Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Incredible Hulk #115. The Leader's back.

Incredible Hulk #115, the Leader returns(Cover from May 1969.)

"Lo, The Leader Lives"

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

Hang onto your hats, it's the return of the only man you'll ever meet whose head's a danger to low-flying aircraft.

That's right, the Leader's back and he has a spiffing wheeze for capturing the Hulk. All he needs is the co-operation of General Thunderbolt Ross and Major Glenn Talbot.

Because, as has been said before, the two soldiers' combined IQ's lower than the number of toes on the Abomination's left foot, they go along with his plan and the Leader traps the Hulk in a big rubbery cave made from a substance whose title doesn't sound at all like "Plasticine". At the end of the issue, the Hulk seemingly trapped forever, our regular cast depart to leave the Leader alone to gloat over his victory and to talk to himself about how nothing can stop him now! Nothing!

In truth it's a relatively uneventful issue. Basically, the Hulk's strapped to a trolley, then he escapes for a few panels, to give us our quotient of action, and then he's strapped to a trolley again, then he's strapped to a trolley in a big rubbery cave. Then he's not strapped to a trolley but is still in the big rubbery cave. The issue's really there to reintroduce us to the Leader who, although we might think of him as the Hulk's arch-enemy has been absent from the strip for a surprisingly long time. So long in fact that we need two recaps - one from the Hulk and one from the Leader - to remind us just who he is/was.

All in all, it's competent tale but it probably says it all that the first panel of the next issue generates more of a buzz for the reader than the whole of this issue put together. But then that's the great thing about comic books. If this month's offering doesn't quite set your soul slight, there's always another one along in thirty days' time.


cerebus660 said...

I love the part where the Hulk's wracking his brain, trying to remember who the Leader is. It reminds me of Monty Python's "Gumbie" character - "My brain hurts!"

The Cryptic Critic said...

I have to confess there's a lot about this issue that struck me as unintentionally humorous. There's the unidentified person's declaration of, "It's the mysterious genius known as -- the Leader!!" when the villain first enters the room. Maybe it's me but I can't imagine any real-life person ever uttering a line like that.

Then there's the Leader's declaration of innocence based on the fact that he's been legally declared dead, and dead people can't be prosecuted. Yeah, that'd convince me to trust him.

And then there's the Leader's tale of how his humanoid resurrected him, which has always struck me as ludicrous; "Only I knew that the Gamma Radiation I had absorbed allowed me to survive an actual heart attack for many long minutes --"

I think Stan had gone slightly mad in the best possible way when he was scripting this issue, God bless him. :)

Hoosier X said...

These three issues, #115 -#117, are my favorite issues of the Hulk. The Leader's motivation just creep me out!

I can't argue with you about ludicrous dialogue and some crazy Stan Lee looniness. But none of that detracts from why I love these comics. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The Cryptic Critic said...

Hi, Hoosier. Despite my complaints about the story going on too long and the Hulk being side-lined for large portions of it, I still have a soft spot for it, especially the last part. I love the Hulk's battle with the Leader's giant rubbery humanoid. I don't know if it was ever brought back. I hope so because it was a great character in its own right and deserved a resurrection at some point.

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