Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The 5-In-1 Threat!

With an introduction like this, you simply don't waste time with preamble!

Billed as "the 5-in-1 threat," the Quintronic Man has been rolled out to deal with none other than the incredible Hulk, currently rampaging through the streets of New York and meeting not-so-heavy resistance from local police forces whose weaponry might as well consist of sling shots when faced with such an adversary. Designed for interstellar exploration by Stark International, apparently its five-man team suddenly got the word that they were being mobilized to take the unit into combat with the Hulk. And while you and I might have responded with, "Whoa! That's not anywhere in the vicinity of our job description, bub!", these men look like they were just waiting to get the call, don't they?

No, suffice to say that I don't know how the Quintronic Man adds up to being a Hulkbuster. These men aren't combat specialists--they're technicians training on this thing to explore alien worlds. How would you like to be in one of those pods back at the lab, checking your (I don't know) soil sampler, and then suddenly find yourself getting orders to take on the Hulk? In a unit that's still in the testing stage? I wouldn't exactly be feeling gung-ho about approaching a bruiser who's been known to toss around tanks and planes like marbles.

But let's see how these guys do, with presumably no fighting experience whatsoever under their belts, adapting this construct for combat mode when it was designed for things like atmosphere analysis and mining. (Unless Stark designed it for attacking any aliens it might encounter outright--you never know with that guy.) Given that we've got a 30-page story to fill, I have a feeling the Quintronic Man might surprise us!

Uh oh--dissension in the ranks already. That's understandable, considering that they're a little green as a fighting unit. On the other hand, how cool is it to hear things like "Right arm, attack!" Van Dyke will just have to suck it up.

We'll see a little more tension among these fellas, though it's probably to be expected considering they're getting their combat training on-the-job. Amazingly, they seem pretty confident that they'll be able to take the Hulk into custody in no time; in those shielded pods using their monitors, it must feel to them like they're at the controls of a sophisticated Xbox setup (though that's still about 25 years off). But the Hulk isn't exactly going to make it easy for them.

Well, Jim Wilson and On-The-Spot News seem to think the Quintronic Man is going to total the Hulk, don't they? We have to at least assume that those retro-rockets are going to incinerate the Hulk's clothing, though I don't think we're ready for that level of realism in comics yet. (And On-The-Spot News would definitely have to cut to commercial.) But if, shock of shocks, the Hulk's pants should come out of that barrage of flames completely unscathed, we'll have to send a tactfully-worded note to Tony Stark that his retro-rockets need work--particularly if they're firing on all thrusters and yet failing to move the Quintronic Man one inch from where it's lying on the street.

By the way, who's this guy, making his first full-color appearance in comics?

Yes, the Jack of Hearts, who won't arrive in time to steal the Quintronic Man's thunder--assuming there's anything left of the Hulk at this point for the 5-in-1 threat to threaten. There's not much left of the street, certainly--but as for the Hulk, well....

Gee, it looks like Right Arm... er, McCord is going to be put on report! Insubordination is definitely something that could cripple a unit that's supposed to operate by coordinating its five human components. And what's this about Stark ignoring a report on an unstable man who could have access to the controls of a formidable armored unit? Wasn't Kevin O'Brien (the Guardsman) enough of a lesson for him in that regard?

But all of this bickering only irritates the Hulk, who leaps once again to the attack. As for the Quintronic Man, its team finds that differences can be set aside, when your lives are on the line.

With the Hulk sedated for the time being, the Quintronic Man accompanies a convoy that begins transporting the brute to what's likely going to be a military unit which will take custody of him. But Jim, who's suspected of having some connection with the Hulk, has also been included on the trip for later questioning--and, concerned for the fate of his friend, he takes matters into his own hands. Or, rather, the steering wheel:

Fortunately, there are no fatalities in the crash; but if the Hulk has his way, the Quintronic Man is going to need an oversized body bag after their next and final encounter. As it happens, however, the construct's coordinator hands the Hulk the means to bring about its own defeat.

We have to give the Quintronic Man points for toughness, to survive direct hits from a powerhouse like the Hulk with only minimal damage. (Though it wouldn't be so fortunate remaining intact under the fall of a collapsing building.  How is a building more destructive on impact than the Hulk? Beats me.) As for the Hulk, he gathers Jim and leaps away, having no interest in seeing to the Quintronic Man's crew now trapped under rubble and debris. At least they were all rendered unconscious by that gas--otherwise they'd probably still be bickering under there.

But they'll be all right, thanks to a late arrival who has every intention of taking up where the Quintronic Man left off.


Incredible Hulk #213

Script: Len Wein
Pencils: Sal Buscema
Inks: Tom Palmer
Letterer: John Costanza


Anonymous said...

That right arm was one bad apple.
Yeah, the Q-Man was pretty tough, actually. But I think the gas blowback was the best way for them to be defeated; any other scenario probably would have resulted in all five guys being horribly killed as the Hulk methodically dismembered the entire robot.
So Jack is going to start his career out by taking out the Hulk. Ah, the over-confidence of youth.
This post made me laugh!

Comicsfan said...

Then my job is done, M.P.!

George Chambers said...

Sure can tell the Quintronic Man is a Tony Stark creation. The immobile face on a machine that already had five people inside it could only have been made by the same guy who put a nose on his helmet in the misguided belief it would terrify his enemies.

Comicsfan said...

Good lord, George--I just noticed that the Quintronic Man has a nose, as well. Maybe Stark wanted this thing to scare the heck out of aliens, after all!