Comics : Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #238

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Lost Classics

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

While roaming the country, Hulk prevents Fred Sloan from being beaten up by a drunken patron at a bar in Gilbert, California. As a sign of friendship, Fred begins to watch out for the Hulk. They eventually make their way to Berkley where the Hulk meets his old friend Trish Starr.

News of Hulk's presence make their way to Curtiss Jackson of The Corporation. As part of his revenge scheme, he kidnaps Trish and frames the hero Machine Man in an attempt to eliminate them for interfering with his plans (Machine Man would be destroyed and the Hulk will be a wanted murderer).

Jackson lures the Hulk to Central City, California where the Hulk naturally attacks Machine Man. Once Hulk has been convinced of he's been duped, he helps rescue Trish. In the process Central City is heavily damaged as a result of the Hulk's rescue attempts. After placing the Hulk into a trance, he sends the Hulk away to avoid the authorities. He ends up in Canada and was provoked into a fight with Alpha Fight member Sasquatch. Once the fight ended, Hulk began the long journey back to the United States.

In Detail...

"Post Hulk ... Post Holocaust"
Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #238
Aug 1979 : SM Reference
Summary: Spider-Man Reference (Spider-Man piece on They's game board)
Editor:  Allen Milgrom
Writer:  Roger Stern
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Jack Abel
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Articles: Tinkerer

Clay Quartermain leads the President (Jimmy Carter for those keeping score) and the Governor of California (Jerry Brown) on a tour of the section of Central City that was completely destroyed after the Hulk's latest appearance. Both politicians are absolutely shocked at his destructive power. They are all unaware that he was manipulated into this destruction rather than deciding this on his own.

While on their walkabout, Senator Hawk approaches them and wants to discuss the possibility of an increased budget for Gamma Base in an effort to contain the Hulk. The President offers Hawk and Quartermain a ride in his limo to discuss this on the way back to Air Force One. By the time they arrive at the plane, The President offers them a ride back to Gamma Base.

For his part, the Hulk is making his way back to the United States from Canada. Currently walking through a wheat field in Saskatchewan, he finds a paved road. He follows the road to a small store where he encounters a man and his daughter. His mere presence terrifies them, prompting the father to run into him with his truck in an effort to protect his daughter. The Hulk destroys the truck, but spares the father when his daughter begs for his life.

As Hulk leaps away, he is watched by the group known as "They". "They" discuss their plans for the green giant in very cryptic terms and decide that he is the only one capable of "supplying the power they need". They agree to send one of their agents to capture him. Eventually the Hulk returns to the U.S. After leaping all this way, he is tired and decides to rest - on the top of Mount Rushmore. His appearance is noted by a very nervous park ranger.

After the President drops Hawk and Quartermain at Gamma Base, they find that Dr. Samson has resigned his position of base administrator. He is leaving and taking the invalid General Ross with him to recover. When Hawk confronts him, Samson states flatly that he was put in the position of administrator against his will and can't treat Ross properly due to the additional responsibilities. He tells Hawk that since he never approved of his methods, he's free to find a more suitable replacement. After Samson leaves Hawk and Quartermain are informed of the Hulk's appearance in South Dakota.

In Brooklyn a client referring to himself as "Mr. Smith" visits the Tinkerer's workshop. He is shown his new ship and is impressed with his work. Smith pays the Tinkerer in solid gold bars and introduces himself as Goldbug. While the Tinkerer was able to fulfill the request, he admits to professional curiosity as to how Goldbug was able to acquire such advanced circuitry designs and how he plans to power the ship after the fuel cells are depleted. Goldbug avoids answering the first question but assures him that he's got a power source in mind. With the transaction complete, Goldbug leaves for South Dakota to find the ship's new power source: the Hulk.

In Mexico City, Betty Ross and Glen Talbot's divorce is finalized and she is alerted by their lawyer that her father has suffered a nervous breakdown. Betty leaves abruptly, ignoring Glen. The lawyer offers his apologies for making this situation even more awkward. Glen calmly responds that they should never have been married as she never loved him like she did Banner. He admits that Banner did save his life but blurts out that for the last several years, it's been a life of "loneliness and wasted memories" and states that he'd been better off dead.

In General...

A good issue that juggles a lot of long-running sub-plots very well. This is due in large part to the use of editorial footnotes. For those newer readers who are unaccustomed to this, it's a small box that indicates the title and issue number in which a story element occurred. This is critical if you happen to be coming in late to the story and have no idea what the characters are talking about.

That said, there were a few items that were left out: when were Betty & Glen married? When did they exactly start having trouble? When did Ross have his breakdown?

Overall Rating...

3 webs. As we inch closer to the revelation of "They", the stories continue to move forward instead of stall for time.

Footnote...

  • Hulk first encountered Trish Starr around Defenders #41
  • The Hulk/Sasquatch battle occurred in Hulk Annual #8
  • For the record, Glen & Betty were married in Incredible Hulk #158. The Hulk villain known as the Gremlin erased Glen's mind in issue #188. He was cured in issue #200 and their marital problems began, culminating in their divorce in this issue.
  • General Ross had his breakdown in issue #229 when he learned that Dr. Karla Sofen, in his employ, was Moonstone.