Marvel Fanfare #20-21
Issue(s): Marvel Fanfare #20, Marvel Fanfare #21
It's said that Doctor Strange detected that the Hulk was showing signs of intelligence again, so he summoned a group of old and new Defenders, those with mystic contacts, to try and figure out what could be done with the Hulk. It's a bit... odd, and seems unnecessary, but i imagine the complaints that Fanfare published nothing but inventory stories were being taken to heart and this was an attempt to slip one past the readers, although it's pretty obvious.
Still, who cares? It's a Starlin-drawn Hulk vs Thing bash that also allows Starlin to show off his mystical side by pitting Dr. Strange against Xandu.
Xandu has got him a Ruby of Domination that allows him to possess one of the Defenders, and Strange doesn't know which one, so he has to summon the Thing for help.
To the Thing's chagrin, Xandu has chosen to possess the Hulk, not Hellcat.
Xandu also has a variety of wacky demon henchmen of the type that Starlin likes to draw.
Xandu relinquishes control of the Hulk as soon as the fight starts up, knowing that the Hulk will remember that he was fighting the Thing and will continue it on his own.
It also allows Xandu to posses Wong instead, who gets the drop on Dr. Strange and allows Xandu to capture him.
When it's all over, Dr. Strange mentions that he's really tired. Too tired to teleport the Hulk back to the Crossroads dimension. So instead he says he'll teleport the Hulk out to the desert while his mystical energies return. And he also promises to send the Thing home to a bubble bath. But, since he's tired, he mixes things up.
Now, again, that whole thing about Strange needing to send the Hulk to the desert before the Crossroads is just because Starlin had already drawn the Thing stranded in the desert (something he seems to like to do), and the dialogue had to cover for it. But it's a good gag.
A fun fight issue if you can get past the gymnastics necessary to make it take place at publication time.
Here's the bag lady that (as Mark notes below) will later appear in Secret Wars II #2:
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place after the Thing returns to Earth in Fantastic Four #277 but before he heads out on his own again in Thing #23 (in the beginning of this story, he says he has to get back to the Baxter Building to pack). Dr. Strange would therefore also appear soon after his appearance in Fantastic Four #277. For the Hulk, the MCP places this between Hulk #308-309 (The Hulk also appears in Marvel Graphic Novel #27 during that gap). It needs to take place after the Hulk starts showing signs of intelligence again.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (1): show
Dr. Strange, Gargoyle (Defender), Hellcat, Hellstorm, Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Thing, Valkyrie, Wong, Xandu
It's possible that Starlin just wasn't paying attention to current continuity rather than the story being sat on.
The bag lady that the Thing helps at the start of #20 reappears in Secret Wars II #1, but inexplioably changes race.
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