Thursday, 14 October 2010

Incredible Hulk #186. The Devastator.

(Cover from April 1975.)

"The Day Of The Devastator!"

Written by Len Wein.
Art by Herb Trimpe.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by Glynis Wein.

To know know know you might be to love love love love you but to know know know Betty Ross is to court complete and total disaster. If you’re not blown up by a Gamma Bomb, you’ll be blown up by a bomb hidden in your body and if you’re not blown up by that, chances are you’ll be blown up by a Soviet agent.

While Betty frets over the explosive death of her husband, the entire Hulkbuster Base comes under attack from Soviet cats-paw the Devastator. He’s there to destroy all evidence connected to the death of Glenn Talbot, by flattening the place. Sadly, despite his endless boasting, he’s not destined to go down in the annals of Comic Book History, as his power has to be beamed at him by his communist paymasters and he manages to blow himself up at the tale’s climax.

With such a short-lived villain, the real meat of the tale involves the relationship between Betty and her father as they have a heart-to-heart over everything that’s happened to them over the last few years. Interesting that Thunderbolt Ross, once the most one-dimensional of creations, has become by far the strip’s most interesting, sympathetic and complex character.

Speaking of complex, Glenn Talbot’s out to prove he’s got more twists and turns than a conger eel on a log flume. No sooner have we all got over him blowing himself up than it turns out it wasn’t him at all. It was an impostor, which means the real Glenn Talbot may still be alive.

One thing you can say about Betty Ross. She might be deadly but at least life’s rarely dull for those around her.


Hoosier X said...

I've never read #185, but I bought #186 at a used bookstore when it was only a year old. (And for a comic book purchased at a used bookstore, a comic book that had never seen the inside of a comic-book bag, it was in great shape!) I had it until about 2004 when I sold most of my Hulk collection.

I really love this one. I think most of it's because I had it for so long, but I also recall being fascinated with the autopsy scenes on "Talbot" and Armbruster. As I recall, the pathologists are in the morgue, elbow deep in the dirty business, while the Destructor is blowing up the Hulkbuster base and fighting the Hulk. I think there's a scene where one guy says, "What's going on?" and the other guy says, "We can't stop now" or something.

I thought it was a cool idea that a Talbot imposter had gotten on the base and blowed himself up! (Of course, I knew Talbot wasn't dead because I was reading the regular Hulk series at this point.)

This issue was also the first time I heard of Armbruster. At some point, I must have acquired one of his other appearances and said, "Hey. That's the guy that got blown up with the Talbot imposter."

And I also recall that scene with General Ross and Betty. It was a lot of water under the bridge that I didn't know too much about at the time. Still, one of the better moments between these two long-term Hulk stalwarts.

Aaron said...

Little did the Devastator realize how true it being his "day" really was...

Don Hudson said...

Love Trimpe's art, not so much the writing.

Anonymous said...

I distinctly remember this issue. It's when I became a full fledged Herb Trimpe Hulk fan. I only wish that Marvel didn't put him on G.I. Joe and Transformers. It might have been interesting to have Hulk battle or team up with them. Marvel at the time was producing animated series of Joe and Transformers at the time. I remember hoping that somehow the Marvel characters would cross over into that universe.

Anonymous said...

Why couldn't Trimpe have been put on another book to showcase his talents? I never understood as to why he was taken off the Hulk. If you look at his work there is nothing wrong with it. So I can't understand powers that be took him off the book. If the sales weren't there it was because the stories needed a new direction.

The Cryptic Critic said...

It's true that no other strip (except the Son of Satan) suited Herb Trimpe's style as well as the Hulk.

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