“Hulk” #52 wraps up a three-issue story from Jeff Parker and Carlos Pagulayan called “Haunted Hulk,” with the Red Hulk stalked by some sort of ghostly presence. After the previous issue’s cleansing of most of the beings, there’s just a ringleader left to defeat, which results in Thunderbolt Ross meeting up with the Legion of Monsters. If this sounds a bit odd, don’t worry. “Hulk” #52 has two things going for it: remarkably sound internal logic and the Hulk hanging out with supernatural monsters.
Parker had the right idea for this issue, which is to have Pagulayan draw the Hulk fighting monsters. This is a comic that opens with a splash of the Hulk battling/being eaten by a massive octopus-like creature. It’s a great opening drawing from Pagulayan, with tentacles wrapped around the Hulk’s limbs, while the monster’s beaked mouth opens wide to reveal a second mouth that is eating the Hulk.
From there on out, Pagulayan continues to entertain on an artistic level. Monster after monster appears and each one looks different and awesome. Then again, Pagulayan is an artist who can make the Red Hulk look both fearsome and human at the same time, which is not an easy combination to pull off. By the time he’s teamed up with the entire Legion of Monsters — well, let’s just say that if Pagulayan sells his original art, I bet he could start a bidding war on that page. It’s energetic and fun to look at with these full-figured, richly drawn beasts punching and slashing their way through other monsters.
Parker’s story is good, too; the face behind the dark shadow that’s been dogging the Red Hulk is one that fits in well with what we’ve seen before in the series, and the post-defeat scene was a nice touch, too. In many ways, “Hulk” #52 is a strong reminder that while the idea of the Red Hulk was one that was a little hard to swallow initially, all it takes is a good writer to make even the less likely of character concepts a lot of fun. “Hulk” #52 is another good comic from a dependable writer; so long as Parker’s on board, so am I. If Pagulayan is along for the ride, I’m going to consider that an added bonus. He’s a good artistic choice for “Hulk,” and the more issues he draws, the merrier.