The Incredible Hulk #165 (1973) – The Review

The Incredible Hulk #165

A few of my issues... 🙂

It includes the Herb Trimpe signed copy!

I have talked about this issue for years now, I have mentioned numerous times how this is my favorite issue – and was shocked to learn that I haven’t even reviewed it yet!  At last count I have about a dozen copies of this issue – none of which are CGC graded – that will be my next project.  I have three extremely beautiful copies – one signed by Herb Trimpe – a few reading copies and some in the middle grade.  Why?  I have no idea.

Captain Omen's prisoner!

So, this issue begins with the Hulk on the bottom of the ocean – captured and imprisoned by Captain Omen.  The Hulk must keep following Captain Omen’s ship to keep getting oxygen filled helmets.  It’s at one of the helmet switches that the Hulk learns that Captain Omen’s crew wants to revolt against him.  They want to live on land – they are tired of the bottom of the ocean, deformed and alone.  They tell Hulk that he is the only one who can help save them.

Best Tag-Lines EVER! Half-Man, Half-Fish, All HATE!

Meanwhile, Ross, captured by the Russians, is to be killed off; but Talbot is off to save him.  The Hulk, assisted by Omen’s crew, begin the mutiny and are ready to take over the ship!  They go crashing through the wall – but Captain Omen has another trick up his sleeve – a trick called… AQUON!  A half-fish, half-man type creature that it as strong as the Hulk – but can breathe underwater!  The Hulk and Aquon have a fearsome battle that ends when they rip through one of the walls of the ship and the ocean pours in!

Hulk and Aquon battle it out!

As the ship fills up with water Omen tells his son to seal off that section or the entire ship will sink.  When they do, the Hulk and Aquon are stuck in the flooding part of the ship – still battling – but now Aquon has the advantage!  As Aquon takes control of the fight, Omen opens a hatch that drains the water back into the sea.  Aquon and Hulk get caught up in the whirl pool – only Hulk stops himself from being sucked out of the ship.

The crew... explode!

Finally, the ship is saved – but Omen’s crew still demands to be taken to the surface.  Omen obeys and the crew finally gets taken to the land.  They rejoice and celebrate their new freedom – and thank the Hulk – the one they revere as a God, for fulfilling their dreams.  Then, the crew, one by one, begin to explode.  They burst right out of their skin.  Filius, Omen’s son jumps back onto the ship as it ascends into the sea.  He begs his Father to let him back onto the ship – but Omen says he dare not open the door again – so that the remainder of the crew does not die as well.  He apologizes to his son and continues the dive.  His son goes down with the ship, banging on the door, begging for his father to reconsider and open the door to let him in.  But he does not.  The Hulk is left alone, standing on the beach where a whole group of people once stood who thought of him as a God.  He wonders how a Father and Son can live together their whole lives – but not even know each other.

Classic Hulk inner struggle!

This issue represents the best of what the Hulk comic can offer.  The Hulk – a reluctant hero once again – saves people – only for them to meet a horrible, ironic fate.  The end of the issue has such a great moment with the Hulk thinking about the Father/Son relationship.  A relationship that will not even be explored until quite a many issues later.  Such a sad, fantastic end.  I could read this issue a thousand times and never get tired of it!  Grade: A+  Funny enough – if you go to this page and scroll down you will see that there is a mistake on this page – Issue #165 is put on the page twice, once as the cover of #163 AND #165

My Original Trimpe Aquon Sketch

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9 responses to “The Incredible Hulk #165 (1973) – The Review

  1. Holy crap, dude. You forgetting to review issue #163 is like me forgetting to draw boobs on a girl. Sheesh!

  2. Ratchet,I agree that this is a good issue. However Engleheart’s run as a whole I give mixed reviews. I noticed you listed him as one of your favorite writers. He created some great villians like Aquon here and the Wendigo,and the Gremlin. His handling of the supporting cast I did not like. Especially the issues with Betty going insane after Talbolt died and being mad at Bruce and then becoming the Harpy. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Are you kidding? The Harpy? Another one of my favorite issues! I am a huge fan of Engleheart’s run – he was able to make every issue practically a self contained story while creating a larger story in the process – something today’s writers don’t seem to be able to do…

      • Let me say I agree about today’s writers not being be able to make a self contained story. Fall of the hulks is a example of that. My problem is Betty’s anger towards Bruce after her breakdown was out of character. The other thing with Engleheart’s run is by this time General Ross had developed some sympathy towards Bruce. This was forgetten about in his run.The stories that didn’t focus on these them I found pretty good. Feel free to disagree with me on these points.

  3. Hey Ryan, did you know that the original art for the cover to 165 popped up on CAF recently? Take a look gammabro, you will be drooling!

    http://www.comicartfans.com/gallerypiece.asp?piece=984490

    http://www.jadegiant.com

    -JG

  4. Good stuff! He has some serious jaw-dropping pieces!

    -JG

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