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Hulk hate names with too many Zs! Hulk smash stupid names! – The Incredible Hulk #183

May 4, 2011

Ah. Herb Trimpe. The Hulk. What a marriage.

This one was back in the most one-notey of the Hulkster’s one-note days. The Hulk wanders around, lashes out, comes into contact with people, and in a roundabout way plays the hero — the  E = mc2 of comics. This wasn’t relativistic theory, but one can’t deny its success.

In “The Shocking Return of the Living Dynamo!” by Len Wein and Trimpe, this formula is followed with pinpoint precision. The story opens with ol’ Greenskin wandering around as is his wont, right up until he comes across a train. I’ll give you one guess as to what his reaction is to a noisy, mechanized behemoth. And I bet your guess is along these lines:

Hulk then does his usual make-up routine, where he saves the innocent souls that he’s just needlessly imperiled. Thanks, Hulk. Thanks a lot.

He next hops his way to Chicago, where he catches some Zs and shrinks into puny Banner. Poor Bruce wakes up in his usual dire straits, i.e. half-naked and broke. A quick scan of a discarded newspaper gives him an idea for some quick dough:

Yes. Irony.

Banner soon accidentally interrupts the scientists working at the institute:

I have to pause here and note how stiff and one-dimensional Trimpe’s characters are here. I mean, the American Gothic couple had more vim. This stuff looks a lot like the work of alternative newspaper cartoonist Derf — not a putdown by any means, but odd for a superhero mag.

Anyway, Banner just can’t keep his mouth shut as he listens to these fumblenuts scientists at work, and betrays his real identity:

He puts on a jumpsuit and pitches in, but some ill-timed power surges and horrible luck spoil the experiment and summon our issue’s villain:

Zzzax lives up to his bad-guy rep by immediately zapping (zzzapping?) one of the scientists into oblivion and kidnapping the babe. Cue the blatant King Kong rip-off:

Banner gets pissed and turns into the Hulk, who gives chase to Zzzexy Zzzaxy:

Water-from-sky… It’s fucking rain, Hulk! Rain! R-A-I-N. Say it! SAY IT! Also, memo to Hulk: When you’re raging against raindrops, it’s time to work on your deep breathing exercises. Refocus that energy, big fella!

On the rooftop, Hulk and Zzzax trade blows and garbled-syntax insults, but it’s the remaining free scientist that saves the day. He pilots a helicopter into a dangerous but opportune position, and Wein’s script beats us over the head one last time with a Kong allusion:

Hulk still has to do his hero thing to save this brave soul — somewhat reluctantly, as usual:

That done, he walks away, grumpy and forlorn. So endeth the comic.

This one’s about as A-B-C-D as they come, but it’s a formula that I quite enjoy. Puny Banner. Hulk smash. Rinse. Repeat. No worries on that front. But Trimpe’s art… I usually love his Hulk stuff, and here there’s some fine work centered around the Green Goliath on display. No one could make him look troll-y and square-headed quite like old Herb. But much of the artistic content here is flat. Lifeless. It’s as if Zzzax drained the energy from the very panels that contained him, you know? It’s not bad, it’s just not as arresting as some other Trimpe work that I’ve seen.

And “water-from-sky.” Sheesh.

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