Sunday, 18 July 2010

Incredible Hulk #120. More from the Inhumans

Incredible Hulk #120, Maximus the Mad and the Evil Inhumans(Cover from October 1969.)

"On The Side Of... ...The Evil Inhumans!"

Plotted by Stan Lee.
Scripted by Roy Thomas.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Herb Trimpe.
Lettered by Sam Rosen.

If those cartoons were right and love means never having to say you're sorry then being the Hulk clearly means never having to decide whose side you're on.

At the close of last issue, we were left with the jade juggernaut having to choose whether to throw his lot in with the Evil Inhumans or the US military. Here, he quickly decides to trash the military. Having done that he then decides to trash the Evil Inhumans. Maximus sets his giant robot on him, he trashes that, and the Evil Inhumans flee and then so does the Hulk.

It's a tale full of action as the Hulk flings tanks around and knocks planes from the sky. It also gives Herb Trimpe the chance to showcase his remarkable ability to draw military hardware and to portray aircraft simply hanging in the air but again the Evil Inhumans seem an inadequate set of foes for him, especially as their plan, to gradually conquer the world by placing mind-controlling statues in various lands, is such a long-term strategy that it offers no natural time limit to events here. There's no race against the clock, no sense that the Hulk must deal with the threat before it's too late, and therefore it has far less tension than the somewhat similar Umbu story. It's just a case of the Hulk smashing things - first the American soldiers and then Maximus' robot - till there's nothing left to smash.

That's not to say it's a bad tale. I don't think there were any bad Hulk tales in this era but, by the standards of its time, it feels like a holding operation till something better comes along. Happily something better does come along next issue.

Still, at least in this issue, unlike the last one, Maximus suddenly remembers he has a giant robot, which he promptly sets on the Hulk, and the Hulk flattens by throwing the Inhumans' entire fortress at it. "Hulk will not give up!" he declares while struggling to lift the impossible weight as the robot bombards him with its strength-sapping rays. "He can never give up! ...He does not know how!!" It's moments like this that make you realise why you love the strip so much.

Most bizarre moment is when Maximus the Mad tells Thunderbolt Ross and his gang that it's he and not the Hulk who's just defeated his men, which totally contradicts everything we've seen in the last few pages where he did nothing whatsoever as the Hulk was flinging tanks and planes around. If love means never having to say you're sorry, self-love clearly means never having to say you're irrelevant.

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