Thursday, December 08, 2005

THE INCREDIBLE HULK #404 Marvel Comics, 1993



Quick post today as we bring Earth’s Mightiest Guest Stars Week to a close with this brief look at The Incredible Hulk #404 by Peter David and Gary Frank. In this issue, the Red Skull has brainwashed The Hulk, who teams up with The Juggernaut to beat the crap out of The Avengers in the rain forest somewhere. See? There’s nothing The Hulk likes better than beating up Avengers, even when he’s brainwashed.

The early 90’s were the faux X-Men era for The Avengers, when the editorial staff decided that they would replicate the success of the mutant books by putting The Avengers in jackets with “A” logos. Eventually this era culminated in a narrative natural disaster, a Perfect Storm of Suck that brought us Mutated Wasp, a Hercules without the Olde English jargon, and American Psycho Tony Stark. I was ready to turn in my Avengers ID card until Busiek and Perez saved the day.

This issue pits The Hulk and Juggernaut against a second-string of Avengers consisting of Crystal, Sersi, The Black Knight, Hercules, and the albino Vision. Peter David writes a snappy little tale that mixes a little pop psychology about Bruce’s mean daddy in with a decent brawl. I’m a fan of Gary Frank’s clean-lined art and his storytelling as well, so I’m going to give this issue a thumbs up.

The real reason I decided to do a post about this comic is the following scene, which I always thought was amusing. I’m a sucker for Hercules, who is an inherently funny character. Here’s Herc engaging in a tree-throwing duel with The Hulk (click to engorge):


I love that. It’s funny, it’s in-character, and it reveals something about Hercules. Sometimes Peter David’s writing can be a little too cute for my taste; it seems like he gets so enamored with a pun or a joke that he tries to shoehorn it into a script even if it doesn’t fit. This is not one of those cases; it’s note-perfect.

Come on! That’s funny, admit it.

Okay, thus ends Earth’s Mightiest Guest Stars Week. I have a whole bunch more comics where The Avengers appear, usually to fight somebody for a stupid reason. There’s a million of them, but I think we’ve pulled a broad enough cross-section to get an idea of what the standard Avengers guest-spot is like. I’m a big Avengers fan, so I’m happy to see them even when they’re not being portrayed in accordance with my rigid, dogmatic geek mind. Truly, they are Earth’s Mightiest Guest Stars!


30 comments:

roel said...

That last picture of Hulk makes it look like he's wearing a bustier. Clearly, Banner spent a little too much time shopping at Victoria's Secret over the holidays. Maybe Betty Ross is into the tranny-kink?

Okay, let's give him Hulk the benefit of the doubt and pretend that his outfit got ripped during battle into a cleavage-revealing fashion faux pas. Even without that rip, what the hell is he wearing? A halter top?

Face it -- Gary Frank and Peter David are fucking with Hulk. That is a very girly costume, no two ways about it.

roel said...

AND, I almost forgot to mention the capri pants. C'mon, now!

Take one look at that panel and try to tell me that I'm wrong...

The Tensor said...

It'd be funnier if the grammar was correct: "art thou", not "are thou".

Rob Schamberger said...

Is Hercules doing a pose-down on the cover?

Dan Coyle said...

You know, looking at this, and looking at my Supreme Power hardcover, I've come to a troubling conclusion:

Gary Frank kinda sucks. Everyone looks like they're constipated!

Still, that was a fun part of the PAD marathon run.

In honor of Warren Ellis' latest project, I nominate the next specialty week... NEW UNIVERSE WEEK!!

Mike Tattoo said...

I’m loving the 80s / early 90s Marvel Zombie nostalgia on this blog. I’ve got a fond spot in my heart for the PAD run on hulk, right up there with Claremont’s run on X-Men or Larry Hammas run on GI Joe as the longest marathon run on a title , but unfortunately a lot of those guys haven’t aged very well. They kind of read now like Poison or Warrant trying to make a living in a mid 90s post grunge world.

But the reason a wanted to post was I remember an unresolved plot thread from somewhere around this time, where PAD had the Red Skull among others form a secret mafia of super villains, ala Wanted or Villains United to take on the Marvel Universe. Don’t think anything ever really became of that plot line but funny how that story keeps popping up in our comics these days

Anonymous said...

"Clearly, Banner spent a little too much time shopping at Victoria's Secret over the holidays."

And check the hair.

It's like "What If Susan Powter was the Hulk?"

