Tag Archives: 1995

Hulk Guest Appearances Vol. 13 – The Mighty Thor #489 (1995)

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Hulk and Thor have battled many times – dating back to the formation of the Avengers – but Thor has bested the jade beast hardly ever.  Hulk is just too strong!  This does not mean Thor is a slouch in any way – it just means that the Hulk is better!  Of course, when the Hulk has to remain in control and can’t let loose on the golden-haired hero… well things don’t go as smoothly for the beast.

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At a time when the Hulk’s raging anger turned him back to the 90-pound brilliant weakling the Hulk knew he couldn’t rely on his full anger to bail him out this time.  This is one of the rare times the Hulk is actually totally in the right.  With Thor stuck in “Death City” with Hela and Thor’s friends unable to help it is up to Hulk to make his way to Hel and save goldilocks.

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The two tangle for most of the issue with the Hulk restrained from letting loose but Thor unleashing his full affront.  While the Hulk doesn’t quit and Thor being immortal Hela is inclined to take a trade: Thor for Malekith and Kurse (apparently there was a two for one special going on) releasing Thor from the promise he hade to be Hela’s slave.  Of course, the Hulk and Thor decided to team up and take a second before leaving Hel to beat the heck out of one of Balder’s pup.  Nothing like abusing a Hel puppy for real male bonding.

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Thunder Clap No
Mind Control No
Funny Nickname Yes
Hero vs. Hero Yes
“Hulk Smash!” No
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Spawn’s Malebolgia (1995)

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In the honor of non-Hulk Thursdays I’m featuring something I picked up not too long ago at my LCS for a whopping $5.  I remember when these were released and they were all the rage.  Finding one of these HUGE figures on the pegs was extremely rare.  Back then, with the verging action figure market no one knew what to expect – and McFarlane’s toy line killed it at every turn – including series 3 which featured this huge behemoth of a figure.  While the design of the character always lent itself to pages of the comic when creating a 3-D version it became abundantly clear it is awkward as hell!  I can’t fault it any though – seeing as it reaches 15″ and weighs at least triple what any other of the Spawn figure does.

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I remember being over my friend Corry’s house.  His room was a shrine of rare collectibles and comics, I always loved visiting there.  He went into his closet looking for something and pulled out one of these figures.  He says “Have you ever seen one of these?” My mouth dropped and I said might have yelled “No!” a little too loud.  Before I could even finish marveling at the gem he just showed me he pulled out another and said “…and here’s the maroon repaint”.  Keep in mind, this was at the time when the figures were running $50-75 on the secondary market.  Nowadays, the prices are all over the map.  Anyone can find this piece for between $6-$50 so really, it’s up to you how much you want to pay!

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These days, Corry owns one of the greatest comic shops in the world – Zapp Comics in Wayne NJ – so if you ever have the inclination make a point to go in and say hello.  And… you know, buy comics.  For me.  Buy comics for me and send them to me.  Hmmmmm… I’ll have to ask him if he still has the Malebolgia figure he showed me all those years ago…

What If? #78 (1995) – The Review

What If #78

So, here’s the deal.  The Fantastic Four was captured by a Skrull Queen and then hired a new group of 4 – those heroes being the Hulk, Ghost Rider, Spiderman and Wolverine.  Now, anyone hiring these 4 mis-fits to be a team should already be suspect – but they went along with it anyways.  In this What If?  it examines how the events might have unfolded had the real FF died in their fight to come back.

MJ gives Peter some "hard" thinking to do...

The issue starts out on a pretty high note as the new team begins by moving into the Baxter Building (MJ even gives a little fashion show) and they dispatch all of their new foes pretty easily.  The world starts to notice this new FF.  Even the heroes old foes start coming out in force but are easily taken down by the quartet.

The Sininster Six? More like the S.. the Sapp.. no - Stupid Six! Yeah! Good one!

