Characters Appearing: Achilles, Agamemnon, Betty Ross, Delphi, Hulk, Marlo Chandler, Rick Jones, Sabra, Ulysses
Issue(s): Hulk #386, Hulk #387
...the Hulk feels like he's "skulking like Emil Blonsky". And he wants to change that and repair his relationship with Betty, so he tells Agamemnon to get another member of the Pantheon to deal with the situation, but Agamemnon says that Achilles has already been sent in but has "gone renegade".
So Hulk signals to Rick, and they leave the bar and are flown to Israel. The boy in question, Max Meer, is the son of diplomats from a country called Draburg. He's convinced by an Israeli girl, Gretta Rabin, to go out on the town.
The Hulk, being a bit obtrusive, remains hidden while Rick trails the kids and keeps an eye out for Achilles. But when the kids are spotted and the Hulk comes out of the shadows, he's seen and attacked by Sabra, Israel's local super-hero.
Note that SHIELD is telling people that the Hulk is more dangerous than ever.
A clever bit in this story is that Sabra's initial quill attack hits Hulk in the mouth and throat, paralyzing his vocal chords. So all he can do is grunt and growl, and Sabra assumes that he's his classic dumb self, albeit bigger than ever.
Sabra also manages to hit the Hulk in the ear, throwing off his sense of balance.
Meanwhile, Max sends a mob after Rick and Achilles. He is at first not aware that he has powers (although he's been getting headaches), and we see that Gretta keeps egging him on.
As Rick and Achilles are fleeing the crowd, we learn that while Achilles looks like a normal human, he is actually extra heavy.
Sabra gets increasingly... political? patriotic? as the fight goes on.
Blaming spousal abuse on scuds seems pretty bizarre to me, but i'm not really interested in a discussion about Israeli politics and i'm glad to see the Hulk just sort of dismiss it all. And he finally gets his voice back and explains the situation to Sabra. We don't actually get to see the explanation, though; i'd like to see how well Sabra takes the fact that this is all coming from a precog that she's never heard of.
The Hulk's mission was to bring Max back to the Pantheon, if that was possible. Otherwise he was to use his discretion. Achilles, on the other hand, wants to kill Max. It turns out that he lived through the Holocaust, and will do anything to prevent another. And while Achilles is explaining this, he notices Max about to be crushed by the crowd that Max sent after Rick, and says nothing. So Max is trampled.
Hulk considers turning Achilles over to the Israeli authorities, but instead returns him to Agamemnon, who says that Achilles will be dealt with severely. However, he turns out to have been lying about that and practically everything else.
We also learn that it was really Gretta, not Max, that had the mind control powers.
The "kill baby Hitler" scenario is a bit cliched, but David really uses that as a springboard for showing that the situations that the Pantheon deals with are much more complex that the standard sort of super-hero things that, say, the Avengers handle. Complex because of the international politics, because you have to take the word of a precog (who, as in this case, can get things wrong), and because the leader of the group has his own hidden agenda. In the meantime, Sabra's disabling of the Hulk's vocals allows David to make the Hulk feel the continued frustration of being judged on sight. So the plot itself may not be that special, but the execution more than makes up for it. Dale Keown's art continues to be great, although i'd say it's enhanced by Mark Farmer moreso than Josef Rubinstein (note that i don't always cover plots in exact sequence, so there are scans from issue #386 mixed in with #387; you can always right click on an image and view the image name to see which issue a scan is from).
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
While I didn't find the story particularly great, it was mildly disappointing to see the consequences of letting Max live never play out. Part of the joy of PAD's run decade long run is seeing the little plot threads play out. And to introduce something so conclusive (this boy will cause Holocaust 2.0) and follow up feels... hollow.
Posted by: JC | November 5, 2015 1:00 PM
At least the Hulk lost that stupid open-chested Elvis jumpsuit.
Posted by: Bob | November 5, 2015 6:13 PM
I actually liked this two parter a lot. It was good to see Sabra appear in Hulk again even if her speech at the end was very odd.
Posted by: Chris | November 5, 2015 9:11 PM
She has the powers of hummus.
Posted by: MindlessOne | June 22, 2017 4:16 PM
In that first comic excerpt, Marlo says the band's drummer is cute and looks like "Albert" from Twin Peaks. "Albert" is the character Albert Rosenfield played by Miguel Ferrer. Miguel was a friend of Peter David, and he did play drums in the band "Seduction of the Innocent" which was composed of various artists and played at San Diego ComicCon and elsewhere. Based on that, it is entirely possible Rick Jones' band has the same members (at least in this issue) or is even the actual self same band ("King Jack" is one of their songs). When the band reappears in issue #388, they even open their act in the same way. Peter David explained about the real life band in one of his But I Digress columns - http://www.peterdavid.net/2012/10/15/seduction-of-the-innocent-the-band/
Posted by: Chris | June 22, 2017 6:38 PM
Miguel "Look! It's trying to think!" Ferrer? That's hilarious.
Posted by: Andrew | June 22, 2017 7:14 PM
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