Stop the insanity!

Mike P said...

Clearly, the outfit and hairstyle were a side-effect of the Red Skull's brainwashing.

Mike Loughlin said...

I wish Hercules had told the Hulk

"Thou art most ugly, and the Red Skull dresseth thou most funnily"

or something.

(See, cuz Red Skull brainwashed the Hulk and made him fight the Avengers in that goofy outfit and, er, yeah).

Peter David & Dale Keown on Hulk made me a comic book fan right as I was geting "too old' for comics. I don't know if I should kiss them or curse their names for eternity. I've read every David issue, and this is one of my favorites.

emoticripple said...

Word. Gary Frank just keeps getting better. While I love Steve Dillon and think that everone else except Trevor Hairsine and Jae Lee should give up their books to him, I will definitely miss Mr. Frank's keen eye on the Supreme Powers books.

kelvingreen said...

1) I kinda liked the A-jackets. They didn't work for everyone, but most of the ladies pulled them off, and it sort-of suited Black Knight. If I were writing Avengers, I'd have someone like She-Hulk find them in the basement behind a stack of Iron Man's empty Jack Daniels bottles and pull one out to wear, figuring that the old Fashion Wheel has turned around again.

2) Hercules-without-beard! Suckosity! Gah!

3) Hulk's fashion sense. Remember this is the creative team that gave the Hulk pink bunny slippers.

Mike P said...

Hulk's fashion sense, eh?

"Hulk smash because polka dots and stripes atrocious together! GIVE HULK CREDIT CARD TO BUY NEW WARDROBE!"

Chris Arndt said...

oh feh.

Dave!

I go away for a few days to find that you squander Earth's Mightiest Guest Stars' week!

Sure, this is a perfect pick here, but you missed that Spidey issue I plugged earlier.

You also neglected that issue of Super-Villain Team-Up where Dr Doom conquered the earth and Magneto had to put the smackdown on some enslaved Avengers.

That storyline ended in an issue of Champions!

I only say this because if and when Hulk fights Hercules one on one.... they are totally evenly matched. Except for that story in Hercules Unleashed, where he was mortal.

As for that subplot, the New World Order that Red Skull was trying to form started in that issue where Marlo comes back from the dead, Hydra attacks the Leader, and stuff. The last I saw of it was where Red Skull sent Juggernaut and Absorbing Man against Apocalypse and Hulk-as-War pounded the duece out of both of them.

Then the storyline went to Amazing Spider-Man as a Juggy was lugging that sword back to NWO headquarters and ran into an ear-infected Spider-Man!

Spencer Carnage said...

Is it me or does it look like the Hulk took out the Vision with some weird kind of exploding nipple power on the cover?

Bully said...

I was reading HULK during this period but not AVENGERS, so I still wonder: why the heck does Black Knight have a lightsaber?

Peter said...

I'm right up there with Kelvin--the jackets always looked nice on the ladies (although I questioned Black Widow wearing one, wouldn't a leather jacket be noisy rather than stealthy?). At least when Epting and Deodato were penciling. I always loved how, if there was a fill-in artist who apparently didn't know about them, or disliked them, they'd just disappear, even if they were there in the preceding issue's cliffhanger scene.

Ah, those jackets... (why people always connect them with the X-Men I also don't know, since they wore jackets for maybe 5 issues or so in a couple of Jim Lee or Andy Kubert issues)

I remember Peter David posting somewhere about the NWO that a lot of editors/writers first allowed their characters to be involved and then suddenly retracted that promise, which sent the storyline to limbo, pretty much.

The villain Piecemeal was meant to be cobbled together out of all the villains involved, I seem to remember (so there's Attuma, Sabretooth and Silvermane for sure, if I remember well, but also a bunch of parts I couldn't place back then)

I hate beardless Hercules too. And I wish Thor would always have a beard as well. They look more like gods when they don't have baby-faces.

Now I want to reread all my Hulk. Damn you, Dave. Damn you ;)

Martin said...

I don't get the shrubbery pun. Please explain.

gwalla said...

It's not a pun. It's just silly.

Tim Easy said...

Dave, all hail your rigid and dogmatic geek mind! That Hulk panel with the shrubbery is too much :)

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Sinister said...

Hercules...as your newest task you must defeat the Hulk!
I don't know he's wearing that gay outfit & he's REALLY f'in strong!
Then you must find...A SHRUBBERY!

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