Monday, 9 August 2010

Incredible Hulk #138. The Sandman and Glass Betty

Incredible Hulk #138, The Sandman. Betty Ross turns to Glass(Cover from April 1971.)

"...Sincerely Yours, The Sandman!"

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

Marilyn Monroe didn't know she was born. She might have spent half of Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot complaining she always got the fuzzy end of the lollipop but she should have tried walking in Betty Ross's shoes for five minutes because yet again life throws nothing but trouble at the girl.

It all kicks off when the Hulk returns to Earth with a splash, and the Sandman returns with a gun. In fact he should arguably be called Glassman as he's turning back into that substance, having been temporarily cured by the Wizard of the affliction he suffered in issue #114.

By one of those coincidences that could only happen in a comic book, he goes to the hospital where Jim Wilson and Betty Ross are being treated for their various ailments, and demands the nearest doctor gives him a total blood swap with Betty. And so it is the Sandman finds himself cured and Betty Ross finds herself turned into an immobile glass statue.

It is, it has to be said, a tale that makes no sense at all. Bearing in mind the Wizard's previous success, why does Sandy go to the hospital rather than back to his old team mate? How does the Hulk speak underwater? And how exactly do you give a blood swap to a man who's made of sand and as such seems to have neither blood vessels nor blood?

Still, you can forgive it because it's such a wonderfully unpleasant tale. The Sandman's in full-on bad guy mode, threatening to kill everyone he encounters and laughing gleefully at the thought of Betty dying - though he's still too eloquent for the liking of some of us - and poor old Betty cops it once again. Her boyfriend's a brainless monster, her wedding's wrecked by the Rhino, she's hospitalised by a nervous breakdown, and now, just as she seems to be getting over it, she's turned into the world's biggest paperweight.

Still, at least the Sandman gets his comeuppance.

For now.

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