Tales To Astonish #90-91
Issue(s): Tales To Astonish #90, Tales To Astonish #91
Tales To Astonish #91 has an absolutely terrible cover featuring a wildly misproportioned Abomination. It is one of the few covers the the Marvel Super Heroes reprint series actually reproduces - usually they feature new art (seemingly because at the time the Sub-Mariner was the more popular character, so he adorns the majority of the covers. But by the time of the Marvel Super Heroes reprints, the Hulk was the more popular character). This is one of the few TTA covers that features the Hulk so i guess they decided they didn't need a new cover, but this original cover is quite bad.
The Stranger has been controlling the Hulk, causing him to go on rampages. Banner tries to kill himself to prevent the Stranger from using him to take over the world, but Glenn Talbot stops him. However, a foreign agent sees Banner using his transformation device, and uses it himself, turning into the Abomination.
Banner hulks out and attacks him, but the Abomination is stronger.
He defeats the Hulk, grabs Betty and jumps off.
Thanks to the suggestion of Rick Jones, the Hulk is revived with "gamma electrodes". When he is revived, he rampages against the base troops, thinking they want to attack him.
Rick is able to get the Hulk to turn back into Banner by talking about Betty (after getting yet another good smack)...
...and Bruce sets a lure for the Abomination by doing something with a doohickey. Bruce's plan involves defeating the Abomination with gadgets, but when the Abomination arrives (conveniently still carrying Betty), the stress forces Banner back into the Hulk. Apparently the Hulk's mindless rage is interpreted as valor by the Stranger, who decides that he'd rather have the Abomination as a flunky than the Hulk, so he zaps him off into outer space. Thunderbolt Ross seems to acknowledge that the Hulk actually did a good thing by rescuing Betty, which makes him a more reasonable character than J. Jonah Jameson. The issue ends with the Hulk wanting to be left alone, wandering around outside the army base.
Over in Atlantis, Namor's cousin Byrrah gives a soliloquy on his strategy to take the throne. Apparently he was a character in the 1940s Sub-Mariner comics. This issue is drawn by Bill Everett, who created Namor and drew him in the 40s.
Although in the Golden Age, Namor never looked like he was overdosing on creatine supplements. Apparently this was in response to Stan Lee complaining that Everett wasn't drawing him looking muscular enough.
Byrahh's strategy has been to watch and learn from the defeats of others who have reached for the throne, such as Krang and Attuma. He begins his plan by giving a speech calling Namor a war-monger.
It works, turning the Atlantians against their Prince. This results in a trial by combat, in which Byrahh cheats (using a poisoned swordfish!).
Namor tries to take his defeat gracefully but still ends up resisting arrest. He is brought before Byrahh and finds that he has allied himself with Krang and Attuma. Namor is banished to Inferno Isle where he has to fight some sort of fire monster. Meanwhile Lady Dorma discovers the machine that has caused the Atlantians to be swayed by the words of Byrahh. She reverses the effects of the projector and the people revolt against Byrahh, causing Attuma and Krang to abandon him. Namor defeats the fire monster and returns home to find the people haven't betrayed him after all.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: For the Hulk, this takes place in a very compressed timeframe due to Marvel Monsters: Monsters on the Prowl #1; see the Considerations section there for more details.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Super-Heroes #45, Marvel Super Heroes #46
Inbound References (12): show 1966 / Box 3 / Silver Age
1966 / Box 3 / Silver Age
Byrrah actually appeared in the 1950s Sub-Mariner stories. But then again, I've only read a handful of post-WW2 1940s Sub-Mariners...
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 6, 2011 2:16 AM
i wanna know what they made underpants out of back in the 60s. whenever someone gets transformed into something (the spy who becomes the Abomination), their clothes shred off, but their underpants always stay intact. and fit so well, too.
