"And The Wind Howls... Wendigo!"
Written by Len Wein.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Jack Abel.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by Glynis Wein.
"He's a living, raging powerhouse who's bound to knock you back on your emerald posterior." No it's not the rancher we meet at the start of the issue, it's the character we meet at the end of it.
But more of that later because, again looking for some peace and quiet, the living raging powerhouse the comic's actually named after fails miserably in his attempts to find it as the Hulk lands in Canada and is promptly summoned to a stone hut by Marie Cartier, sister of the man who's now the Wendigo. Having done what's presumably a crash course in shamanism, she wants to transfer the Wendigo's curse to the Hulk and thus cure her brother. But, before she can work her magical machinations, the Hulk and the Wendigo start to fight. It's a battle that's going nowhere, with neither party able to gain the upper hand - and that's when the third combatant joins the fray.
He's known as Weapon X.
He's also known as...
And so the most famous X-Man of them all makes his first-ever appearance. Admittedly, it's a somewhat limited debut as we only get to see him in the very last panel but at least we see enough to intrigue us as to just who this character is who's happy to take on both the Hulk and Wendigo at the same time. And if his "ears" are a little too small for those of us familiar with later incarnations, it's an appealing story all round, thanks to the Hulk's battle with a hungry wolf-pack, Marie's dastardly scheming, the appalled Georges Baptiste trying to talk her out of it, and a hotchpotch of magic. We also get the Wendigo who's one of my favourite Hulk baddies.
The tale though does contain possibly the silliest panel in the entire history of the strip as the Hulk and Wendigo run into each other head first, reducing their fight to something resembling comedy status. Still, spirits high, given all that's happened in this issue, it seems next issue's likely to be no laughing matter at all.