Saturday, January 05, 2008

The third issue of World War Hulk found it's way into my hands during the week, and I was surprised to observe a fairly blunt recognition of the Hulk's mixed-up past. Contrary to the coy vintage of 'Hulks will be Hulks'; General Thunderbolt Ross refers to the many shifts between hero and villain that the Hulk has undertaken, specifically recalling certain events in the context of political excuses. Things like possession by Apocalypse, or heroic turns that would earn a Presidential pardon for the volatile Defender.

It's so very interesting to observe the stark contrast that is Hulk's seemingly inevitable rampage toward finality; versus the mangling of the Spider-offices at the hands of EIC, Joe Quesada. As one collapses under the traditions of sloppy superhero story telling, the other seems to be ona a contradictory trajectory that demands, if nothing else, an extended absence akin to Thor's Ragnarok.

At this moment I have no reason to assume Bruce Banner won't be back as the Hulk. In fact, though it undermines the previous remarks, given the final scenes in WWH, I'm not even entirely convinced the new red Hulk isn't Banner.
Not that it really matters. We're here because Hulk's rampage against Earth was inevitable, and even the lie of finality is something to enjoy. So, if you will, enjoy but a scratch on the surface of a history that made for this showdown.

Daredevil #163 (March 1980)
"Blind Alley" McKenzie/Miller

Imagine for a moment you're strapped to an atomic bomb, and it's set to go off at the sign of any annoyance, frustration, or anxiety -- where is the last place on Earth you would want to go?

Bruce Banner ventures into New York City, and finds the densely populated urban sprawl to be the perfect catalyst for unleashing the beast within. Fortunately, he's got friends, and in an effort to protect humanity, Matt Murdock; aka Daredevil; lends his hospitality.

With Hulk on a rampage, DD is forced to put compassion aside to protect the innocent. So, that leaves just one question. Who'll protect HIM?!

Marvel Treasury Edition #25 (1980)
"Spider-man vs Hulk at the Winter Olympics" Mantlo/Gruenwald/Grant/Trimpe

The Mole Man and Queen Kala are locked in a battle for supremacy of the subterranean kingdoms, and the Lake Placid Winter Olympics are about to become their battleground!

The Incredible Hulk and Amazing Spider-man find themselves brought together by fate, and design of the underground rulers, as they're forced to represent each domain in gladiatorial combat!

The US Winter Olympic team take centre stage, but it's Hulk and Spidey who'll go for gold in this icey showdown!

Iron Man #2 (December 1996)
"Hulk Smash!" Lobdell/Lee/Portacio

A fresh start and new job in a pocket universe should be bliss for Bruce Banner, but fate has other plans. Even in a new world the Hulk seems predestined to be reborn, and this time it's as a result of a terrorist attack launched by Hydra! Trapped in the bomb he designed, Banner once again is transmuted into the rampaging Hulk!

Alone and confused, the Hulk comes head to head with the man who owned the weapon -- Tony Stark -- better known now as the man in the armor, Iron Man!

Now this brand new world will be the stage for a vintage showdown as Iron Man tries to bust himself a Hulk!

Avengers #5 (March 1997)
"... Let no man tear asunder!" Liefeld/Loeb/Churchill

Their rivalry has been there since the earliest days of the Avengers, and has become the stuff of legends. The barbarian and the monster, two warriors, inevitably locked in repeated battles through time and dimension.

When the Hulk rampages his way through Avengers Island, Thor arrives to find his fellows, including the valiant Captain America, beaten and bruised. What follows needs very little explanation. Thor smash!!!

It's an all out slugfest as these two seemingly immortal powerhouses go head-to-head in fight that promises to prove once and for all who the strongest one is!

Deadpool #4 (April 1997)
"Why is it, to save me, I must kill you?" Kelly/McGuinness

When you're the Hulk, you get used to not quite feeling yourself, (and keeping Doc Samson in business), but this takes the cake! With his Banner-half trapped in a pocket dimension, the wandering Hulk finds himself targetted by one of the most unlikely foes!

Deadpool's healing factor's on the fritz, and a visit from Weapon X' own, Dr. Killbrew, reveals that the 'Pool man is in desperate need of a gamma irradiated blood transfusion. Which explains why he's putting his head in the proverbial big green lion's mouth. Hey, don't worry kids, Deadpool's got a plan... AND SWORDS!!!
OK, Hulk! Please bleed into the cup!

No comments: