The thing about having (one time) comic-collecting brothers, is that every family residence WGTB frequents has a long standing prohibition against the destruction or discarding of any comic book. So, while WGTB has never been much of an Incredible Hulk fan, we recently came across in our parent’s basement (insert geek/internet joke here) a copy of The Incredible Hulk #269. We promptly claimed salvager’s rights,** and remembering that The Incredible Hulk #270, was one of the few Hulk books in our possession, thought it would be cool to read and review them.
The Incredible Hulk #269
WGTB has said this before – Bill Mantlo was an outstanding writer – and these two issues are further evidence of that. Incredible Hulk #269 (March 1982) is titled “Hulk Hunters” and prologues with an account of an artist on the distant world of Krylor contemplating an attempt to recapture past artistic glory by going back to the well-spring of success: the Hulk. And while we never learn if her sequel is a “Godfather II” OR “Godfather III,” your humble blogger soon discovered that the whole point of this continuum sidebar was to connect this tissue to the Rampaging Hulk magazine produced by Marvel in the late 70s and early 80s.
About seven pages into #269, the prologue ends and we are given a new splash with Bruce Banner and Betty Ross in conversation about the Hulk, the madness and what it means to be Bruce Banner. As the two contemplate the troubles of being both man and monster, three spaceships arrive bringing the “Hulk Hunters” – ugly and aggressive beings from distant space.
Then, as is prone to happen when monsters arrive at the Hulk’s door, the four quickly spark up a mêlée with the Hulk quickly getting the better of the three. Of course, no sooner does this happen, than it is made clear that Hulk is actually needed as an ally of the Hulk Hunters. See, Mantlo was using the word in the "House Hunter" sense rather than the "Dear Hunter" sense. Clever twist, eh?
The Incredible Hulk #270
Which brings us to The Incredible Hulk #270 (April 1982) and the mission Hulk and his new friends undertake. Suffice it to say, it’s dangerous and involves an old Hulk foe, this time going by the name “The Ravager of Worlds,” in a support of another, junior Galactus-type baddy. Naturally, WGTB would not be the GREAT comic blog it is, if we gave away stories completely – but trust us when we say it resolves well but makes you wonder what the Hulk will do next issue! How do they do it?!?
All kidding aside, this is one of those stories that makes us wish Bill was still writing. It’s fast paced and has enough heavy sci-fi to keep the sophisticated reader interested. Sal Buscema’s artwork is typical of the early 1980s, and has stood the test of time. While this blogger has not always been willing to give The Incredible Hulk a flip-through/pick-out, we'll certainly start flipping through the Mantlo numbers next time WGTB visits the shop. Think about it next time you're at your store -- you’re certain to enjoy them.
*"The Mouth Monster Sega" is a WGTB-ism and does not have official Marvel sanction.
**The rightful owner of The Incredible Hulk #269 SAYS he’s a frequent reader of WGTB. Let’s test him – if he asks for it in the comment section, WGTB will return it. Until then, it will be safely housed in Marvel Box #2!