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1978-10-01 00:04:10
Previous:
Iron Man #115-116
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1978/Box 13/EiC: Archie Goodwin
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Ms. Marvel #20-21

Hulk #228-229

Issue(s): Hulk #228, Hulk #229
Published Date: Oct-Nov 78
Title: "Bad moon on the rise!" / "The Moonstone is a harsh mistress!"
Credits:
Peter Gillis & Roger Stern / Roger Stern - Writer
Sal Buscema - Penciler
Bob McLeod / Mike Esposito - Inker

Review/plot:
Things are not going well in Samson's studies of the Hulk at Gamma Base (because Samson doesn't understand that Hulk doesn't want hot dogs mixed in with his delicious beans).

Seeing an outburst by Thunderbolt Ross on the news, a Dr. Karla Sofen calls to volunteer her services. Like Samson, she is a psychiatrist and Samson is familiar with her work ("I still remember the stir you caused at the Utrecht Conference. I can't tell you how happy I am to work with another psychiatric black sheep!").

Sofen is actually the second Moonstone, and she's working for The Corporation, a shadowy organization that has been featured in Captain America and Machine-Man. She's searching for high tech equipment like the "Gammavator" While she's raiding the lab, the Hulk wanders in.

Moonstone is physically fairly powerful. She's certainly more innovative with her powers than the original Moonstone that fought Captain America. But her real edge is psychological. She uses various voices and phrases to manipulate the Hulk, confusing and angering him.

This makes the rest of Gamma Base assume that he's on a typical rampage, and they turn against him. She messes with General Ross as well, forcing him into a nervous breakdown.

The Hulk leaps away from Gamma Base after Ross passes out.

The way Moonstone manages to manipulate everyone on Gamma Base is handled very well. I also want to reiterate that Sal Buscema is probably my favorite Hulk artist.

Quality Rating: B

Historical Significance Rating: 5 - first published Moonstone II

Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A

References:

  • It was shown in Hulk #223 that the restricted Gamma lab requires a specially coded coherent light beam for entry, but Moonstone improvises with her powers.
  • The original Moonstone appeared in Captain America #170-175
  • She was previously an assistant to Dr. Faustus, and parted company with him after he was defeated in Captain America #192.

    It was after that when she used her psychological prowess to convince the original Moonstone to give up the gem that gave him his powers.

Cross-over: N/A

Continuity Implant? N

Reprinted In: N/A

Inbound References (4): show

Characters Appearing: Betty Ross, Clay Quartermain, Doc Samson, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Hulk, Jim Wilson, Moonstone (Karla Sofen), Spad McCraken

Previous:
Iron Man #115-116
Up:
Main
1978/Box 13/EiC: Archie Goodwin
Next:
Ms. Marvel #20-21

Comments

The "Bad Moon" title is from a Creedence Clearwater Revival song.

When Moonstone II first appeared in Captain America #192(as only "Karla") she was wearing a brown bodysuit along with gloves, mask, neckpiece, bandoliers,and a holstered gun. When that issue was reprinted in b&w in Essential Captain America #5, it was obvious that artist Frank Robbins had drawn her completely naked except for the accessory things. The colorist was the one who put the costume on. Matter of fact, she seemed to have nothing on below the waist except for the strategically placed holster(and a convenient word balloon in a rear view).

The title for #229 is a riff on Robert Heinlein's 1968 novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Have to love Dr. Karla. So incredibly evil. Sad that they watered her down in T-Bolts. (That said, Robbins drawing her like a porn character is just tacky. Ugh.)

I read these issues yesterday and I got to admit I am very impressed with Moonstone. Arrogant, crafty, tough she's quite the impressive super villain.

I disagree she was watered down in Thunderbolts. They eventually messed her up somewhat, eventually, later in the book, when the origins of the stone started.
Before that, she was always shown as a manipulative mastermind.
I'm pretty sure she eventually returned to that persona in more recent years too, but my memory is sort of hazy.
Thunderbolts is where I started to like the character (before the stone's origin story characterization, I mean).


 
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