Characters Appearing: Betty Ross, Doc Samson, Hiro (Tourist), Hulk, Keith Chandler, Killpower, Larry (Tourist), Madman, Marlo Chandler, Motormouth, Perseus, Piecemeal (NWO), Ray Chandler, Rick Jones
Issue(s): Hulk #407, Hulk #408, Hulk #409
Uh, I was going to say "It takes a legend to catch a legend." That's hurtful.
The creature turns out to be the one that we've been seeing since the NWO story.
A possible coloring mistake is obscuring the fact that the face is based on the Red Skull's (it'll be red in most later panels).
We also obviously have Attuma and Sabretooth, and since we saw Silvermane in the NWO arc we can assume that the mechanical arms are his.
When he comes out of the water we see that he has at least one green leg (again, since the coloring seems inconsistent it's hard to know what's deliberate).
The creature's back is dark purple later.
The green leg later looks scaly, so the Abomination is a good guess.
And elements of the Absorbing Man aren't out of the question either.
The fight is joined by Madman.
It turns out Madman was posing as a scientist, spying on the NWO, and was involved in the creation of the creature, Piecemeal.
Hulk is chained up and tossed in the lake. Perseus tries to fight Madman, but Madman responds by killing a tourist at his hotel, and Perseus therefore backs off. Piecemeal absorbs tourists, growing in intelligence.
Just continuing to note the coloring issues: now we have two green legs (one lighter than the other sometimes), and the face is white again.
Hulk returns before Piecemeal can manage to absorb Perseus. Piecemeal acts reluctant to fight the Hulk, but obeys Madman. Piecemeal's ability to pull up not just physical aspects of the Hulk's older personas but also their personalities rattles the Hulk.
Perseus tries to join the fight again, this time with his Pantheon weapon, but Madman kills him.
This is billed as a big deal ("Death in the Pantheon!") on the cover of #409. I'm not sure if even the death of an active Pantheon member would have caused too much fan concern, but a retired guy that we just met in this story barely merits a blink. (A Pantheon back-up feature - see Considerations - actually shows Perseus to be kind of a dick.)
Hulk impales Piecemeal with Perseus' spear and Piecemeal seemingly dies. Madman seemingly teleports away but the Hulk locates him by the flashback in issue #409 and chases him to London, leaping behind his plane.
In London, the Hulk runs into Motormouth and Killpower, in the only appearance of Marvel UK characters in a Marvel US book (at the time that the Marvel UK books were being published, anyway)(Gary Frank was the original artist for Motormouth). Note that the Pantheon has dossiers on them.
Despite not wanting Motormouth and Killpower's help, the Hulk gets it. Madman has climbed Big Ben with Prince Charles as a hostage. He's demanding that he be made king of England.
This is, like, Spidey Super Stories level villainy, but the guy is Madman.
Hulk and friends fight the lunatic.
The fight concludes at London Bridge, which falls down. Madman's body isn't found, but the Hulk thinks the idea that he's really dead is a joke.
Meanwhile, Rick proposes to Marlo.
The Japanese Tourists that we saw in the last arc appear again.
I still see no valid reason why you'd have characters speaking with Japanese characters followed with footnotes that are also in (Romanized) Japanese. It also doesn't make any sense that tourists at Loch Ness would see a monster and assume Godzilla and not the Loch Ness Monster. I continue to not get the "joke". Long Duk Dong territory.
They appear once more at the end of #409, now speaking German (Google translate says, "This will twist people").
Besides that, these are fun issues, but they're a bit short thanks to a back-up feature (see Considerations). Piecemeal serves as a tease regarding the NWO membership. Madman's appearance has less longterm value since he had only infiltrated the NWO for his own mysterious purposes, and his meeting with the Hulk here is explicitly incidental. His death here last a long time, until well after Peter David's run. This was my first encounter with Motormouth & Killpower, and i didn't know what to think of them. I guess they didn't make enough of an impression for me to run out and buy their comics (which had already been canceled recently, but i could have gotten back issues). I missed a key line (or the significance of it) indicating that Killpower has the mind of a child, which might have done a little more to hook me.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: The first few pages of issue #407 show the wrap up of Marlo's resurrection story. The MCP have a few Hulk appearances after that but before the start of the main story in Scotland. I'm following that, and i therefore haven't listed the characters that only appear in the opening segment of #407: Marlo's brothers, her mom (voiceover only), and lawyer Elaine Schoenfeld. Amazing Spider-Man #381-382 (if it's not a bad dream) has the Hulk returning from "Scotland", so that should take place after this (although the Hulk ends these issues in London).
