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“Fall of the Hulks” smashes its way forward with this issue, in what was billed as the “conclusion.” It’s a conclusion only in the same measure as death is permanent in comics. In other words, it’s not a conclusion at all. This might be better labeled as a “chapter” or prelude to “World War Hulks.” Sure, the Hulks fall here, some farther than others, but their defeat is obviously far from permanent.
Loeb leaves way too much open-ended at the end of this issue for it to be a conclusion. There are no plots or subplots receiving a conclusion in this issue, but that doesn’t stop it from being a decent read. As with this entire run of “Hulk” so far, Loeb keeps going over the top, making this a bombastic display of writing the absurd and incredible to play to the strengths of his artist.
McGuiness takes what Loeb gives him and delivers mightily, with the Red Hulk front and center throughout this tale. McGuiness gives us Red Hulk’s sneaky (for a Hulk) entrance into the Hellcarrier as well as some highly-stylized ultra-muscled cameos from members of the Fantastic Four, Avengers, and X-Men. McGuiness and Farmer collaborate for some of the most energetic characters in comics nowadays, and none of it is low-key. Even the opening scene in Sam’s diner doesn’t come across as low-key.
The mystery of the Red Hulk’s identity is toyed with some more, adding another point to pique the interest of readers. The Intelligencia — specifically M.O.D.O.K. and the Leader — are still playing towards their end game, and their hand-wringing, mustache-twirling “mwah-ha-haing” makes for interesting reading that is every bit as outrageous as the concept of multiple Hulks. Of course, the concept of multiple Hulks gets a massive nudge in this issue.
This comic doesn’t pretend to be great literature, it simply delivers an entertaining read in a very Hulk kind of way. As all of the events in comics over the past few decades fade away, become dated, or find their consequences undone, this story doesn’t pretend to be targeting a universe-change like many of those did, and it doesn’t promise that things won’t ever be the same. It’s the Hulk, there’s smashing, and there’s fun and this book is filled with both.