Issue(s): Hulk #200
Inside the brain, Banner finds himself beset by illusions of old Hulk foes. During the course of the various battles, the helmet is destroyed. The now rampaging Hulk finds its way to the cause of the illusions and Glenn's problems. Now we know what a mental block looks like.
After the Hulk defeats the hemorrhage or whatever it is, Samson decides that having a rampaging Hulk in Glenn's brain is too dangerous, so he shrinks the Hulk into nothingness.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Hulk shouldn't appear anywhere but his own series between Hulk #200-203, since he is in various alternate dimensions during that time.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): showBetty Ross, Clay Quartermain, Doc Samson, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Glenn Talbot, Hulk
I seem to recall there was a no-prize offered for whoever could explain why the various villains appeared in the order they did in this issue. Anyone remember if any explanation was ever offered?
Posted by: Gary Himes | July 21, 2014 6:23 AM
This is my second favorite super-hero-walking-around-inside-someone's-brain story, after The Brave and the Bold 115, so I'll give it a shot.
Samson says the characters who appear are "memories" called up by "Talbot's subconscious" to "defend itself." They appear in groups, in a particular order:
1) Missing Link, Juggernaut, Abomination
1, 4, and 6 are easy, as they represent distinct themes. The others are a little tougher, but a little digging through the back issues shows that these groupings appeared before. Specifically, the Leader and the Rhino prevented Banner's wedding to Betty in issue 124, after which Betty went to Talbot for reassurance. The Sandman and the Mandarin captured the Hulk and Betty in issue 115. The Hulk freed them, but once again Betty ended up in Talbot's arms, with the Hulk feeling like Betty had betrayed him. Lastly, Modok turned Betty into the Harpy in issue 168, and she tried to kill the Hulk for supposedly causing Talbot's death.
So here's my take. When the Hulk first appears in Talbot's brain/mindscape, Talbot calls up villains who represent pure brute force to repel him. When that doesn't work, he calls up group 2, to hurt him by reminding him how he failed to marry Betty. Remember, at this point the Hulk is wearing the "encephalo-helmet" Samson conveniently created for him, so he's really still Banner at this point. Next, Talbot calls up another time Betty rejected him, and in the Hulk's mind, betrayed him. At this point, Banner has to tear off the helmet, which is damaged by the fighting and "the brain's constant violent electrical activity." Now that he's purely the Hulk, Talbot draws up a quintet of heroes to defeat him. When that doesn't work, he calls up what should be his trump card, the Harpy, from the time Betty actively hated the Hulk, and specifically because of her love for Talbot. Then finally he brings forth the most frightening person he can think of, the Gremlin himself, who ruined his life, appropriately swollen to the size of a giant in Talbot's mind.
It's a bit of a mess, but I think that's as close as anyone's going to come to figuring it out unless Len Wein tells us himself, though God knows he's probably forgotten himself by now...
Posted by: Andrew | January 25, 2015 8:32 AM
That makes a lot of sense to me, Andrew. I've added a few References based on your theory. I like that it's mostly about Betty, since that's the point of contention between Glenn and Bruce.
Thanks for thinking about it and posting it here! And also thanks to Gary for raising the No-Prize question in the first place.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 25, 2015 10:42 AM
So I take it that the self-absorbed Doc Samson is basically the unacknowledged real villain behind this story. Not really surprised; I never trusted that lunatic.
Posted by: Holt | February 25, 2018 12:31 AM
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