Issue(s): Hulk #245, Hulk #246, Hulk #247, Hulk #248
This story weirdly continues from Tyrannus' revelation that Jarella's body is being stored at Gamma Base. It's almost as if issue #244 was a fill in and this was supposed to occur directly after the Hulk leaves El Dorado. But that's not the case, and the difference in settings between issues #243 and #244 leaves a nice gap where a ton of Hulk guest appearances and Defenders appearances can occur. So we'll just have to assume that something triggered the Hulk's memory and now he's on a tear about it.
The guards at Gamma Base, including Talbot in Super-Mandroid armor...
...are unable to stop the Hulk.
Meanwhile Rick Jones and Fred Sloan are on a talk show to discuss the Hulk. It's funny to compare Rick Jones' history (he was there when the Hulk was 'born', he traveled with the Hulk, he hung out with the Avengers, he was Captain America's partner, he shared a body with Captain Marvel, and he's a popular musician) with Fred's (he met the Hulk in a bar and gave him a ride in his van).
Captain Marvel has been hanging around with Rick Jones. He watches the entire show about how the Hulk is basically a misunderstood creature that wants to be left alone, and that provoking and attacking him only makes things worse. And then as soon as the news reports come on saying that the Hulk is attacking Gamma Base, he clicks his nega-bands and flies off to fight him.
Captain Marvel may be misguided, but Talbot has gone totally nuts and Marvel soon realizes who the bad guy is.
He finds the right gadget in Gamma Base and helps the Hulk take Jarella's body back to her micro-world.
Although it first takes some convincing that he's actually trying to help the Hulk.
He finds the world barren and dead...
...except for a small patch of lush vegetation that Jarella's people are afraid to enter. The Hulk enters, intending to bury Jarella there. As he's preparing to do so, we see some of Bruce Banner's memories. We haven't heard much (anything?) about Bruce's parents so far. Here we see him at a grave telling both his parents that he misses them.
Much later in Bill Mantlo's run, in Hulk #312, we'll learn some information that seemingly contradicts what is shown above.
Before Hulk can bury Jarella, he is attacked by the vegetation. It is the work of one of the Elders of the Universe, the one called the Gardener. He's got Adam Warlock's soul gem, stolen right off Warlock's grave.
He's also got some cool monkey pets.
Actually, as Walter notes in the comments, it's this issue where the Gardener includes himself with the two other known Elders at this point.
Despite his soul gem, the Gardener is no match for the Hulk.
The Hulk actually grabs the gem and throws it down, into the planet's core. It causes life to bud all over the world. And Jarella is given a proper burial.
The Gardener thanks the Hulk for showing him the error of his ways, and he unshrinks the Hulk, sending him home.
It seems incredibly unlikely that the Gardener would have happened to have wound up on the same sub-atomic world that Jarella came from. There's millions of worlds in the Microverse. There's no explanation for that.
Meanwhile, Doc Samson and Thunderbolt Ross are hunting, and they see some monstrous thing. It'll turn out to be Centaurio, a creature from the upcoming Woodgod arc.
This is the first arc of Bill Mantlo's long run on the Hulk and it's pretty typical of his writing. Fairly solid Marvel style action. Not exactly bad but... something's just not quite right about it. Everyone's a little too melodramatic, people do things that aren't in character or just don't really make sense but it helps the plot along. Oh well.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the comments above about the timing between this issue and Hulk #243.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBetty Ross, Captain Mar-vell, Centaurio, Doc Samson, Elysius, Fred Sloan, Gardener, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Glenn Talbot, Hulk, Jarella, Rick Jones, Trish Starr
and now Rick Jones is left-handed? he wasn't in Captain Marvel #40...
Posted by: Spanish Jay | November 17, 2012 10:59 AM
On the question raised elsewhere of when the Elders of the Universe become a group, the Gardener in #248 says he's an Elder and he had two brothers, "one who loved to study, another who engaged in endless sport." The phrasing doesn't preclude the possibility of other brothers, but it sounds like Gardener, Champion, and the Possessor were being included here, not yet Grandmaster and Collector.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 12, 2013 11:21 PM
I take it back: the "one who engaged in endless sport" must be the Grandmaster, as the Champion had not appeared yet. "The one who loved to study" is ambiguous: maybe it could fit the Collector as well as the Possessor -- potentially even the Contemplator, though I don't know anything about his first appearance.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 12, 2013 11:34 PM
Wikipedia says Avengers 174 (also by Mantlo) was the first time the Elders were referred to as a group. In that ish, the Collector specifically refers to one who occupies himself with sport. So I take it the Gardener here is referring to those two, and he's been newly added to the group by Mantlo. The Contemplator gets added in Cap annual 6, which is where the discussion of the Elders as a group first arose on this site.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 12, 2013 11:43 PM
Thanks for this, Walter. I added a screenshot here and on the Avengers #174 entry. It's interesting how the concept and membership expanded over time.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 13, 2013 1:11 PM
Rick and Fred should have joined forces to become...The Sidekick Group! Fred is clearly a liberal and we could have Rick be conservative, they'd butt heads in every story but were ultimately friends and trying to help various other anti-heroes. Kind of like a fairer version of the Green Lantern/Arrow traveling America stories of the 70s.
But seriously, I wish Talbot got to fight Hulk a little longer that was pretty neat. I got kind of into Jarella's planet being destroyed and Hulk being able to fix it, accidentally and really cool how everything tried to kill Hulk. Kind of like The Happening or Day of the Animals..but not sucking horribly.
Posted by: david banes | April 16, 2014 3:14 AM
Alright this is just bizarre: so basically Mantlo at the start of his run literally has a gravestone where Bruce Banner claims he misses his dad...and then by the end of his run in '85, suddenly Bruce remembers his dad abused him and basically created the Hulk psyche? Yeah Barry Windsor-Smith probably wrote the concept but considering Mantlo ran with it, why didn't he remember that in his interpretation, his dad wasn't so bad? Or did Bruce do something at this point to delude himself into thinking that his dad was better than he actually was?
(my personal take: considering this is probably not too long after he visited Jenny after a long time, family was on his mind and he had suppressed what happened for so long that it wasn't fully realized in his head when he had this vision, but of course somehow the truth re-emerged with what happened throughout the Mantlo run later)
Posted by: Ataru320 | June 5, 2016 6:59 PM
What Banner remembered in Incredible Hulk #312 wasn't the entire truth either as the minus 1 issue expanded that Bruce and Brian's last graveyard meeting resulted in Bruce causing Brian's accidental death. There was a ongoing progression of Banner's memory over the course of the series during PAD's run.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | June 5, 2016 8:34 PM
In support of Walter, I think that if you compare the Gardener's wording here ("Brothers had I, one who loved to study, another who engaged in endless sport!") and the Collector's in AVENGERS #174 ("My brother sought sport in this continuum, and...I wished only to study the simple creatures here"), it's indisputable that the Gardener is referring to the Collector and Grandmaster.
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | February 26, 2017 1:41 PM
Comments are now closed.
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