Issue(s): Hulk #180, Hulk #181, Hulk #182
Awesome scene, right? Legendary. These issues sell for several hundred dollars each thanks to that hilarious little sequence.
Oh yeah.... Wolverine makes his first appearance here as well.
The Hulk shows up in Canada and the Royal Canadian Airforce Tracking Installation mobilizes Weapon X, AKA Wolverine.
The Hulk is summoned to a lonely camp in the woods. The Wendigo's sister is using magic spells to lure him there. She wants to transfer the curse of the Wendigo to the Hulk, freeing her brother. But the Hulk makes his Saving Throw on her Sleep spell too soon, and sees the Wendigo. They get into a Big Dumb Fight...
...and then Wolverine shows up and attacks both of them.
Finding them both essentially invulnerable, however, he decides to team-up with the Hulk to defeat the Wendigo.
Hulk thinks that might mean he and Wolverine are friends, but once the Wendigo is defeated, Wolverine immediately turns on the Hulk. Dick.
Despite some interference from the sister, the two have a good long fight, but the Hulk finally manages to connect (a mere glancing blow, and a resulting BWOK!). Wolverine is knocked out cold.
Then the sister's boyfriend takes on the curse of the Wendigo so that her brother can be free.
You know how Wolverine always says he's the best at what he does, but what he does ain't nice? Well, now we know what the hell he's talking about:
Wolverine: I'll just keep moving, if you please --- because moving is the thing i do best!
Not sure why it's so not nice.
In a subplot, Glenn Talbot, back from the Russian prison camp, is acting flaky.
Wolverine's first appearance in issues #180-181 is relatively well known since they've been reprinted a number of times, but most people probably don't realize that his initial appearance continues into the beginning pages of issue #182. Which is too bad, because it shows another side of early Wolverine. The whiny-baby side.
After Wolverine's wimpy pleas are denied, the Canadian airforce itself tries to capture the Hulk in a pointless two page sequence where he is captured, escapes, is captured, and escapes again.
Then things get weird.
First, Hulk meets, urm, Crackajack Jackson.
It's always enjoyable to see those rare occasions when an ordinary human befriends the Hulk. But Crackajack is dressed like a hobo from the 1930s. And he talks like... well, what Len Wein thought black people talked like in 1974, i guess. So it's a mixed bag.
The good news is that this is where the Hulk develops his renown love of beans.
Next we meet Johnny Anvil and "Hammer" Jackson, a blatant lift from the Defiant Ones. They meet up with... the Great Pumpkin, i guess...
...and in a double-ironic twist parody of the Green Lantern's origin, instead of helping the dying alien, they shoot him, except shooting him provides him with the metal that he needed to "sustain internal existence-support systems". So they save his life after all, and in return he grants them powers, turning their chain into an "energy-synthicon".
I don't think we ever see the Great Pumpkin again, but somewhere along the way, probably in a Marvel Handbook, we'll learn that he is "Chleee" of the "Glx"
Anyway, it all comes together when Crackajack leads the Hulk to a nearby prison so he can visit his son. And Hammer and Anvil return to the prison so they can wreak vengeance on it with their new powers. Things quickly get out of hand.
Hammer is Crackajack's son, and in the confusion, Crackajack is killed.
Earlier, Crackajack taught the Hulk how to write (!), so the issue ends with the Hulk carving a gravestone for his new but departed friend.
On the lettercol for issue #182, there's a pretty serious debate about whether or not there should be nudity in comics.
Taken as a whole, we're in a weird state for comics. This is the beginning of Len Wein's run on the Hulk, and it's somewhat better than what's come before it, but it's still got a lot of corny elements. If not for the development from later writers, Wolverine could easily have been a throwaway character ("The Hulk's in Canada; who should he fight?" "They've got wolverines in Canada, how about a guy with wolverine powers?"), and Hammer & Anvil essentially are throwaways (they've got a few more minor appearances in them before becoming Scourge-bait). Crackajack Jackson is something of an atrocious character, but if his dialogue wasn't absolutely ridiculous, his relationship with the Hulk would have been pretty good. Generally speaking, the writing isn't bad, and Trimpe's art has its charm.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Hulk next appears in Hulk #183, and then Defenders #15.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: Incredible Hulk and Wolverine #1 (issue #182 is an original)
Inbound References (10): show
The Wendigo got a solo story afterwards in an issue of Monsters Unleashed after someone realized he qualified as a monster.
One of the Marvel Fun Books stated that Wolverine was a teenager.
Probably irrelevant, but "Glx" was, during the 1950s and 1960s, part of "Glx Sptzl Glaaah!", a prominent baby-talk phrase from DC's "Sugar & Spike" comic(and also the name of a one-shot fanzine devoted to them).
Honestly even if Wolverine was never used again beyond this story and some random Marvel cameos, he still had a great nickname. I mean, just the idea that the Canadian government would have a "Weapon X" at least proved something...I don't know what but something. I do feel it
BTW: Wendigo's nose looks laughable in one of the panels you put up...
Foom #2(summer 1973) ran the first results of a Create-A-Character contest, including the first Marvel artwork of Steve Rude, Trevor Von Eeden, and Rich Larson. This is relevant because another entry showed a character called "The Wolverine".
You can see Wein putting pieces on the board for the X-Men reboot pretty methodically. The same month as he introduces Wolverine, he uses Professor X in a Defenders story that will clear the decks of Magneto and his henchmen: out with the old, in with the new. In Defenders and two months earlier in MTU, Wein references a secret mission for the old team, which I'm now sure refers to wein's upcoming Krakoa story. The introduction of Madrox in the Wein-plotted Giant-Size FF4 may have been intended to tie in as well. Does Wein get sidetracked from X-Men and hand the reins to Claremont because he gets prompted to (or fired from being) EIC? It seems like he was putting a careful plan into action, all under his own byline.
There was also talk in the lettercols in Iron Man #70 (Sep cover date; Sunfire was guest starring) about about a revival of the X-Men book that was "still not yet approved by the Higher-Ups".
Now you've got me thinking, Fnord. Silver Samurai debuts in Daredevil while Sunfire is appearing in Iron Man. Just a coincidence that a new international mutant is introduced while the new X-Men are beginning to get a spotlight, or was the Samurai a plot seed, presumably a future foe for Sunfire? This even makes me wonder about Mandrill and Nekra, who first appear a year earlier, but are also international mutants at a time when there were maybe 20 mutants active in the whole MU. Cockrum's seems to have presented his designs for the new X-Men to Marvel around 1972, so it's possible the wheels were already turning. (Though Mandrill and Nekra don't become X-foes and Silver Samurai doesn't encounter them for years--but then, the international angle of the relaunch is dropped almost immediately.)
Jo Duffy has a letter in #181.
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