Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fatal Attraction


As you might have guessed by this post's title, this second appearance of Zzzax, the Living Dynamo, was slightly different in tone from his first. Oh, Zzzax is still obsessed with feeding on the energy of human brains, rest assured--but this time, there's something else in play besides hunger. The issue's cover gives us a little more to go on:



Yes--Zzzax is involved in a love triangle.
Only not the one the cover leads us to believe. (Thank goodness.)



Our love story story begins with the Hulk's first visit to Chicago, though thankfully he reverts to his less rampaging human form soon after arrival. And as fate (or scripter Len Wein) would have it, his need for cash leads him straight to the door of a research company that practically has "Zzzax" written all over it:



When we meet the researchers of Soul-Star, it becomes clear that these three scientists are the love connection we're looking for. Both Stan and Mark, friends since high school, are in love with Alexandria, though the lady only has eyes for Stan. Stan loves Alexandria, Mark loves Alexandria, Alexandria loves Stan. I don't know how they're going to sort all of that out--but at least all of them are in love with the project they're working on:



Heh heh. "Brain waves." The pieces are starting to fall into place, aren't they.

Of course, research is like catnip to a janitor, if the janitor's name happens to be Bruce Banner. So it's only a matter of time before Banner has to tidy up in the same chamber as our scientists, who just happen to have hit a wall on the project. Fortunately, their new janitor is fully qualified to assist:



Naturally, our three researchers are quick to invite Banner on board to participate in the project, their passion for science obviously overriding the alarm one might normally feel at realizing the guy who's the Hulk has been emptying your trash bins. They also seem oblivious to the real cause for alarm: Banner is wearing purple coveralls. Pfah. These are scientists, on the brink of a breakthrough. All that matters is pushing that final button. And thanks to Banner's participation, that moment soon arrives:



I should mention at this point that Mark, Stan, and Alexandria have also failed to ask Banner for his résumé, which is an unfortunate oversight. Because you and I could have told them that, whenever Banner is around sensitive equipment that's activated, sparks tend to fly and things generally end in disaster.



And since this little cannon of theirs was probing the sky for electrical psychic impulses, do I really have to tell you what it's snagged? None other than:




Stan manages to get Alexandria's helmet safely secured--but, not having time to see to his own, and since Zzzax was closing in on Alexandria to begin with, you can reasonably assume that Stan's moments of life are numbered. In the low digits.



Things don't look too good for the rest of the team, either, since Zzzax has blocked their only way out and he's still a very hungry monster. But, speaking of monsters, our resident janitor has realized that a broom and dustpan are going to be insufficient in saving his life:



But in the Hulk's attack, we learn that there's a new wrinkle to the makeup of Zzzax, thanks to the brain energy he's absorbed from the lovesick Stan:




And Stan must have been a huge fan of King Kong--because once Zzzax is on the loose outside, the monster heads straight to the John Hancock Center, with Fay Wray Alexandria still in his grasp and the Hulk hot on his sizzling heels.



"Zzzax climbzz--to plazze where girl belongzz only to Zzzax!"  Yes, I'm scratching my head at that questionable logic, too.  It's anyone's guess why Alexandria would belong to him only on the top of a building.  But when you're in love, everything you say makes sense to you on some level.

By the way, the Hancock Center for some reason looks boarded up and abandoned in the comic, so below is what it actually looks like:


One-hundred stories high, built in 1969 at a cost of $100 million.
You'd think the owner would want NO MONSTERS ALLOWED signs posted all over this baby.


The last time that these two battled, the Hulk really made little headway with Zzzax. I've never punched electrical current, but I imagine the impact I'd make would be negligible to the current--and so even as the Hulk lays into Zzzax but good here, it's still something of a stalemate between these two:







And so, as before, the only real hope of disposing of Zzzax rests with a little ingenuity as far as realizing the type of creature you're contending with and the conditions necessary to disperse it. And thanks to a storm, the rain, and a little resourcefulness from Mark, Zzzax's dreams of hooking up with Alexandria are about to go up in smoke.





The Hulk indeed is able to save Mark (though, honestly, if Mark can survive a helicopter exploding to bits, the man can surely survive a 100-story plummet), and so Mark and Alexandria are set to pick up the pieces of their experiment as well as explore a new relationship that may yet form between them--while the Hulk, as ever, wanders off in search of he knows not what. It's not likely to be anything janitorial.

Incredible Hulk #183

Script: Len Wein
Pencils and Inks: Herb Trimpe
Letterer: Charlotte Jetter

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Although many claim" who are these "many"?

Whatever happened to Fay Wray
That delicate satin draped frame
As it clung to her thigh
How I started to cry
For I wanted to be dressed just the same...except in purple.

The Prowler (the early bird gets to quote scripture).



Jonathan Hendry said...

realizing the guy who's the Hulk has been emptying your trash bins

Oh... hey... Bruce. Sorry about putting those 2/3 full coffee cups in the wastebasket. No hard feelings, huh?

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