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Red Hulk

Marvel Universe
by yo go re

So, what's your favorite kind of gum: spearmint, or cinnamon?

Thundering out of the desert carrying weapons seemingly designed just for his powerful hands, the Red Hulk is determined to wipe every trace of the original Hulk from the Earth. Just as strong as his emerald counterpart, he has left a trail of destruction behind him. Those who have survived his passage are left to wonder who he really is, and where he will appear next.

Red Hulk is Marvel Universe figure #028, and for the most part, he's just a repaint. A repaint, of course, of figures 13 and 14 - Hulk and Grey Hulk. But while those figures looked cramped and shoddy, for some unknown reason, Reddy looks better in the packaging. The sculpt is the same, with its tattered jeans and thick, layered muscles, but for lack of a better term, this Hulk "wears" it better. The skin has a subtle texture that makes to seem organic, rather than plastic - and that's even before we start discussing the veins throbbing beneath the surface. The pants, naturally, are shredded at the top and bottom, though since he's apparently able to control his transformation, you'd think he wouldn't have the same ripping problems as Bruce.

The only new bit of the figure's sculpt is his head, and I think it may be the key to why this figure looks so much better than the other two offerings. Hulk and Grey Hulk shared the same thin, tall head, which was fine for them, but Cherry Hulk's head is nearly twice as wide - matching the way the character's always been drawn. Consequently, it meshes better with the design of his body, tying the whole thing together. He's gritting his teeth, and his short hair has the appropriate backward sweep.

At 4¾" tall, Red Hulk is bigger than most of the other MU figures, but his articulation is actually a bit less: he has a plain swivel neck and wrists, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, torso, hips and knees, and hinged ankles. The size of his legs means the hipjoints only function like a V-crotch, and the swivel neck means you'll have to use the torso if you want him to look at any other characters. A few of the joints feel a bit gummy, too, like the plastic is gripping if you go too long without moving it.

Red Hulk (boy, someone should really come up with a nickname for him - it's kind of wordy to say "Red Hulk" all the time) is painted well. Green and Grey both had a paint wash on their skin that Red lacks, but he comes out looking better without it. Somehow, this figure manages to avoid the "Red Plastic Syndrome" that usually mars unpainted toys. His eyes are black with yellow pupils, and his pants look either blue or black, depending on how the light catches them. In a cool bit of detail, his thumbnails are painted - they're always colored in the comics, and the toy's followed suit. Shame they missed his toes.

Sadly, the Titian Titan doesn't have any accessories. You'd think, since they're saving money by re-using this body three times (four times, counting the Secert Wars two-pack), Hasbro would be able to spring for a big Hulk-sized gun and a new hand to hold it. Yes, he's only used a gun once, but it's a pretty iconic moment for him, and so far no toys have done anything with it. His paper accessories include a memo from Bruce Banner to Tony Stark asking to be let out of containment to help fight the Red Hulk, and a code to unlock another story on Hasbro's Fury Files site (this one from the SHIELD Finance Committee recounting the first six issues of Hulk and setting up the seventh).

Red Hulk isn't an easy figure to find, but he's worth the hunt. I certainly wasn't expecting it when I got him, but this is the best version of Red Hulk available, even edging out the Marvel Legends version. Good stuff! Now all you need is to have him beat down all your other 3¾" figures.

-- 11/02/09

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