Monday, 12 July 2010

Incredible Hulk #114. The Sandman and the Mandarin

Incredible Hulk #114, The Sandman and the Mandarin(Cover from April 1969.)

"At Last I Will Have My Revenge!"

Written by Stan Lee.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Dan Adkins.
Lettered by Artie Simek.

If the definition of "intelligence" is the ability to learn from past mistakes, the Mandarin's clearly named after the literally brainless fruit of that name and not the traditional Chinese bureaucrat.

Having failed miserably last time out, the Gobi Gob decides that what he needs in order to defeat the Hulk is to team up with the Sandman. Having recruited his new ally, he then instigates a plan that in no way shape or form requires the presence of the Sandman. Needless to say, it all goes horribly wrong and it turns out neither villain has a Plan B, suggesting the Mandarin isn't quite the tactical genius he claims to be. For that matter, just what the Mandarin's Plan A was is anyone's guess as he makes exactly the same mistake as he did last time. Basically, he kidnaps the Hulk then takes him to his secret lair, enabling the Hulk to smash it to pieces.

But, of course, the Mandarin's stupidity aside, what this issue's most memorable for is one scene, where the Sandman's flung by his partner in perfidy into what seems to be a gigantic deep-fat fryer. Why the Mandarin has such a thing in his dread HQ's never explained. Maybe he likes his Mars Bars like his super-heroes; well-battered. Regardless, poor old Sandy emerges from it having been transformed into glass, meaning, in the space of one panel, he's gone from being a foe no one can harm to one who can be killed by anyone with a lump hammer. It's a wonderfully macabre and nightmarish fate for our villain and you have to congratulate either Herb Trimpe or Stan Lee (depending on which came up with it) for its shock value.

Argh! Thunderbolt Ross is at it again. Having finally got it into his thick head last issue that the Hulk isn't a bad guy, this issue he's droning on about, "That traitorous Bruce Banner!" Traitorous how? Why? When?

Still, at least his idiocy's equalled by Glenn Talbot who doesn't seem able to predict for one second that confronting Bruce Banner with a bunch of soldiers and threatening to shoot him might not be the best way to prevent him from turning into the Hulk.


cerebus660 said...

You know the old saying: "military intelligence is a contradiction in terms>" :-)

The Cryptic Critic said...

That's scary. That was actually the last line of my first draft.

Doug said...

I finally got 'round to coming over and catching up. Glad you've only been at this about a week!

I have virtually no background with The Incredible Hulk. My Hulk-knowledge comes from his appearances in The Defenders, as well as guesting in other Marvel mags. So, I am loving your blog -- it's quite educational for me!

Keep it up. This is turning out to be quite a bit of fun.



The Cryptic Critic said...

Hello, Doug. Thanks for the kind words. It's nice to see you here. :)

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