Mighty Marvel Marathon: Le Incroyable Hulque Part Trois!

by Jon Quixote

Well, my marathon hit a bit of a hiccup as I decided I couldn’t put off replacing my old-ass computer any longer and ran out and picked up a new one. I had other reasons, but I also wanted a new monitor with which to enjoy these digital comics (and ease up on the eye-strain). I don’t remember what size my old one actually was, but based on how big my new 22” LG widescreen feels, I’d guess about 7”.

But you can find the rest of that story on my other blog, “Jon Quixote is boring.” Here, it’s an excuse for why my ‘marathon’ involved a piddly 40 comics this weekend. But we’re back in business, and I’m ready to read some Hulks if you’re ready to read about me reading comic books! Isn't the internet wonderful?

Lots happens to the Hulk in this batch. There are first appearances of many great characters. There are loads of guest-stars. And the Hulk travels to some far-out places, including a place so insignificant that nobody even knows it exists. And you should see what happens when he gets back from Canada!

The Incredible Hulk Annual 2
Cheap! It’s just a reprint of old Hulk comics. Boo! Hiss!

The Incredible Hulk 137
Herb Trimpe is at the mercy of his inker. Maybe all artists are. I wouldn’t know, I can barely draw a blank. But Trimpe definitely is at the mercy of his inker. Mike Esposito shows him no mercy. I miss my tiny monitor already.
This issue introduces Captain Cybor. I can’t stop staring at his junk, and can only hope he was shifting to one side when whatever happened to him happened.

Oh and Hulk is now a galley slave on a space ship where his job is to row a space-boat. In space. I am not making this up. I think I might just blog about this one issue for a couple hours. The last 3 or so pages are basically Moby Dick too. It’s almost the best comic I ever read. But it’s far, far too ugly.

The Incredible Hulk 140
It is called “The Brute that shouted Love at the Heart of the Atom.” The writing is credited to Roy Thomas adapting a story by Harlan Ellison. And it is all kinds of awesome. Hulk gets transported to a subatomic world, where he falls in love with a green-skinned princess. And it's totally not cheating on Betty, because she got turned into a glass statue by the Sandman. If your girlfriend is currently a figurine, it's not cheating.

The Incredible Hulk 141
It’s the first appearance of Doc Samson! I’ve never seen him before his transformation. He looks like James Spader. I’ll bet he got beat up a lot, growing up all reedy but with a name like Samson. But now he smokes a pipe, ‘cause he’s smart. It's later revealed that his strength is dependent upon the length of his hair, but this is stupid and therefore isn't really true.

Also John Severin is back on inking duties. I love Severin. I think when I grow up, I’m going to marry him. And I’m Canadian, smarty-pantses, so it can too happen.

The Incredible Hulk 142
I try not to comment on every comic I read, just the most interesting ones, or else it’ll take you as long to read it as it does for me to write it. But I can’t help it – I’m in the middle of a fantastic run. This one is called “They Shoot Hulks, Don’t They?” and I can’t explain it here, but the Hulk winds up the guest of honor at a New York Society fundraiser designed to help combat the oppression of that disadvantaged social group: Hulks.
Here’s a snippet of dialogue from the party:
Hulk: “If this is all a trap, Hulk will smash! Smash you all!”
Socialite: “Isn’t he just adorable? He’s been saying that all day.”
Also there’s a reference to Swedish porn and a Tom Wolfe cameo. I swear I am not making this up.

Oh, and it’s the first appearance of The Valkyrie.

The Incredible Hulk 145
Hulk kills! He has to have killed. A submarine attacked him, so he dragged it down so deep in the ocean it exploded. No visuals of the crewmen escaping in dinghies. I think the pressure would have killed them anyway. It was a Russkie sub though, so I guess that doesn’t count. Those guys kill babies. I saw it in a Rambo.

