Issue(s): Hulk #104, Hulk #105, Hulk #106, Hulk #107, Hulk #108
Meanwhile, the scientists who originally gave the Rhino his powers contact him again. They want to give him his powers back, and this time he won't betray them.
They send him after Bruce Banner. The Rhino is pretty smart about trying to avoid a direct fight with the Hulk once Banner transforms, but of course they do get into a fight.
While fighting there's an explosion and the Rhino is hurt pretty bad. He apparently dies while boasting to the Hulk that it wasn't for the explosion the he would have won. The Hulk doesn't like that and gets really mad.
Then Hulk decides that he will stop messing around and simply grab Betty and run off with her.
Friedrich's writing is much better here than in X-Men. Severin does a great job, especially with the Rhino, both in his civilian identity and in costume. I especially liked the scene at the end with the Rhino's costume in tatters. At this point, the Rhino's armor was not bonded with his skin, so it really should look like something he is wearing.
Issue #105 is written by Bill Everett. The biggest problem with the Hulk is that there was no regular team. With every new issue a new writer takes over, quickly wraps up the previous issue's cliffhanger and moves on to their own story. With that and the level of inconsistency in the quality, it's amazing how enduring the Hulk was as a character. Everett separates the Hulk and Banner and has him fight a "Missing Link".
The creature is supposedly a step on the evolutionary chain between man and ape, but it's also been irradiated by a foreign country and unleashed in the US. The interesting twist in this fight is that the creature's radiation causes the Hulk to temporarily turn back into Banner but still retain the Hulk's personality. Meanwhile Talbot and Rick Jones get a device from Reed Richards that will supposedly either kill or cure the Hulk. Not realizing that the Hulk is in battle with the Missing Link, Talbot blasts the Hulk with the device, turning him back into Banner and leaving no one to defend them from the creature.
However, in the next issue (#106, written by Goodwin) Banner quickly turns back into the Hulk anyway. Before the fight can resume it is interrupted by Goodwin's plot, which involves a Russian version of Nick Fury named Yuri Brevlov kidnapping the Hulk and the Missing Link. The Link explodes and dies and the Hulk escapes, landing in Russia, where he saves a little boy ("Man-child") from Brevlov's laser fire.
The Hulk tries to return the boy to a village that fears and mistrusts him. Then the Mandarin teleports him to his lair.
The Hulk defeats all the trials the Mandarin throws at him (including hurling a giant monster android into outer space!) but eventually gets gassed and brainwashed.
Meanwhile, Nick Fury has formed an uneasy alliance with a Brevolv, who looks like the Human Bullet from the Tick. He and Fury had teamed-up together during WWII, but now they are on opposite sides of the cold war. However, the Hulk rampaging through China is enough to make them put their mistrust aside for the time being. Tony Stark calls to let them know that the Mandarin is behind the Hulk's attack, and they head off his lair to stop him. Alone. Despite starting off on a SHIELD spaceship filled with regular troops as well as Dum Dum Dugan and Gabriel Jones. To fight a guy who Iron Man has major trouble with.
While fighting Chinese tanks, the Hulk says "The more I fight -- the stronger I grow!" (So what, you say? Well, i'm still tracking the Hulk's development into the "madder i get, stronger i get" guy but it seems like we've basically reached it.)
Brevlov destroys the Mandarin's control device, and the Hulk decides to stop fighting the Chinese army and heads back to have words with the Mandarin, who is having way too hard a time fighting Brevov and Fury.
He's finally got them both defeated when the Hulk shows up and smashes everything.
Issue #106 marks the end of Marie Severin's run and the beginning of Herb Trimpe's very long run.
Stan Lee writes issue #108 and there is a noticeable uptick in the quality of the writing.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Since in a vague sense these are continuing stories, they've all been placed together but in reality what's happening is each issue sets up an unnecessary cliffhanger that the next issue's writer quickly wraps up and moves on to an unrelated plot. Since all these stories run into each other, it is difficult to place Hulk's guest appearances in other books. Captain America #110, which features the Hulk on a rampage in New York City and the "transfer" of Rick Jones from Hulk's book to Cap's, takes place during Hulk #106 (specifically between the end of page 5, where the Hulk is buried under rubble by the Missing Link, and the beginning of page 6 where he is suddenly free of the rubble and leaping. Cap #110 actually has him bursting out of a collapsed wall, which works fairly well.), which features the Hulk rampaging in New York and Rick Jones' last appearance in Hulk for a while.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Super Heroes #58, Marvel Super Heroes #59, Marvel Super Heroes #60, Marvel Super Heroes #61, Marvel Super Heroes #62
Inbound References (6): showBetty Ross, Colonel Yuri Brevlov, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Gabriel Jones, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Glenn Talbot, Hulk, Iron Man, Mandarin, Missing Link, Mr. Fantastic, Nick Fury, Rhino, Rick Jones
Bleh, I dislike it usually when there are two writers on a single issue, I mean when it is an 'A and B' thing. I noticed how the Missing Link started off more like an ape creature before mutating but in the next issue it remembers its old life and looks more like the typical caveman.
