Dollar Comic Review: Incredible Hulk #300
A few days ago, Kevin posted an excerpt from an interview with noted raconteur and Eightball creator Dan Clowes, who had this to say about the comics of his youth:
"I remember talking to my other friends who read superhero comics, and they liked them on such a different level than I did. They were like, 'Yeah, when Iron Man fights the guy, and punches him in the face, it’s so awesome!'"
He goes on to discuss how he was more attracted to the "pop iconography" of his comics, which is all well and good, but seriously? I am literally that guy he was talking about. Not in the sense that I was a childhood friend of the guy behind Ghost World, but in that I read Iron Man #200 today and subsequently used the word "awesome" to describe it like eight times.
Yes, as much as I fancy myself a font of legitimate comics criticism, we all know the truth: Comics With Punching are my religion.
And Bill Mantlo is my messiah.
"DAYS OF RAGE!"
Writer: Bill "The Thrill" Mantlo
Artists: Sal Buscema and Gerry Talaoc
Cover: Brett Blevins
The Hulk goes on a rampage through New York. Seriously, that's it. Just the Hulk tearing up Manhattan for forty pages. It is beautiful and perfect in every way.
Okay, so there's slightly more to it than that. After screwing around with Dr. Strange, something that never works out well for anyone except Dr. Strange, Bruce Banner's personality is completely gone along with whatever slight hold it had to keep the Hulk from being a purely savage engine of destruction. Therefore, savagery and destruction ensue, leaving SHIELD, the National Guard, the Avengers, and pretty much anybody else who isn't off on another planet to stop him.
That doesn't exactly work out so well, to the tune of the Hulk punching anyone and everyone in the face, pounding the Vision into the ground like a nail, tearing up streets, and generally making me cackle with glee at every scene. Back in the day, the Hulk did this sort of thing all the time, stomping through small-town America and giving whatever Avengers were on call at the time--usually Iron Man--a sound thrashing in the process. It sort of gives you the idea that any city in the country was one flat tire away from being leveled by a monster in purple pants.
Which is why I love Marvel Comics.
Unfortunately, even the most awesome rampage can't last forever, and eventually Dr. Strange decides to get with the program and sends the Hulk to another dimension, thus assuring that everything works out okay.
- In one of my favorite comic book tricks, the title actually appears in the story, this time on a rooftop billboard advertising "DAYS OF RAGE!", which the Hulk uproots and uses to smack around a bunch of SHIELD jets.
- The Hulk spends the entire issue punching through buildings, tearing up asphalt and smacking super-heroes around, and it's pretty much all Dr. Strange's fault. So what's he doing while the Hulk puts the innocent men of the New York National Guard in danger?
Kickin' it on his stoop.
I love that he's out there in his cape and all, just chillaxin'. "Huh? Oh, right, the mindless and unstoppable destructive monster. I'm right on top of that, Wong."
- Throughout this entire book, the Hulk communicates solely in growls and captions by Mantlo explaining how he really hates words. If I could, I would gay marry this comic book.
- Speaking of the National Guard, the story takes time off from the Hulk tossing around cars to show the call going out from Mayor Ed Koch, who has to explain the situation by saying "Yes, Governor, it's that serious!" Apparently, the Marvel Universe version of Mario Cuomo is a little slow on the uptake.
- The National Guard's useless! The Human Torch can't even slow him down! Not even the Mighty Avengers can stop him! Who, I ask you, WHO can we send to battle the Hulk?!
- There are two things we can learn from this panel.
- When the Avengers finally show up, they decide to hang back and let Starfox, The Creepiest Avenger, have a go at stopping the Hulk. His method of choice? "Overwhelming his anger in waves of... pleasure!" Thanks, Eros. Hulkgasms are exactly what we need. He is immediately punched the length of a page and not heard from again.
- HAVE AT THEE! Eventually, the Avengers remember that they have Thor on their team, and clear out to make room for the giant sound effects that ensue. It is awesome. The Hulk grabs an adamantium staue of himself, and the sound from Mjolnir striking it is so loud that it deafens the Hulk, giving Dr. Strange a chance to show up and send him to another dimension. And it didn't even take Reed Richards being an asshole to do it, either.
1) Iron Fist is going to go fight the Hulk armed with nothing but his badass kung fu. That makes Iron Fist the baddest motherfucker alive.
2) Luke Cage chooses to hang back and offer words of encouragement. That makes Luke much smarter than Iron Fist.
Feast thine eyes, humans, upon Page One of this masterpiece:
How terrifying is a gamma-powered rampage? Mothers will abandon their infant children to be crushed by a stampede in their rush to escape its terror.