Friday, January 27, 2017

The Incredible Huik - Avengers Assemble!


Following the cancellation of his own comic, the Hulk was tapped along with Iron Man, Thor, and Ant-Man and the Wasp to form Marvel's second super team, The Avengers.


Now admittedly the Hulk is an odd fit and that's really the nut of the story in the debut issue of the Avengers as Rick Jones in an effort to once again help his friend Bruce Banner attempts to call the Fantastic Four, but thanks to the malicious interference of Loki, the God of Mischief the message doesn't reach them, but instead makes its way to the heroes referenced above. They gather to stop the menace of the Hulk (who has weirdly been hiding in a circus) and fight.


Loki reveals himself eventually and the heroes realize the error of their ways and offer the Hulk a seat at the table with this new team. Surprisingly he accepts.


But it's only for a short time because with the second issue of The Avengers, the Space Phantom appears and using his powers to imitate anyone he causes discord among the Avengers and especially with the Hulk who already feels (with reason) that his allies don't trust him.


After the Space Phantom is defeated, the Hulk calls out his fellow Avengers and departs.


That sets up one of the greatest comics in all of Marvel history with cameos by Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. In the third issue of The Avengers, the Hulk, after leaving the team, is recruited by Namor the Sub-Mariner and the deadly duo lure the Avengers into a battle royale on a distant island. But their alliance ends when the two come to blows and the whole plan comes apart. This is a battle fest, one of the most ferocious in the long history of the company and a story which told today would occupy at least a year's worth of long-winded boring comics, but in the heyday of the Silver Age was a vigorous single issue.


It's clear that The Avengers in many ways replaced The Incredible Hulk series and that his saga is the core of the early days of the team. Finding him brings them together and his leaving forms the basis for several of their earliest adventures. It also serves to bind the new Marvel Universe together as we see increasingly that these are not merely heroes in discreet corners of a wide world fighting menaces, but rather all part of a single world and likely interact without notice. It's this special magic that is one of the cornerstones of the MU's success.


To be Hulkinued as the Fantastic Four enter the fray yet again.

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2 comments:

  1. It's funny how Hulk "didnt work" alone in those first six issues, but the immediately following issues where he is part of the larger Marvel Universe are all classics.

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  2. It's amazing how the Hulk's stature was elevated during this period. Not coincidentally, I feel that Namor was diminished when they gave him his own series. They're both at their most powerful here.

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