Read This/Avoid This! Volume 1

Here’s something I meant to get into a while ago – especially when Aaron was writing the Hulk into the ground and there was nothing new worth reading of our favorite jade mass of muscles!  Basically I am going to highlight two books – One you should totally read – like, right now, and the other is one to avoid like the plague!  Let’s get started!

Avoid This!

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Over the Edge Guest Starring The Incredible Hulk (1996)

W: Ralph Macchio
P: Stephen B Jones
I: Mike Witherby

Anyone who knows me knows that I am all about silver-age Hulk characters!  I loves the ingenuity and imagination of them all – so one would think that seeing the villains who graced the 2nd issue ever of the Incredible Hulk series would make me jump for joy – but they would be dead wrong.  Especially when they are written this way.  This issue reminds me of the Ron Howard epic “Cocoon”.  That feel good movie where old people willingly go live on another planet full of beings who glow and make it with each other by shooting light from their bodies.  Except, in this version, pretend Arnold Schwarzenegger comes in at the end and beats the aliens to hell and forces Wilfred Brimley to stay here on Earth to make diabetes commercials for the rest of his days.

Everything about this comic is embarrassing, including the way they write Betty as a nagging, out of touch, non observant ditz who badgers the Hulk into helping a town of people who aren’t looking for it. Not to mention, this is at the stage when the merged Hulk would sometimes bandage himself up (a la The Invisible Man) to disguise himself from the locals.  Because seeing an 8 foot tall man bandaged head to toe is not curious at all. The worst offense of this comic might just be when they had a gigantic Toad Man, that looks like a rejected cereal box mascot, come out to battle the Incredible Hulk and this exchange happened:

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There isn’t a whole lot of information about what Over The Edge titles were supposed to be exactly – more family friendly comics, maybe?  I have no idea as I’ve only read the Hulk one and it isn’t very good so I didn’t bother seeking out anymore.  Grade: D-

Read This Instead!

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The Incredible Hulk (Volume 1) #255 (1981)

W:Bill Mantlo
A: Sal Buscema

There is a reason when people refer to the Hulk most people still think of the Hulk as the brutish, child-like, rage-filled monster that he was for most of the 70’s and 80’s.  It was a fantastic time to be a Hulk fan.  This issue pits a very angry Hulk against a somewhat butthurt Thor.  Thor, as Donald Blake just happened to be in the right place at the wrong time to see the Hulk causing a disturbance in a train yard.  Thinking he had to intervene (as so many heroes do) he confronted the Hulk while thinking back about their previous encounters.  In fact, Thor thinks about having a re-match pitting strength against strength:

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and this happens a few panels later:

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Mantlo was a genius when it came to writing a savage and sympathetic Hulk.  If you’re looking for some good Hulk stories – it’s time to pick through those back issues and snag yourself a copy of this one!  Grade: A

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3 responses to “Read This/Avoid This! Volume 1

  1. I’ve always wanted to pick up #255, I recall that Hulk challenges him strength-for-strength, so Thor ditches his hammer. Without his hammer, Thor gets wrecked pretty good. I think Thor is overpowered in the modern comic canon.

  2. Yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah…that “Over the Edge” era was….meh, to say the least. I did like the other issues that had the McFarlane clone artis (name escapes me), and was hoping to see his artwork on this particular issue, but no.
    I am hoping for another Mantlo TPB that reprints issues #245-268, ala the “Pardoned”, “Regression”, and “Crossroads” storylines.

  3. Oh Ratchet – Over the Edge – Ive got that issue, must re-read it despite your advice. Oh the 90’s. And I forgot about the bandages – never occurred to me at the time but that was really rubbish. Was that a PAD idea?

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