Monday, 13 September 2010

Incredible Hulk #165. Aquon!

Incredible Hulk #165, Aquon and Captain Omen(Cover from July 1973.)

"The Green-Skinned God!"

Written by Steve Englehart.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Sal Trapani.
Lettering by John Costanza.
Colours by David Hunt.

They might claim that no one with any class batters his fish but the Hulk has other ideas. Rescued from the seabed, by Captain Omen's mutinous crew, our hero sets out to do just that as he finds himself up against Aquon; "Half-man half-fish and all hate!"

Inevitably our hero proves himself the more determined monster and, having had his metaphorical chips, Omen's forced to allow his crew to leave the submarine and live on the surface from now on.

This has to feature probably the most extraordinary climax of any story from the Herb Trimpe era as, having finally stepped onto dry land for the first time ever, Captain Omen's crew start to explode like tomatoes in a microwave. The silly sausages had forgotten they've adapted to live in the crushing depths of the oceans, not the gentler climes of the surface world.

It does raise the question of why Omen didn't warn them this was going to happen, as he clearly knew it would.

Then again, as we saw last issue, man-management doesn't seem to be his strong point.

Another person who's not good at winning friends and influencing people is Aquon. In his case, he has an excuse. He is, after all, "Half-man, half-fish and all hate!"

In fact, the, "all hate," seems somewhat inapt as it becomes clear he only fights when attacked, suggesting his hate levels are somewhat overstated. Did Aquon ever put in another appearance? I don't know. I certainly hope he did. The Hulk always benefited from the presence of a silly monster.

Other highlights are the rebellious crew adopting the Hulk as their god and showing our no-nonsense protagonist the few mementoes of the surface world they've managed to acquire over the decades; a leaf, a bottle and a newspaper. Needless to say, the ever practical Hulk thinks keeping such things is stupid. Is this Steve Englehart using the Hulk as his mouthpiece to comment on the Christian Church and its attachment to relics?

But despite Aquon, the relics and the deification of our hero, the story's focus lands squarely on that ending. No, it doesn't make sense - given Omen's pre-knowledge of what must happen - and the sight of the Hulk playing philosopher in the final panel breaks though the fourth wall but who cares? In the end, who'll ever forget the sight of people exploding? Or of Captain Omen's son Filius abandoning his followers and desperately trying to get back into the ship as it submerges, only to die like the cohorts he'd run out on?


Hoosier X said...

I read #165 last night after I posted the comment on #164. I haven't read it for a while, and I'd forgotten how it ends.

Holy Cow!

Those poor Infra-Men, exploding into so much red mist just for a day at the beach!


The main thing I like about this issue is Aquon. Whatever the hell he is, some crazy fish-thing, he's pretty cool; for a ludicrous man-shark, that is.

Such a great comic book.

The Cryptic Critic said...

I like to think Aquon is a halibut. Not for any good reason. I just like saying halibut.

Then again there are few fish names that I don't like saying.

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