Saturday, 21 August 2010

Incredible Hulk #149. The Inheritor

Incredible Hulk #149, the Inheritor, giant cockroach(Cover from March 1972.)

“…And Who Shall Claim This Earth His Own? The Inheritor!”

Written by Archie Goodwin.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by John Severin.
Lettering by Sam Rosen.

I complained that the events of last issue didn’t advance the overall story of the Hulk in any way, shape or form and could be excised from the strip’s history without anyone noticing.

Well, the same’s true of this one.

The big difference is, while last issue was a fairly low key tale that by rights should therefore have explored and developed the characters, this outing's just an excuse for a slug fest between two monsters and therefore, as such, doesn’t actually need to advance anything.

Somewhere in the woods, a space ship crashes. A strange and huge creature emerges. It calls itself the Inheritor.

And it’s out to conquer the world.

It turns out the Inheritor’s one of the High Evolutionary’s beast men, exiled years ago by its creator but now returned to Earth. To avoid regressing to whatever its original form was, it needs radiation - and Thunderbolt Ross’s Project Greenskin base just happens to be the nearest source of that. It’s also where Bruce Banner’s working on a cure for himself. I doubt it’d take a psychic octopus to tell you that, confronted by such a menace, Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk and we get a punch-up in which tanks are crushed and concrete and steel are treated like tissue paper.

I love this tale. After a couple of issues that’ve been somewhat flawed, it’s great to see the strip get back on track with a return to its very basics. At heart it’s just the set-up to a fight, followed by a fight. In terms of plotting, you’re going to struggle to get less sophisticated than that but, after the somewhat unfocused offering last month and the overly rushed one the month before, the return to roots is welcome. Plus, it’s The Incredible Hulk and the sight of two monsters hitting each other rarely goes down badly in such a setting.

I also have to say that, being a bit on the dim side, I didn’t guess just what kind of creature the Inheritor was until the big reveal in the final panel. It’s a neat ending and nicely handled by Trimpe and Goodwin, using just one little symbol to do a job that would've been corny if done through dialogue.

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