SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Avengers #682 by Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Mark Waid, Sean Izaakse, David Curiel and Cory Petit, on sale now.
The Avengers’ fight against the forces of The Black Order, The Lethal Legion, The Grandmaster and The Challenger in No Surrender has taken a massive toll on the team already. Jarvis is ill and not getting any better, as far as anyone knows Johnny Storm is dead and most of the world is “on pause” and not even aware of the carnage taking place across the globe. The Avengers need a break and that comes this week in the form of two much-missed allies, Hawkeye and Red Wolf, who appear just in time to help The Avengers turn the tide.
However, things aren’t looking so good for the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes just yet. While they do gain an advantage in the cosmic game between The Challenger and The Grandmaster, an Avenger dies in order to gain that position. Meanwhile, another old ally is resurrected, but The Avengers may not be too happy to see their teammate return as… well, they’re very, very angry.
Hungry Like The Wolf
Red Wolf’s path to the modern era has been a long and strange one, taking him from the time-lost Battleworld domain of Timely to the present day Marvel Universe. A principled lawman and the recipient of prejudice and racism in both of his timelines, Wolf united with Hawkeye within the pages of Occupy Avengers. Initially, the pair came together to aid a group of water protectors, but they remained a team, traveling the country helping out the little guy — even if that little guy was a town of Skrulls. During their travels, they aligned themselves with other fringe Marvel heroes like Deadly Nightshade and Nico "Wheels" Wolinski, while other allies such as Nighthawk died during the war against Hydra.
Red Wolf is a man out of time, but a hero nonetheless, which makes his seeming sacrifice in Avengers #682 all the more heroic. Previously, three of the Pyramoids had been claimed; one by The Black Order, one by The Lethal Legion and one by The Human Torch, and as far as their teammates are aware, the people who grasped the Pyramoids perished in doing so. Despite this, Red Wolf is confident that this is not the day he dies and selflessly leaps towards the object, claiming another Pyramoid for the Avengers while vanishing from the game. However, as the reader knows, he does not die; instead, he's transported to the Grandmaster’s Cosmic Game Room, where he sits frozen in amber alongside Johnny Storm, Ferene and Black Dwarf, even as the final Pyramoid is introduced to the game.
Rage Never Dies
While Red Wolf may have been taken off the board, this week we finally get the much-teased return of The Hulk — once Incredible, now Immortal. Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s upcoming The Immortal Hulk was announced this week, which gives us an idea of what this incarnation of the Jade Giant is going to be like, but this is our first in-story look at the resurrected jade giant, and he looks suitably angry and perfectly monstrous.
When we last saw The Hulk, he had been briefly resurrected by Hydra’s Captain America and unleashed upon The Mount. It was thought at the time that the resurrection was temporary, and after a limited run, The Hulk ran out of power and returned to death's embrace.
However, whether it’s through the machinations of The Challenger — who seems to have offered The Hulk something in exchange for joining the game — or through his own powers, The Hulk is alive once again and The Avengers are in now way ready for him. Next week sees the proper return of the character which will likely iron out a lot of the details surrounding his resurrection but for now, all you need to know is that The Hulk is back, and he’s mad. Sometimes the best concepts are the simplest and when it comes to The Hulk, that really is all you need.