Iron Man #131-133
Issue(s): Iron Man #131, Iron Man #132, Iron Man #133
It doesn't really satisfy a Whoodwin because Stark had helped Banner install an adrenaline monitoring device that briefly prevented him from turning into the Hulk, and it was still partially in effect during the final fight (c'mon, we all know that Hulk would smash metal man!).
The issue starts with a nice scene with the Hulk on a bridge, eating tons and tons of spilled apples from an overturned fruit truck.
A number of nice moments including Bethany, clearly aware that Stark is Iron Man, making an excuse to let him get away from her..
...and a scene where Hulk calms down and reverts to Banner when a kid offers to let him play with his Micronauts.
When Iron Man is carrying Banner back from that initial encounter to Stark International, he thinks to himself how he never really considered the Hulk as a man before... only as a monster.
Self-absorbed prick! It's only been 17 years since they were on the Avengers together. Actually, it's a really interesting revelation. Even though we, the audience, have always known that the Hulk was Bruce Banner's monstrous curse, it's clear that Iron Man, and probably a lot of other heroes, did not. We can blame Spider-Man, since he never told the Avengers what he learned in Amazing Spider-Man annual #3.
The general public is aware of the Banner/Hulk connection at this point, anyway. Mrs. Arbogast initially freaks out when she discovers that Banner is visiting, but she recovers.
In the final fight, Iron Man overloads his armor, directing a lot of absorbed energy into the single punch that knocks out the Hulk.
Then Ant-Man has to shrink down and enter Iron Man's armor in order to repair it.
But the artwork shows Ant-Man walking around in the armor without any hint that Tony Stark has legs. Where's his leg?
I imagine these scenes are something of a tribute to the time that Henry Pym entered the Vision in Avengers #93.
Unable to really cure Banner, Stark at least helps him slip away from the authorities at the end of this arc.
Erica Sondheim, a scientist that previously appeared in Ant-Man's issues of Marvel Premiere, is now a member of Iron Man's cast. Like Scott Lang, she is an employee of Stark International.
There's a brief interlude where Titanium Man (although he's colored red and is easily mistaken for the Crymson Dynamo. Confusingly, MCP lists both characters as appearing in these issues.) gloats that he used the Unicorn in Iron Man #113 to test Iron Man's defenses, and he intends to use that data to defeat IM soon.
These are good issues. Not just a simple slugfest (although that would have been fine too!).
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Tony Stark starts this issue have just arrived back from his flight to Japan. Bethany Cabe has picked him up at the airport. The arc takes place over a span of weeks as Stark and Banner work on a cure.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAnt-Man (Scott Lang), Bethany Cabe, Erica Sondheim, Hulk, Iron Man, Mrs. Arbogast, Titanium Man, Vic Martinelli, War Machine, Wilfred Maxwell
The title to #132 refers to the Sean Connery film "The Man Who Would Be King".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 4, 2011 7:28 PM
Was this story supposed to be one of the early indications that the Hulk was actually a psychological affliction that Bruce Banner suffered from instead of a physical one?
Posted by: Ben Herman | December 27, 2015 10:21 PM
Well, PAD had Samson claim it was in Hulk 426, during the whole "Hulk turns to Banner when he gets angry" phase.
Posted by: Michael | December 27, 2015 11:45 PM
I thought that I remembered PAD referencing these issues, either in an actual Hulk story or in an interview. Thanks for providing the specific issue, Michael.
Posted by: Ben Herman | December 28, 2015 10:06 AM
Ha! Scott Lang owned a Betamax, the schmuck!
Posted by: Gary Himes | October 10, 2017 6:57 PM
Comments are now closed.
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