Issue(s): Hulk #319
And yes, that's the return of Rick Jones to the series.
It isn't all happiness for Bruce, though. Betty's father, General Ross, shows up as well. The last anyone knew of him, he had committed treason by working with MODOK...
...and was thought to have committed suicide. But he shows up, looking disheveled...
...and gets faced down by Betty.
At Rick's insistence, Bruce and Betty then proceed with the marriage while he lies on the floor and bleeds. That's a good friend.
It's nice seeing Betty stand up to her father.
Byrne has fun with Rick, illustrating all his various sidekick engagements...
...and tossing in a "Faaantastic" for old times' sake.
As for the Hulk fight, it's an uneasy alliance between Samson and the Hulkbusters.
The Hulk ultimately gets away again. Or rather, loses interest and jumps off.
This wasn't intended to be Byrne's last issue, along with the firing of editor Denny O'Neil, and this Delusional Honesty site has some nice extrapolation on where Byrne might have gone with the series. But ending on a wedding and with Banner declaring that he's permanently separated from the Hulk serves as convenient Happy Ending point. That said, based on what Delusional Honesty quotes, it seems like Marvel editorial continued to go forward with Byrne's basic plans of restoring the Hulk to the brutish cunning of the early Avengers issues, and even turning him grey as possibly foreshadowed last issue.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showArmand Martel, Betty Ross, Doc Samson, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Hideko Takata, Hulk, Redeemer, Rick Jones, Rock
I was so infuriated that Byrne's run ended with this issue. Bryne was clearly firing on all creative cylinders. The speculations on the original direction of this run, whether true or not, indicates what a fun, wild ride the run had been.
Posted by: Chris | November 10, 2013 4:44 PM
The title is a reference to a 1946 novel by Carson McCullers, subsequently made into a play and a film, both starring the late Julie Harris.
Huh. I've never done one of those before. I thought it would be more satisfying.
Posted by: Todd | November 10, 2013 10:49 PM
Byrne also intended to bring back the Metal Master in #321 and have him send the adamantium Hulk statue against the real Hulk.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 15, 2013 6:21 PM
Being as I was reading this series in real time as a little kid, I had no context or preference for superstar status and, as such, preferred Al Milgrom's run which follows this. I think it's worth pointing out Ford ol' pal, that Bruce *does* patch Rick up while Betty is venting at Thunderbolt Ross, so it isn't as if he's completely bleeding out all over the floor. Bruce has basic medical skills or at least an understanding of them, as also evidenced by his emergency blood transfusion to Jen Walters.
I have heard that Byrne never intended to make the Hulk grey; the version you see him draw in the updated Marvel Universe series for the Hulk's entry is what he intended to make him look like: brutish, roundish, but still green and in the shorts. Milgrom liked the idea of the Grey Hulk, seeing it as a way to shake things up to take the attention off of Byrne leaving. I think Milgrom, who was kind of thrown into things, deserves more credit. He also illustrated a 1 page preview of what he was gonna do with the Hulk in a Marvel Age Annual which you should track down, as it might provide added context for this.
Posted by: George Gordon | March 2, 2014 1:29 AM
yikes! I see now that the link you provided for Delusional Honesty also covers much of what I barely remembered in my comment! Great work! D.H. did it much better than I did! :D
Posted by: George Gordon | March 2, 2014 1:31 AM
I was disappointed with this story arc after hearing so much about John Byrne's short run on the Hulk. Most of it was a lot of action scenes without much storyline in between. The wedding scene especially feels forced - not like Byrne's setup between Johnny Storm and Alicia Masters in Fantastic Four. One issue Bruce Banner proposes to Betty and two issues later they marry with no one at the wedding. And patched or not patched - I can't see how anyone would be continuing with a wedding after his friend Rick Jones has a gunshot and is in need of hospital treatment. Seeing that panel where Bruce and Betty have their first kiss while Rick was on the floor seemed wrong. Betty could have stood up to her father in any other way. I don't think it should take him to shoot her groom's best man for it to happen.
I think Byrne did great things in FF and in Alpha Flight. And maybe it is unfair to criticize him because his Hulk run was meant to last longer but a shortened run doesn't excuse him from this issue.
Posted by: Ryan | September 20, 2014 9:43 PM
FNORD - typo alert:
Posted by: clyde | September 20, 2014 10:14 PM
Mobile Organism Designed Only for Donkey Kong. A precursor to the Game Boy.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 21, 2014 12:41 AM
Fnord, I love this site. I've been reading some runs in chronological order and it's nice to read your take on it as I go along (currently on Millers's Born Again - freaking amazing). I find myself reading about 2-3 comics a day (about 30 min each comic). Luckily I have no kids, just the wife and I. But I wonder how many comics do you read a day for this project? Do you think you'll ever be up to date?
Posted by: Ryan | September 21, 2014 7:57 AM
Thanks, Ryan. The number of comics i read or review on a given days varies, but this (real life) year, if all goes well, i'll have finished three years of comics. Next year might go a little slower since i'm also doing a back-issue add and since, as we approach the glut years of the 90s, the years keep getting bigger. But then things might speed up as we get to the bankruptcy period. So at 2-3 years per real year, as long as i live forever i'll eventually catch up to the current year. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | September 21, 2014 12:40 PM
"Mobile Organism Designed Only for Donkey Kong. A precursor to the Game Boy."
I smell an Untold Origin to be told sometime. They probably missed the exact shade of color, though.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 21, 2014 12:42 PM
One of the better wedding stories in a Marvel Comic, as it was a logical extension of what had come before. It also allowed for a potentially richer development of the Betty Ross/Bruce Banner relationship by moving them beyond the repetitive cycle of being constantly separated by either General Ross, Glenn Talbot, or the Hulk's journeys across the Marvel Universe, which had been their relationship dynamic since the 1960s, with few exceptions.
It also allowed for a logical reason to bring Both Rick Jones and General Ross back into the book quickly and forcefully re-establish their characters, while giving every character an opportunity to shine in the story. Byrne was clearly developing and expanding the supporting cast very carefully, producing some exceptional work.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | June 30, 2015 5:17 PM
Interestingly, Byrne -- in a comment on his Forum: http://www.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=48945&PN=1&TPN=11 -- now considers having Bruce and Betty get married as being a "mistake"and that it was a real change for the characters, rather than the illusion of change.
Personally, I'm not against real change for characters in the Marvel Universe, as long as 1.) it is a logical extension of the character's initial premise, 2.) it is a change that is grounded in relatable real-world experiences, as to not stretch the suspension of disbelief or to require detailed prior knowledge from new readers, and 3.) it does not alter the initial premise of the character.
Betty and Bruce can be single or married and still have the same dynamic that existed in the initial Hulk premise: They love each other, but the existence of the Hulk keeps them from being able to build a deeper intimacy. Too many previous writers equated this with keeping them physically separated, when it is more about an emotional separation. I thought Byrne understood this, and David's early work seems to play with this idea as well. If they are be married, then it should never be a completely happy marriage.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | July 4, 2015 7:56 AM
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