A six part back-up story detailing the origin of Ulysses begins in issue #407 (and concludes in issue #412). I probably won't cover it at all, since the origins of Pantheon members don't have a great bearing on the Marvel universe, but if i change my mind it will be covered in a separate entry placed circa the Hero Gap since it spans a period of time beginning in 1955.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I have always loved that page where the Hulk out-curses Motormouth :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 30, 2017 3:35 PM
With Piecemeal's furry undies and metal band belt, I can only conclude his pelvis comes from Arkon.
Posted by: Mortificator | January 30, 2017 4:50 PM
Someone's been studying Arkon's pelvis a little more than is necesssary...
So... the purple tail would be from Dragon Man?
Posted by: Andrew | January 30, 2017 5:33 PM
Madman eventually returns in one of the many Thunderbolts reboots; this was the one with Ross as th Red Hulk and characters like Elektra and the Punisher on the team.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | January 30, 2017 6:08 PM
PAD suggests at one point that Madman's motivation was a gay crush on Bruce.
Posted by: Michael | January 30, 2017 11:48 PM
Madman really comes across as a missed opportunity. The original concept from the "Countdown" storyline was that Phil Sterns was so desperate to *be* Bruce Banner that he turned himself into a kind of ersatz Hulk, right down to an assumed set of personalities. (That's how I read the "I love you" line; it's more about how obsessed Madman is with Banner than it is literally romantic.) But for the most part, after Countdown, he shows up this one last time with much more generic dialogue -- in "Countdown" his style of speaking shifted when he changed shape, and here he's just a standard ranting loon -- and does very little of interest or consequence.
The story surprisingly doesn't play up his similarities to Piecemeal, either: both are basically imitative, but not much is made of how Piecemeal's gradual growth in intelligence and independence through absorbing and imitating others plays off of the way Madman has turned himself into not only a monster, but a wholly derivative monster, a kind of crummy knockoff Hulk crossed with a crummy knockoff Leader. It all seems like a pointless detour.
But then, this is a period when it feels like PAD's plots are being derailed a bit by editorial. As noted above, the NWO never really goes anywhere, either. Was it intended as a kind of anti-Pantheon for the Hulk to oppose now that he has his own organization? Instead, once we get Agamemnon's hidden agenda and origins, the Pantheon is written out quickly.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | January 31, 2017 6:52 AM
Hey, fnord. I was looking at the synopsis of the latest Supergirl episode while channel surfing, and I notice the word "seemingly" next to a verb ("died", "dismantled", something like that), and I was reminded that I had noticed the word is used twice in this review. So I searched your site for the word "seemingly", and got 588 hits. I don't know how many reviews are on this site, but that's got to be a statistically significant percentage. "Apparently" is even more prevalent, with 664 hits. I just thought it was funny how many qualifiers are needed when talking about superheroes...
Posted by: Andrew | January 31, 2017 8:55 AM
Hulk was the only Marvel comic I was reading in the period, and I enjoyed it. But I must admit there are some major weaknesses to Peter David's work here. His villains are mostly forgettable. Whenever he creates a new villain, I really don't care if I ever see them again. And when he reuses classic villains, they seem misused or at least not threatening. Second, the Pantheon doesn't work. I don't like these retroactive continuity implants in the first place, far better to simply make them a relatively new organization becoming prominent for the first time. Then these characters are all generic - find a Greek hero's name and make it the name for a superhero. And their powers are rather generic. The concept just isn't strong enough to be a major part of the title.
This story is a good example of that. Piecemeal is an uninteresting villain. Madman was initially an intriguing villain who is just ridiculous right now, there is no gravitas or coolness. Perseus is just another disposable character no one cares about.
So despite the fact that I like a lot of David's work (good characterization and intelligent writing) and this is the only Marvel book I was reading for a good four to six years, I only have vague memories of this era. I never thought Gary Frank was a great artist, but he's decent and serviceable and not atrocious to look at like most of Marvel at the moment. So I remember liking the art, but that is about it.
Posted by: Chris | February 26, 2017 1:09 PM
I basically agree. I only read a few PAD "Hulk" issues when they were coming out, but I'm missing few-if-any issues now, and as good as they are, they're mostly forgettable. I'm sure I've read these issues, but I don't recognize anything here. Although Rick proposing to Marlo tells me the wedding is coming soon, and I do remember some things from those issues.
Posted by: ChrisW | February 26, 2017 5:07 PM
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