Thursday, 30 September 2010

Incredible Hulk #176. Warlock, the Man-Beast and Counter-Earth

Incredible Hulk #176, Adam Warlock, Man-Beast, Counter-Earth, Herb Trimpe(Cover from June 1974.)

"Crisis on Counter-Earth!"

Story conceived by Roy Thomas.
Written by Gerry Conway.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Jack Abel.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by Stan Goldberg.

It seems the Land of Liberty's the same no matter which planet you're on. No sooner do you arrive than everyone wants to shoot you, bomb you or capture you for a villainous President.

Launched into space by the Inhumans, the Hulk's found himself on Counter-Earth where, after one of his customary rampages, he's captured by that self-same villain.

No it's not Richard Nixon. It's an entity only marginally less evil, the Man-Beast, who's fooling everyone by wearing a cunning disguise of a suit and tie.

But the Hulk's not the only one with captivity problems as, below ground, a trusty Rigellian Recorder's trying to break Adam Warlock free from the Man-Beast's imprisonment.

Despite him being evil, I do feel sorry for the Man-Beast. It seems like every time anyone draws him they change his appearance completely. Gil Kane's version on the Warlock strip bore no resemblance to Jack Kirby's, and Herb Trimpe's version bears no resemblance to either of them.

It's a shame really, as Jack Kirby's original version may not have looked anything like a wolf - and slandered the species disgracefully - but was genuinely sinister and threatening, a foe who could give Thor a run for his money. And it's hard not to regret the gradual watering-down of him to the somewhat cuddly and un-threatening looking version we're getting by this stage in his history.

But Counter-Earth isn't the only place where it's at right now because, while artists and writers might take liberties with the Man-Beast, Glenn Talbot's grasping his own liberty with both hands as he makes a dash for freedom from a Soviet prison in the Urals.

But is all as it seems? Despite having a moustache that screams, "pure evil," that prison doctor seems very keen that he should escape...

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