Friday, January 15, 2010

14: Incredible Hulk #3

Incredible Hulk #3
July 3, 1962

  • In a troubling move, Stan's already messing with the formula. Due to events too convoluted to go into, the Hulk is stuck as the Hulk and no longer changes to Banner. Even weirder, he's suddenly under the mental control of Rick Jones - but only while Rick is around, and awake. Perhaps they realized that having Banner only change to the Hulk at nightfall, then back to human again at dawn, was limiting. That may be true - but it was also unique, and lent the creature more of a "classic monster" vibe.

    Rick Jones always wanted a puppy.  Now he has a Hulk.  They both make a mess.

  • Even worse, he's rapidly becoming the dumb Hulk most people now know him as: Compare the Hulk's dialogue from the first issue ("I -- I seem to remember now! It was the bomb! The gamma rays! They turned me into -- this -- when darkness fell!") to how he speaks only two issues later ("You! Boy! You locked me in cell! You pay for that now!").

    Oh, come on!  That story doesn't even make sense!  It fools Rick, of course.

  • Other signs of editorial panicking are present too. Where the first two issues were feature-length stories, this issue marks a change to multiple stories in one book, with the first section devoted to the status-quo-smashing shenanigans, and the second half featuring the first appearance of the Ringmaster and his not-yet-christened Circus of Crime. Most worrying of all, though, is that between these two tales is a three-page story recounting the Hulk's origin ... only 2 issues after it had occurred.

    On the one hand, that's a really cartoony sequence. 
    But it conveys his power with an elegant simplicity.

  • 44 years before Planet Hulk, General Ross gets the bright idea to shoot the Hulk into space and get rid of him forever. You may be shocked to learn it didn't work this time either.

    Ranty McRantpants. His real name, honest.