Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Incredible Hulk #181. Wolverine & the Wendigo.

Incredible Hulk #181 Wolverine and the Wendigo Herb Trimpe(Cover from November 1974.)

"And Now... The Wolverine!"

Written by Len Wein.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Jack Abel.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by Glynis Wein.


Former British boxing legend Henry "Splash it on all over" Cooper once said a good big 'un will always beat a good little 'un, which shows he hadn't read this issue, as the newly introduced Wolverine knocks out the Wendigo in double-quick time. On the other hand, Wolvie does "Our Henry" proud by getting nowhere at all with the Hulk before he and the green-skinned one are zapped by a potion whipped up by Marie Cartier.

However, before she can transfer the Wendigo curse from her brother to the Hulk, Georges Baptiste takes matters into his own hands and transfers the Wendigo's curse onto himself, taking the wood-beast's place and sparing the Hulk.

It might be Wolverine's first full debut but it feels like a noticeably different character to the one we're used to. His speech patterns aren't the same and he seems to rely on agility and nimble-footedness to fight his foes as much as aggression. There's really little to tie him to the X-Man we're familiar with other than his name, his determination, and his willingness to wave his claws around at any opportunity.

As for his foes, maybe it's just me but I'm disappointed the Wendigo's easier to beat than the Hulk. Frankly I'd have been happy to see Wolvie failing to make any impact at all in his fight against either of them, leading to a three-way fight of total futility before Marie finally intervenes.

So it all ends unhappily, with Marie Cartier regaining her brother but losing the man who loves her. There's a lesson in here for us all, though I'm not totally sure how we should apply it to our own daily lives, but we can say that Georges Baptiste was the best of our little cast although the one least appreciated by those around him. And, if he were here right now, I'm sure that's a lesson Henry "Splash it on all over" Cooper would heartily endorse.

6 comments:

Hoosier X said...

I do not have the original comic book, but I do have the Marvel Milestone Edition for Hulk #181. Marvel published a bunch of these around 1999-2000. Marvel Milestones didn't just print the story, they also printed all the ads, the letters page and various other editorial junk, everything from the original comic book!

I have little to add to your comments on the classic story in #181. I do want to mention that I used to have #180, I believe I bought it for about $2 when it was four or five years old, and I have long been kind of fascinated/bewildered by Marie Cartier, her weird outfit and her bizarre plan to use Black Magic to transfer the spirit of the Wendigo into the Hulk. What is wrong with her!? Is she nuts?!? Or maybe in the Marvel Universe, French Canadians came to the New World with their pagan pre-Christian traditions intact, and Marie's behavior is considered perfectly acceptable in Marvel Quebec.

Aside from the story, the best thing in #181 is the letters page. The Marvel Value Stamp is #54, Shanna the She-Devil. There's a half-page ad for The Defenders #17 (apparently, Power Man is lending a hand!).

And, best of all, there's a letter from Mary Jo Duffy (of Wellesley College) really tearing into the Jesus symbolism in #177. "Now, my faith has been brutally murdered." She also uses the word "tasteless."

I don't think she liked it too good.

Anonymous said...

I've never had the pleasure to have owned or read Hulk#180 or the next two issues after that.I have to say that I've always liked the cinematic versions of Wolverine better than the comics.Hugh Jackman probably put more character and soul in the role more than he needed so.A great movie version of this comic story would be nice.It's been done in cartoon form,but would be a thrilling action film just the same.Liam

Anonymous said...

I wish the Wolverine Origins movie had this story in it. They would have sold millions more tickets if Hugh Jackman was fighting Ol' Jade Jaws. You'll never see another artist like Herb Trimpe, who drew the Hulk for 8 years. That's unheard of today. To me he defined the Hulk as I grew up in the 1970's.

Anonymous said...

I sold #181 as part of my collection. It was well read, however it got the seller to get another look at my comics so I could sell them and repair my car. I hated to part with that issue, however I still have my car to drive to work.

Anonymous said...

The yellow in the costume was a big turnoff for me. How could this guy be a tough Wolverine and have yellow as a dominant color in his wardrobe?

I did read the issue and loved it. It was dramatized in a company called Digital Comic Books on a CD Rom years ago. I don't know if you can find them on E Bay. It was a pretty good drmatic play with the comic book panels. The word I am looking for is motion comic. Marvel had made a few of these with limited success lately with Spider Woman.

The Cryptic Critic said...

Wasn't Wolverine given the yellow and blue costume because they were the colours of an American Football/ice hockey team that was around at the time that was called the Wolverines?

Admittedly, this could be something that I imagined.

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