Maybe I’m running out of criticisms for Jeph Loeb’s writing; maybe it’s because there is little dialog between established characters in this issue; maybe this is actually a decent issue – I don’t know what it is, but I didn’t hate this ish like I expected to.
Sure, it’s greatly flawed. We still don’t know who Red Hulk is, and now we’re posed with the mystery of who Red She-Hulk is. Punisher is still working as nothing more than a hired gun. And Churchill’s still playing at being McGuinness lite. But, it’s not complete crap. Not completely.
The fight from last issue continues as Wolverine asks Red Shulk where she got her weapons. Apparently, they came from Elektra and Domino, who are “dead” now. Red Shulk also informs us that Jen Walters is “dead.” Then there’s a tussle, and discretion is decided to be the better part of valor. Blinded and beaten, Rulk and Red Shulk take off. The bulk of the issue focuses on their interaction, and this is where the issue shines. When writing two characters he’s created within the past two years, Loeb can’t really be writing anybody out of character. Hints are dropped as to who each character may be, with an insinuation that – perhaps – Rulk and Red Shulk are former lovers. Then, Rulk is betrayed.
Twice, by the most conservative of accounts.
He’s led by Red Shulk into a trap set by Samson who has now enlisted the aid of Rulk’s very own team of mercenaries. It’s established that the entire Domino plot was, in fact, a trap set by Samson, who has been dissecting Rulk’s psyche this entire time. That’s where we’re left, and I really couldn’t possibly care less.
Which is the weakest part of the writing if you ask me. The established characters being written poorly? Yeah, that’s bad, but… Loeb created Rulk. You would think that he’d have a better grasp on the character’s relatability. You’d think he’d be able to sell this character to us and make us care.
In my book? He can’t.
2 out of 5 doublecrosses