Saturday, 14 August 2010

Incredible Hulk #142. The Valkyrie

Incredible Hulk #142, the Valkyrie
(Cover from August 1971.)

“They Shoot Hulks, Don’t They?”

Written by Roy Thomas.
Art by Herb Trimpe and John Severin.
Lettering by Artie Simek.

The Hulk enters the world of social satire as, while having a nap on the Statue of Liberty, the muddled mass finds himself “adopted” by the Radical Chic, a bunch of people whose heads are empty but their wallets full. It seems they like to show off their love of good causes in order to boost their popularity and bank balances and, right now, because he’s not been “done” before, the Hulk’s the goodest cause they can think of.

The chance to send-up then-fashionable social mores also gives writer Roy Thomas the chance to bring back everyone’s favourite warrior woman the Valkyrie. This time, thanks to the Enchantress still mithering over her most recent defeats by both the Avengers and the Hulk, the spirit of the Valkyrie takes possession of socialites’ daughter and Women’s Lib activist Samantha Parrington who promptly sets out to defeat the Hulk as a blow against the forces of male chauvinism.

As with her debut in The Avengers #83, it’s a somewhat different version of the Valkyrie to the one we’re used to from the Barbara Norris years, full of slogans and aggro, living just for the chance to beat up any bloke she doesn’t take a shine to (which is all of them), and because of that it’s all good fun.

It’s also good to see the Valkyrie knock the Hulk out with basically no effort at all, although it’s also good to see her and the Hulk transform back to their normal identities just as the fight’s about to enter Round Two, leaving Samantha Parrington and Bruce Banner stood there in the street, both clueless as to who the other is and just what it is they’re doing there. It has to be said, considering he doesn’t know who she is and has no reason to be hostile to her, Banner’s rather rude to Parrington in this brief encounter. It’s more of that socially dubious behaviour from the doc I was bemoaning last time out.

But I love this tale, the Valkyrie’s block-headed brand of feminism (“Up against the wall, male chauvinist pig!”) is irresistible fun and the Hulk’s total incomprehension of what she’s on about with her feminist rants make him the ideal counterfoil to her. It also features probably my favourite Hulk cover of them all.

Now if only I'd ever read anything by this issue's guest star Tom Wolfe...


Hoosier X said...

Read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test! Right now!

Hoosier X said...

And you're right. Hulk #142 is a good one!

As a matter of fact, we're in the middle of a great run for the Emerald One, but I haven't commented because I've been really busy and, in addition to that, I'm having trouble with my Internet connection at home.

And in regard to Tom Wolfe, I hear The Right Stuff is really good, but I've only seen the movie.

Anonymous said...

Can't help noticing from this blog that Hulk covers tended to have a sort of sameness - long full-body shot of the Hulk squaring off his adversary, with the story title often along the side of the building/cliff etc....wonder if that was Herb's idea, or was Stan still thinking up covers at that time?

(mind you, it was around this time that he took a few months off to write a screenplay for Alan Resnais, so perhaps Roy Thomas was doing it - and given the attention he was giving the rest of the mag, maybe not even he was in the mood)

This really was a good issue, though, even though I had no idea who Tom Wolfe was or why he was given such prominence, let alone what Radical Chic meant..quite amusing watching the Hulk trying to get a bite to eat at that party, while a fellow in the foreground is giving a rundown of his various financial escapades.

B Smith

The Cryptic Critic said...

There's no doubt about it, with its various reference points, the issue's a bit of a time capsule.

Unless, that is, those type of people still exist?

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