Issue(s): Hulk #184, Hulk #185, Hulk #186
After destroying that convoy, the Hulk gets into a fight with his own shadow.
The shadow turns out to be the Warlord Kaa, from an old Monster Age era Strange Tales story recently reprinted in Where Monsters Dwell.
The creature is defeated when someone turns on the lights.
Meanwhile, General Ross is enjoying idyllic crisis free quality time with his daughter and son-in-law, but it doesn't last long.
At the end of issue #184, Banner shows up at the Hulkbuster base, and Colonel Jack Armbruster immediately shoots him with a tranquilizer gun and he's subsequently imprisoned.
President Ford shows up to inspect the base, and Banner mistakenly assumes he is still the Vice President.
I really like that little scene. As the president points out, Banner is often just jumping around the world, waking up in one strange place after another, and doesn't really have time to be keeping up with current events, or the latest cult television shows or scientific discoveries.
Anyway, the scientist that was doing the analysis of Glenn Talbot from last issue is found murdered, but Armbruster is able to get the results and discovers that Talbot has an organic bomb implanted in his heart. Armbruster is able to stop Talbot from exploding near the president, but both he and "Talbot" are killed.
Bruce turns into the Hulk, who tries to comfort the distraught Betty...
...but the commotion immediately gets Thunderbolt Ross into his latest insane contraption so that he can fight the Hulk "man-to-man".
Thanks to the use of gas and a "gamma blaster", the Hulk is defeated.
The Hulk is imprisoned in a tank of fluid that is kept at 250 degrees below zero, paralyzing his muscles and floating in such a way that he has no leverage to escape. It seems like one of the few effective ways that the Hulk has been imprisoned; he won't escape on his own power.
Betty, whose stability has been a concern for a while now, obviously doesn't take the death of her husband well, especially on top of these other events.
But for once, General Ross is actually able to reach out to her. What he actually says doesn't seem all that convincing or relevant to me, exactly, but i think the fact that he was opening up to her at all is what touches her, and it's a good scene.
Meanwhile, it turns out that one of the soldiers on the base, Peter Kirkman, is really Kirkov Petrova, and he's been receiving parts from his secret master over the past few months, and he's finally got the last piece, and he is outraged to find out that it's a really lame costume.
To protest that, he goes on a rampage at the Hulkbuster base and, as General Ross points out, even though the soldiers on the base are trained and equipped to deal with the Hulk, they can't seem to handle this guy. But his rampage accidentally frees the Hulk, so the Hulk is able to do what they can't.
The Hulk changes back into Banner and passes out after the fight, and then some scientists share the news that the autopsy of Talbot reveals that it wasn't really him.
Some interesting bits about the Devastator. First, he's partially powered by a small orbiting satellite...
...which almost feels like a much belated Sputnik paranoia reference.
Second, he's killed when the Hulk crushes his power gloves but he tries to use them anyway, which just makes him seem really dumb.
Generally, Wein and Trimpe doing some solid storytelling here. Not necessarily great, definitely some goofy bits, but completely readable.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Hulk #184-193 take place between Giant-Size Defenders #3-4 and mostly keep the Hulk unavailable from the rest of the Marvel Universe for the purposes of guest appearances (like his brief appearance in Thor #233). Hulk #184 takes place during Ghost Rider #11, per a very specific note in that issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBetty Ross, Colonel Jack Armbruster, Devastator, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Gregory Kronski, Hulk, Kaa
I just wanted to point out that the surname "Petrova" is impossible for a male character in Russian. It should be Petrov. Very sloppy on their part.
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | May 5, 2013 5:02 AM
Banner says, "Welcome to the monkey house". Most likely a reference to the title of the amazing book of short stories by Vonnegut.
Posted by: Yogi deadhead | February 23, 2016 5:51 PM
I remember seeing an episode of Batman The Brave and the Bold where a clumsy man was powered up by a satellite and turned into a super strong hero called Omac.
I think the first Omac came from Jack Kirby in 1974 so not super impossible? I mean someone powered up by a satellite is still kind of uncommon I think.
Posted by: david banes | February 23, 2016 7:17 PM
OMAC (the classic character) was created at DC in 1974 by Kirby; he actually is one of the more notable creations the King created during this period alongside Darkseid, the New Gods and Kamandi.
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 24, 2016 8:38 AM
A sad end to the character of Jack Armbruster. I only knew him from the reference in the Power Records Hulk audio book, but for that reason I always thought he was an important supporting character.
Posted by: Chris | September 13, 2016 12:53 AM
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