Sunday, June 29, 2008

Last week all about Hulk's better acquaintances with the heroes of the Marvel Universe(s)! We were able to see a side of the Hulk that seems little more than a distant memory. The past couple of years have seen the green goliath segregated into his own adventures of Planet and World War - each a direct consequence of clashes with the Illuminati!

Sure, Hulk used to spend his time stomping around with the Defenders and Avengers, but that doesn't mean it was always tea and biscuits! Tensions between the incredible Hulk and his superheroing counterparts have always been a vital part of what makes him such an interesting character!

It's said that there are only ten or so stories to be told in fiction, so when it comes to dressing the basic mechanic of of a plot, colourful characters like the Hulk help keep the batch spicey. He represents the epitomy of the attraction of a shared superhero universe where geography provides but the circumstances for the many agendas of Marvel characters to meet.

In the tradition of Frankenstein's monster; Hulk is essentially a creature of good heart. His Hyde-like temperment and psychological triggers create a language for a creature misunderstood but completely incapable of pacifying situations of confrontation. It is the ultimate scenario for the superhero slugfest!

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

Before industry giant, Frank Miller, was able to strip away the layers of Daredevil to reinvent a gritty urban masterpiece, he was forced to pay his dues! Recalling the great traditions of Stan Lee; here we see an exceptionally unlikely meeting as a troubled Bruce Banner finds his way to New York City -- home of Matt Murdock; aka, Daredevil!

Though blind, Daredevil is able to see through the physical shift of his friend in need, and does his best to facilitate a quiet passage through NYC for the good doctor. New York, however, proves to be a harsh mistress, and it's not too long before cars are being tipped in the street as a result of a run-in with the New York subway!

This is undoutedly a gross mismatch of combatants, but this is exactly the kind of treasure superhero fans love to read!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is comics!

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

So, what was it about 1980, eh? The Summer Games of the Twenty-Ninth Olympiad are set to kick-off in August, making this an especially topical clash between Hulk, and 2008 absentee - Spider-man! Could it be a sign, true believers...?

While America's brightest talent do their best to represent their country's sporting dreams against the world's top sportsmen and women; the Mole Man and Queen Kala wage their own wintery struggle of supremacy beneath the surface!

Hapless witnesses to the Winter Olympics; Hulk and Spider-man soon find themselves recruited as subterranean gladiators in an effort to not only name a supreme underworld ruler, but also rescue the kidnapped medal winners of the United States Winter Olympic Team!

Thor #5 (March 1997)
"... Let No Man Tear Asunder!" Liefeld/Loeb/Churchill

There are characters who, when paired with the right opponent, just have a certain chemistry that assures something big will happen. Hulk's thrown down with Marvel's heaviest hitters, but when it comes to waging war on gamma-irradiated muscle, the godly powers of Thor are rarely matched for sheer awe!

So great is the rivalry between these two battling warriors that their struggles continued in a world where Earth's mightiest heroes (and some of their gods and villains, too) were reborn into a world without history!

Having been taken in by the Avengers; a world weary Thor is none too pleased to find the green goliath rampaging through the island headquarters of the Avengers, leaving strewn the bodies of their greatest heroes, including Captain America!

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

Famed for the many contrasting personalities that define the Hulk's transitions through time; the Hulk's identity crisis took on a literal bent when, during the events of Heroes Reborn, he quite literally divereged into two seperate entities!

While the reborn Banner found himself locked in mortal battle with gods and monsters; the portion of his being that represents the Hulk found itself trapped without a soul, and a worsening condition that was making him weaker - and more deadly - than ever!

This, of course, would be the perfect time for the merc' with a mouth to discover a life threatening condition that could only be treated by a swig of the Hulkster's home brewed gamma-blood! It's a story of Deadpool and goliath with a happy ending for all concerned... except Hulk!

World War Hulk #5 (January 2008)
"The End of World War Hulk" Pak/Romita Jr

The grand daddy of them all! The ultimate battle!
If World War Hulk began as an excuse to make up for a few years of quiet with a big, stupid, massive superhero smash-up, then it was the Hulk's battle with the Sentry that was the culmination of these "ideas!"

The Sentry's secret history in the Marvel Universe saw him befriend the Hulk, with whom he formed a close relationship, in part due to his calming influence. If you were expecting a similar conclusion to WWH, then you're a damn idiot who's about to get caught in the crossfire!

After running through Black Bolt, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, and other members of Marvel's mighty stable of heroes; Hulk comes face to face with the only being capable of dwarfing them all with his power of a million suns!
When the Sentry is let loose to save the world from Hulk; who will save the world from the Sentry when he loses control?

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