Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Incredible Hulk #174. The Cobalt Man in Australia

Incredible Hulk #174, the Cobalt Man Down Under(Cover from April 1974.)

"Doomsday -- Down Under!"

Written by Gerry Conway.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Jack Abel.
Lettering by Dave Hunt.
Colours by G Roussos.

By the start of this issue, the Cobalt Man really is well and truly off his rocker. Having survived the sinking of his ship, he decides the best way to convince the world of the madness of nuclear weapons is to head for Sydney and blow himself up, destroying the city in a nuclear inferno of his own making. With a plan like that he’s clearly in the perfect position to talk about madness.

Someone else in the perfect position to discuss it is Betty Talbot. It might seem she’s over the recent bout of insanity that led to her becoming the Harpy but, when you see her push Bruce Banner off a hospital roof in an attempt to make him become the Hulk again, you do wonder just how pure and rational her motives are. Interesting that Thunderbolt Ross leaves stimulants in the room of the tranquilised Banner. Is it lazy writing by Gerry Conway, so he’ll have a quick way to bring the Hulk back or are we to take it that Ross did it deliberately, knowing the Hulk was going to be needed?

In the end, the Cobalt Man explodes harmlessly in space, and the world’s great - and not so great - powers have learned nothing, with the US government taking what’s happened as their cue to start developing a Cobalt Bomb. It’s a somewhat pessimistic message from Gerry Conway - especially given that the only person in the issue who's arguing against nuclear weapons is a homicidal maniac.

Meanwhile is the Hulk dead, killed by the explosion that did for the Cobalt Man?

I think we know the answer to that one, even if our cast don’t.

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