Friday, 9 July 2010

Incredible Hulk #111. The Galaxy Master

Incredible Hulk #111, the Galaxy Master's first appearance(Cover from January 1969.)

"Shanghaied In Space!"

Written by Stan Lee.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Dan Adkins.
Lettered by Sam Rosen.

If there's one person in this world you don't want to go to for a medical opinion, it's Ka-Zar. At the end of Amazing Spider-Man #57, he declared Spider-Man to be dead, only, at the start of the following issue, for Spider-Man to turn out to be alive. At the end of Incredible Hulk #110, he declared Bruce Banner to be dead.

And, guess what?

Admittedly, he's only just alive and he only makes a full recovery because he's abducted by the aliens who created last issue's Umbu. Happily, they have a gadget for every occasion and one of those is for reviving people who're nearly dead.

Unhappily, having done that, they decide to kill him.

Cue page after page of insane, logic-defying action as the Hulk stands on the outside of a starship, in space, and pre-empts Star Wars by nearly a decade by taking on a whole squadron of fighter craft. He does it with aplomb, the highlight being when he enters the mother ship's rocket tube - while it's firing - and promptly smashes its engine to smithereens, causing the vessel to crash on the nearest planet, as he hops off with a certain insouciance. The Hulk's strength and endurance have reached insane levels by this stage and it seems nothing's allowed to be regarded as beyond him any more. Gone are the days when he used to get exhausted after knocking in a few thousand fence posts for Tyrannus.

Unfortunately, at the tale's climax, that's when the Hulk's problems really begin because now he has to face the brains behind the operation, a character who really is all mouth and no trousers, a giant mouth in the sky who goes by the name, "Galaxy Master".

I now know why I never grew up to draw American comics. It's because I was always taught it was rude to point. Clearly no one's told the characters in this tale, as there's barely a page goes by without someone pointing melodramatically at something.

I blame Stan Lee.

Apparently, the reason Frank Giacoia did layouts for issue #109 was Lee was unhappy with Herb Trimpe's own layouts, which he didn't feel were suitably dynamic enough. Clearly, Trimpe took it on board because this issue's so melodramatic it's mind boggling. I swear not one person in this tale has ever stood with his feet less than a yard apart at any point in his entire life. It should be ludicrous, the sheer over-the-top dynamism of every panel, of every pose, of every facial expression but this is the Hulk and the more OTT it gets, the better.

My only complaint is Thunderbolt Ross is still going on about how Bruce Banner, or the Hulk, or both, must've been behind the recent bad weather. Give it a rest, man. You clearly know as much about character assessment as Ka-Zar does about medicine.


cerebus660 said...

I remember this crazy story fondly from the ol' Mighty World Of Marvel reprints. I always thought the Galaxy Master image ( Fangs In Space! ) was cool!

The Cryptic Critic said...

I've always wondered by what process the alien race that created him came to the conclusion that what they really needed to do next, more than anything else in the whole world, was create a giant mouth in space. I think a race should realise it has too much time on its hands when it reaches that point. Presumably, if he hadn't wiped them out, their next project would have been a foot the size of Andromeda.

Humanbelly said...

I'd totally forgotten this old blog was still out there!

This. . . is one of my favorite issues of any comic OF ALL TIME!!! Ohhh, yes, yes, yes-- it has an almost comic wealth of flaws and quirks: Trimpe's experiments w/ "brow-ridges" instead of eyes; Stan's failure to grasp even rudimentary 4th-grade science at key momments; a serious lack of logic to the chain of events & motivations--- and yet it all adds up to an irrepressible, grin-plastering, page-flipping, joy-ride of a space-battle story! It's one of the best "Hulk doesn't give up!" stories ever-- just about a perfect depiction of how doggedly relentless old Greenskin could be when under duress. The whole thruster-tube sequence leading up to "Port engine shattered, Sir!!!" always, always makes me smile just thinking about it!


The Cryptic Critic said...

Hi, HB. I'd almost forgotten this blog existed too, until I got the email notifying me of your comment.

I love this story too. The idea of a giant evil mouth is so mad that I have to love it.

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