The real problems start when the most powerful foes of each hero start coming out of the woodwork and gang up together.  While the team is distracted by paperwork the Baxter Building is infiltrated.  Lady Death Strike and Abomination come bursting through the wall looking for a fight.  Two other powerhouses – one looks to be a skrull – and honestly, I am not sure who the other is (if anyone out there does know – let me in on it!) come knocking, looking to destroy as well.  These enemies seem to be too much for the new FF to handle.

Fixit uses him charm... to no avail...

As each hero is taken out and all looks lost and MJ even sits with Peter on the floor given up all hope – all of a sudden a blast comes through the wall and disintegrates the foes.  It is Doctor Doom.  He tells the FF that no one destroys them – except him.  And then he flies away.

Doom Saves the Day... kind of

This issue has me confused on why the heroes had such a hard time taking on their old enemies?  I mean, Wolverine was doing fine against Abomination – but the Hulk was having a heck of a time with Lady Death Strike!  And he was blasted out of the building… TWICE!  I wasn’t a huge fan of the issue – but it’s fun to think that Marvel would kill off any of the Fantastic Four… of wait… Grade: C

“Ghosts of the Future” (1996) – The Review

The Incredible Hulk #436

This storyline starts off with a bang… almost literally.  The army comes looking for the Hulk and finds Betty… Oh boy, do they find Betty!  She gets back into the house only with enough time to tell Bruce not to come get her – that they won’t hurt her.  That’s when Talbot walks in – not Glen Talbot but his nephew – Matt Talbot.  And he’s just a little angry with Betty… and he’s out to prove he can take the Hulk down.  He wastes only just a bit of time before he pulls Betty out of the house and shoots her right in the leg. 

Matt Talbot isn't messing around!

This, of course send Bruce off to her rescue.  Bruce is met with all new Hulkbuster units.  They are holding Hulk at bay – but mostly just pissing him off and getting destroyed.  That’s when Matt Talbot shoots Betty in her other leg.  Hulk goes all “flying fury” toward Talbot – only to turn into “Savage Banner” by the time he reaches him – and a solider knocks him out with one hit.

Incredible Hulk #437

They take Bruce to a government facility where, if they keep him awake and mad – then they don’t have to worry about the Hulk!  Betty, on the other hand, wakes up in the hospital.  She runs into the police officer that tried to help her before – and he says he wants to help break her husband out.  He introduces Betty to – one of the worse named groups ever – The Head Shop.  Yes, the Head Shop.  They are a groups of people created by the Leader – and they want to help release the Hulk so that he may help them find the Leader.  They’re a group of 5 – but were once a group of 6 – the last member being Frost – you might remember Frost – Hulk ran into him back in Vegas back in issues #395-396. 

Now, the current leader of Freehold is a green man by the name of Omnibus – and even though he has strikingly similar features of the Leader – he is not the Leader – except he thinks he is sort of possessed by the Leader.  Omnibus is getting control over certain men, and with the Alliance ready to make terrorist attacks, he is thrilled thinking that his plan is going over so well…

Bruce - not as strong as he thinks...

The Head Shop helps Bruce escape – but the issue is still that he THINKS he is the Hulk and he is not – Bruce has no enhanced abilities and is actually worse than the Hulk as he is vulnerable in almost every way!  This becomes a real problem when Bruce, thinking he is Hulk, goes to stop a grenade and it goes off.

Incredible Hulk #438

The Head Shop brings the practically dead Banner out to the waiting helicopter that Betty is flying.  She sees Bruce’s condition and freaks – but they tell her they need to take off.  Once in the air though, Betty goes to check on the lifeless Bruce, only for the Hulk t emerge – except the Hulk doesn’t exactly look like himself.  His skin color is darker and he’s a bit nastier to… well, everyone – but especially Betty.  The Hulk is informed that the shrapnel from the grenade is still in his body – that his organs have healed around all the bits of metal – and the ones in his brain may be a problem.  When the Head Shop asks for Hulk’s help to find the Leader he tells them that the Leader is dead.  The Hulk remembers that the Leader once took a bullet out of his brain – maybe he can use his machines to take the remaining metal out of him as well.

