The new Hulk series by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness is nearly a year old now. It suffered some from unfair comparison to the then-recent World War Hulk story line which was very heavy and intense… perhaps more so than the series had ever been before. The new series was met with unsure responses of ‘what the Hell is this??’ as the stories proved to be full of tongue-in-cheek humor and over-the-top violence. The introduction of a new character known only as the Red Hulk (or RULK, as he is sometimes called) only made readers more unsure of what to think.
Thankfully, those feelings have more or less subsided now and the series has found its readers. One of the most uniquely bizarre comics published by Marvel right now, each issue is jam-packed with action and laughs. It’s like the Marx Brothers crossed with a Godzilla movie.
Now the series begins its second major story line, the Defenders Vs. the Offenders and I couldn’t be more pleased.
The Hulk is approached by the Grandmaster, an Elder of the Universe that even makes Galactus take notice. Offering up a prize that the Hulk cannot deny (to be reunited with his beloved Jarella), the Hulk is allowed to assemble his team for a contest. Hulk chooses his most trusted allies, the Defenders; Dr Strange, Silver Surfer and Namor, the Sub Mariner. However, each hero is chosen at a unique point in time when he has lost a loved one, making the prize for every contestant clear. The good guys (for once) are fighting for true love, how sweet.
After the team is assembled, the Collector emerges with the opposing force that call themselves the Offenders: Red Hulk, Baron Mordo, Terrax the Tamer and Tiger Shark. It’s such a simple yet brilliant plot that readers will find it difficult not to get wrapped up in it.
With many comic collectors suffering from event-exhaustion, this could be the perfect remedy.