Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thing Smash!


With all the Hulk/Thing fights there have been over the years, it seems like one crazy excuse after another has been used to pull them off. But perhaps one of the craziest took place in the 1974 premiere issue of the Giant-Size line of books from Marvel. In that issue, Bruce Banner once again seeks out the Fantastic Four in order to help free him of the curse of the Hulk.

But Banner only finds the Thing in residence (red flag #1)--and while Ben Grimm offers Banner a badly needed rest stop and some coffee (gee, Ben, I'm not so sure you should be offering this guy a beverage loaded with caffeine), Banner learns of a device Reed is working on called a "psi-amplifier," which the physicist immediately realizes might help both himself and the Thing with their respective conditions (red flag #2).

Before you know it, Banner has constructed harnesses for both Ben and himself (red flag #3), which will transfer their energies (red flag #4) in such a way as to cancel each other out.

Mind you, this device has been constructed on the fly over a period of eight hours, by a guy who was already on the verge of exhaustion (red flag #... oh, heck, I've lost count... let's just say we're approaching Defcon 1). But it looks like we're finally ready:



And once Banner explains the basics of the procedure, he throws the switch.

Did I mention that Banner becomes really excited at this point about finally ridding himself of the Hulk?

RED FLAGS ALL OVER THE PLACE.



Frankly I think it was all of that caffeine. Nevertheless, Banner becomes:



And so the procedure is interrupted, with energy surges affecting both participants. And when the dust settles, Ben makes a shocking discovery:



Now, if Ben's mind is in the body of the Hulk, can you guess where the Hulk's mind ended up?



Way to go, Banner. When you mess up, you don't fool around, do you? You must be one of the most accident-prone people I've ever seen. At least the Baxter Building didn't go up in a gamma bomb blast.

So now we have our battle, though it's pretty one-sided right now since Ben isn't used to his new form and he's still trying to make sense of what's happened--while the Hulk, who has more of an act/react disposition, isn't in the mood to do anything but lash out at this enemy who's haunted his subconscious. And that gives "the Thing" an aggressive edge against "the Hulk" that has this match-up's shoe on the other foot for the first time:





But Ben finally gets his act together, mostly because he's no one's punching bag. And while he's at a loss as to how to resolve this situation, he at least has to defend himself:




Finally, the rest of the FF arrive on the scene, and understandably misinterpret things:




Gosh, Medusa--the last time I checked, you were wearing a costume--why aren't you moving to stop him?

Anyway, when Reed sees "Ben" wallop the Torch when he tries to intervene, and factors in the Thing's aggression combined with the Hulk's lack thereof, he starts to put two and two together. And you know Reed--when he does addition, just give him some tranquilizer and a syringe and he's good to go:



Fortunately for Ben, Reed does know what he's done. By triggering the Hulk's change back into Banner, Ben's mind is forced back into his own body. As for Banner, I imagine he'll be carted back to the Baxter Building, where Reed will give him a refresher in Science 101. And maybe a cup of coffee.


2 comments:

Matt Celis said...

Were I Ben Grimm, I'd gladly have hulk's body in place of Thing's. At least Hulk looks human, though green.

Kid said...

Who would've thought that the Hulk's near-impervious skin could be pierced by a mere syringe? You wouldn't catch out Superman with that approach.

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