Hulk... getting snippy

Matt Talbot wants to find who is responsible for freeing the Hulk and he wants the Hulk found again – but Gyrich tells him that the Alliance is more important at this time and that they have to stop them.  Talbot begrudgingly agrees.

Hulk is leaping through the air near Mt Rushmore when a huge explosion happens – Hulk wonders what that’s all about – and we see the Great Wall of China also get blown up – and Omnibus watching it all go down – laughing away that his plan is working perfectly!  Soon everyone will be blaming each other and it will be Omibus to have to pick up the pieces – and we watch as Omnibus changes into the Leader!

Incredible Hulk #439

The Hulk stands outside of Freehold and gets attacked by Ogress and Hot Shot – seeing as the last time Hulk was in Freehold you really can’t blame them for going on the defensive.  All across the country things are amiss – a man finds one of the Leader’s Humanoids sitting in the parking garage of the World Trade Center – a man taking the tour in the White House hears the President is not there and he suddenly stops and sits in a chair as the tour goes on without him.  Meanwhile, Jailbait is back in the lab where Omnibus came in before and freaked out on her and Hot Shot, so when Omnibus comes in this time – Jailbait hides and overhears the big headed maniac say he is the leader of the Alliance!

A Humanoid... in the never forgotten WTC

Rick Jones and Marlo are visited by a lawyer saying that her clients would like to have a reality show of them named “Keeping up with the Jones” (Holy Crap!  Keeping up with the Jones?!!  Are you kidding me?  I hope PD is getting royalty rights to the name from that horrible Kardashian show!)  But then we see that the whole world is going crazy as explosions are happening everywhere.  The President wants it taken care of – he wants answers – and Gyrich turns back to his advisors and wants the same from them.  Talbot, spoken like a true army man, simply asks for a target.  But now we join Hulk back in Freehold where he and Omnibus talk over how they can take the shards of metal out of his body.  But then Omnibus shows the Hulk all the destruction happening all over the world.  The Hulk freaks out – starts talking to himself – knows that this is the future that Maestro talked about.  And back at Mt Rushmore we see only half of it was destroyed – until something hits it and destroys the other half.  When the dust clears we see the Hulk – now with a beard and long hair – and most importantly, calling himself the Maestro!

Incredible Hulk #440

And who better to take down one of the strongest incarnations of the Hulk ever?  That’s right – only a God would stand a chance against him – Mr. Goldilocks himself – Thor!  Problem is – as the Avengers learn about the Maestro’s appearance (who they think looks amazingly like Hulk) Thor is de-powered and depressed.  But soon – things change – Thor is not only back – but he’s mad.  He says to beat the Hulk he needs to really cut loose – the way the Hulk seems to – not restrained in any way.  Well, as the battle rages on there are distinct eyes upon the beat down – Betty being one, Talbot being another.  Matt Talbot has an atomic bomb ready to be dropped on the Hulk at a mention – but as everyone else watches thinking the Hulk has lost his mind – only Betty knows the truth.  Hulk visited Betty before he went to Rushmore, saying that the world needs a scapegoat – needs someone to blame – so that they don’t all blame each other.  He is that scapegoat – the perfect patsy.

The Hulk knows what te world needs... and it's someone to blame.

Back in Freehold – thanks to Jailbait’s earlier discovery – and her loose lips on the matter – the citizens of Freehold learn that Omnibus – their leader – IS the Alliance.  They storm the lab where Omnibus is and… well, they take care of business.  But that leaves the Hulk and Thor – still battling – Thor out for blood.  He’s in a berserker rage like never before.  Suddenly Samson shows up to overlook the fight and give Talbot a professional opinion about the Hulk – is he out of control or not.  But Talbot hardly needs convincing and sends the signal to drop the bomb.  Hulk sees the bomb  – and with some parting words punches Thor as hard as he can and sends Thor to the stratosphere.  The bomb touches down and in a firey explosion the Hulk is gone.  Samson can’t believe it – Talbot is celebrating – until Samson back hands him – and the Head Shop asks Betty – who was still watching – they ask if she’s okay.  She’s starts laughing deliriously. 