Posted by: David Banes | November 14, 2013 6:37 PM
the Rhino sure looks stocky here. Very much like a rhino.
Posted by: kveto from prague | July 8, 2017 10:47 AM
Man the Hulk credits were really in flux here huh? And then Stan is suddenly back, which is interesting. I wonder if he jumped back to "right the ship" or if as an editor he was just frustrated with Thomas, Friedrich and Goodwin? I mean ... Marvel basically only had four writers at this point (I guess six with Everett and Drake) and they are all here in a four-issue span.
Posted by: Jeff | February 27, 2018 3:46 PM
I was under the impression (and please correct me if I'm wrong) the Rhino is a Russian, but- much like Emil Blonsky as the Abomination- he's often been written as speaking like a Brooklyn cab driver from the 40s' or something.
Posted by: Wis | June 22, 2018 4:30 AM
Rhino is at some point established as being Russian, though I'm not sure when. In his Spider-Man appearances so far he had worked as the hired muscle for a group of spies, but I don't think Stan intended Rhino to be Russian himself, probably he was just meant to be the average New York hood.
His dumb speech pattern in most of his appearances is sort-of backed up in ASM #43 where a spy tells Rhino that some of them think Rhino is too dumb to be trusted, but he believes Rhino is so dumb to betray them, and Rhino responds that he doesn't care what he's asked to do as long as he gets paid, though the experiment ends up slightly increasing his intelligence and he does end up betraying them. After that, Rhino makes more than one reference to the possibility of other countries paying him for his work, so he doesn't seem to see himself as working for the USSR or have any specific country in mind, just whatever enemy of the USA is the highest bidder.
But yes, the identikit "dumb villain" dialogue does seem an issue with depictions of the Abomination who is a KGB spy, and would be expected to be more intelligent/articulate than Rhino who is just hired muscle, whether Russian or American.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 23, 2018 7:03 AM
Just checked my '80s Official Handbook of Marvel Universe which lists Rhino as being a US citizen, at that point they hadn't established a real name or place of birth. So at that point, I think he probably was being written as a Brooklyn cab-driver (full disclosure: I have never been to Brooklyn and don't actually know what the cab-drivers talk like).
I always thought Spider-Man & Dr Strange probably encountered less "Communist" villains than other Marvel heroes of the '60s, but Kraven, Chameleon & Rhino all at least end up being established as Russian, which is a decent chunk of his early villains. (Kraven & Chameleon are both depicted as foreigners who are deported in their early appearances, though not necessarily from the same country despite their being "old friends" - later retconned as being half-brothers.)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 23, 2018 7:32 AM
Rhino was first mentioned as wanting to return "Home" behind the former Iron Curtain in Spectacular Spider-Man 190.
Posted by: Michael | June 23, 2018 9:07 AM
Don't forget Hammerhead, who was (relatively) recently retconned to also be Russian.
Posted by: Andrew | June 23, 2018 12:56 PM
I didn't know about that one... I mean, it was never known what his identity had been before, other than that he was someone who liked gangster movies, but what with his general schtick & association with the Maggia, I'd generally figured he was Italian-American.
Hammerhead's never been a favourite of mine so I'm not that invested in it, but I really don't know whether I think it's a good idea that they made him something other than the obvious stereotype, or a bad idea because he's never been anything other than an obvious stereotype & never seemed any more Russian than Rhino had. (And Wikipedia says he was a Russian who pretended to be Italian so he could become a made man in the Maggia, which doesn't sound like a good idea to me but I haven't read the comic.)
I kind of feel Hammerhead being Russian is like they suddenly revealed Batroc has never been French, or Shamrock isn't really Irish. If they felt they needed to de-emphasise him being essentially a Mafia boss, they could have done that, but to say he was not ever Italian seemss peculiar to me. At least Rhino already was working with what were surely intended to be Cold War spies.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 23, 2018 10:44 PM
The comic was about as good as Wikipedia makes it sound. Joe Kelly wasn't happy with Hammerhead as a perfectly good B-list villain, wanted to make him scary, and I guess he thinks Russians are scarier than Italians.
Posted by: Andrew | June 24, 2018 8:49 AM
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