Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Incredible Hulk #155. Captain Axis and the Shaper of Worlds

Incredible Hulk #155 Captain Axis and the Shaper of Worlds(Cover from September 1972.)

“Destination Nightmare!”

Written by Archie Goodwin.
Art by Herb Trimpe and John Severin.

Eye-patch wearing chanteuse Gabrielle once told us that dreams can come true. Well, Otto Kronsteig doesn’t wear an eye-patch - although he could do with one - but I’ve no doubt he’d agree with her sentiments, as the still-shrinking Bruce Banner lands on a world where the would-be Hitler’s re-staging World War Two. This time, Germany’s winning and in the process of invading the United States.

To achieve this, Kronsteig’s relying on the Shaper, a giant alien who looks like a cross between a skrull and a Meccano set. As well as being too full of himself, the Shaper has the power to make men's dreams a reality but has no dreams of his own.

Writer Archie Goodwin’s clearly been reading his back issues of The Fantastic Four because last month we had a reference to the time when Dr Doom shrank the FF to the size of atoms and now he gives us a villain, in Kronsteig, who helped Doom develop that technology, before it was used against him by the Latverian despot.

Inevitably the Hulk soon puts a stop to such shenanigans, by being stronger than Kronsteig could possibly dream and, when the Hulk refuses to live in a Shaper-created fantasy of being reunited with Jarella, the Shaper has no choice but to send him to the world of the real Jarella.

It’s another classic tale as we see a world ruined by one man’s megalomania and a bored alien’s desire to be entertained. The sight of Bruce Banner being strafed by a German plane in the streets of a bomb-ravaged New York’s especially memorable, as is a dead German pilot reverting to his real, inhuman, form, and there’s some great art by Trimpe and Severin throughout, not least a closing page in which the Shaper, finally bored with the world he’s wrecked, gives it and its “people” his farewell address before setting off in search of a dream of his own.


Anonymous said...

Great story! This was one of the first comics I ever bought-thanks for the post!!

The Cryptic Critic said...

And thanks to you for reading it, Anonymous. :)

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