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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

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!"
October, 1984
Writer: Bill "The Thrill" Mantlo
Artists: Sal Buscema and Gerry Talaoc
Cover: Brett Blevins

The Plot
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.

Highlights
  • 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?!


POWER MAN AND IRON FIST.


    There are two things we can learn from this panel.

    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.

  • 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.


Defining Moment
Feast thine eyes, humans, upon Page One of this masterpiece:

HULK MAKES BABIES CRY.


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.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, that baby is huge

people aren't running from Hulk, they're running from Mondo-Baby!

3/01/2006 5:33 AM

 
Blogger Philip Looney said...

Power Man and Iron Fist are awesome.

3/01/2006 8:26 AM

 
Blogger Vitamin J said...

Oy, those wretched Sal Buscema pencils. He made every book he drew look like a fill-in issue.

3/01/2006 9:02 AM

 
Anonymous Chuck T. said...

Suck. I bought a friggin' mountain of Hulk comics from the quarter boxes a couple months ok. A pretty complete string of issues from around 280-312 or so.
Minus 300.
Like the Hulk, words are failing to express my anger right now...
Vitamin J has a point about Sal Buscema: I hated hated hated when he took over the art on Thor. But looking back, it wasn't flashy, but it was coherent. It's gonna sound like damning with faint praise, but he made comics you could read. Nothing wrong with that.

3/01/2006 9:33 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, wait, wait. There was an adamantium statue of the Hulk just hanging around? Is that what you're telling me?

Also: I third on the awesomeness of Power Man and Iron Fist.

3/01/2006 10:02 AM

 
Blogger Rich said...

Sal Buscema's art was pretty lousy in the old, old days. The 1970s, when he was penciling 8 books per month. Now he pencils maybe 1 per month, and I think he's definitely a talented guy, when he's not over-burdoned/

3/01/2006 11:08 AM

 
Blogger Philip Looney said...

I'll echo the sentiments on Sal not being that bad of an artist. This stuff doesn;t look fantastic, but you know he drew every panel. I really liked his later work on Sensational Spiderman.

3/01/2006 1:49 PM

 
Anonymous John said...

Oh, come on, you left out 'Special Abnormally Large Issue' from the cover as a Highlight.

I mean, come on, that's just beautiful. Was the cover letterer paid by the word/letter?

3/01/2006 10:30 PM

 
Anonymous carla said...

Mothers will abandon their infant children to be crushed by a stampede in their rush to escape its terror.

And that is why I will always ALWAYS love the Incredible Hulk.

3/03/2006 12:49 AM

 
Blogger Filthy McMonkey said...

Be careful?

That's the best Cage can say?

Hey, Luke, how about, "What are you, outta yo freakin' mind?"

Or better, "Sweet Christmas, you're an idiot. Just give me two seconds to pass the Torch to you, and I'LL take care of the Hulk.

6/06/2006 8:48 PM

 
Anonymous Paul said...

Hey, I JUST bought some issues out of a dollar comic bin leading up to this very comic. I've fallen in love with the Hulk now. I can't remember exactly what the lines were that made me love it, but it sort of went like this:

Mutated dude: "I will Smash you!"
Hulk: "Hulk will do the Smashing!" or something like that.

It was AWESOME

2/08/2007 5:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one were the Hulk is teleported to the crossroads by Dr. Strange following issue 300 is the first comic I've read in my life, I was maybe 10 years old back then and I've been hooked ever since.

4/14/2007 6:46 PM

 
Anonymous ghostman said...

No wonder the Hulk is so pissed off--his ass is on fire! (Look at the cover, partially obscured by Spidey's head in the little UPC box.) And flaming Hulk-ass automatically makes HULK #300 a classic in my book. NYC is just lucky he wasn't gassy that day.

9/09/2007 6:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dunno if you're gonna get this comment now that you're spiffier with your new website and such... but these doctor strange moments is why i was motivated to recount his better adventures... http://rvxen.deviantart.com/art/The-Better-Adventures-57982424

thanks for the image of him 'chillaxin' ... it brought a tear of joy to my eye.

i love you dr. strange!

shane o-face

is it odd that the word verification is ySEXTAG...?

9/13/2007 3:33 PM

 
Blogger Buz said...

I feel it important to point out (as this is one of my favorite posts of yours) that, you know, in the year 2000 and shit, the Sentry totally calms down the Hulk in solar pleasure radiation goodness. Also, skrulls abound. Ominous!

5/23/2008 4:02 AM

 
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12/13/2008 1:21 AM

 
Anonymous Randy said...

I bought a friggin' mountain of Hulk comics from the quarter boxes a couple months ok. A pretty complete string of issues from around 280-312 or so.
Minus 300.
Like the Hulk, words are failing to express my anger right now...
Vitamin J has a point about Sal Buscema: I hated hated hated when he took over the art on Thor. But looking back, it wasn't flashy, but it was coherent.

6/26/2010 12:46 AM

 

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