As much as we like Greg Pak's work on The Incredible Hulks and will lament it terribly when he leaves the title this August, it's been very hard to get used to his take on Betty Ross. When the unfortunate resolution of the reconciliation of the Banners came to pass in the last issue, I had to keep talking and talking and writing and writing until I found a way to accept it as logical that Betty would leave Bruce. She is the Red She-Hulk now as well, so she's got a different outlook than she used to have. The trouble comes with the fact that running off with Tyrannus, one of her ex-husband's most annoying enemies, just seems like such a bitch move.
Then again, the Red She-Hulk often seems to be bitchy personified. Every repressed complaint and selfish instinct that Betty had squelched in all those years of marriage, and before that, being under her father's strict watch has now come to the surface and been given form. Also, as the original She-Hulk Jen Walters points out in The Incredible Hulks #630, she's also far less inhibited in that form when it comes to getting nooky. There's something that doesn't sit right about the idea of women becoming slutty when becoming Shulkies, but then again, if we trace the sheer number of Bruce Banner's notable liaisons (keep in mind the time he spent indulging himself in Las Vegas back when he was sporting the fedora and trenchcoat as Mr. Fixit) such as Jarella, Caiera, Angela Lipscombe, Kate Waynesboro, Umar and even current A.I.M. overlord Monica Rappaccini, he's a bit slutty himself. It's all about releasing the id. (And let's please forget that misguided one-shot where the dumb Hulk actually wanted to mate with his cousin. Please.)
Anyway, Bruce's response to this particular bitch move is to spend an entire sleepless week beating the shit out of things in the training room in his base, determined to work off the anger. He spurns Jen and Rick Jones and their offers to talk, insisting he's over it because "I have to. We're all Hulks here. You know what the stakes are." Trouble is, when you have an apparently limitless supply of rage like he does, that stuff don't get worked off too easy. Thus begins Pak's final arc, entitled Heart of the Monster. It's an ominous sign.
It may be no real consolation, but it seems as though Tyrannus is much more into the relationship with Betty than she is, as she's probably just sowing some wild oats – something she never really did in her youth. However, once again, one of Bruce's exes comes barging into things and threatens to mess up her life. This time, it's Rappaccini leading an A.I.M. assault team into Tyrannus' Subterranea (three miles below Las Vegas, coinky-dinkally) to hijack his Fountain of Youth and turn it into some kind of wishing well. However, seeing as how Re-Shulkie (trying that one out, yay or nay?) is currently all about doing whatever she wants whenever she wants, this is a perfect fit for her, and she immediately takes the damn thing over. Sending Ms. Monica running back to Bruce for help (and causing Cho to comment on Bruce's sluttiness, although he only takes offense at the fact that Cho called him 'old').
Whatever the hell Betty wished for, we don't know, but it involves monsters. Lots and lots of giant ugly monsters. Plus, it kinda looks like she's gone full-on evil by the end of this. This doesn't seem to make any sense, but since one of those monsters is the motherscratchin' Bi-Beast, I'm happy. That thing is awesome, and it has me psyched for the next issue to find out what's what and hopefully watch the Skull-Brothers smack A-Bomb around. I'm willing to follow Pak's entire ride, as I'm sure he'll at least try to make it all fit with the characters' histories. We can only hope that we can say the same for whoever follows Pak.