|Thunderbolts #3 preview art by Steve Dillon|
By Tim Stevens
As requested, I have prepared readiness reports on those currently under consideration for the THUNDERBOLTS initiative per the orders of General Ross. In order to be as thorough as possible, Colonel Daniel Way and I have begun with Ross’s “alter ego,” the gamma powered being simply known as the Red Hulk.
Tactical Assessment by Daniel Way
“Physically, there are very few who can match him. But when you factor in his decades of military experience, both on and off the field of battle, his wealth of tactical knowledge and his intense level of commitment, he stands alone.”
“The chink in Red Hulk’s armor is his single-mindedness. Once he locks onto a goal, he will not stop until he gets it, even if that means losing everything. There is no question that Red Hulk, eventually, will find a way to annihilate himself. The question is, how catastrophic will the collateral damage be?”
Psychological Evaluation by Tim Stevens
I would concur with Colonel Way’s assessment above of both the advantages and disadvantages of Ross’s single-mindedness. It clearly has served him well over the years in terms of advancement and mastering “traditional” combat arenas.
However, consistently, Ross has demonstrated his one-track mind is a deficit when dealing with enemies who do not fit the typical “enemy combatant model.” This has been most clearly demonstrated by his repeated attempts to contain, capture, or kill Bruce Banner aka the Hulk.
This antagonistic relationship towards a man who is literally Ross’s alter ego’s namesake is very disconcerting. While he has made no statements regarding it, the fact that both he and his daughter, Elizabeth—the Red She-Hulk—now bear the moniker, abilities, and similar appearances of the General’s most consistently frustrating foe cannot be something that has not occurred to him and does affect his mental status in some way.
Additionally, often, the transition from human to Hulk being carries with it some extensive consequences. Banner often lost his intellect and even at times when he did not was susceptible to what appeared to be rage blackouts. If recent reports are any indication, the doctor also experienced a psychotic break and it was not his first. Even the so-called She-Hulk, Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters, has had at least one incident where she experienced a severe break that reduced an entire town to rubble and she has, by far, demonstrated more stability over the years.
To place someone like this in the field, with tremendous power and the potential to lose complete control of his anger, especially in a leadership position, strikes this writer as ill-advised. If Ross is being called upon to be an off the battlefield, lead from afar commander, I have no issue with that recommendation. He is smart and has a great knowledge of military strategy. However, my impression is that he is meant as an active part of this team and that is a choice I cannot endorse.
The evaluations continue tomorrow with Venom, and you can order issues of THUNDERBOLTS now!