Issue(s): Hulk #310, Hulk #311
I guess i should stop here and say that some aspect of this plotline may come from a never published story started by Barry Windsor-Smith that was (allegedly?) plagiarized by Mantlo. I'll address that more when i get to issue #312. I don't really know what was in BWS's story, so i don't know if the Triad or this "separate persona" concept were from it or if everything we're seeing so far was original to Mantlo.
In any event, Hulk begins to speak again in #310. His dialogue begins in classic Hulk smash mode...
...but soon starts to sound a lot more intelligent.
He soon transforms back into Bruce Banner.
This is all while fighting some extra-dimensional skeleton warriors who ride awesome horned horses.
Art in #310 is by Bret Blevins, and unlike some earlier work by him, it is starting to look less Marvel House and more in Blevins' eventual style.
Banner is initially scheduled for execution...
...but the execution is halted when the local ruler comes out. Issue #310 ends on the execution cliffhanger, and at the beginning of issue #311, Banner thinks to himself:
Saved... in the best beginning-of-the-next-episode-of-the-serial form! I should have known. My life has been reduced to caricature!
Mantlo, when your own characters start complaining about your writing style, it's time to re-think things.
Anyway, this issue definitely does devolve into force. The "boss" is a Scottish scientist, Dr. Daniel Decyst (as in cease-and ?).
He wound up in this dimension in the 18th century. Mike Mignola chooses to give us a butt to stare at while Decyst explains that. Early sexposition, i guess.
Anyway, the guy's essentially a vampire via science, bleeding the natives to stay alive.
Banner is feeling suicidal after his recent discovery that he didn't die after all, but he ultimately Hulks out...
...and helps the natives revolt before returning to the crossroads.
Issue #311 is kind of a let down after the sudden return of Banner, as if Mantlo didn't know where to go after introducing the psychological ideas and bringing back Banner so he pivoted to a standard horror plot. I guess there was meant to be some juxtaposition of Banner and Decyst, but the idea of Hulk/Banner running into someone else from Earth out here in the crossroads feels a bit weak (although i suppose it's not entirely implausible) and nothing really comes of it. Both Blevins and Mignola turn in some nice art, though.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #310 begins with the Hulk and the Triad still in the same dimension where the Hulk discovered the Oasis last issue, but some indefinite amount of time has passed.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
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