"Two Years Before The Abomination!"
Written by Steve Englehart.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Sal Trapani.
Lettering by John Costanza.
Colours by George Roussos.
Following his fall from Space in The Incredible Hulk #137, the Abomination's been in a coma for two years. But, upon reviving, he's immediately captured by Thunderbolt Ross who tells him that if he captures the Hulk he'll cure the villain and release him.
It seems odd that Ross takes it for granted the Abomination'll want "curing". He's never shown any displeasure at being the Abomination before, and how does Ross even know he can "cure" him, bearing in mind the repeated failures to cure Bruce Banner?
Regardless, the Abomination's never going to turn down the chance to duke it out with the Hulk and sets off into the desert to do just that but, there, both're in for a shock as the Abomination tells the Hulk that Betty Ross has married Glenn Talbot, and the Hulk tells Abbie he's been out of commission for two years. This discovery so destabilises the Abomination he can't even be bothered to defend himself against the Hulk - and we all know what the only possible outcome of a decision like that's going to be.
And so, the Abomination out of the way, it's off to the Niagara Falls for the Hulk, and a confrontation with destiny.
I love the Abomination. He just looks so good - in a bad sort of way - and the fact he can go toe-to-toe with the Hulk while having the intelligence to fling insults his way's all the better. In truth the strip hasn't always served him well. For a start, when he first came on the scene he was stronger than the Hulk, possessed a malevolent ambition and posed a genuine threat to our hero but by the time of this tale his physical advantage is gone to the degree that he poses no real threat to the Hulk at all. On top of that he seems to have no ambition left but to fight our hero. No desire to get rich. No desire to rule the world. No nothing.
But even when those things have been taken away from him, he's still the Abomination. He still has scales. He still has big ears. He still looks cool. And therefore there'll always be a kick from seeing him, even if it'll take a more ambitious story than this to fully utilise him.