Episode #36 Nightmare in Red
Original Airdate - June 24th, 2012
When S.H.I.E.L.D. comes under attack by the Hulk, the Avengers rush to the scene and find a rampaging Red Hulk. The hunt is on for Bruce Banner as the Avengers try and unravel the mystery of who the Red Hulk is.

Written by Mark Parsons
Directed by Boyd Kirkland
Review by RoyalRubble
Media by Marvel Animation

Not being a huge fan of the Red Hulk, I decided to watch this episode hoping that it would have more to offer than simply presenting a new enemy for the Hulk. Well, I got more than I hoped for. A lot more. Pretty much everything that happened in this episode was nothing short of amazing. Apart from the aforementioned Red Hulk, the Winter Soldier is also introduced. As well as the Falcon. And a certain "Dell Rusk" who seems to be in a high-ranking position and is the one who has formed this team of characters to fight the Avengers. Doc Samson is also on his team, but I am pretty sure he alongside at least two other members of this team will change sides soon enough, and possibly join the Avengers once they find out what really is going on and who they are actually working for. The Winter Soldier will obviously have to interact with Captain America at some point, and that should prove interesting, to say the least. But first we need the real Captain America back on the show. I doubt seeing him and the current Skrull posing as Captain America share some screen-time would be as great.

I liked the way they kept the mystery of who the Red Hulk is, throughout the episode. General Ross is the most likely suspect, and the true identity of the Red Hulk in the comics. While Ross seems to have an alibi, what the Red Hulk says during his fight with Hulk kind of sounds like something Ross would say, after all the time he has spent chasing the Hulk. I suppose they will eventually reveal his identity on the show, but I don't really see them changing it. On another note, I wonder if Bruce Banner somehow realized Ross was the Red Hulk, after the fake Captain America convinces him to surrender. He seemed more scared than usually (though it might have been the way Ross grinned at him, pretty scary stuff).

I was hoping the unseen person who was giving the Red Hulk orders would be the Red Skull. I recognized his voice actor, Steve Blum, almost immediately and since the mastermind in this episode obviously wasn't Wolverine or Beta Ray Bill, it was either the Red Skull or an entirely new character. When he finally shows his "face" towards the end of the episode, I immediately thought it was Senator Kelly, from the X-Men franchise. I was expecting him to mention the Sentinels or something. It wasn't until the ending credits I saw who he really was: a character named "Dell Rusk". I had never heard of him before, and was wondering what he is up to. A couple of moments later, it finally hit me; if you re-arrange the letters from his name a little, you get the name of Captain America's arch-nemesis!

Great fight scenes, all throughout the episode. Hawkeye's fight with the Falcon was cool. I don't know that much about Falcon's back story from the comics, but his powers and equipment are pretty easy to figure out. The Red Hulk aboard the SHIELD Hellicarrier destroying everything he finds and beating anyone that stands in his way was also pretty cool. Director Maria Hill is seen once again in this episode, first meeting with General Ross and mentioning she will consider giving him the sample of Hulk's blood they have, and later being the one who calls the Avengers in to help, believing the Red Hulk is actually the Hulk. I liked how she mentions that the Hulk was originally grey, as in the comics. We never really saw that much of any of the heroes' early days so I thought that was a neat reference. The fight between the Avengers and the Red Hulk was pretty awesome. Seeing the Hulk consider himself an Avenger and then giving the now classic order of "Avengers Assemble" was great. I thought his final fight with the Red Hulk was pretty brutal; Hulk even comes out injured at the end.

Hulk is now out of the picture, and it is revealed at the end that it was all part of the Skrulls' plan to weaken the Avengers and Earth's defenses so that they can strike. This was a pretty clever way to do it; everything the Skrulls have done on the show so far has been a lot more interesting and exciting than I thought it would be. Hopefully all this build-up will lead to some more awesome developments throughout the remaining episodes of the series. The Red Skull is still a mystery though; has he allied himself with the Skrulls, or is he also a Skrull? Personally I think the former is the correct answer, but I am pretty sure he has some kind of plans of his own and would double-cross the Skrulls at any moment if he would gain from it. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

This episode was awesome. I am still amazed at how much this show manages to fit into a single episode; this time for example we had new characters being introduced, some older characters returning, plenty of action and some really neat character moments without any of it being rushed or anything. The episode also leaves us with some questions, which will most likely be answered in the following episodes. Another thing I really liked about this episode was its title: "Nightmare in Red" is reminiscent of "Nightmare in Green", an episode from the second season of the 90s Fantastic Four animated series, an episode which guest-starred the Hulk. Of course, this title possibly gets a second meaning once we are introduced to "Dell Rusk". Overall, this was another great addition to the show and advances the on-going plot of the Skrulls' invasion of Earth.

A five stars episode, as usual.

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