Issue(s): Hulk #258, Hulk #259
Of course there's a big fight in the Forbidden Zone.
Crimson Dynamo's armor is crushed pretty early in the fight and Darkstar spirits him away to a hospital, leaving just the mutant members of the Soviet Super-Soldiers in the story.
It turns out that its expansion isn't caused by the Presence.
It's actually Professor Phobos...
...sort of the Soviet version of Professor X, who had raised Darkstar, Vanguard, and Ursa Major, saving them from the Soviet's mutant purge.
Except Phobos actually had his own evil plans.
We learn that the Presence is the father of Vanguard and Darkstar. Prior to this we didn't know they were related.
Darkstar also learns that the gem she's been wearing on her tiara, which was given to her by Profesor Phobos, has actually been limiting her powers, and she removes it.
Phobos is defeated and the Presence returns to the Forbidden Zone with the Red Guardian, leaving the two Super-soldier siblings "alone again" and less willing to trust the state.
The Hulk doesn't really care about any of this, but readers did. I the lettercol for issue #267, the reaction to this evil Professor X analogue is extremely positive and waaay over-analyzed.
Meanwhile, Talbot is still on the Hulk's tail in his souped up plane.
I once read an interview with Jim Shooter where he said something like Bill Mantlo knew he wasn't a great writer so he kept introducing new characters with the hope that some would be popular so he could remain valuable to Marvel. Kind of mean to say, but you sure can see the truth behind it. These stories certainly aren't great, but Ursa Major has remained a durable third-tier character (On the other hand, this is Professor Phobos's only appearance).
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 252,712. Single issue closest to filing date = 235,750.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Hulk World Tour!
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
The consensus now is that Bill Mantlo was kept around during the Shooter era because he could write really fast and he did whatever Shooter ordered him to do without question. Don Perlin tended to be described like this as well.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 11, 2011 4:46 PM
Mantlo was very bad. Even as a 14 year old, I knew that.
Posted by: Chaim Shraga | June 12, 2012 4:01 PM
Al Milgrom does some uncredited inks on #259.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | May 13, 2015 1:56 AM
This arc seems somewhat important. It really set the stage for what had been a mostly undefined Soviet superhuman presence - at least for the rest of the 80s and 90s. It pretty much was the new status quo.
I was interested in the different ways the Soviet Union treated their "mutant problem" than the US did because of the contemporary Cold War issues, but Marvel always skirted around them. I think not bringing back Professor Phobos at some point in time was a lost opportunity. Certainly with Claremont's Colonel Vashin, there was an opportunity somewhere.
Posted by: Chris | May 13, 2015 2:31 AM
@Vin - confirmed on GCD. Thanks. I've updated the credits.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 13, 2015 7:30 AM
Comments are now closed.
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