Longtime readers will know my favorite comic book character ever is Speedball. A teenage Marvel Comics hero, member of the New Warriors, cause of Civil War, misunderstood and under rated. However, there was never a female hero that held equal regard for me. Not that there aren’t plenty of great characters out there, and many runs in my collection, but nothing went that extra step to be THE favorite.
Recently I was at a local comic store and bought some random comic books out of the dollar bins. For some reason, Red She Hulk #58 from 2012 caught my eye.
To explain a little: we’re all aware of the Hulk. Big green guy. Most well known from the 1980’s TV show. Funny thing about TV shows like that. If an all new character is created, that character is owned by the production company of the TV show, not by Marvel Comics. Usually this doesn’t matter. Random military, scientist, bounty hunter, whatever. But there were rumors of a female Hulk, so Marvel jumped the gun and created She-Hulk thus guaranteeing and safeguarding their own trademark. Other examples of this race to create and own first include Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen. All was quiet in Hulk land for decades until an idea formed to create a second Hulk. This new gamma irradiated human monster with a twist was named Red Hulk. Because he looks like the Hulk, but is Red. Sometimes he’s called “Rulk” but that doesn’t have the same punch. Red Hulk proves to be popular so why not combine the Hulk spin offs into one more and create the Red She Hulk. Its a Hulk, that’s red, and a woman. Ta-Da!
This is where every comic book lover has to accept that color adjectives as names is just part of being a fan of super heroes. Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Red Tornado, and the color wheel keeps spinning.
Red She Hulk #58 is a solo debut for the character. She had been appearing for awhile but now she has a starring role. It’s a great first issue for set up and conflict that’s not weighted down by the rest of the shared Marvel universe. Red She Hulk doesn’t want other people experimented on like she was, and tries to shut down the program. This puts her at odds with powerful people who now want to take her down. Add in a couple mistakes made by a person still getting used to the incredible strength and power she now possesses and I’m all set to read the entire series.
Plus it never hurts to have any comic written by a long time lover of the medium. While I’ve never spoken to Jeff Parker, he has Red She Hulk lifting a tank when she makes her on panel debut. I believe this is a call back not only to the Hulk’s strength but also all the way back to Superman. The big blue Boy Scout lifted a car overhead in his debut? This big red kicked out of Girl Scouts is going to lift a tank. Beat that, Supes.
All of this equals a fun comic, but not one to raise her into that pinnacle. Except there it is, on the first page. As some exposition for new readers a brief history of Red She Hulk is given. Including her aliases.
What? What? Also known as the “Hellion”?
Marvel does have a lesser known mutant named Hellion but he has never been showcased nor hit any higher level of acclaim. There are many examples of characters with the same names within one comic book universe, so it’s entirely possible for this name to be used here. But all research points to this being the one and only time Red She Hulk was called Hellion.
I ask writer Jeff Parker, what is the behind the scenes story? Was she supposed to have this name? Did things change along the way? Or is it one sentence in a book from years ago and I’m putting way too much thought into it? If I draw your attention let me know at teamhellions (at) gmail. I would love to know the story.
Whatever the reason for throwing this name in here, it is reason alone for Red She Hulk to stand beside and tower above Speedball. Under rated, plus easy to afford and obtain all appearances and merchandise. Also, she’s a ridiculously cool looking character.
Red She Hulk #58 was written by Jeff Parker, pencils by Carlo Pagulayan and Wellington Alves, inks by Wellington Alves, colors by Val Staples, letters by Clayton Cowles. Published and owned by Marvel Comics.