris Benoit's murder suicide was a worse shock tactic than Bendis killing off Hawkeye in Avengers Disassembled), Loeb might actually improve the overall writing quality. And it'd put Loeb in an environment I would never, ever, ever, ever find myself in. Win-win for everyone! Wrestling fans don't have brains so they wouldn't notice any change anyway.
It goes without saying that the Hulk series won't improve unless Jeph Loeb dies in a bus accident or Marvel decides to take him off the book (the former is more likely, sadly). Well, it's not all bad. The character has recovered from some pretty awful periods (John Byrne's run, anyone?). I'm sure the book will recover eventually, of course sans Loeb and his artist-placating bullshit. But still. Fuck Loeb. If comics wants to evolve beyond shittily written punch-ups and fanservice, well, it won't happen as a result of no Loeb, but shitkicking him out of the industry will help lend more legitimacy to the medium. And stop more Loeb comics from being made.