4 Nov

Hey guys, Mike here: I was telling Jeff when he sent this to me that I FINALLY got him beat on a series: my first three comic books included Incredible Hulk #215, which I still own to this day. Although Jeff wasn’t a huge fan of this issue, this title had a number of good issues in 1982-1983; my personal favorite is #278, in which the Hulk (with Bruce Banner‘s mind) receives amnesty from the President for his past crimes. Good stuff!


My First Issue of Hulk

Incredible Hulk 270 cover

The Incredible Hulk #270

April, 1982

by Jeff Polier
            This is one of those situations where my wife just can’t believe the kind of things that I remember. The first Hulk comic I can remember was at the barbershop my dad has gone to since before I was born (and still does). Never mind that it is on the opposite side of the city. Dad would still travel back to Milwaukie (Oregon, that is) where he grew up just for his haircut. If I was lucky, I was allowed to go with Dad. Not that his barber was my barber but it was pretty rare to have the opportunity to do something with him. In addition to the usual barbershop waiting room magazines there was a single comicbook. This comicbook.
            “The Goliath, the Gargoyle, and the Galaxy Master!” was written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Sal Buscema. The cover, by Milgrom & Mitchell, is pretty trippy. The Hulk is floating in space. Some weird red mouth thingy is firing an energy blast at the Green Goliath. There are several floating stone platforms and one of them has four aliens on it. A black sun “shines” in the sky.
            The issue starts with Rick Jones bombarding himself with Gamma radiation. Why? Beats the heck outta me. A flashback shows that Banner was (again) trying to cure himself of the Hulk. Betty supported his position but Rick wanted him to be a brilliant scientist with a super strong body. Then aliens came to abduct the Hulk, Banner transformed, and the aliens succeeded in making off with the Hulk. Why did this lead Rick to trying to become a second Hulk? Still no darn idea.
            The machine in Banner’s lab has been radiating Gamma for ten minutes. Rick is in terrible pain. He’s glowing green and Betty is scared to death. Unable to just turn off the machine since, of course, the off switch is in the radiation chamber with Rick. Instead, she uses a chair to smash the machine powering the Gamma machine. Betty is worrying that Rick needs a hospital and might die when a bikini-clad chick in a Mohawk helmet arrives. She is Bereet, a movie maker from another planet.
            Meanwhile, in outer space…The Hulk is on the ship of the Hulk-Hunters. These “Hulk-Hunters” are the same aliens who abducted him and were standing on that floating platform on the cover. These, um, guys (I think they are guys) all seem to hate the Hulk but need his help. Some monster called Ravager goes through solar systems and softens up any defenses. Ravager is then followed by the Galaxy Master, a being who then eats up all the power of the system. It takes the arrival of the Empress that they serve to keep the Hulk-Hunters and the Hulk from destroying the ship they are on.
            The Empress explains the menace again but somehow gets through to the Hulk. He agrees to fight with the others against their common foe. The big red mouth thingy from the cover is the Galaxy Master. Hulk has already beaten the creature once before (in #112, according to the caption). The ante has been upped, thought, and Galaxy Master is far more powerful than when Hulk smashed him before. It also turns out that Hulk has faced the Galaxy Master’s Ravager, too. He’s big. He’s green. The top of his head looks like an upside down egg carton. Yep, the Ravager is the Abomination. Of course, Hulk has been kicking his can for years, too. Let’s face it: Hulk is strongest one there is!
            The starship approaches the Galaxy Master. The Hulk-Hunters are sent outside the ship to face the giant red mouth thingy while the Hulk is teleported to the Abomination’s location. The planet that the Abomination is on is in ruins. Well, the area we can see is in ruins. They fight. The Abomination’s power level has been boosted but he makes Hulk angry enough that Hulk can holding his own.
            The Hulk’s victory over the Abomination has affected the Galaxy Master. The Hulk-Haters are suddenly having an easier time in their battle against the giant red mouth thingy. Not an easy time—just an easier time. The Galaxy Master pulls the Hulk and Abomination—and a chunk of the planet they were standing on—into space. He must’ve pulled a bubble of air with them, too, since the combatants a) are speaking and b) aren’t, y’know, dying of asphyxiation.
            The good guys—such as they are—trade opponents. The Hulk-Haters take on the Abomination whilst Hulk tackles Galaxy Master. The Galaxy Master tries some shape-shifting, trying to find a form that the Hulk can’t tackle. When that proves fruitless, it tries to attack Hulk with Gamma rays. Yeah. Great plan there, oh Galaxy Master. Why don’t you use some water to attack the Pacific Ocean while you’re at it? The Gamma rays reflected back at the Galaxy Master weaken it. The Hulk jumps into the monster and both disappear from the universe.
            With his master gone, the Abomination high-tails it. The universe is saved, one of the Hulk-Haters is dead, and both the Hulk and the Galaxy Master are gone.

I’m not very fond of the story. The “Hulk smash” version of ol’ Greenskin doesn’t appeal too much to me in the first place. In this story, the Hulk was pretty much just a weapon being used by the Empress. She pointed him at the enemy and he did all the grunt work. Nobody in the story had any growth as a character. Mainly, this issue is important to me because of my personal history with it, not for the story itself.



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