Welcome to the RED HULK BLOG : RULKChronicle, a constantly updated page that will be dedicated to chronicling the history of the Red Hulk.
‘’If you hadn’t acted so irrationally we wouldn’t be in this situation” – General Ross
“Don’t be ridiculous Ross. This isn’t about me. This is about you General.” – Doc Samson
No one knew how telling those words would be, when HULK Issue #1 hit comic stands across the world with a mysterious, daunting, new symbol of unbridled power and rage on its cover: A roaring, fiendish, electric devil of a beast, fearsome and magnificent to behold. It was a different Hulk. It was a new Hulk. And he was red.
HULK Issue #1 exploded onto the comic scene in January of 2008, intriguing readers around the world with the question… ”Who was the Red Hulk?”. Combining the magnificent cover and interior art of Ed ‘born to draw Rulk’ McGuinness and a solid whodunit story by Jeph Loeb, the debut of the rip-roaring Red Hulk (a.k.a. Rulk) catapulted to the top of the sales charts, ranking #1 as the best selling comic book of its month. It was a huge success for Marvel and a landmark issue that gave birth to a new Marvel legend… a legend who’s appeal has still not wavered to this day.
Based initially on an idea by then Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada and fleshed out by co-creators Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness and arguably Jeff Parker (see Fall of the Hulks : Alpha), it took 22 issues to finally reveal the Rulk’s identity as no one other than the General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Since then, the Red Hulk has built up quite an arsenal of books, posters, video game appearances, action figures, statues, t-shirts and other collectables all in his image.
History had been made. A new major character had joined the best of the Marvel Universe lore. The Red Hulk cometh… and he was here to stay.
Many years before the events of “Secret Wars”, the superior intelligent villain known as the Leader formed a collective of high brain-powered villains called the INTELLIGENCIA. Their purpose was not combative, but focused solely on plundering the world of knowledge from the less deserving… amassing stockpiles of stolen scientific and mystical intel that would serve them all in the future. The Wizard, Egghead, the Mad Thinker, the Red Ghost were all recruited respectively, partnered with Dr. Doom solely to serve as the keeper of a secure stronghold for their stolen texts in his sovereign nation of Latveria. (The munitions and other artifacts… like the deactivated Cosmic Hulk… were stored elsewhere).
The successful looting went on for years, until the death of Egghead during one of his solo tirades (killed by a backfiring gun blocked by one of Hawkeye’s arrows) became a dreadful blow to the INTELLIGENCIA and jeopardized their flow of intel. The leader recruited M.O.D.O.K. in his stead, and the plundering ultimately resumed.
One of their targets eventually became the raiding of the Edward’s Air Force Base, under the command and supervision of General Thaddeus Ross. Not only did they obtain satellite system schematics and other spoils, but they obtained the dead body of Betty Ross, who was critically poisoned by the toxic blood of the Abomination. It was thought at the time, if Betty could be revived, she could easily be used as leverage against Banner… against the Hulk or both.
Once their library of stolen texts were complete and secured in Latveria, Dr. Doom showed his hand and betrayed the INTELLIGENCIA driving the collective out of his nation, sending Leader’s life’s work into ruin. The INTELLIGENCIA was finished… or so Leader thought.
With the Intelligencia disbanded and the Leader emotionally defeated, the gamma brained villain disconnects from the world entirely and sinks in depression, becoming a recluse in an old hidden (and barely habitable) abandoned underground base. The Leader remains alone with his thoughts, and many months pass.
After a long search, M.O.D.O.K. finally locates the Leader and interrupts his dark solitude with a new lofty plan that will ultimately bring the villains the world domination that they deserve. Along with Red Ghost, Mad Thinker and the Wizard, the Intelligencia shall rise from the ashes once more. They will execute the notion Leader once had of effectively removing their direct competition from this world. The Intelligencia will eliminate their intellectual counterparts (the only people with equivalent intelligence to their own) who could stand in their way of a successful planetary conquest.
While originally his idea, the Leader is quick to point out this strategy has one fatal flaw… it still leaves the very force that has foiled their objectives time and time again. The Leader refers to the stupidest one of them all… the Incredible Hulk…. a Hulk that is currently on his way back to Earth in the name of vengeance fully intending to start a new World War. M.O.D.O.K indicates the Hulk’s return will ironically be the key to their long awaited success.
M.O.D.O.K. enlightens the Leader that he was able to study much of the intel before Doom’s treacherous act of betrayal and learned a great deal about cosmic energy. In addition, their spoils from Edward’s Air Force Base where they plundered the corpse of Betty Ross has also given M.O.D.O.K (via stolen access codes to military satellites) the ability to harness and direct precise cosmic energies. Marrying that cosmic power with gamma radiation (Leader’s expertise), they will be able to produce a truly unstoppable force: A Red Hulk. It will be a stronger Hulk, a smarter Hulk, a more devious Hulk… and one they can negotiate with. The playing field will finally be leveled and he has a perfect candidate in mind to become this crimson beast. M.O.D.O.K. then begins explaining the details of his devious plan.
Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross was a lost man. Over the past several years, the General was forced to bear witness to the unraveling of his entire world. When his daughter Betty was murdered by the Abomination, Ross became a father without a daughter, a man without a family.
When the Hulk was betrayed by the “so-called” heroes that banished him from Earth and sent him hurtling into outer space, Ross became a General without a war.
And when Captain America was assassinated, killing the one true patriot that all three generations of Ross… Thad’s Grandfather, Father and the General himself…. had all looked up to, Ross became a man without a country. A country that was now broken… and going to hell.
The timing couldn’t have been better for M.O.D.O.K. and The Leader to approach Ross and make him an offer of a lifetime.
The Leader and M.O.D.O.K. both indicated the Hulk’s return was inevitable, and therefore they would give the General a chance to finally have the power to defeat the green monster that has plagued his life and career for so many years. He too would become a Hulk… and while doing so, not only would Ross also be put in charge of his ailing country with an opportunity to fix it, but he would have his daughter back too…. Betty, risen from the grave. An offer of a lifetime indeed.
Hellbent on seeking revenge against the heroes that banished him into space, the Incredible Hulk returns to Earth (as predicted by M.O.D.O.K. and The Leader) and brings all out war and destruction upon the city of New York. As far as the General is concerned, the Hulk finally shows the world what Ross always knew… that the Hulk is an uncontrollable, villainous, abominable walking apocalypse that if not stopped, will be the eventual death of us all.
When the Avengers and the Fantastic Four both fail to stop the green monster, the President unleashes Ross and the might of the military, giving the General one more opportunity to stop the madness that is the Hulk.
Locked and loaded with adamantium coated bullets, shells and shrapnel… never was Ross better equipped to take down the Hulk than this day. Yet the Hulk was too strong. And as the last chopper hovered in the skies, its gun manned by the General himself blasting away as he tried to finally put an end to the green monster’s rampage… it just wasn’t enough. It was never enough. And Ross went down in a blaze of failure once again.