Posted by: min | December 18, 2013 1:47 PM
Gil Kane reportedly quit this book(and Marvel for a while) because of repeated demands for him to imitate Jack Kirby.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 5, 2014 5:45 PM
Kane may have had a change of heart later on--or figured, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em ;)--because his 1976 work on the Inhumans comic is filled with direct Kirby references from Fantastic Four 45, 46, Annual 5, etc. Perez did the same thing on the preceding Inhumans issues (using the same sources), so perhaps it was done to maintain consistency and/or was an editorial mandate.
Posted by: Shar | August 11, 2014 10:56 AM
The Abomination has always been such a disappointment. Given his power level and maintaining his intelligence, he should have been one of the most powerful Marvel villains ever, and he just never manages to do much with it. I mean, Hawkeye beats him. Granted, I'm a big fan of Hawkeye, but still.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 12, 2015 7:31 PM
Min, either underpants were made of unstable molecules back then, or they were protected by the Comics Code Authority. Take your pick!
Posted by: Haydn | February 17, 2015 2:14 PM
Yeah Abomination has been a disappointment much of his career. I mean he's fun but he should be way more challenging for Hulk.
Posted by: david banes | January 7, 2016 10:10 PM
I agree. The Abomination is one of my favorite villains, but he has never had a great story, and he ended up quite pathetic compared to what he was.
I first encountered the Abomination in the Power Records version of Hulk # 171, and then in Bring on the Bad Guys. So I always considered him one of the great Marvel Villains. In actual practice, he never achieved that status.
Someone who starts as stronger than the Hulk, but a normal intelligence (perhaps more, since he was a spy before the change) should be a challenge for Hulk or Thor. He is someone who should give many teams of Avengers a hard time. It is disappointing no writer felt the need or desire to make him truly one of the great villains.
Posted by: Chris | January 8, 2016 12:08 AM
I believe Bruce Jones had a Hulk run that wasn't well regarded. All I read was the fourth volume that had the Abomination in it. Now at the time I didn't know Abomination loved his wife but she had rejected him, as opposed to be a frequent domestic abuser. Anyway after four issues of build up Hulk and Abomination finally fought. While he wasn't putting his intellegence to the best use it was certainly one of the better fights since it really felt like two Hulks colliding.
Posted by: david banes | January 11, 2016 3:07 PM
You can tell that Abomination is stronger than Hulk because he has fewer toes. I liked him as a kid but I think it must be hard to write a character who's basically the same as the Hulk but stronger, sort of going against the premise of the title.
I like Gil Kane's imaginative imagery, but it's easy to see why DC didn't want him to do his own inking. Sorry Gil. It's also easy to see why Gil didn't want DC staff to ink his stuff either. Comme ci comme ca. Gil's pencils look pretty good with someone like John Romita Sr. on inks, as per Amazing Spider-Man #120, 1973.
Posted by: James Holt | August 27, 2016 3:12 PM
I think the Abomination is one of the great villains but his stories have been inconsistent. I still disagree about Kane's art.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 7, 2016 7:46 PM
How about that moustache of byrahh?
Posted by: Roy Mattson | July 2, 2017 11:56 AM
As a kid, Abomination was my favorite character for a little while after reading Bring on the Bad Guys, but he seemed to get less and less effective with each return appearance, such that I largely lost interest in the character.
But the character finally had a good follow-up story in Hulk # 270, where Hulk has a rematch with a full-powered Abomination for the first time since TTA 90. The fact that Hulk had beaten the Abomination repeatedly over the years (after TTA 90-91) but ONLY because he has siphoned off half his power in TTA 91 did partly 'redeem' the Abomination in my mind as a decent villain.
Unfortunately, Mantlo's next use of the character in # 287-290 was pretty sad and pathetic. But I thought Peter David made interesting use of him later.
But the ignominious off-panel murder of the Abomination by Red Hulk under Loeb really makes it hard to ever use the character again. I was not a fan of Loeb's Hulk run, to say the least.
Posted by: intp | September 29, 2017 1:30 AM
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