The Incredible Hulk 146-147
A twisty, cinematic two-parter. Surprises, tension, action, sacrifice, and a Nixon-Agnew cameo. Plus, a creepy Twilight-Zone backup story. It’s still the Trimpe/Severin team on art. Gerry Conway’s doing the writing. Damned good comics here. Damned good.

The Incredible Hulk 148
Hulk kills! Yup. And that was totally on purpose. I owe Brian Azzarello an apology. And, possibly, a new pair of shoes. But c’mon, Azz. Just because it was on fire, didn’t mean you had to stomp on it.

The Incredible Hulk 150
Havok and Polaris guest star. One thing this title is really good at is making use of the Marvel Universe. The Hulk pulls many of his rogues gallery, like The Rhino and The Sandman, from other heroes’ stables. He travels a lot, to places like The Blue Area Of The Moon, Latveria, and the Savage Land. And here he is going up against 2nd tier X-Men. It's a fun story, and it's not just throw-away. It seems significant for Havok & Polaris. I really enjoy feeling like the Marvel Universe is a cohesive tapestry, and Hulk is as good at doing that as any comic I've read.

The Incredible Hulk 151
Archie Goodwin has been doing yeoman’s work as the Hulk writer for the past few issues now. This issue is legitimately creepy, so props to Mr. Goodwin.

The Incredible Hulk 157
The Leader puts his mind in the body of The Rhino and decides to crash the wedding of Major Talbot and Betty Ross in the hopes that the Hulk will show up and ruin her special day, but they fight on a spaceship instead and end up on Counter-Earth. It takes about 3 pages for all this to happen. Suck on that, Warren Ellis.

Wait? Betty’s marrying Talbot? Just because Bruce had a fling with some green-skinned floosie when he was transported to a submicroscopic world, and was ready to abandon Betty despite the fact that she spent the last 10 years travelling the globe trying to keep the military from killing him? Chicks are so fickle.

This is clearly wrong though. Betty is the Hulk's girlfriend and nobody else's. What's going on here? I'll tell you what's going on. It's not enough suffering that Bruce Banner has been afflicted with his monstrous curse. His girlfriend is also a whore.

The Incredible Hulk 160
The Hulk tries to wreck Betty & Talbot’s honeymoon! Go Hulk!
Also, Betty likes it nasty. She as much as says so. “Married all legal and proper, and you still make a girl feel positively illicit.” Whore.

The Incredible Hulk 161
Hulk goes to Canada. All the mounties are dressed like Dudley Do-Right. They speak in British accents. And they politely ask Hulk to surrender. Well, it was worth a shot.

Also the Mimic dies. Whoops. Spoilers.

The Incredible Hulk 162
WENDIGO!!! Legend says, if you eat the flesh of another human in the Canadian Wilderness you turn into a Wendigo! A savage monster with a craving for strong beer and an irresistible desire to watch nothing but hockey on Saturday night.

The Incredible Hulk 164
An editor’s note explains what a hologram is. People were so cute back in the stone age.

The Incredible Hulk 165
Betty pledges her heart and her love to Glenn Talbot, her husband again. What a slut.
Hulk fights “Aquon”, described as half-man, half-fish, and all hate. I shit you not.

The Incredible Hulk 166
Zzzax! The first appearance of Zzzax. If you don’t know who Zzzax is, he’s a monster of electricity who kills people to gain their intelligence. He’s creepy as hell. And this issue also has Hawkeye in it. I officially forgive new writer Steve Englehart for Aquon (although the end of the Aquon story was Outer-Limits cool too).

Hawkeye is in full-on loser mode in this story too, just how I like him. He’s motivated purely to stop Zzzax before Hulk does, in order to prove himself. And he does, using science he learned from James Bond movies! And the Hulk still gets all the credit.

The Incredible Hulk 168-169
So Betty kinda had a breakdown after hearing her husband was dead, and then she flipped out on both Ross and Banner. Now she’s turned into a monster called The Harpy. I knew it.

Oh, and then the two of them have to fight something called The Bi-Beast. No, not the Grant Morrison retcon of Hank McCoy. Although that would have been better.

