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Red Hulk, referred to as Rulk in comic narration, is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Hulk vol. 2, #1 (Jan. 2008) and was created by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuiness.

The character of Red Hulk has also been featured in video games and toy merchandise.

Publication history

The character was introduced in 2008 in Hulk #1, and has ties to the original Marvel character the Hulk, as the Red Hulk is created as part of a Super Soldier program by long-time members of the Hulk's supporting cast: General Thunderbolt Ross and psychiatrist Doc Samson. The A.I.M. creation MODOK, an old Hulk foe is also involved, as is a criminal think tank called "The Intelligentsia". The character is described as "absolutely uninhibited, tactically intelligent" and "Everything the Green Hulk isn't, the Red Hulk is." Although possessing all the abilities of the original green Hulk, the Red Hulk does not grow stronger with anger - instead emitting increasing levels of heat.

According to the newspaper USA Today, the Red Hulk was created to boost sales and create buzz in the lead up to the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk. Loeb and McGuinness were initially working on a Hulk miniseries (as according to Loeb, "[McGuinness] came over from DC for one reason, and that's he wanted to draw the Hulk.") that would establish the Hulk as the strongest Marvel character. It was then that Joe Quesada proposed the idea for a red version of the Hulk with a secret identity. The identity of the Red Hulk is a mystery, both to the characters in the story and to the reading audience.

Once the series was promoted, Marvel's insert booklets in Diamond Previews began referring to the Red Hulk character as "Rulk" to distinguish from the original Hulk character. Writer Loeb began using the term as of issue seven.

The title Hulk establishes that the character is very aggressive, as the Red Hulk murders Hulk foes the Wendigo and Abomination; destroys the Helicarrier of spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D; defeats several Marvel heroes, and, after causing an earthquake in San Franciscomarker, is finally defeated by the combined efforts of the Hulk and the thunder god Thor.

A 2008 one-shot publication titled King-Size Hulk also featured the character, and was written by Loeb, with artwork by Frank Cho, Art Adams, and Herb Trimpe.

Issues seven through nine of the title were "split books", featuring two stories by Loeb, with Adams providing artwork for the first and Cho the second. The Red Hulk battles the female superhero team the Lady Liberators and, after tricking them, kidnaps member Thundra, and offers her an alliance. The Elder of the Universe the Collector teams the character with other villains (a team called the Offenders - an evil version of superhero team the Defenders) in a bid to prevent the original Hulk from reuniting with past love Jarella.

In the "Code Red" story arc, mutant assassin Domino investigates Rulk, observing him transforming from his human self. In response, Rulk pursues Domino with the help of Deadpool, Punisher, Elektra, and Crimson Dynamo XII, but comes into conflict with X-Force, a Red She-Hulk and Doc Samson.

Powers and abilities

Marvel editor Mark Paniccia has described the Red Hulk as "absolutely uninhibited, tactically intelligent", while writer Jeph Loeb states "The Red Hulk is the kind of Hulk we haven't seen before — a thinking, calculating, brutal weapon-toting kind of Hulk." To further distance the character away from the original: "Everything the Green Hulk isn't, the Red Hulk is." The character has abilities almost identical to those of the current Hulk. The Red Hulk, however, does not become stronger with anger, but rather emits increasing levels of heat.Jeph Loeb. Hulk vol. 2, #6 (Nov. 2008) The character can also emit heat at will from his eyes during non-enraged periods, and can augment power levels by absorbing various types of energy, such as gamma radiation (in one instance causing the Hulk to revert back to alter ego Bruce Banner) and the Power Cosmic. Unlike the green Hulk, the Red Hulk does not revert to human form when rendered unconscious, and his blood is yellow instead of green.


Comics featuring the Red Hulk have sold well, but received mixed reviews. The first five issues of the Hulk title sold out, and second printings featured new covers. Issue #6 was the second best-selling title of September 2008, and issue #10 was sixth in February 2009.

Augie De Blieck Jr. of Comic Book Resources gave the first six issues a positive review, describing it as a "silly fun action romp" and a "popcorn comic". De Blieck Jr. liked Loeb's lack of subtlety when giving out clues, saying "this is a book where anytime someone is about reveal the solution to the big mystery, they get knocked out by a slap in the face from the Red Hulk or a machine gun to the gut". His one criticism was that, although he liked the artwork, he would have preferred Dale Keown as the artist.

IGN reviewer Jesse Schedeen was generally critical of the series, citing a lack of character development and the emphasis on continuous action sequences over the ongoing question of Red Hulk's identity. Schedeen also derided the treatment of other mainstream Marvel characters within the pages of Hulk, saying about issue #5 "The series has already treated She-Hulk and Iron Man like ragdolls who crumple under the awesome might of Red Hulk. Now it's Thor's turn". Claiming bad dialogue, poor pacing and maltreated characters, the review claims Ed McGuiness' artwork has been the only saving grace for the title. In an interview with Loeb, Z. Julian Cenac of noted that some readers were upset that the Red Hulk was able to thrash other powerful Marvel characters, and were concerned that such a high power-level wouldn't be sustainable. Loeb replied, "I tell the best stories I can."

Other versions

Mini Marvels

In Chris Giarrusso's all-ages series Mini Marvels, the Red Hulk is depicted as a friendlier character, and a friend of the Mini Marvel original Hulk and Blue Hulk.

In other media

Video games


  • Hulk (2008) vol. 2 #1–present (Marvel Comics, March 2008-present
  • King-Size Hulk one-shot (Marvel Comics, June 2008)
  • Incredible Hulk #600
  • Mighty Avengers #25
  • Wolverine Vol. 3 #73

Collected editions

  • Hulk vol. 1: Red Hulk ISBN 0785128816; collects Hulk #1-6
  • Hulk vol. 2: Red & Green ISBN 0-7851-2883-2 (hardcover)/ISBN 0-7851-2884-0 (softcover); collects Hulk vol. 2 #7-9 and King-Size Hulk #1
  • Hulk vol. 3: Hulk No More (Collects Hulk (Vol. 2) #10-13, Incredible Hulk #600)


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