Issue(s): Hulk #164, Hulk #165
He winds up in the water, and after an encounter with an American nuclear sub, which he sinks, both he and the navy men are captured by a strange guy called Captain Omen (see if you can guess the anagram)...
...and brought to his awesome "submarine", a word that doesn't do it justice; he prefers "Infra-World".
Besides Omen, the ship is populated with big, squat men that Omen genetically modified to handle the pressures of the deep undersea, similar to Charlie-27 of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Actually, genetic modification is my interpretation. Omen says that they are the way they are because they were born under the sea, but also says he needed to "develop men to do work i planned".
The story is that Omen brought a crew down here 48 years ago in order to claim the sea floor for himself before any surface nation could do it, and these are the children of the original crew. I'm not sure that people would naturally grow to look like that in a single generation, undersea pressure or otherwise.
Even these stocky guys are no match for the Hulk, who escapes, but finds that he is so deep under water that he gets the bends when he tries to swim up.
Plus Omen releases his Toad-Whales. Toad-Whales?!? "Those awesome, half-mythological creatures sometimes glimpsed by foolhardy undersea explorers". Oh, sure. Those Toad-Whales.
I have a feeling that Englehart stumbled upon the idea of limiting the otherwise all-powerful Hulk with water during the Tiger Shark arc a few issues ago.
The Hulk is unable to escape Captain Omen, and he's forced into slavery.
There's a brief transformation into Bruce Banner, and i always love his "Oh my god where am i now?" moments, although i think Banner actually rolls with the strange scenarios he wakes up to more than he really ought to. Omen values Banner almost as much as the Hulk, since Banner is a scientist like Omen (straight out of 20,000 Leagues); everyone else on the ship is a dumb sailor or their progeny, and i guess Omen hasn't thought to do much in the way of education, as we'll see later.
The Hulk is soon contacted by a group of rebels in Omen's camp, and they're led by Omen's son ("Filius"). Unfortunately, the rebels are all a bit nutty, and they decide to worship the Hulk as a god.
Because things weren't outrageous enough, we find that Omen's plan to put down the rebellion includes Aquon, the murderous man-fish. Half-man, half-fish, all man-fish. Isn't it amazing how "fish-man" sounds goofy but "man-fish" sounds awesome?
Despite Aquon, the Hulk helps win the rebellion, and the rebels get to go to the surface.
It's not a happy ending, though. Because blood pressure.
I'm not blaming Trimpe for the lame-looking human explosions. I'm surprised the Code even allowed that.
Omen can't even let Filius back on the submarine.
Issue #164 also introduces Colonel Jack Armbruster, who will be leading the mission to rescue General Ross. Glenn Talbot also volunteers for the mission, over Betty's objections. Armbruster is seen here telling Nick Fury that Fury won't be leading the mission as expected, and making a little generational commentary about Vietnam and World War II.
It's clear Trimpe put a lot of thought into the design of Armbruster, but not a lot is ultimately done with the character.
Captain Omen is presumably still out there somewhere. Maybe even with Aquon. Considering the repeat appearances of the much goofier Kraken and Captain Barracuda, it's pretty amazing the Omen has never appeared again. His claims on the ocean floor obviously set him up for a run-in with the Sub-Mariner. Aside from trying to enslave the Hulk and capturing the American submarine crew (and his shameful neglect in educating the second generation; these guys were worshiping dried leaves and old bottles before the Hulk came along), he's not really even all that villainous and if you roll with the CRAZY it's a fun story, and i love Trimpe's art.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Hulk is out of the US before and after these issues, and shouldn't appear elsewhere until after he returns to the US in Hulk #166 (which leads directly into Defenders #7).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBetty Ross, Colonel Jack Armbruster, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Glenn Talbot, Hulk, Nick Fury
The title to #164 refers to the 1950s horror movie "The Phantom From 50,000 Leagues".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 23, 2013 3:33 PM
You mean "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues." Honestly, it's like a game of Mad Libs trying to remember these old titles. "The (noun) from (large number) (unit of measurement)s!", or sometimes "(Emotion) at (large number) (unit of measurement)s!"
Posted by: Andrew | December 16, 2016 4:05 PM
Jack Armbruster, All-American Warmonger! These days he'd be in a lodge sipping brandy with John McCain and Lindsay Graham.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | May 28, 2017 1:51 PM
With the pipe, Armbruster's look is inspired by Douglas MacArthur, while at the same time he comes off initially closer in demeanor to Omar Bradley, the "G.I.'s general". It's interesting to hear the colonel's comments on Vietnam compared to MacArthur's own thoughts on the subject. Please indulge me this since it is not only Memorial Day Weekend as I write this, but 5/29/17 is also JFK's centennial. I read in a Kennedy biography that General MacArthur had visited the White House to meet the president in 1962 or'63 (shortly before the general died in '64), when America was still sending "advisors" to South Vietnam. MacArthur told Kennedy that he should "never,ever" engage in ground fighting in Southeast Asia. I'm afraid we all know how that turned out.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | May 28, 2017 11:44 PM
So what happened to the American submarine crew that Omen captured? There's no indication that they were released onto the island at the end of the story. (They seem to have been completely forgotten about.) I guess Omen forced them to replace the crewmembers he lost to Filius' rebellion??? Thanks for nothing, Hulk!
Posted by: Tony Lewis | September 8, 2017 1:00 PM
It feels like the Hulk stumbled into an old sci-fi story that Englehart wanted to tell. Aquon and the toad-whales are really out there. And as mentioned, its hard to imagine the Atlantians letting Omen's scheme pan out. I reckon they don't take him seriously.
I'll accept fnord's anagram challenge: Captain Meno, because he's such a meannie. What do I win?
Posted by: kveto | October 9, 2017 4:51 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|