Issue(s): Hulk #348
Peter David spends a lot of time examining the Absorbing Man from a number of angles, and that's enjoyable. For one thing, he has Gold ask him why a guy with his kind of power would bother taking jobs from mobsters like him instead of just going out and taking whatever he wants. Creel tells him it's none of his business, but only after a long reflective period that has him thinking about how whenever he does try anything big he gets smashed by super-heroes, and especially delves into an extended explanation for how he got out of his last defeat, which had Thor banishing him to another dimension.
It turns out that the dimension that he was in was one where time ran backwards, to the point where an animal that Creel caught and was cooking suddenly came back to life and ran away.
So he eventually waited until time folded back in on itself and absorbed a time vortex to escape.
I don't know exactly what that means, and i'm not sure that Creel is really qualified to understand it either, but that's the explanation for how he got back to Earth. However, he's still under the impression that Titania is dead due to the illusion from his Thor appearance, so he's now striking out on his own and is really just looking for an easy job so that he can be left alone for a while. Poor guy has no idea he's walking into an encounter with the Hulk.
The Hulk, meanwhile, is having a bad day because Bruce Banner's persona continues to try to assert itself. He gets a kind of fatherly talk from Berengetti, who seems to be a legitimately honorable person when it comes to his "Joe Fixit" (Joe, after Mighty Joe Young).
Since it's day time, the Hulk is not at full strength when the Absorbing Man shows up to tear up Berengetti's casino. But he's still good with the insults.
The Hulk realizes that his secret identity is going to be blown fighting the Absorbing Man, so he tries to lead Creel away to the Hoover Dam...
...and Creel eventually follows after (in what i consider a questionable use of his powers) absorbing the strength of a bunch of guys so that he can leap after the Hulk.
Again, the Hulk is still weak due to the daylight.
But that works to his advantage when the Absorbing Man tries to absorb his power...
...and instead finds the pain of daylight to be unbearable.
The Hulk doesn't tell him exactly why it's happening but implies that it's just part of the pain of being the Hulk.
One thing i don't love is the Absorbing Man making bad puns.
I think it's great for the Grey Hulk to enjoy some wordplay...
...but i don't see the Absorbing Man as the type to try to be clever. It's this sort of thing that, a long time from now, will eventually turn me off of Peter David's work. I like the humor, but i don't like it coming out regardless of who's talking.
Anyway, as you can see, the Absorbing Man winds up transforming into concrete, which turns out to be a big mistake, and the Hulk smashes him to little pieces. He does decide to throw all the pieces in the river, which i suppose will help with his eventual reintegration in Quasar.
Also in this issue, we see Marlo talking about her date with Joe Fixit.
Great fight issue. It's nice seeing an intelligent Hulk handle the problem of the Absorbing Man's nearly unstoppable powers. And the two characters recognizing each other in an unusual setting is done well, and i really like the care that David gives to the Absorbing Man's character (i am going to deduct a few points because he starts spelling Creel "Kreel" halfway through the book, though).
I said last issue that i never loved Jeff Purves's art, but he does have clear easy to follow storytelling skills that work great for the fight scenes and he does nicely with the big monstrous characters fighting each other.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The events of last issue happened "last night".
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Agreed, Creel using his powers to absorb the combined strength of several men makes no sense- at most, he should have merely become as strong as the strongest one of them. PAD seemed to be confusing his powers with Rogue's.
Posted by: Michael | July 30, 2014 9:46 PM
There's some slight precedent for Creel's "absorb multiple people's strength" trick in Journey Into Mystery #122, where he claims he's absorbing the collective strength of a bunch of Asgardian warriors.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 26, 2015 11:51 PM
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