Issue(s): Hulk #159
This issue's villain is the Abomination. Bruce Banner, with the Rhino a prisoner, tries to land his spaceship from Counter-Earth (brief appearance by the Leader and Omnivac, trying to wrest control of the ship from Banner, and failing) but finds himself under attack by missiles from the Hulkbuster base. Betty Ross and Glenn Talbot have just recently gotten married, and General Ross doesn't want the re-emergence of the Hulk, who everyone thinks is dead, to ruin things.
Ross knows that the Hulk recently went off into space, so he's (correctly) assuming the spaceship is him returning. But when the airforce goes off to inspect the wreckage, they find the Abomination instead of the Hulk.
The Abomination has been laying in the ground, comatose, during a different Earthfall with the Hulk some time ago. But the attack on the Hulk has woken him up.
You'd think that when the army found the Abomination they would assume that he was the guy in the spaceship, but Ross is (somehow, again, correctly) convinced that the Hulk is still out there. So Ross makes a bargain with the Abomination: kill the Hulk and i'll let you go free.
This is showing a darker side of Ross that puts him in J. Jonah Jameson territory. He's so obsessed with the Hulk that he's willing to break the law to do it. At least here he's got a misguided concern for his daughter driving him.
The problem for the Abomination is he doesn't realize how long he's been out of it. As far as he knew, it was 1970 when he fell to Earth, and his mind can't handle the fact that it's now 1972 (complicating things a little further, it's Jan 73 by cover date).
With Marvel's compressed timescale, the Abomination had probably really only been in that coma for twenty minutes, but even besides that, we have the problem that the Abomination had been in outer space pretty much since his first appearance until he finally fell to Earth, so the idea that he would have had any idea what year it was supposed to be is pretty difficult to swallow.
Ross also doesn't seem to have any mechanism in place to keep tabs on the Abomination once he lets him go, so it's not clear how he intends to ensure that the Abomination will hold up his end of the bargain. But the Abomination seems to be taking it seriously.
The fight with the Hulk is a good one.
Some creative trash-talk from the Hulk.
The fight ends with the Hulk hitting 'bomby from behind while the Abomination is freaking out over the time he lost.
Hulk heard that Betty was on her way to Niagara Falls for her honeymoon, so he vows to go there, even though he doesn't know where it is.
Hulk/Abomination fight good! Herb Trimpe's art has a stiffness to it, but it's well suited to two giant dudes pounding the crap out of each other.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Bruce Banner is flying a spaceship back from Counter-Earth at the start of this issue, so he shouldn't appear in other books between this and last issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This issue is really the start of Ross going down the path that leads to him committing treason by helping Modok in Mantlo's run and eventually becoming the Red Hulk.
Posted by: Michael | March 17, 2013 4:09 PM
The title refers to the novel "Ten Years Before The Mast".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 17, 2013 5:03 PM
I always liked the Abomination. He was in Bring on the Bad Guys so that cemented the idea in my head that he was a very big threat and the Hulk's main foil. His menace was considerably lowered in the 1980s by a series of stories, and I'm sorry to see that his stature declined incredibly. The idea of someone as strong as the Hulk, but intelligent and evil should make the Abomination a huge threat - the Avengers should have trouble with him -but instead he just became a generic strong guy. Considering how many stories have been told about an
Posted by: Chris | March 18, 2013 9:59 PM
Though this story also shows the drawbacks of having the Hulk's powers with a full human intellect; it cans crew you up to realize just how messed up your life is as a giant green monster. Peter David did a lot more with the idea of the Abomination as a version of the Hulk who laments his loss of humanity, where PAD's Hulk got in to trouble by exulting in how far he was from "human."
Posted by: Omar Karindu | August 19, 2016 2:56 PM
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