Marvel Fanfare #29
Issue(s): Marvel Fanfare #29
I wouldn't say that the issue seeing the light of day in Marvel Fanfare not too long afterwards proves that Shooter's version of events is correct, since Fanfare is a more appropriate place for an all-splash issue anyway. But it's a fun issue and i'm glad we got to see it one way or another.
With only 22 panels there isn't a lot to say about the plot. The Hulk is summoned by what appears to be a Native American medicine man...
...who uses neuro-tranquilizing smoke to put the Hulk into a meditative state.
While the Hulk meditates, we see a number of his past friends and foes. As the text indicates, the fact that the Hulk can remember these people shows that he has more intelligence than we've been seeing since he's been separated from Banner (except in Secret Wars II #8).
(Also, kudos to Byrne for including the likes of Jack of Hearts and other relatively obscure characters, but i am surprised to not see any of the secondary Defenders like Nighthawk or Valkyrie.)
The Native American, clearly talking like someone other than what he appears to be, hides just as his "targets" arrive. And those targets are Hammer and Anvil.
They attack the Hulk, expecting him to be a vegetable and an easy target. But the Hulk wakes up and fights back. Meanwhile, from behind a rock, the "Native American" fires a gun, shooting Hammer in the face. "There is only blood and flying scraps of bone and brain." Due to their link, Anvil dies soon after, while the guy behind the rock shouts "Justice is served!" and disappears, leaving behind his mask and clothing.
In addition to the all-splash format, what's interesting about this issue is it's a Scourge appearance where Scourge takes center stage. Normally, both Scourge and the villains he kills are part of a subplot or an aside to whatever issue they're appearing in, but in this case they are the plot, and we even get to see Scourge talking to himself a bit, giving us more insight into the character than we've seen so far.
It's also funny how seeing John Byrne draw Hammer and Anvil makes me regret that they got killed off. As a blatant homage to The Defiant Ones, they probably didn't deserve to be long term characters but at the same time, in the right hands, any characters can be interesting.
This issue also features a Captain America story by Norm Breyfogle. Cap takes out a thug that holds two kids hostage...
...inspiring the nerdy kid to start doing push-ups and the bully kid to start reading physics books (wait, what?).
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: I've placed this between Hulk #319-320 and after Hulk's appearance in Secret Wars II #8-9. This context free Captain America appearance can take place at the same point.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Some readers had a problem with Hammer and Anvil dying since they weren't using their original synthecon that linked their life forces but a modified version.
Posted by: Michael | November 17, 2013 4:40 PM
Thanks for pointing out that the Cap story was originally meant for Batman. There were some parts of the fight that seemed off for Cap, like throwing the chalk eraser, but i wasn't going to let it bother me for a Marvel Fanfare back-up. The ending with the bully reading a physics book made no sense, though.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 17, 2013 4:53 PM
The operative phrase is "Jim Shooter's version of events." A lot of years go by, some memories are more reliable than others, and human recollections tend to be self-serving. I've seen Shooter be so wrong in the details of a piece on the Kirby artwork dispute, and I was around and engaged for that. I knew he was putting events in the wrong year, mixing up participants, misattributing statements, and painting himself in a too-favorable light. One of his (Shooter's) long-time antagonists in the comics press then did a detailed filleting, but I didn't even need to see that.
I only bring this up because I have a healthy respect for O'Neil and for Byrne, and they surely have their own take. I have no problem with Shooter having a 'net following that finds his writing interesting, but it bothers me slightly that some comments on that blog entry are, like, "Thanks so much, Jim! Wow! It sure is interesting to learn the true story of what O'Neil was doing."
Posted by: Todd | November 19, 2013 6:38 PM
I agree it's almost impossible to know what really went down (and about some of the comments there). There is a comment from Rich Johnston in that thread that claims to have a response from Denny O'Neil, though, and he writes "I take full responsibility for rejecting the Byrne job--maybe I was right, maybe not--and I don't recall Jim being in the mix at all.". Don't know if it's really from O'Neil, of course.
This also had me wondering what the "one particularly bad incident" that Shooter seems to remember that started this might have been: "I was frequently out of the office in those days, traveling on business, in which case DeFalco or Gruenwald signed off on the books. What they were thinking sometimes, I cannot fathom, but a number of issues from Denny's office made it into print that had serious flaws or things that were unacceptable -- including several by John Byrne.
After one particularly bad incident, I finally confronted Denny and told him he'd better start doing his job..."
Again, all taken with a grain of salt. But i wonder if it was the "loss of life... into the hundreds" from Hulk #316 that started getting walked back the next issue. I can't really think of anything else from Byrne's short Hulk run that might have counted as a "serious flaw" or "unacceptable". But of course, Shooter had different standards...
Posted by: fnord12 | November 19, 2013 7:08 PM
Why is an all splash story not appropriate for the Hulk's regular series but OK for Marvel Fanfare?
Posted by: A.Lloyd | March 4, 2014 4:59 PM
Because, sometimes Marvel Fanfare pretended to be a showcase for more experimental story-telling, rather than just being a place to put inventory stories and charge the public extra.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | March 4, 2014 6:35 PM
Of course, that was during Assistant Editors Month...
Posted by: fnord12 | March 4, 2014 10:54 PM
(Also, kudos to Byrne for including the likes of Jack of Hearts and other relatively obscure characters, but i am surprised to not see any Defenders other than Doctor Strange.)
I see Namor and I think Hellcat!
Posted by: MOCK! | July 31, 2015 11:53 PM
I did miss Namor, and Silver Surfer is there, too. I guess i was thinking more like we'd see the likes of Hellcat, Nighthawk, and Valkyrie all grouped together like the FF and Avengers are. I actually still don't see Hellcat; which one do you think is her?
Posted by: fnord12 | August 1, 2015 11:22 AM
Guessing the figure Mock is mistaking for Hellcat is that of Wolverine in his old "whiskers and short ears" mask.
So this is Scourge #1? I was thinking it was #2 for some reason.
Posted by: Dan H. | September 17, 2015 1:54 AM
At a guess, Byrne is only including characters who appeared as active characters in the Hulk's own comic. Of course, that still means a Valkyrie oughtta be in there somewhere.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 14, 2015 6:09 PM
Regarding this particular issue, I bought it for the Hulk/Scourge/Hammer & Anvil story, and while I enjoyed the Byrne splash page extravaganza, what sticks with me most is the "silent movie" approach Norm Breyfogle took in his Cap feature.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 9, 2017 8:06 PM
Yep...Moonstone's hair coupled with the Abomination's ear under Wolverine's original mask had me fooled!!
Posted by: MOCK! | October 25, 2017 10:28 PM
I don't see anything particularly "experimental" about this issue. It is just a 22 panel story blown-up to a page per picture. I'm not surprised it got nixed - it does rather smell like Byrne was cutting corners, rather than he was genuinely trying to do something new.
Posted by: Bernard the Poet | January 24, 2018 5:27 AM
Comments are now closed.
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