In case you couldn’t tell from the awesome Carlo Pagulayan cover that has the logo in play, Red Hulk and Red She-Hulk throw down in this issue. It’s a distorted spin on the father-daughter reunion concept, but it is entertaining and it allows Jeff Parker to familiarize the reader with the ever-expanding supporting cast surrounding Thunderbolt Ross.
Returning to Gamma Base after his extensive escapades in Sharzhad, Red Hulk runs afoul of his dear daughter, Betty Ross, who just so happens to be Red She-Hulk. The two tussle and get into a metaphysical discussion of the nature of being a Hulk. As with all Hulk-on-Hulk fights, stuff is smashed, things are said, and someone jumps away. In this case, Betty flees the scene, just as it seems that Ross is getting through to his daughter.
The aforementioned supporting cast is nicely illuminated in this issue, with Aaron Stack (also known as Machine Man) sticking around to meet Annie, the life model decoy (robot) that serves as Red Hulk’s intelligence operations officer. Annie briefs Ross on the happenings of Zero/One, Red Hulk’s “nemesis,” and the story takes off from there.
Elena Casagrande returns to the pages of “Hulk” with this issue, bringing her considerably thorough artwork and crisp storytelling. Casagrande fits the mold of the “standard” artist Parker has been blessed with on this series: clean, detailed art that supports the story, grounding it in a believable world and accentuating the absurdity of it all once things get Hulked out. There are slivers of Jimmy Cheung, Gabriel Hardman, and Carlo Pagulayan floating through the art here, but Casagrande brings her own emphasis to the story, showing off her influences, but never sacrificing her own style. The one hiccup in Casagrande’s work is that she bequeaths Red She-Hulk with the most absurd mop of hair this side of Medusa. At times, it appears as though the hair on Red She-Hulks noggin is more a cape that hair. It is certainly an odd choice, but easily dismissible, especially given the fact that Casagrande excludes Ross’ eyebrows (as well as mustache) when he’s in Hulk form.
This book is consistently a treat. Jeff Parker not only delivers fun, adventure-filled stories with believable characters, but he finds a voice for every character and, every single time, it’s the right voice. The string of issues that Parker has delivered is the longest I’ve read any Hulk title. While Parker has been crafting a continuous story all the way through that run, he’s accomplished enough to make every issue a decent spot for newer readers. This issue is more than simply a decent entry point: it’s the best spot since “Hulk” #42. The story is just going to continue to ramp up from here, so you may as well give it a go right now.