THE HULK #223-226 (1978)

 

For the first time in a while, Hulk gets really, really good.  It starts with this ominous splash page of Hulk getting ready to literally crash a picnic.  But when he lands, he finds himself changing into Bruce Banner suddenly and without warning…

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 He’s so thrilled, he’s giddy.  Love that panel by Sal-the facial expression of pure joy is one I don’t think we’ve ever seen in a Hulk issue.

He’s so happy, he doesn’t even defend himself when one of the picnickers punches him in the jaw.  And when the punch doesn’t cause a Hulk transformation, his joy only further increases.

But, sadly, all happy things must end.

Turns out, his sudden and miraculous Bannerization was because of The Leader, who wants Hulk out of the picture so he can be evil.

Banner kidnaps a bunch of people from Hulkbuster base, including General Ross and Doctor Samson.

He even slaps Samson.  With his open hand.  What an insult!

Banner finds out and reluctantly agrees to be made Hulk again, because it’s the only way to save them.

Notice the use of the chair.  Right about this time, the Hulk TV show was big, and we see a clear influence of TV on the comics-of Marvel trying to make the book more recognizable to TV viewers.

It’s not done in an offensive way, though.  All the comic book canon is still intact.

Meanwhile, Jim Wilson is traveling the country with a magician named Kropotkin.

And future comic book creator extraordinaire Erik Larsen gets his name in print!

Creators: Roger Stern and Sal Buscema
Grade: B
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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