Friday, 6 August 2010

Incredible Hulk #135. Kang and the Phantom Eagle

Incredible Hulk #135, Kang and the Phantom Eagle(Cover from January 1971.)

"Descent Into The Time-Storm!"

Written by Roy Thomas.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Sal Buscema.
Lettering by Sam Rosen.

King Kang might not be as big as King Kong but he's a whole lot more devious. He's going to send the Hulk back to the First World War to stop ace pilot the Phantom Eagle from destroying a super-cannon that'll otherwise kill an ancestor of Bruce Banner. This'll stop the Hulk ever having been created and therefore prevent the formation of the Avengers, thus leaving the way open for Kang to take over the Twentieth Century.

I suppose it's best not to point out that if the Hulk never exists he's not going to be able to go back in time to prevent the destruction of the cannon, meaning he'll still exist and therefore so will the Avengers, prompting Kang to have to send the Hulk back in time to prevent the destruction of the cannon and thus setting Kang's life on an endless loop of cannon attacking. For some reason this doesn't seem to have occurred to the temporal tyrant.

Then again it never seems to have occurred to him that the 40th Century Earth's a bit rubbish and maybe, instead of wasting endless resources trying to take over the 20th Century, he should just try and make his own present a bit better, so he doesn't have to spend all his time in his castle, talking to a woman in a coma about his plans to invade the 20th Century. With conversational skills like that, I'm not surprised she never snaps out of her coma. Play her some of her favourite pop music, you fool. That always works. I've seen the movies.

Of course, if Kang had any real brains he'd simply just prevent the accident that turned Bruce Banner into the Hulk but that's clearly too simple for a criminal mastermind.

The best Hulk stories of this era are the odd ones and this is certainly an odd one as we get to see the Hulk meet Herb Trimpe's less than high profile co-creation the Phantom Eagle who's hardly a classic character but this tale's pretty much my entire exposure to him so it's nice to see him.

In truth we don't get to see that much of the Eagle himself, just the odd panel, as the action concentrates on the Hulk and the military hardware he comes up against in his brief spell in the Great War but the Eagle seems like a nice chap and, with his plan to fly a plane into the mouth of the super-cannon, could at least give Kang a lesson in the value directness.

His assistant doesn't half look like Thunderbolt Ross though.


Hoosier X said...

Here's another one I've never read, but I know the plot anyway because I used to have most of the issues between #136 and about #150, and #135 was discussed on the letters page just a few issues hence!

And I definitely recall one of the correspondents calling out Roy for the paradox involved in Kang's silly plan. (And he probably asked for a no-prize.)

I think I still have the issue of Marvel Super-Heroes with the first appearance of Phantom Eagle and, while it's no classic, it's solid entertainment and a lot of fun for an "Aces High" fan like myself.

As for Kang ... Just what ARE we going to do with the ol' blue birdcage-headed nomad of the timestreams?

The Cryptic Critic said...

The thing that disappointed me most is that Kang wasn't wearing thigh-length boots. Somehow it doesn't seem the same when he's not wearing thigh-length boots. :(

cerebus660 said...

Putting aside your unhealthy interest in Kang's footwear ( Ahem! ) I must say I like this story, even though it is pretty nonsensical and a really strange choice for a team-up. Herb draws some great Kirby-esque machinery and Roy writes dialogue like "I am grateful, monster, that your strength is far greater than your vocabulary!" Groovy stuff!

The Cryptic Critic said...

I must admit I was struck by Kang's insistence on repeatedly insulting the Hulk to his face while trying to get his aid. I think I now know why the man seems to have no friends.

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