At some point in the PD run the Hulk was pretty indestructible. He was super-smart, super strong and with a super secret powerful team that he lead. Ultimately, Earth bound catastrophes were beyond him. There was nothing they couldn’t handle – and sure, What could take on the Hulk at this point?
The Incredible Hulk #413-416
The Troyjan War
Enter Trauma’s father, Armageddon, the leader of the Troyjan empire. Trauma, as you might remember, was the alien killer who had his sights focused on killing Atlanta, one of the Pantheon. The Hulk left him for dead buried under an avalanche of snow… but of course, that was not the end. At some point Trauma became infatuated with Atlanta and decided that he was to make her his wife. None of this was to be Atlanta’s choice. Now, at this time we had quite a few story lines interjecting – one of the best things of PD’s run was the fact that every member of the Hulk family (well, the Hulk family of the time – we’re talking Rick Jones, Betty, Marlo… even Samson of sorts) had different issues they were dealing with.
Samson, angry with the Hulk for thinking he can phone in their therapy sessions, lets Rick, and the reader, know that the Hulk’s merged persona might not be the great idea he once thought it was. The Hulk hardly has time for these allegations as he is trying to keep the Pantheon from killing each other due to love triangle, and leadership business. Meanwhile, Betty is lost at what to do with her life now – Rick and Marlo are supposed to be getting married – but Rick might be having thoughts about settling down. All of this is happening when Trauma shows up to take Atlanta back with him.
The Hulk tries to stop Trauma and his army – and even let’s a little Savage Hulk out when it doesn’t happen – but gathers his team to head into space. Rick is a little sore that he was not asked to go and lets his frustrations out on Marlo. When the Hulk does reach the Troyjan ship and he and Trauma go for a second (or third depending how far back you want to go) round. Trauma thinks he has an upper hand… until, warned about the situation by Strange, the Surfer shows up to help out. Truama wasn’t too worried about taking on the Hulk – but when Surfer shows up… he begins to!
The Starjammers show up to help revive the Hulk from when he and the Surfer are pulled through a Troyjan jumphole without the aid of being safely inside a space vessel. With that, they jump back into action attacking the Troyjans for the return of Atlanta. Things don’t go well as Armageddon makes his appearance and says that the group either gives up Atalanta or the treaty against Earth will no longer be upheld. Meanwhile, Rick is visited by his great grandaughter. Yup – that happens.
Ultimately, Atlanta agrees to marry Trauma but the Hulk isn’t taking “I do” for an answer. The battle rages on – Surfer taking on Armageddon and the Hulk convincing Trauma to take him on strength vs strength. The Troyjan fashion choices end up betraying their prince as he is impaled on his pointy shoulder pad and with his dying breath tells his father to let everyone go. This is not the last we hear from Armageddon – but for now everyone leaves.
Gary Frank’s art is at top from here which is showcased the best in part 1 where the Hulk and Atlanta are doing an exercise with the entire Marvel Universe attacking them. Even a quick shot of a DC superbad makes a unconfirmed cameo. Overall, re-reading this story arc makes me miss this time period. PD had a grasp on this character unlike any other writer has had the opportunity to have since. Grade: B+