I know I am missing an issue in this storyline – and the sad thing is my computer is down and getting cleaned out – so  I wasn’t able to add it in – I will make sure to add it in later.  It’s the Cutting Edge issue and I remembered it too late. Also, when I get my computer back I will review the latest issues – the end of the Chaos War.  Now, back to these issues –  The storyline had it’s up and downs for sure – beginning with the art of Angel Medina.  It is so inconsistent – there are some freakin’ fantastic shots – but most of his panels are really awkward looking.  And then there is the storyline itself – we begin with a bang – the introduction of Matt Talbot was awesome – and how die hard is he – and shooting Betty?  Bad-ass! But he turns out to be another Army wacko just wanting blow things up…  Also, the Leader coming back was fantastic – except David himself has gone on record as saying that the Leader appearance was left open-ended as maybe in Omnibus’ head.  Eve the Thor vs Hulk fight was questionable.  There are some die hard Thor fans that claim he wasn’t up to full strength – but this was one of the best Hulk vs. Thor fights ever and to me showed just who the real powerhouse is.  So pretty much everything in these issues were left with highs and lows.  I was looking to see if this was ever collected into a trade – but did not come across anything – and with it so deep in the David run I think we’ll have to wait to see if they even make it into the Visionaries trades.  If they do it will surely be up to Volume 20. Grade: C

What If #71 (1995) – The Review

What If? #71

What If? #71

I loved the idea of this book – but it wasn’t the story I was expecting.  First off – the bomb that created the thousand Hulks was not the famous “Test” Gamma Bomb that Bruce created – instead it was the bomb that America dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.  The Hulks were both freaks and super strong mutants that no hero could fight against.  The Hulks quickly took over the world, calling themselves the Oni – and the emperer of the Oni is a mutated one who goes simply by “The Leader”.

A bunch of different Hulks... creepy looking Hulks

A bunch of different Hulks... creepy looking Hulks

The Leader

The Leader

The Leader imprisoned the FF and destroyed the X-Men and any other super hero.  Bruce Banner was a man who realized that the Oni was dying – but that they could be rescued – saved by a dose of Gamma Radiation.  As he was working on the solution, Betty Ross, recognized by her name, was killed because Thunderbolt was the Oni’s enemy.  When she was killed Bruce decided to destry the Oni himself with one last Gamma Bomb.  The bomb was designed to kill the freaks – but at the test site Nick Fury showed up.

Banner - his fate seems to be sealed

Banner - his fate seems to be sealed

Nick Fury, who had been trying to stop the Oni, was meddling with the bomb.  Banner runs out to the site and throws Fury into the blast bunker to save his life – but he was too late to save himself.  He is caught in the blast and becomes the Hulk himself.  But now there is a soilder strong enough to take on the Oni – and Bruce leads the fight against the Oni with the heroes he breaks free.  He is a tortured soul – he is getting revenge on the people that took his beloved Betty away – but he is forced to fight in the skin that his enemies wear.

Heroes fighting together!

Heroes fighting together!

Over all, not a bad issue – but the art is pretty atrocious and the story is quick.  Grade: C

Cardboard Cut-Out Hulk (1995)

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Storytime!  I once had a girlfriend who wanted, so badly, to get me something Hulk that I do not have.  She wanted to get me something that I would love more than anything in the whole world.  She got me this.  When I opened it I smiled and said “Thanks” because, to tell you the truth, I knew about these – but didn’t want it – simply put, I find these things a huge waste of space and money.  But hey!  As a gift – that’s fine.  My girlfriend wasn’t so happy that I wasn’t the happiest I’d ever been in my whole life.  She subsequently vowed that she’d never buy me another Hulk item as long as she lives.  I told her she was right and I broke up with her.  Not really for this – but hey – it makes the story wrap up nicely!

Hulk Cups (1995/1999)

Hulk Cups u

Yes, these cups compliment the plates I posted.  The other, larger cup is from Islands of Adventure.  I’ve kept it in pretty good condition for having to pack it in luggage and flying it home.