Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cry Hulk! Cry Havok!

Judging by the ruins of this splash page, the first real test of the new Hulkbuster Base as a research/containment facility for the incredible Hulk is a washout:

The Hulk has just been in a pitched battle with a being called the Inheritor, a failed experiment of the High Evolutionary--and now, in the sub-levels of the base where radiation-draining equipment ended the Inheritor's rampage, the Hulk attempts to evade the armed forces which seek to recapture him. And more than that--he seeks his freedom!

News, however, travels fast, whether good or bad--and when it concerns Congressional funding for an armed base which botches the job it was created for, the news is looking worse by the minute:

Yet the Hulk cares about the allocation of taxpayer funds about as much as he does about the unfortunate ant that happens to find itself beneath his foot as he comes crashing back to Earth after one of his mile-devouring leaps. Especially this day, when he believes he's spotted his lost love, Jarella, in the distance and leaps to intercept her--and the ants, in this case, being a motorcycle gang whose members picked the wrong place and the wrong time to harass Lorna Dane of the X-Men:

With the Hulk frantically searching for the woman whose green hair reminds him of Jarella, Lorna continues on foot to meet with the man she travelled here to find--Alex Summers, otherwise known as Havok, who has isolated himself in this patch of desert in order to keep his destructive power in check. Power which only needs the woman he loves placed in harm's way to be unleashed:

The reunion is short, with Alex refusing to accompany Lorna back to the X-Men in order to begin training to control his power. And when Lorna races from the hovel in tears, a certain man-monster finally arrives and misinterprets the scene. With Lorna now in potential danger, Alex has all the incentive he needs to re-don his special suit which the man known as Havok needs so that he can hopefully avoid living up to his name:

It doesn't make matters any easier when the Hulk realizes that Lorna is not Jarella--nor when he spots an Army jeep in the vicinity and believes that Lorna may be in collusion with the soldiers who always hound him. It's a challenge of restraint for the Hulk--as well as a baptism of fire for Havok.

At this point, it's easy for any of us to advise Alex on what he did wrong in trying to put a lid on this situation before it got out of hand. It's clear he earnestly wanted to avoid a fight; however, when mixing your earnest words with insulting name-calling and challenges which might as well have ended with "...or else!", the Hulk is only going to react one way. So does anyone want to take a guess at how he's going to react by hearing Alex suggest that he should just quit?

However Alex might have answered that, he probably wasn't prepared for a reaction like this:

With Lorna's life on the line, and with Havok the only thing between her and certain death, Alex straightens up and sets to the task of controlling his runaway power enough to both tame the Hulk and save Lorna. It's the textbook definition of an "impossible situation"--but with Charles Xavier likely waiting back at his school with a truckload of demerits for Alex should he fail, the impossible yields to resolve and, this time, the right choice of words.

With his accomplishment here today, Alex decides to accompany Lorna back to Xavier's and give further training a shot. As for Banner--well, given how precariously that mesa is balanced, let's hope his sleep isn't a fitful one, eh?

Incredible Hulk #150

Script: Archie Goodwin
Pencils: Herb Trimpe
Inks: John Severin
Letterer: Sam Rosen

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