Sunday, 3 October 2010

Incredible Hulk #178. Warlock reborn

Incredible Hulk #178, death of Adam Warlock, Man-Beast, Counter-Earth, Herb Trimpe(Cover from August 1974.)

"Triumph On Terra-Two!"

Conceived by Roy Thomas.
Plotted by Gerry Conway.
Scripted by Tony Isabella.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Jack Abel.
Lettering by A Kupperberg.
Colours by L Lessmann.

Anyone who read last month's issue'll know exactly what happens here. Having been executed last time out, Adam Warlock's placed in a cave, comes back to life, gives everyone a speech and then flies off into outer space to continue his good work, on other worlds. In between all this he takes time out to devolve the Man-Beast and his cronies back to the animals they once were.

It's definitely a comic of two halves. The bits that don't feature Warlock are entertaining, as the Hulk takes on the Man-Beast, and two people from the Justice Department rescue the real President and his sister from the villain's cells. The bits that do feature Warlock are terrible, dragged down by their clod-hopping sanctimony as we get the Resurrection by numbers. It's not just that it's story-telling without subtlety but also that the fact we know it's doing a beat-by-beat rerun of Christ's Resurrection means at no point are we surprised by anything that happens.

What is surprising - not to mention baffling - is the Man-Beast's behaviour. Having "killed" Warlock, the villain starts walking around in front of everyone in his true form, in the belief that, with Warlock out of the way, they'll all do what he says because he's the President. Why he should think the US military would happily launch into World War Three on the say-so of a creature they've never seen before - that's not even human, let alone the man the nation elected - is a total mystery and can only be put down to lazy and expedient plotting. The story really needed the duo from the Justice Department to uncover the truth and then convince the military of what's going on; not have the Man-Beast telling them, "Look at me. I'm evil. I want you to destroy your planet for me."

So, if we have Warlock being predictable and his nemesis being baffling, at least we can comfort ourselves that a somewhat misconceived tale's over and, happily, next month it's back to the real planet Earth and what the strip does best - two monsters hitting each other.

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