Hulk #256-257 (1981): 1st Sabra and Arabian Knight

The issue actually starts with Senate hearings and a decision to de-fund Gamma Base.  There’s some weird panels where the news of the de-funding spreads across the globe, including a shot of Woodgod reading the newspapers and musing about what it means now that the lead Hulk-hunters won’t have any money.  And of course there’s Doc Samson, who is currently treating General Thunderbolt Ross for a nervous breakdown, intercepting the paper before it reaches the beleaguered, broken man.

In the rest of the story, Bruce Banner apparently passed out on a cargo ship, and now he’s in Israel where we are introduced to Sabra—complete with an editorial footnote about how culturally sensitive and aware Marvel is.  Or maybe they’re just trying to explain why a woman who can fly and shoot “energy quills” is called Sabra.

And then it ends with Hulk giving Sabra a lesson on Biblical wars.  A Palestinian boy is killed as Palestinian insurrectionists clash with Israeli police, and Hulk says that the boy died because of “books,” by which I assume he means Koran and Bible, and…

I appreciate the fairly balanced approach to the conflict in the Middle East, but this was unintentionally funny.

Then, in the next issue, Hulk goes across the border to meet the Arabian Knight.  Arabian Knight with a big sword on a flying carpet is pretty lazy character creation.  He is nowhere near as intricate as Sabra, and the direct comparison of these two characters in back-to-back issues reveals a certain level of cultural insensitivity.

The end says he’s going to Russia next, so I guess this is the “Hulk hopping through the continents” storyline.

Creators: Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema
Grade: C
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.


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