Spider-Man Family (Vol. 2) #9 (Story 1)

 Posted: 2008

Story 'The Guy Who Turns Into the Hulk'

  Spider-Man Family (Vol. 2) #9 (Story 1)
Summary: Spider-Man and Marvel Girl watch Bruce Banner
Editor: Nathan Crosby
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Derec Aucoin

Spider-Man and Marvel Girl (Jean Grey's original identity from the early days of the X-Men, for the uninitiated amongst you) have been charged by SHIELD to watch after Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, and keep him calm so he doesn't Hulk- out. They do so by going for a leisurely stroll about town, which is interrupted by some armed goons holding up a truck for a painting. Spidey leaps into action with Jean assisting by disarming the goons from afar with her telekinesis. Spidey wonders why they tried to do it with him standing right there, to which he's told they didn't think it was him.

As the heroes beat on the goons and retrieve the painting, they relay the story behind their unusual pairing. How Spidey saw a UFO being chased by SHIELD while on a date in the park at the same time Jean was on the Helicarrier mentally monitoring Bruce's emotions as he was currently being held captive. Deciding to decrease his liabilities, Fury had Bruce removed from the Helicarrier to be babysat by the only heroes he could find; namely Jean and Spidey. When the goons realize Bruce is there and that he does the Hulk thing, they quickly turn themselves in.

Checking on Bruce, he tells them he's fine, but hungry. The heroes continue on to a bakery where Bruce is about to miss out on the last apple fritter. Fearing the worst, Spidey snags it with his webs and gives it to him. Bruce tells him he doubts he'd Hulk-out over not getting a pastry. They grab a table and sit down for some chit-chat when Spidey catches glimpse of a news report that Doc Ock is on a rampage. Spidey is torn between stopping Ock or staying with Bruce, but ultimately he decides to stay.

After a disastrous display of her TK abilities, Jean suggests they go eat at a pricey French place on Nick Fury's dime. While they prepare to order, Spidey catches another report about Ock's rampage, trying very hard to ignore it. Of course, trouble comes looking for him when some patrons don masks and pull out guns. Too keep Bruce calm, Spidey "accidentally" webs his eyes and then joins Jean in taking the goons down. Spidey wonders why they tried it when he was right there, and once again learns they didn't think it was him, giving Spidey a bit of a complex.

With Bruce seeing again, the heroes sit down to eat. As they chat, Spidey heads over to the man with the laptop where he saw the last broadcast on Ock looking for an update. Finding out Ock now has a hostage, Spidey declares he's going after him and Bruce is NOT to turn into the Hulk. They arrive in Central Park in no time to find Ock attacking some police. Spidey goes after Ock, but is allowed to be taken down when the hostage is in the way. Jean does her best to pick up the slack, but ends up knocked down by one of the tentacles. Bruce pulls her to safety, and grills her about why they let him walk around all day. It's when Jean tells him they implanted a dampening agent in him to keep him mellow that Bruce finally begins to get angry.

Ock grabs Bruce, ready to crush him, until he discovers too late he's the guy that turns into the Hulk. Hulk proceeds to take Ock down hard and just barely holds back from doing the same to Spidey and Jean before jumping away. As the police cart Ock away, Jean surmises that Fury's going to be very mad at them for losing the Hulk, but at least they came to know Bruce seemed pretty nice.

For a guy who turns into the Hulk, that is.

General Comments

This was like a Marvel Adventures comic gone wrong.

From a storytelling standpoint, it was very childish and poorly done. Paul Tobin has Jean and Spidey reveal to a gang of criminals the back story of why they're with the Hulk? Spidey reveals to everyone he was on a date, effectively putting some woman in jeopardy if the right person hears? Banner actually makes jokes about being the Hulk and seems rather cavalier about it? And even if there was a dampening agent involved, would Fury REALLY let Bruce walk around free, even chaperoned? And wouldn't the US Army and General Ross be vying for Bruce's custody? Also, what was with Bruce asking Jean if she wants to make out "as a joke?" He IS an adult, right? (And not realizing that when Jean was Marvel Girl she was a teenager?)

The running gag of people not thinking Spidey was Spidey was amusing, although it made absolutely no sense. Also, the line "we're a robbery" was unusual. Typically, it would be "this is a robbery" or some other variation. The artwork by Derec Aucoin itself fit the tone of the story. Some of the renderings actually looked pretty good, while others were the exaggerated cartoony style one expects from an all-ages tale.

This was quite obviously a story rushed out there to tie-in with the release of the Incredible Hulk movie, even though the Hulk himself serves as little more than running gag fodder. Children could probably enjoy this story, but most others may have a little difficulty.

Overall Rating

1 Web. A movie tie-in, but little else worth mentioning about it. There were a few humorous bits, but overall the story was quite silly...and not in a good way.

 Posted: 2008