Issue(s): Hulk #315
...and he says that the events leading up to Hulk #300 support his theory. What Samson doesn't know is that in Hulk #312 we learned that Hulk is actually part of Banner's persona, an extreme multi-personality disorder response to child abuse.
You could interpret things in such a way that those two ideas aren't a direct contradiction of each other, but with the most direct interpretation, they are. And it's an open question to me whether Byrne was ignorant of (or ignoring) the most recent MPD interpretation, or if he was deliberately setting out to prove Samson wrong. There is a lot of evidence for the latter. This issue has Samson putting the Hulk in a special chemical solution that will separate out Banner from the Hulk.
But while the Hulk is in the solution, and dreaming, the Hulk specifically tells Banner that he is a part of him.
And Samson is shown to be drastically wrong in another area during this issue, as we'll see at the end.
After the separation, which is successful (which... biologically, seems impossible to me, but it's worth remembering that this has happened before, circa Hulk #130)...
...Clay Quartermain of SHIELD shows up and takes over the operation...
...and even prevents reporter Diane Bellamy's broadcast, and locks up her and her crew.
SHIELD tries to take the Hulk away for safe lock-up, but Samson, under the impression that, free of Banner, the Hulk will have child-like innocence, frees the Hulk.
And that has disastrous consequences.
In an epilogue, Betty Ross shows up to visit the comatose Bruce in the hospital.
An earlier part of the dream sequence where the Hulk is being separated from Banner is an homage to a scene from Hulk #3.
Byrne is doing a great job with Samson here, really playing up the psychologist angle to a degree that hasn't often been emphasized ("I'm very excited by this, of course.").
And if Byrne's intention here really was to show that Samson was wrong, he's going very deep with it, which is really cool. Byrne has a great mastery of body language and facial expressions (love Clay Quartermain's characteristic grin without it being over-the-top) plus the capability for great fight scenes (which we'll see plenty more of in upcoming issues), and on top of that he's adding a psychological component to the story. After last issues "draw every Hulk villain issue" this is a nice real start to Byrne's unfortunately truncated run.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Hulk: Transformations TPB
Diane Bellamy was a great new character, and reviving a good supporting cast was essential for the Hulk. It not only gave a good character for Doc Samson to bounce off of, but I think it heartens back to the reporter always on the chase of Banner on the live TV show.
Posted by: Chris | November 10, 2013 4:35 PM
Byrne stated that he intended to bring back the Ringmaster in this title in the same manner he was used in Hulk #3, but he never got to.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 4, 2013 4:09 PM
Just before the switch was published, Mantlo stated that he was considering a direction of making the Hulk a handsome, attractive defender of the earth.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 15, 2013 6:19 PM
Personally, I remember being a little kid and intrigued by the fact that the Hulk was wearing BLUE in the dream sequence.
Posted by: George Gordon | March 2, 2014 12:33 AM
I wish Byrne had drawn Secret Wars because his Hulk definitely looks like he could hold up an entire mountain range.
Just recently caught part of Ang Lee's Hulk on tv for the first time in a long time and was thinking that Talbot in that film seems to be just as much Quartermain here as he is Talbot.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 9, 2015 8:37 AM
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