Friday, October 4, 2019

Test At Your Own Risk

Over time, the limits of the incredible Hulk's power, like those of Wolverine's healing factor, have reached such levels that the notion no longer seems to apply. So with that in mind, it might be interesting to briefly look back and recall the instances where the Hulk's strength was still being charted, though the surprising aspect turned out to be that our pioneers in those instances were villains--who, granted, were serving their own ends more than science, but were also doing so at considerable risk to themselves.

No doubt the Leader was eager to explore the makeup of the Hulk, given that he, himself, was also affected by a freak gamma-ray explosion. But even the enhanced mind of the Leader was daunted by the sheer power of the Hulk.

The standards we've seen here--high voltage, temperature extremes, even gas--weren't always adhered to over the years, nor could they have been since there were so many stories that called for the Hulk's capture. But as the Leader notes, perhaps we can attribute that to his lab having limited resources to sufficiently conduct a thorough testing. A later joint army/scientific venture designed to capture and contain the Hulk, for instance, had better luck with subduing him with high voltage:

(That's what you get for building your lab in the middle of the desert, Leader.)

Then there was the Gremlin, whose facility in Siberia was provided by the Russin government and spared no expense to give this brilliant prodigy any resources he needed to facilitate his weapons research. In the Hulk's case, he sought to adapt the Hulk's strength and durability to his armored "super-trooper" forces, which of course called for rigorous testing.

In some cases, it's clear that the Gremlin was covering ground that the Leader had already touched on--though since both their bases were isolated as well as being separated by great distance, that's hardly surprising. What was unusual here is the premise that gas treatments would in effect ensure the Hulk's cooperation, which doesn't really add up. Why should he? In the Leader's case, the Hulk, partially in control of by Banner, was obliged to repay the Leader for surgically removing a bullet lodged in his brain--but the Hulk was a captive of the Gremlin, pure and simple.

Though circumstances would eventually deprive the Gremlin of even a cooperative Hulk.

Yet it was our old friend the Mandarin who would most effectively put the Hulk through his paces in order to receive a thorough demonstration of the Hulk's power and abilities--an easy thing to arrange, if you're willing to come under attack!

But if the Mandarin has underestimated his captive, if he believes that the Hulk is truly finished. (Though in all fairness, countless others have made the same mistake.) Fortunately, the Mandarin, like Dr. Doom, is one of those contingency villains who prepares for the possibility that his life might be at such risk as to come to an untimely end--and his preparation employs the same means used by Doom.

As we've seen, the Mandarin's tests have almost exclusively involved the use of brute force, even though his rings are capable of subjecting the Hulk to any number of threats which would simulate and even exceed anything found in a lab or other test environment.

By this point, with the Hulk overcoming everything that his foe has thrown at him, you may be wondering how the Mandarin gets out of this situation he's brought on himself, as even his last-ditch gambit of luring the Hulk into quicksand fails. Assuming that you haven't read the story, however, what would be your guess as to what the Hulk did to escape from that trap--and, secondly, what means did the Mandarin likely use to finally subdue him? (You might want to hurry--it doesn't look like the Mandarin has much time!)


dbutler16 said...

Interesting. I never knew that all those villains tested the Hulk. Talk about looking for trouble!

Does the Mandarin have a gas ring?

Comicsfan said...

Looks like it, dbutler (follow the link near the end of the post).

Big Murr said...

Has the Hulk ever faced Ultron, one on one? ie: the apex merciless force of nihilism made of adamantium? I cannot recall an instance.

I can't blame writers for not having a good plot around the much-ballyhooed irresistible force meeting the immovable object (that can fight back rather well in the bargain).

Tiboldt said...

It's a good thing that we have the internet now. Any villain who was wondering how much electricity the Hulk could survive just needs to go to the Leader's web site and it will have a rundown of all of the tests he has performed, though hopefully he's updated his measurement system to be more accurate than 'two giant electrodes worth.'

It will save on the repetition.

B Smith said...

Glad to know Major Talbot was up to speed on the requirements for slaughtering rampaging Visigoths - you never know when they're going to launch a sneak attack on you.