Issue(s): Hulk #266
But safeguards in his armor prevent him from doing so. In fact, he's been trying to de-evolve himself, and instead the de-evolution rays have been bouncing off him and hitting the local wildlife and soldiers at the old Gamma base near Bruce Banner's old desert laboratory. When Bruce and his friends show up on their way to the lab to help Bruce cure himself, Rick and Betty get de-evolved into proto-human apes. Luckily the Hulk is able to rip off the High Evolutionary's armor to help him kill himself...
...and in the process the Evolutionary restores everyone as well.
As usual there's some iffy biology going on with regard to what some of the local animals de-evolve into...
...but at least the human evolution is handled somewhat better than usual.
The High Evolutionary also can apparently de-evolve the climate and the desert ground...
...which is... well, i was going to say that it seems a little too out of scope for his power set, but this is a guy that built his own planet, so i guess this is fine.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's clearly not intended by Mantlo, but the Hulk has disappeared in between this issue and last. He was abducted by the devils in the Defenders' Six Fingered Hand arc. The Hulk remains with the Defenders until Defenders #101 when he jumps off in a fit of anger to return and must re-unite with Betty and Rick off panel. This is the MCP's placement and it kinda sucks but there's no better spot.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBetty Ross, High Evolutionary, Hulk, Rick Jones
It's hard to know what the hell Marvel was thinking with this ridiculous story. The High Evolutionary is one of Marvel's most interesting near-cosmic characters, and he just comes off like an idiot here. His self-pity and ensuing "devolution" are rightly ignored in subsequent stories. There is one thing that has "stuck" though: the reincarnation of Herbert Edgar Wyndham. In Tales to Astonish, he transcended into pure energy (or thought, or something). Then in Marvel Premiere he decided to return to "this metal shell," the implication being that he was still pure energy inside his armor. I always liked that idea, and it made his size-changing more plausible. With this story he becomes just another guy in a suit.
Posted by: Andrew | March 23, 2016 12:46 PM
I really enjoyed this story. I find High Evolutionary's power very interesting and am a fan of the character. I have no problem with how he was portrayed here. Is he being incredibly melodramatic? Yes, of course he is, but it is very enjoyable nonetheless. I think Mantlo/ Buscema was a great team and this is one of my favorite issues of theirs.
Posted by: RikFenix | May 28, 2016 11:08 PM
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