Issue(s): Hulk #368
Bruce Banner is trying to get to Connecticut, which is where, as he learned during Countdown, his Betty has been staying. But his money is in a house now occupied by Doc Samson and the military. So, disguised as a soldier (Bruce displays uncharacteristic aggression in overpowering the soldier that he takes the clothes and gun from), he instead hops a train like a hobo. But also on the train is Mr. Hyde.
He's obscured on the cover, and the story at first plays it like it's possible that Banner is talking to himself as the Hulk. Or at least Banner thinks that's the case.
And when we do get a glimpse of him, all we see are big hands and then a big face in the dark.
Hyde's interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is of course self-serving, but very interesting.
Kieth's moody atmosphere works really well at depicting this conversation in a dark train car. And Hyde's description of Jekyll and Hyde is a great way of looking at both his own character and the Hulk's (although Hyde's social Darwinism is not something that Darwin himself would have endorsed).
Hyde decides to kill Banner because there's not enough room in the world for two Mr. Hydes. But when Bruce becomes the Hulk as they enter a tunnel...
...Hyde is not upset about having to fight him. He also finds a psychological aspect to the grey Hulk's weakness to daylight.
Kieth's misshapen, brutish creatures are really intriguing to me.
The art does get a little too cartoonish sometimes, though.
Hyde mocks the Hulk for bothering to save the "weaklings" on the train.
Hyde falls off the bridge, saying "You and Banner deserve each other", prompting the Hulk to think "He sure knows how to hurt a guy".
A really nice standalone issue that's also building up to the big psychological reveal at the end of this year.
Also in this issue is the first look at the Pantheon, including a mostly obscured appearance of Prometheus.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Pushed back in publication time so that Hulk #369 can be Freedom Force's first appearance after Acts of Vengeance. That does mean that Mr. Hyde probably escaped after Cobra called the police on him at the end of Captain America #367 but then got captured at some point after this issue so that he can appear in Deathtrap: The Vault (where Freedom Force also appear).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I like Sam Keith's art more now than then. I got this issue a year or so after it came out in a trade with a friend for a used Guns N Roses cassette.
Posted by: Robert | May 19, 2015 3:13 PM
Sam Keith is amazing at drawing calm, moody scenes, but his artwork is very static. The panel-to-panel flow of Hulk hauling Hyde through the roof of the train cart is pretty bad, for example. The conversation in the dark is absolutely amazing however.
This is the first time I see this story, and the first time I see one in which Mr. Hyde is more than a dumb brute. Here I was thinking Agents of SHIELD was the first place he was given an interesting characterization. (He's by far the best part of that series btw)
Posted by: Berend | May 19, 2015 5:27 PM
I enjoyed the issue. Even with Stern elevating Hyde back up, I found it hard to see him as a foe for the Hulk. He's really not at that level - although I'd find it interesting if there was a concerted effort to push him back into Thor foe territory.
Posted by: Chris | May 19, 2015 10:06 PM
You can really see the Maxx's look in the panel where Hulk grabs the Caboose to save the people. Great stuff!
Posted by: JSfan | May 20, 2015 5:13 AM
'(although Hyde's social Darwinism is not something that Darwin himself would have endorsed).'
Actually Darwin did endorse it.
“I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”
Posted by: mdentlogan | May 20, 2015 9:53 AM
That quote shows that Darwin was a bigot (obviously judging by modern standards), but even that quote has him saying that what he thinks of as the "more civilised" group is winning out. See also Darwin's view that natural selection led to "a moral sense or conscience". Seems to me to be the opposite of Mr. Hyde's view that man's "strength and savagery" got diluted and so weaklings need to be weeded out.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 20, 2015 10:35 AM
'beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence' Sounds like strength and savagery to me. To see how savage the conflict he is referring to was read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_wars_in_Europe
Even if one claims a subjective moral high ground, true Darwinism always results in elimination. The quote you linked was Darwin speculating on moral code between same types and not toward an inferior/superior dynamic.
Now excuse me I have to go pick up my 'Magneto was right' T-shirts from the cleaners.
Posted by: mdentlogan | May 20, 2015 2:56 PM
"For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its FELLOWS, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them"
If I lived in world where people could turn into giants (like Mr Hyde) or lift the entire golden gate bridge (like Magneto), under Darwinism they would constitute a different species and the rules of Darwinism would apply.
Posted by: mdentlogan | May 20, 2015 3:15 PM
Sam Kieth's original rejected cover was printed in Comics Interview #84. He also stated that Peter David told him that this was his favorite Hulk issue that he'd written so far, and that they were planning a Hulk Graphic Novel.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 24, 2015 10:58 AM
I noticed with this issue and during his fight with super skrull a few issues later a little more of a social conscious for this incarnation of The Hulk, like he was going through an evolution. He yells out when the coupling breaks (and Hyde points out he "cares" for the weaklings) along with Hulk telling Super-Skrull how dismissive he is of the fact that Super-Skrull enjoys the "suffering of innocents". Interesting stuff seldom touched on
Posted by: Allen | December 27, 2015 2:02 PM
The final panel of Banner's transformation into Hulk, he cums off looking a thicker darker Frank Castle to me.
Posted by: JC | December 28, 2015 6:26 AM
Stephen King’s 1981 nonfiction book Danse Macabre, about horror in art and literature, makes a case for view Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as the first werewolf story. I wonder if PAD had read it? Between Hyde here, the Werewolf by Night appearance less than a year earlier, and the Hulk’s moon-driven transformations, plus the “Beast of Yucca Flats” allusions, it seems to me that PAD was exploring the conceptual roots of the Hulk with the stories themselves. It looks like more than coincidence: PAD thought seriously about the very concept of this character, which is one reason this is among the best creative runs of any book in Marvel’s 50-some years.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 19, 2017 9:32 PM
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