Issue(s): Hulk #157, Hulk #158
Meanwhile we check in with the Leader. He was presumed dead after his last appearance, but unlike most "presumed dead, better now!" villains, he's actually got some lasting damage. He's fully paralyzed. Luckily, he's also got an artificially intelligent space satellite called Omnivac that takes care of him...
...and a plan for a new body. What's weird is that the Leader has been waiting to execute on that plan until the Hulk was detected on the Earth again. I don't know why the Leader wouldn't just want a new body just because, well, it's nice to have a body.
The body in question currently belongs to the Rhino, who is comatose in a hospital thanks to his last encounter with the Leader. Omnivac wakes him up and has him taken up to the satellite, where the Leader takes over his mind.
Meanwhile, Jim Wilson decides he doesn't want to watch Betty Ross marry Glenn Talbot...
...so he gets the airforce to drive him back to the East Coast where he arrives just in time to stop the Hulk, who has now gotten himself worked up thinking about Jarella, from going on a rampage.
That's when the Leader-Rhino shows up.
The Leader's motivation here seems really weak. He shows up just to taunt Banner, telling him that's he going to go off and disrupt Betty & Glenn's wedding. I tried to figure out the angle on this - maybe the Leader really wants to be Bruce's buddy and is trying to help him out by preventing his girlfriend from marrying some other guy, or maybe the Rhino's more vindictive brain is influencing the Leader - but it really doesn't make a lot of sense.
But i guess it doesn't really matter. The result is a Hulk/Rhino fight. I haven't decided whether the Leader's brain in the Rhino's body should make him a better fighter or a worse one; i guess the Leader's smarts end up balancing out the Rhino's natural instincts and experience.
Ultimately the fight takes the two into outer space, and then the Leader abandons the Rhino's body, leaving the Hulk and the Rhino fighting on a space shuttle...
...which winds up on the High Evolutionary's Counter Earth, on the opposite side of the sun. The shuttle is controlled by the Leader, back in his paralyzed body.
Each titan falls in with a different group of warring Ani-men...
...and get to continue their fight.
Warlock makes a brief appearance in #158, watching the rocket land but doing nothing.
The High Evolutionary also makes a cameo.
After mucking about a bit on Counter Earth, the Hulk and the Rhino go home.
Scripting this issue seems to be Steve Gerber's first job at Marvel, according to the letters page.
Back on earth, Glenn and Betty get married.
The people of Counter-Earth are implausibly direct counterparts to people on the real Earth, including a General Ross, and a married Bruce and Betty Banner, with a child (i guess the idea is to contrast Betty and Glenn's marriage back on the real Earth).
As Matthew notes below, if you were reading this in the Marvel Super Heroes, you would never make it to Counter Earth. While the original ending of issue #157 was this...
...in the reprint, it was this:
Which is followed by a couple of pin-ups by Greg La Rocque and Armando Gil, and then this:
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Even though this issue begins as if the Hulk has only recently returned from Jarella's world, the Defenders stories in Marvel Feature #2-3 and Defenders #1 have to take place between this issue and last. This is because there have been no good breaks in the Hulk's stories until there. The Hulk's brain capacity being what it is, it isn't the end of the world but it's odd thematically. Marvel will actually get better about coordinating the Hulk's appearances in Defenders but for the initial issues, a cludge is necessary.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): showAdam Warlock, Betty Ross, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Glenn Talbot, High Evolutionary, Hulk, Jim Wilson, Leader, Omnivac, Rhino, Soul Gem
Sal Trapani was Dick Giordano's brother-in-law, which resulted in him following Dick around during the Silver Age to Dell, Charlton, and DC. Eventually he migrated to Marvel after Dick sorta fell out of favor at DC(for a while), but he didn't stay on any Marvel title for long.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 14, 2011 1:05 AM
I have yet to find any reference to this elsewhere, but it seems patent that the reprint in the last issue of MARVEL SUPER-HEROES committed one final perfidy. Per your review, every other source I've seen, and the opening of #158, the story ends in a cliffhanger, with the Hulk and the Rhino battling aboard a spaceship that ends up on Counter-Earth. Yet the last two panels of MSH #105, which look to have been clumsily drawn by someone other than Trimpe and Trapani, show and tell us that the ship crashed in the desert (on our Earth), leaving the Leaderhino unconscious and the Hulk "rampaging away" to wherever destiny takes him. It appears that with the reprint book cancelled, Marvel took the inexcusable step of rewriting history just to provide closure. Nauseating.
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | August 3, 2013 10:41 AM
Thanks, Matthew. I've added some scans showing the differences in the endings.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 3, 2013 12:49 PM
Steve Gerber's debut?
Posted by: JSfan | May 30, 2014 9:03 AM
His script in #158 here, his co-writing credit on Shanna #1, and his full writing credit on Fear #11 all happen in Dec 72 (cover date).
Posted by: fnord12 | May 30, 2014 9:22 AM
Cheers! I've been reading an article about his legal problems with Marvel and it mentioned he wrote for Marvel around '72.
Posted by: JSfan | May 30, 2014 10:00 AM
"Omniac" would have been a good name for a computer. "Omnivac" sounds like a home cleaning system.
Posted by: Andrew | December 12, 2016 3:25 PM
It's named in homage to UNIVAC, one of the most famous of the early mainframe computers.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 12, 2016 7:06 PM
Thanks, Omar. Obviously I was only aware of ENIAC.
Posted by: Andrew | December 13, 2016 8:25 AM
Good old early 70s tales, when you could take a trip to counter earth, halt a revolution and be back to earth all in the span of an issue.
Gotta love that Rhino's space helmet is cone shaped to accomodate his horn.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 1, 2017 4:21 PM
Comments are now closed.
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