"The Doctor's Name Is Samson!"
Written by Len Wein.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe and Joe Staton.
Lettering by John Costanza.
Colours by Glynis Wein.
It was hard not to feel disappointed when Doc Samson was first written out of The Incredible Hulk. If ever there was a character whose potential'd been left untapped, it had to be the muscle-bound psychiatrist, a hero almost as strong as the Hulk but with a fully-functioning brain. Therefore I suppose it's ironic that the departure of my favourite Hulk artist coincides with the return of one of my favourite supporting characters.
Thunderbolt Ross has brought the psychiatrist in to try and retrieve Glenn Talbot's erased mind. To do it Samson needs two things; Gamma radiation and Bruce Banner. Why he needs either isn't exactly clear but of course no sooner have we been introduced to his mighty Gammatron than it goes wrong. It springs a leak and, hey presto, its creator's got his muscles back, his green hair back and is itching for another scrap with the Hulk. Unfortunately, having sent Samson flying with one punch, the Hulk departs before Samson can get back to the battle site, leaving him to crawl from a hole in the ground, vowing vengeance.
Maybe it's me but Samson seems more macho and gung ho than before. OK, he wasn't exactly short of confidence on his first appearance but this time he seems to have taken the self-belief up a notch. Maybe his mind is affected by the radiation after all. He also seems to have got more action-packed, his fight with the Hulk being much more mobile than it was on their first meeting, as the pair leap around, fling things about and end up slugging it out atop the World Trade Centre.
Joe Staton's inks are strong in more ways than one, giving the tale a drastically different look to that which we were used to for years. In some ways he's a great inker for Trimpe, lending Trimpe's work a visual depth and dynamism it might otherwise lack. In other ways he almost obliterates Trimpe's own style, leaving just hints of it showing through - however much Staton's modified the penciller's work, the Hulk's teeth for instance are still pure Trimpe. Regardless, there's no denying the result looks pleasing, even if Staton's inks were arguably better suited to Sal Buscema who succeeded Trimpe on the strip.
I suppose it would've been nice if Trimpe had gone out with a multi-part epic, featuring all the things he did best; tanks, planes, spaceships, monsters and giant robots. Instead he goes out with a tale whose main function is to set up future events. In that sense it's a little disappointing but, even if it's a mixture of prepping future events and rerunning past ones, it's entertaining enough and moves the strip towards the more action-packed style to come.
And that's it, the end of Herb Trimpe's run, and the end of the blog. Budd's pointed out to me there's one more Herb Trimpe issue, from around a year later, that I wasn't aware of. Sadly I don't yet have a copy of that. So, until I get my hands on it, the blog's done and dusted. I'd like to thank the people who've stuck with it to the end, no matter how gruelling it might have been for you. And, for anyone new, I might as well give a plug to my other blogs Spider-Man Reviewed and Maria McKee's Life Is Sweet, the latter of which has pretty pictures even if you don't want to read the text. Will I be back with another blog? Who can know? Right now, after reviewing over 90 issues of the Hulk, I need a break and, when my feeble mind's recovered, I'll see if there's the fuel in the tank to to tackle something else.