Hulk annual #13
Issue(s): Hulk annual #13
The Hulk has followed a portal from the Crossroads to a world with acid rain and powerful dinosaurs.
It turns out that the slavering, fang-toothed dinosaur is really an herbivore.
We'll be looking more at the topic of diet in the this issue, but the point of this opening scene is to re-introduce the Hulk's current status quo as a wanderer of the cosmic Crossroads, and the fact that he returns to the Crossroads whenever he is displeased with the world that he's on.
One problem is that he's hungry, a problem that cannot be solved by the Puffball Collective (who i don't want to talk about).
So the Hulk wanders through a portal to another world.
I talk a lot about how i think the Hulk is at heart a vegetarian, but i had never read this issue, which really seems to confirm it. On this new world, the Hulk sees some gazelle-like creatures as a potential food source...
...but instead goes for some fruit. And it's said here that on Earth the Hulk never killed for food. Even now, when the Hulk is mostly mindless and trying to survive in an alien environment, fruit is his first choice.
However, the fruit turns out to be poisonous to him.
And just to show how different this Hulk is, we see him watching with a cruel smile when he sees a sloth-thing going for the same fruit.
But it turns out that the sloth can eat the fruit fine. So this Hulk does kill and eat the sloth. That turns out to be no good for him, either, though.
And with that i can end my zoological observation of the Hulk's eating habits for this issue. That skeletal thing coming up behind the Hulk was originally thought to be the sloth's spinal cord. But we find out that it's really a symbiote. The Hulk struggles to get rid of it but is unable to. When he finally gives up, it tells him that he can now eat the food.
And i guess i will note that even now the Hulk goes for the fruit, not the remainder of the sloth meat.
It turns out that the symbiotes are all over the planet...
...and the result seems to be a peaceful world where the Hulk might have wound up staying. The symbiote even seems to restore some of the Hulk's intelligence so that he can talk again.
But the elder of the symbiotes is unhappy that "Sym" (the Hulk's symbiote) has bonded with an off-worlder. But Sym refuses to detach from the Hulk, and the rest of the issue is about the Hulk climbing the planet's tallest mountain so that his friend can see the sites before he dies.
The Hulk makes it to the top (and notice that he's still talking)...
...but realizes that Sym has detached himself.
Sym knew that Hulk didn't have enough energy to get back down the mountain if Sym was still drawing energy from him, so he let go. He did manage to see the stars, though.
With the death of Sym, Hulk is transferred back to the Crossroads again, and falls asleep in a bed provided by the Puffball Collective (who i still don't want to talk about).
If nothing else, this issue confirms that a lot of what i like about Sal Buscema's art from this period of Hulk actually comes from inker Gerry Talaoc. The art, penciled by Alan Kupperberg here, is remarkably similar to the regular Buscema-drawn issues. There are differences - the Hulk's eyebrows are too severe for my liking here - but i did initially have to double check the credits to make sure it wasn't Buscema drawing.
Not related to art styles, but one inconsistency between this annual and the main series is that the Hulk is wearing his regular old torn purple pants here. In the main series, he is still wearing his super-tighty purples.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story takes place between Hulk #301-302.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showHulk, Puffball Collective
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