Issue(s): Hulk #383
After Betty confirms that she isn't turning in to the Harpy, the Hulk shows up.
The Hulk is back from his visit to the Pantheon, and he's excited that he and Betty will have a place to stay where they won't be hounded. Betty, however, says that they'd "practically be prisoners". When Hulk reaches out to try to convince Betty it won't be like that, she recoils.
A really great scene on both Peter David and Dale Keown's part. Really well depicted. From the Hulk's perspective, he is Bruce Banner, and he's reaching out to the woman he loves. The fact that he's a scary nine foot tall green monster doesn't even occur to him. But it's all Betty can see. Until she backs away.
When he realizes that to Betty, he's a monster, he leaves. And we see his monstrous side come out, both in his callous disregard for others' property as well as his threatening "She'd better" when Rick Jones says that Betty will come around.
But for now, Hulk returns to the Pantheon with just Rick.
We do see more from Betty's perspective. From what she says to Marlo, it's at least not entirely about the fact that her husband is permanently big and green. She really doesn't want to be cloistered in some retreat. So she fixes her hair color (bleaching it blonde) and starts looking for a job where she can be "needed". Unlike Bruce, who from her perspective was too quick to leave when she pushed back (and granted, who "radiates danger"; she does admit that she's afraid of him).
In any event, it turns out that for the moment the Hulk won't be returning to the Pantheon's Mount. One of the Pantheon's low level agents has contacted them about a potential threat to Nadia Dornova, the actress that we saw last issue. The Hulk wonders why he would need to be involved in such a threat, but he understands when Ulysses tells him that the threat is the Abomination.
By the way, i really like Rick Jones as written by Peter David. Having now read every one of Rick's prior appearances, i can understand why some people don't like Rick. He got kind of annoying at times, especially during when he was bonded with Captain Marvel. But that was still an important part of his long history, which Rick alludes to in that final scan. And Peter David having the Hulk acknowledge Rick's usefulness is really great, as is the simple fact that Rick is around as a friend for the Hulk.
Rick's final words about his space adventures actually lead into the next panel, where Rick says, "Gimmie something down and dirty instead of cosmic silliness anyday.". That segues into a crossover with Infinity Gauntlet, with a scene repeating the Silver Surfer warning Dr. Strange about Thanos. And then people start disappearing all over, including Rick.
Since he was investigating the Abomination and the Hulk only sees people disappearing in the area that he is in, he assumes that the Abomination is responsible for it. It is so beyond the sort of thing that the Abomination is usually capable of that i think it would have been nice to see the Hulk think that the Abomination is working for the Leader again or something.
Abomination takes advantage of the situation to swoop up Nadia and take her into the sewer, where he has been living. Hulk is angry that the "stupid humans" around him are slowing him down.
But note that the Hulk immediately sees the Abomination and follows him into the sewer, thinking that he's responsible. Somehow, though, the Hulk must actually find time to stop in a bar and see on television that it's really happening everywhere, because that's what we see in Infinity Gauntlet #1. Maybe between panels 2 and 3 in the scan above? Or after Rick disappears but before Hulk's "stupid humans" line? But then he would have left the theater Nadia was at to go to a bar and then returned to the theater.
The Abomination of course denies having anything to do with the disappearances.
And then a portal opens up and sucks the Hulk through. The Hulk must wind up in some sort of Limbo, not fully through the portal, because we'll see in Infinity Gauntlet #3 that he refuses to come out at first.
The Abomination was looking for a sign that kidnapping Nadia was the right thing to do, and he figures that the Hulk getting zapped away qualifies. More on him and Nadia next issue.
Rick's line about "cosmic silliness" may reflect Peter David's feelings about his story getting interrupted by a crossover, but the way things play out here works very well, in my opinion, and allows for a great story next issue. I do wish that the Hulk's appearances in Infinity Gauntlet were better coordinated. But David has plenty of opportunities in this issue to illustrate the Hulk's new status, from the poignant scene with Betty to showing signs of his grey ("she'd better") and dumb green ("stupid humans") sides. An integrated Hulk doesn't mean an "all better" Hulk. So if the Infinity Gauntlet crossover exposed more readers to David's psychological but humorous writing and David Keown's great artwork, then it was worth it.
Quality Rating: A
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue starts with Betty waking up and finding that Marlo accidentally dyed her hair green. Last issue did have Marlo going to dye Betty's hair, but we didn't see them actually do it, and they wake up in different clothes. I've had to put a little space between this issue and last, so i'm going to assume either that Betty lost the courage to dye her hair the previous night and worked up to it just prior to this issue, or that Marlo dyed her hair successfully earlier and turned it green with a touch-up. This issue is not officially an Infinity Gauntlet tie-in, but obviously it takes place during Infinity Gauntlet, basically concurrently with Infinity Gauntlet #1-2 and then ending with the Hulk being summoned by the other heroes, as seen in Infinity Gauntlet #3 (although there's a big difference in how the scenes are depicted here and there).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAbomination, Betty Ross, Dr. Strange, Hulk, Marlo Chandler, Nadia Dornova-Blonsky, Rick Jones, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Ulysses, Wong
David's Hulk was the only Marvel book I stuck with through the early 90s, and the quality was always good.
But, still, I much preferred the pre-Pantheon/Elvis jumpsuit Hulk to this era.
Posted by: Bob | October 9, 2015 8:10 PM
Keown does a good job depicting Bruce in the Hulk's face.
A lesser artist would have botched that.
Posted by: Bob | October 9, 2015 8:11 PM
Finally, an explanation for Hulk's comments in IG #1. Because the only comics I was reading at the time were X-Men and AWC, none of the things going on with other characters outside of IG made any sense to me. Fnord comes to the rescue of those of us who were confused yet again.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 5, 2016 11:36 AM
I found Betty too be too judgemental and narrow-minded this issue. She assumes that Bruce "doesn't need her or anybody else" because of the way he abruptly left the apartment. Doesn't she realize the reason he left was because his feelings were hurt, after she recoiled at the sight of him?
Posted by: Matt | January 1, 2017 12:28 PM
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