In case you haven’t figured it out, this is really really dumb. Like, Superman In The 50’s Dumb.

The Incredible Hulk 174
The Cobalt Man is going to blow up Sydney, Australia in order to demonstrate to the world what it’s like when a city gets nuked and teach them a lesson. Good plan. Because nobody has ever dropped a nuclear bomb on a city before and we wonder what it’s like.

The Incredible Hulk 176
Y’know, I didn’t much care for Ultimate Hulk, but the more I read the more I kind of like the choice they made with Ultimate Banner. Banner is often portrayed as tragic and brilliant and noble and good, in a homogenized Silver Age sort of way. But he gets angry and excited so easy, there’s clearly something wrong with him. He’s like Woody Allen mixed with that YouTube video of the German kid who trashes his computer when he can’t play video games.

The Incredible Hulk 177
Control of Counter-Earth is being fought over by a puppet of a higher power, and a snarling war-like creature. That’s how Counter-Earth is different from Real Earth. On Real Earth, they join on the same ticket.

The Incredible Hulk 178
The letter page debates a nudity cover-up: issues ago, the Harpy turned back into Betty Ross-Talbot and Betty was nude. But in the next issue, she was covered in a type of sack. Apparently, this issue divided the readership of Hulk ferociously. Less divisive? Betty being a whore.

The Incredible Hulk 179
Glenn Talbot is back. He wasn’t dead after all. Betty Ross-Talbot-Slattern immediately starts whoring it up with him again.

The Incredible Hulk 180
Hulk goes back to Canada. The Canadian government calls for somebody called “Weapon X” to intercept. I wonder who that could be.

The Incredible Hulk 181
You know who I’m talking aboot, eh? It’s Wolverine! The cover advertises him as the world’s first and greatest Canadian superhero. He’s also short and ugly. In other words, he’s a can’t miss hit

Actually, it’s easy to see why he took off. Right out of the gates, Wolverine is ferocious in a way I don’t think too many heroes have been up until this point. Even though he’s pretty much omnipresent and immortal in today’s comics, and even though he’s Canadian, this issue reminds me that Wolverine is a good idea for a comic book character.

The Incredible Hulk 182
Jim Wilson hasn’t been seen in the pages of Hulk for a few issues and I was starting to worry that it wasn’t going to be racist enough to hold my interest. Thank God for the introduction of CRACKAJACK JOHNSON! “Actu’lly it beena while since ol’Crackajack had hisse’f a job makin’ music, but once... Lordy, once they was a Time!
But he’s dead now. Killed by two of the dumbest supervillains I’ve ever seen. Len Wein peaked last issue.

The Incredible Hulk 183
Oh look. 1975. Only 30 more years of Hulk comics to go.


The General said...

Jon, you are loosing your mind, and it's a wonderful thing to watch. This entry is the new highwater mark of the BG.

Oh, and as a side note, it bears mentioning that Magneto once sank a Russian sub. It's one of those things that X-fans like to harp on when they point out that "Magneto is a bad guy, and not a tragic hero." Which means that Hulk not only kills, but technically, is on the same level as Magneto. Thoughts?

Jon Quixote said...

I was gonna say in the blog that I'm pretty sure Magneto took the fall for this.

I think by the end of it all, the verdict is gonna be that Hulk's gonna be in a similar place to Wolverine, or even Brubaker's Cap. Yeah, there's been death in his wake, but it's always provoked and Hulk usually tries to avoid it.

So if you send your submarine to shoot torpedoes at the Hulk, don't be surprised if you're all smashed up and dead in a few minutes. But if you're around Bruce Banner when he turns into the Hulk, everything's going to be fine as long as nobody shoots him. And if you're not the one shooting him, even as he rampages he's gonna take care to keep you out of it (though you'd better hightail it anyway, just in case he forgets you're there).

Vocal Minority said...

At least the gradual disintegrating of your mind has settled the kills/doesn't debate.

I think it's a price worth paying.