Friday, 24 September 2010

Incredible Hulk #171. The Abomination and the Rhino

Incredible Hulk #171, The Abomination and the Rhino(Cover from January 1974.)


Plotted by Steve Englehart.
Written by Gerry Conway.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Jack Abel.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by G Roussos.

Poor old Talia. First Jim Wilson drags her two thousand miles to see a military base (surely a thing every fashion conscious young lady dreams of seeing), and then he uses her as a decoy to distract two of the deadliest villains the world has ever known, while he tries to defuse a Gamma bomb. There’s no denying he knows how to show a girl a good time.

Still, she should take heart from the fact she’s not the only one who’s travelled a vast distance to be there because the Hulk’s stowed away in a crate on a plane and, like them, finds himself in a Hulkbuster Base that’s been taken over by the Rhino and the Abomination who plan to blow it - and him - sky high.

Fortunately, Jim saves the day by defusing the bomb, leaving the Hulk to sensationally defeat the Rhino and Abomination by doing…

…nothing. In one of the great twists, the Hulk beats his foes simply by getting bored and walking off, leaving his two onrushing opponents to crash into each other, no doubt bringing on yet another of the Rhino’s comas.

Though the idea of the Rhino and Abomination teaming up’s the sort of thing to get a fan’s pulse racing, it does seriously undermine the Abomination as a foe for the Hulk. The Rhino’s always been somewhat out of his depth against the jade behemoth but the Abomination’s a whole other matter. There was a time when he could defeat the Hulk with his bare hands. Later, he could fight him to a standstill. Now he’s reduced to needing a partner, and even then deciding that’s not enough and that he’ll need a bomb as well. It’s a shame. The Abomination’s one of my favourite villains and his descent into being little more than an irritant to the Hulk’s a waste of a perfectly good enemy.

The team-up of two foes aside, it’s a pleasing but straightforward tale that somewhat trivialises its villains and to some degree recycles the plots of older issues like Incredible Hulk #139, where Jim Wilson also sneaks into a military complex and saves the day by using instinct and dumb luck to disable a deadly machine.

It does though give us a closing scene where Thunderbolt Ross seems to have finally learned his lesson to not hate the Hulk.

Will that lesson stay learned?

It never has in the past.


Hoosier X said...

This is not an issue I had when I sold most of my collection. But it sure does sound familiar.

I think it may have been used for the Hulk record. In the mid-1970s, Marvel put out some records. (I think they were 45s.) They came with a (modified, I think) comic book of the story on the record. The story was dramatized, sort of like an old radio show, with dramatic voices and cheesy sound effects.

I think they had Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, the Hulk and ... I think there were four, but I can't remember what the other one was.

The Fantastic Four record I remember a little. I think it was the origin, maybe a re-telling from a later issue because I think I remember John Buscema art.

The Spider-Man story I think was the Man-Wolf two-parter from #124 and #125.

And the Hulk record I'm positive was Hulk #171.

I sort of remember owning one or two of the records at some point, but I must have traded them or something, or maybe I heard them at a friend's house.

Cryp, don't misunderestimate the Rhino. He may have started as a Spider-Man villain, but he'd had a few upgrades at this point in his career.

I must agree, though, that the Abomination had a lot of unused potential.

On a slighly different topic, I can hardly express how sad I am that you have to experience these comics through black and white reprints with no ads, no letters pages and no Marvel Bullpen Bulletins.

No Marvel Value Stamps. No Sea Monkeys. No X-Ray Specs. No Grit. No Mighty Marvel Checklists. No Hostess Fruit Pie ads with The Hulk or Spider-Man.

No riding your bike to the drugstore every Tuesday all summer and waiting for the cashier to put the new comics on the spinner rack.

Uphill, both ways!

The Cryptic Critic said...

It's true. There's nothing like having the original comics in your hands, and I have had a lot of the original Herb Trimpe Hulks in the past but have mostly parted company with them.

Still, at least the Essentials enable me to get my hands on them again without bankrupting myself. They also allow me to catch up on the later Trimpe Hulk stories, many of which I've never owned before.

Anonymous said...

I remember those records too!I used to have the Marvel horror heroes collection.Frankenstein,Werewolf By Night,Tomb Of Dracula,and I believe that was about it.I always wanted to send for the superhero collection,but missed the opportunity.Oh well,from the sounds of the monster ones,they really were kind of cheesy anyway.One day,I was going through some videos on You Tube,and actually found a posted video of the Hulk#171,the commentary underneath the video was more fun.Sort of making it a Mystery Science Theater of comics.Budd

Anonymous said...

I remember the book and record. I sold my collection to repair my car. However I played that Hulk one many times in 1975 that I wore out the record. Peter Pan Power Records was the label. I wish they made more. I had them all. The super hero ones, The Planet of the Apes series. Those were the days before You Tube and the internet.

The Cryptic Critic said...

In my ignorance I'd never even known that such things existed until Hoosier's comment on this post.

Anonymous said...

It's about this time in the mid 70's that I started drawing and cartooning. I showed my Hulk drawings in a contest and ironically I won a prize for my drawing.

it was this issue that really inspired me to draw more comics.

My former teachers hated comics. To them it was like you were reading something forbidden. The teacher in question that made me enter it in a contest was a bit more comic friendly than most instructors. It's not like I wasn't reading something that wasn't appropriate. Superman, Batman and all the Marvel heroes were considered subversive. I went to a normal primary school. However if you weren't reading about some school related project, it wasn't considered reading by my teachers.

When I look at music videos and what's in the media today for kids to look up to; comics are so mild in comparison.

JalRod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JalRod said...

Thor 229

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