Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Incredible Hulk #152. The Fantastic Four and Matt Murdock

Incredible Hulk #152, the Hulk vs the Fantastic Four and Daredevil(Cover from June 1972.)

“But Who Will Judge The Hulk?”

Written by Gary Friedrich.
Art by Dick Ayers/Herb Trimpe.
Inks by Frank Giacoia.
Lettering by Artie Simek.

Had an accident that wasn’t your fault? You need a lawyer. Caused a whole bucketful of accidents that were your fault? You need a great lawyer.

Sadly, in the world of Marvel Comics, there aren’t any great lawyers. There’s just Matt Murdock, a man who thinks it’s a good idea to give Bruce Banner a stimulant to liven him up a bit.

Yes, the Hulk’s been captured again and this time President Nixon - making yet another appearance in the strip - has ordered he be put on trial for his crimes. Thus Bruce Banner finds himself on a plane, headed for court, and Matt Murdock finds himself on board as his appointed legal representative.

It’s hard to know who’s stupider in this tale, Matt Murdock for ordering his client be given a gee-up, on a plane, thus inevitably turning him into the Hulk, or Thunderbolt Ross for instantly wrecking the truce Murdock sets up with the monster, thus sending the Hulk back on the rampage again.

Then again, there're other odd things afoot throughout the tale. Leaving aside the fact the issue has a different, writer, inker and penciller from normal, we get a guest appearance from both Captain America and Nick Fury, neither of whom do anything at all in the story before declaring their work is done and clearing off.

Fortunately, the Fantastic Four, who also guest in the tale, at least know what they’re there for, to fall out with each other and then arrive just in time for the story’s climax when the Hulk smashes out of the plane, delivers a line of dialogue he’d never deliver and sets himself up for a scrap with them.

Dick Ayers' and Frank Giacoia’s take on the strip stands out like a sore thumb, after Trimpe & Severin; less moody, more conventional and less sophisticated. But, although somewhat uninspired in its layouts, it does its job efficiently - and Herb Trimpe clearly had a fairly strong hand in page twelve at least. So, if we're not happy about the absence of our usual team, unlike the president we won't be calling in the lawyers just yet.

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