Characters Appearing: Glow (Triad), Goblin (Triad), Guardian (Triad), Hulk
Issue(s): Hulk #310, Hulk #311
I guess i should stop here and say that some aspect of this plotline may come from a never published story started by Barry Windsor-Smith that was (allegedly?) plagiarized by Mantlo. I'll address that more when i get to issue #312. I don't really know what was in BWS's story, so i don't know if the Triad or this "separate persona" concept were from it or if everything we're seeing so far was original to Mantlo.
In any event, Hulk begins to speak again in #310. His dialogue begins in classic Hulk smash mode...
...but soon starts to sound a lot more intelligent.
He soon transforms back into Bruce Banner.
This is all while fighting some extra-dimensional skeleton warriors who ride awesome horned horses.
Art in #310 is by Bret Blevins, and unlike some earlier work by him, it is starting to look less Marvel House and more in Blevins' eventual style.
Banner is initially scheduled for execution...
...but the execution is halted when the local ruler comes out. Issue #310 ends on the execution cliffhanger, and at the beginning of issue #311, Banner thinks to himself:
Saved... in the best beginning-of-the-next-episode-of-the-serial form! I should have known. My life has been reduced to caricature!
Mantlo, when your own characters start complaining about your writing style, it's time to re-think things.
Anyway, this issue definitely does devolve into force. The "boss" is a Scottish scientist, Dr. Daniel Decyst (as in cease-and ?).
He wound up in this dimension in the 18th century. Mike Mignola chooses to give us a butt to stare at while Decyst explains that. Early sexposition, i guess.
Anyway, the guy's essentially a vampire via science, bleeding the natives to stay alive.
Banner is feeling suicidal after his recent discovery that he didn't die after all, but he ultimately Hulks out...
...and helps the natives revolt before returning to the crossroads.
Issue #311 is kind of a let down after the sudden return of Banner, as if Mantlo didn't know where to go after introducing the psychological ideas and bringing back Banner so he pivoted to a standard horror plot. I guess there was meant to be some juxtaposition of Banner and Decyst, but the idea of Hulk/Banner running into someone else from Earth out here in the crossroads feels a bit weak (although i suppose it's not entirely implausible) and nothing really comes of it. Both Blevins and Mignola turn in some nice art, though.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #310 begins with the Hulk and the Triad still in the same dimension where the Hulk discovered the Oasis last issue, but some indefinite amount of time has passed.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
At about this time a Cloak & Dagger graphic novel was announced by Mantlo & Steve Bissette; it may have become the eventual C&D GN drawn by Sal Velluto.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 16, 2013 9:45 PM
At about this time a Cloak & Dagger graphic novel was announced by Mantlo & Steve Bissette;
I wonder if somewhere there is a lost Mantlo C & D script or graphic novel out there.
I adore Mantlo's C and D and would be grateful for any info anyone had ...
Posted by: R Buck | June 4, 2014 5:11 PM
If Bruce really did graduate from Los Alamos University in 1960, and unless he went the Doogie Howser route and got his degree while still in his early teens (which would not be consistent with a few other flashbacks we're seen to his college days) then he must be around his mid-40s at the time of this story. That seems a little old for Bruce -- it certainly puts a big age gap between him and his cousin Jennifer. Guess we just write it off to the usual sliding timescale business...
Posted by: Gary Himes | June 25, 2014 8:42 PM
re-reading this entry, it suddenly occurs to me how much more interesting this "unique intelligence/personality" the Hulk was developing would have been had he NOT turned back to Banner... it seems, much like the end of P. David's run, a lot of ideas are being thrown against the wall and some are partially sticking but some are changed rather abruptly. It won't be too long until Byrne comes in and does his own take on the status quo.
Posted by: Wis | October 20, 2017 11:40 PM
The run starting here does feel like a massive backpeddling to me which throws out a lot of good things to get it to where Byrne wants it to be. The problem with the interdimensional Banner free Hulk era wasn't the idea, it was the failure to exploit the idea properly, with the Hulk ending up in either fairly stock locations or in fights with old enemies. Then, just as the HUlk starts to evolve and display intelligence BANG! Bruce comes back and then it's all over. It was somewhat squandered.
Letters pages were pretty firm on Bruce Banner being dead, and I wonder if that was really intended to be the case or if it was always intended as a long story which would end with his return. It feels like the former for a long time.
Posted by: Benway | November 3, 2017 10:46 PM
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