Red Hulk (also known as Rulk) was introduced in 2008 in Hulk #1. According to USA Today, the Red Hulk was created to boost sales and create buzz in the lead up to the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk, and depicted to be an uninhibited, tactically intelligent adversary to the Hulk. Marvel Editor-in-ChiefJoe Quesada proposed the idea for a red version of the Hulk whose human identity was a secret.Initially, Red Hulk’s identity was unknown both to the characters in the story and to the reading audience.
The 2008 opening story arc of the current Hulk series established that the character is very aggressive, as the Red Hulk murders Hulk foes the Wendigo andAbomination; destroys the Helicarrier of the spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D.; defeats several Marvel heroes, and, after causing an earthquake in San Francisco, is finally defeated by the combined efforts of the Hulk and the thunder god Thor.
In a subsequent storyline, the Collector teams the character with other villains in a team called the Offenders, an evil version of superhero team theDefenders, in a bid to prevent the original Hulk from reuniting with past love Jarella. The subsequent “Code Red” story arc made further allusions to Red Hulk’s real identity, and introduced a Red She-Hulk character.
In Fall of the Hulks: Gamma, Red Hulk is related in flashback to have killed General Ross at the behest of Bruce Banner, with whom he has formed an alliance. However, the 2010 “World War Hulks” storyline reveals that the flashback was a red herring and that the Red Hulk is Thunderbolt Ross himself, when, during a battle with Red She-Hulk (who was revealed to be a Hulked-out version of his daughter Betty), the Red Hulk reverts to human form, his apparent death revealed to have been a ruse involving a Life Model Decoy of Ross used to convince the world that he had died (which explained how Thunderbolt Ross and Red Hulk were seen in the same scenes). Red Hulk then thwarts the Intelligencia’s plan to take over the United States with a Life Model Decoy of Glenn Talbot by destroying the Talbot LMD, and informing the country on live television that he is now in charge of the county.