Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Incredible Hulk #166. Zzzax and Hawkeye

Incredible Hulk #166, Zzzax and Hawkeye(Cover from August 1973.)

"The Destroyer From The Dynamo!"

Written by Steve Englehart.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Sal Trapani.
Lettering by C Jetter.
Colours by Dave Hunt.

Elvis Costello once sang, "New Amsterdam, it's become much too much," and you suspect the Hulk may agree as, finally back in the Big Apple, the radioactivest hobo finds himself up against the horror of Zzzax.

Made of living electricity, Zzzax is created when terrorists blow up the local nuclear power plant. If Aquon was half man, half fish, all hate, Zzzax is half electricity, the other half electricity, and all greedy, driven by a desire to devour the brains of everyone he encounters, to keep himself smart. "Being smart won't help you!" Declares the Hulk; "Hasn't helped Hulk!" Yes that's right it's not exactly Stephen Hawking v Einstein here.

But the Hulk's not the only one on the scene. Hawkeye's there too and he's out to prove he can cut it without the Avengers, by taking down Zzzax.

Sadly, his attempts aren't going too well - until he remembers the events of a certain James Bond movie.

Even more sadly, when he finally destroys Zzzax, the onlookers give the Hulk all the credit.

But, deep in the heart of Russia, thing's are happening as Colonel Armbruster leads a raid to rescue Thunderbolt Ross. It works - but at the cost of Glenn Talbot.

It's another of those Steve Englehart issues where the true focus of the tale's not on the Hulk but on others, first Hawkeye and his futile attempts to prove himself and then Glenn Talbot's sacrifice for his father-in-law. But, apart from the seriousness of its Russian climax, it's a good fun read. Zzzax is my kind of monster; big, stupid and a throwback to the creatures Marvel was churning out like sausages before it discovered super-heroes could make it more money. And if its cliff-hanger doesn't make you want to know what happens next, then shame on you. Did Glenn Talbot, like Magna Carta, (almost) die in vain?


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite Elvis Costello songs!The first time I saw Zzzax,was in a Where Monsters Dwell comic.I believe Jack Kirby drew his first appearance.Of all the recycled 50s Marvel monsters,Zzzax figured into the Hulk's history.He later appeared in issue #183 and much later after that,in the 80s,was revived by Todd MacFarlane during the grayskin years.Budd

The Cryptic Critic said...

Now I know why he seemed like a throwback to those old monster comics. He was a throwback to those old monster comics.

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