I read through another of the Fear Itself collections, this time featuring the adventures of the crimson Avenger none other than the Red Hulk. This is the first I’ve picked up of this series since the reveal of his secret identity, so I was a bit fuzzy on some of the particulars.
The first half of the story has Rulk battling it out against the fear-powered Thing. While this is going on, writer Jeff Parker has the story cut back to M.O.D.O.K. and Zero/One (a villain to this point I wasn’t introduced to but a hybrid human/robot that blames Rulk for her current state) debating whether this would be the time to kill Rulk. Instead, they realize that the Serpent, his herald Skadi and her Nazi legions would most likely take over, if not destroy, the planet. And with them in power, that would put a damper on their own evil plans so M.O.D.O.K. decides to fight the good fight.
I love in comic book stories have the villains switching sides, partially for their own needs but for the greater good. Redemption scenes/stories always warm my heart. And maybe I’m being a little too altruistic, since M.O.D.O.K. tried to kill Rulk. These things happen…
Anyway, Rulk winds up resurfacing at his parents’ old farm in Vermont with his Life Model Decoy sidekick/confidante Annie. This trip down memory lane was interrupted by the alien killing machine Omegex who has a simple mission: ending Rulk’s life.
Good thing Rulk is a master strategist; he turns back into General Ross which is too much for Omegex to comprehend, effectively resolving Omegex’s mission because Rulk was gone.
Where Parker excelled in this second act was visiting Ross’ past. You see that loss of life is something he continually had to deal with, whether it being his father dying in front of him as a child, or his wife’s death. That explains why he’s been so obscenely protective of his daughter over the years. It also give reason for why he’s such a great soldier; he’s detached himself from most of his humanity. With this emotional rebirth, it’s interesting to see what direction they will take with the character.