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The ’90s Revisited: Incredible Hulk #350

90s_revisited

incredible_hulk_0350Before the Fall

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Jeff Purves
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Petra Scotese
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: December 1988
Cover Price: 75 Cents

I snagged this issue from a quarter bin because of the cover. Hulk, Thing, and Dr. Doom??? Yes, please! Of course, then I opened the issue, and first thing I really take in text-wise is a note to pick up Fantastic Four #320, first…apparently this issue picks up where that one left off.

How DIFFERENT this is from modern-day comics! Where if there’s any crossover like this at all, it’s some MAJOR EVENT, with SPECIAL BRANDING and COVER BLURBS and all that, Part #whatever of 6 or 9 or whatever chapters for some pre-figured collected edition!

Instead, no…it’s an issue I grabbed completely on its own, essentially my "first" in that I don’t know I’ve read anything from early in Peter David‘s run, know only tangentially/broad stuff from it, etc…and EVEN THOUGH the issue refers me to another first…I can STILL follow along in this issue, as it catches me up on or refers to essentials so that I can read this as it is, as a one-off issue, not part of some mega-event or gigantic crossover.

Much of this issue is a bit of a slugfest, with the Thing coming out the worse for the issue’s portrayal. We open on the Thing standing over the beaten-down form of the gray Hulk, while a green Hulk approaches, challenging him. Apparently the Thing has recently been greatly enhanced, with an odd extra-rocky physical shape and strength beyond what he’d had before, allowing him to come out on the winning side against the Hulk! While he tangles with the green Hulk, the gray Hulk wakes and is met by Dr. Doom, who reveals to him that the green Hulk is an advanced robot, and prods gray Hulk into challenging the Thing smartly. So he does–luring Thing into a hit-and-run match that with further strategy leaves Thing defeated, and gray Hulk finds himself ultimately chatting with Beast and being drawn into some other big thing going on.

That this is not some numbered chapter of some big event goes to the way Marvel comics used to be–simply a shared universe. Some villain might decide to tangle with a hero he doesn’t usually, but then that hero seeks out the usual hero for advice, thus drawing them into things, and eventually you have a "story" that effectively spans multiple titles…yet it’s not officially billed as such. Of course, this style was also when "collected volumes" and "graphic novels" as they’re known in 2018 were 20+ years in the future. Single issues were just that–single issues–and the Marvel Model was not All-Event, All-the-time.

Story-wise, I like what I got here, overall. It’s not my usual fare, and in some ways a bit "talky" and a bit "basic" or "convenient" (Dr. Doom palling around with Hulk and finding old Eternals tech, etc) and Thing vs. Hulk being something, and so on…but for an issue I picked up for 25 cents, it’s not bad, and was an entertaining sort of read, as well as a bit of a time capsule. 1988…30 years ago!

Visually, this definitely carried what I see (remember?) as a "house style" for characters, making them all definitely recognizable and such. While Thing is extra-rocky and I’m not fond of the look, I recall just enough Marvel history to know that he’s had several odd appearances, and that this was a temporary shift for him, obviously going on at the time this was published.

I’m sort of curious to read the Fantastic Four issue referenced, and even to follow this into Avengers Annual #17…but not really enough to make a big focus of tracking the issues down. If I think to, I may look for them in dollar bins at upcoming comic events I attend, but mostly I just enjoyed this as a 25-cent issue and something "different" to read. Though it’s only a "middle chapter" essentially, it has a definite sense of "authenticity" about it that I do not get from contemporary Marvel comics.

And look–it’s #350, a nice "anniversary-numbered" issue, and it’s only 75 cents, the standard/usual price. Not artificially inflated. And to my knowledge, no variant covers. It’s just a comic that’s glad to be a comic, that works as a comic, and doesn’t try to be anything else.

Definitely recommended if found in a bargain bin, but though more enjoyable in its way than many modern comics, not overly spectacular in and of itself–it’s not worth putting a big hunt in.

incredible_hulk_0350_blogtrailer

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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 9

This is another “busy” image, though a bit brighter. Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and Lyja certainly sport the ’90s “look,” with the jacket, giant shoulder pads, and…needless “cleavage hole” for Sue.

Though I can’t remember the last time I saw Molecule Man show up, it’s Occulus who I’m least familiar with here.

The FF themselves as well as Doom, Lyja, and Klaw I’m fairly familiar with to varying degrees…though I associate Klaw moreso with Black Panther than I do the FF.

Outside of these cards, I’d nearly forgotten the “scarred Thing” phase, where Wolverine carved up Ben’s face a bit. I don’t recall how that subplot ever resolved, but obviously it did as Thing didn’t sport the fully-covered face bit for all that long.

I have a vague memory of an issue from the late-’90s where Ben and Wolverine actually meet in a bar to talk stuff over and bury the past. I find it interesting, though, to recall the enmity between the characters for awhile, and the lasting effects of stuff, rather than being a one-off event lasting a single issue and then being forgotten.

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Fantastic Four, death and the return of the polybag

ffdeathpic I’ve noticed the last issue or two of Fantastic Four having a running countdown on the cover, apparently counting down to a “death” of one of the core/original Fantastic Four characters.

And I’ve been noticing some comments around the internet—just enough to be what I’d count as “buzz” over the impending death of one of the characters.

From what I understand, the story is called “Three” and in ads, it’s being proclaimed that “One Will Fall.”

And the latest ad that I’ve seen (see photo associated with this post) I even see a notice on the ad that “This historic double-sized issue will arrive in a special polybag.”

Questions:

1. What makes this historic? Are you spoiling the story that literally? Is this going to REALLY be on the same level as The Death of Superman, the Death of Captain America, or some such? Is this going to TRULY, PERMANENTLY, for at-least-a-decade-or-so be the end of the story for one of the core FF members, whoever it is that “falls” or “dies?”

2. So it’s double-sized. Is it going to be double-priced, too? Along that line…what IS the price, anyway? $5.99? $6.99? Or is it less, and part of that double-size comes from reprint material, sketchbooky material, or what? Is the actual, main-feature top-billed story itself actually double-length?

3. What makes the polybag special? Does it glitter? Is it resealable, so that one can take the comic out to (gasp! horror! shock!) READ it, withOUT “destroying” the comic (since “damaging” a polybag APPARENTLY is akin to the paper stock itself being dunked in turpentine)?

4. WHY a polybag? Is there bonus material being bagged with the issue? An obituary? Poster? Memorial armband? promo trading card? Is the cost of the bags, and the extra processing and such part of the cost? What extra value is brought to the comic by sealing it in a polybag?

4b. I’ve always wondered at an experiment: ship a comic with just a cover, and all blank interior pages, except for a pull-out coupon. If you have that coupon, you can send it in/trade it in for an ACTUAL issue with actual interiors…

Photos From Home #13

Marvel / Fury Files 3.75″ figures
Hulk; Iron Man; Captain America; The Thing; Colossus (Wolverine & the X-Men 3.75″)

These are several of my favorites from the Marvel 3.75″ figures.  Hulk and Thing seem to me the best value for the price of these figures (though Hulk was a gift from a friend)…these two are relatively huge compared to the other figures in their line. (Ditto Colossus).  Iron Man and Cap of course are represented well here…I just wish I had a Thor to go with them.  Pikachu is left over from a keychain I had in high school…a remnant of my time as a Pokemon fan. (I couldn’t get him to sit in Hulk’s hand to wait for a poundin’).

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