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How Did Red Hulk Beat Up So Many Powerful People?

This is "Provide Some Answers," which is a feature where long unresolved plot points are eventually resolved.

This is an exception, as this did not take all that long to be resolved, but I realized I don't have any other column that fits this particular idea (I tried "I'll Sell It To Ya," but it didn't quite fit). This was the closest column where it would fit. In any event, today we look at how the Red Hulk was able to be so successful in his early fights in the comics.

In 2008, Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines launched a new Hulk series that starred a brand-new Hulk. This Hulk was red and the first thing we saw was him killing the Abomination, who has gone toe to toe with some pretty powerful people over the years (of course, he was also defeated once by Hawkeye, but hey, some things are best left unsaid).

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Loeb and McGuinness clearly had a BLAST showing this new Hulk in all sorts of outrageous situations and they involved this new Hulk doing really, really well in fights against a whole array of major Marvel characters.

The Red Hulk easily defeated the new Abomination (Rick Jones), who goes by A-Bomb...

The Red Hulk beat She-Hulk easily...

The Red Hulk even punched out the Watcher!

The Red Hulk did really well in battle with the Mighty Thor...

and even managed to unseat the Green Hulk for top bragging rights among Hulks...

While many fans were enjoying the thrill ride of the series (it was one of Marvel's best-selling titles of the period), there were some that took issue with just HOW well the Red Hulk was doing in fights with these other characters. It seemed like he was doing "too" well for such a new character.

However, Jeph Loeb had a plan the whole way. In Hulk #12, he had the Red Hulk handle the Silver Surfer pretty easily and that's where we learn that this new Hulk has a brand-new power that the old Hulk did not have. The Red Hulk could absorb ANY kind of biological energy, including the Power Cosmic...

Thus, while the Red Hulk is fighting people, he is draining them of their energies. So when he fights the Green Hulk, he is absorbing the Green Hulk's gamma radiation, which increases the Red Hulk's strength while reducing the Green Hulk's strength. The problem with that strategy is that the Green Hulk doesn't make logical sense. His "the angrier I get, the stronger I get" doesn't follow any logical law of physics, and as a result, the Red Hulk could keep draining the Green Hulk and the Green Hulk could STILL have more than enough left for him, depending on just how angry the Green Hulk was.

Anyhow, so that was how the Red Hulk did so well in his fights. In Red Hulk #25 (by Jeff Paker and Gabriel Hardman), Bruce Banner removes that ability...

He later explains that it was placed there as a failsafe by the Leader (who gave the Red Hulk his powers). If he kept it, he would eventually absorb too much and die.

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