Tuesday, April 3, 2018

This Life Reclaimed!

After the successful joining of forces between the Hulk and the mighty Avengers which led to their second defeat of the Leader, the Hulk nevertheless found himself taken aback by the Avengers' offer to him to rejoin their ranks--an offer which seemed to make sense for all concerned, given how well the Hulk was able to work with the group now that the mind of Bruce Banner was in control. Indeed, all signs pointed to the possibility of the Avengers' offer being accepted, as smoothly as Banner (as the Hulk) was able to integrate within the team, with Banner himself pondering the thought of membership; in addition, the Hulk had finally been phased out of his long run in The Defenders, which increased the likelihood of his leaping over to Fifth Avenue and having his chair added to the Avengers' meeting room table.

But--did Bruce Banner feel he had the makings of a hero? And did he want to live as one?

As we follow up with Banner in the next issue, it would seem that he's already moved past such a life-altering decision, in favor of another one--reflected on within sight of a new edifice, where scientific study and not the ringing cry of "Avengers Assemble!" will preoccupy both his thoughts and his future.

But the ripples of Banner deciding on a new life for himself have also trickled down to Rick Jones, the other side to Banner's coin who was with him at the very beginning of the living nightmare known as the Hulk--yet the circumstances between the two men are very different.  Like Banner, Rick also faces something of a turning point in his life--but his options are few to none, as he realizes that his list of those to attach himself to is becoming a short one all too quickly.

Well, Rick, word has it that there's a spot open in the Avengers roster, and... good lord, what am I saying??


Artist Sal Buscema looks back at the Hulk's beginnings, and the events that preceded Bruce Banner's new lease on life.


Jared said...

I haven't reread this arc since they finally put it on Marvel Unlimited. That summary bit by Buscema is outstanding.

I have never thought the Mantlo/Buscema arc gets enough credit. I think it can stand with most of the great 80s runs. I think it is overlooked for two reasons. Peter David's run greatly overshadows it, even though Mantlo started a number of the ideas he gets credit for. The other reason it is overlooked is that Mantlo has been out of sight, out of mind for close to three decades while other contemporary creators have continued to appear at conventions and had celebrated special returns to their titles. Such a horrible tragedy what happened to him. Thanks for choosing from one of my favorite runs.

Comicsfan said...

You raise several good points on Mantlo, Jared--though I would disagree with you on his work on Incredible Hulk being overshadowed to any degree by more high-profile writers such as Peter David, given that David, Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, Len Wein, et al., like Mantlo himself, have each left a body of work on the book that stands out individually and all deserve their respective distinctions. Perhaps a more fitting word for Mantlo's might be "overlooked," since instances where he truly rolled up his sleeves and went the extra mile on the story (and there were a number of them, many of which are featured in the PPC) "stood out" rather than existed as part of the whole; instead, he often preferred to churn out tales one-by-one which featured the Hulk doing what he does best, while secondary characters were shuffled in and out frequently and often were simply there to react. (His work on Iron Man was much the same; contrast that with David Michelinie's work on that title, who with Bob Layton gave us an ensemble cast of characters that seamlessly blended in with both Stark and Iron Man and reshaped the book to make it a consistent must-read.) All of that said, I'll continue to happily feature Mantlo's stories here, and give credit where credit is certainly due. :)

Jared said...

I just think people tend to have the idea that Hulk had been terrible for so long before Peter David came along and saved a book. And I don't think most of David's ideas would have worked without the path Mantlo had laid (and I love Peter David's run).

Another reason why Mantlo is way overlooked is that some of his best work (Micronauts and Rom) has been unavailable in reprint form due to asinine licensing agreements.

George Chambers said...

For a literal illegal alien, Bereet's kind of a bitch here.