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Hulk Smash Avengers #1: Review

May 2012
Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz

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Review & Comments

4 stars

Hulk Smash Avengers #1 Review by (March 14, 2016)
Despite Hulk getting 1st billing in the title of this series, the issues themselves seem only concerned with placing the events in Avengers continuity.

This issue says it occurs between the original Avengers #7 (where Enchantress and Executioner 1st teamed up with Baron Zemo) and #14 (strictly speaking #15 where the trio last strike and Zemo dies). But the MCP narrows it down to between #10 (Immortus teams up with the trio) and #11 (Kang sends a robot Spider-Man against our team).

The backup story in Avengers Classic #11 has Cap chatting to Spidey soon(?) after Av#11 itself, and ends with a call to arms as Enchantress has mind-controlled Hulk and sent him against the team. That makes sense as revenge for this issue. So putting this issue before Av#11 seems reasonable.

Hulk was a major player in the earliest Avengers stories. He was a founder member, and #1½ has been interpolated before he quit in #2. (There evil Space Phantom replaced him but his teammates just believed he'd gone bad.) The Avengers went after him in #3 where he teamed up with Sub-Mariner, and then followed him back to New York for Fantastic Four #25-26. He had Av#4 off (where Captain America joined), but then helped them against the Lava Men in #5.

He had some more interaction with the Avengers after that. Giant-Man and Wasp tried unsuccessfully to bring him back into the fold in Tales To Astonish #59. He, they and everyone else was in Untold Tales of SM Annual '97. And he popped up in Thor's strip in Journey Into Mystery #112 just before Av#10. After that MCP has him going into his own adventures in TTA.

It's actually difficult to reconcile the Hulk here with his regular apps in his TTA strip around this time. The Hulk there wasn't the cunning version seen here (he'd changed since his earlier days). He didn't spend his time bouncing around the desert - he was usually Bruce Banner working for the army. And the TTA storyline was a continuous affair leaving little room for extra adventures.

Bruce Banner of course became the Hulk saving Rick Jones from the effects of his Gamma Bomb. Rick then became his sidekick up to joining the Avengers. But as the team and Hulk part Rick stays with the Avengers and transfers his fickle affections to Cap. (But he'll switch allegiances back again in Av#17.)

Baron Zemo was inserted into Cap's WWII continuity in Av#4 as causing the death of Bucky and the suspended animation freezing of Cap. And then he miraculously appeared in the modern day in #6 where we learned of the hood glue event.

He formed a different Masters of Evil in that #6. But Enchantress and Executioner replaced the other lackeys in #7 after being banished from Asgard by Odin for their actions against Thor in JIM#103-104. The trio then featured in Av#9 and #10 as well.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Hulk Smash Avengers #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers with Rick Jones have tracked down the Hulk in the southwestern desert. They try to persuade him to return to the team, but he hasn't forgotten how they turned on him in #2. He doesn't respond to talk so on Captain America's signal Giant-Man, Iron Man and Thor pound him simultaneously while Wasp keeps out of the way. The 3 strong guys try to hold him until the army arrives with some special shackles designed by Tony Stark.

But Hulk kicks a rock at a looming cliff dropping an avalanche on Wasp. Giant-Man lets go, alarmed at his partner's peril, but Cap saves Jan. However this is enough to allow Hulk to break free and bound away.

In Baron Zemo's South American jungle fortress the Asgardian Enchantress has used her magic to locate the Hulk. Along with the Asgardian Executioner they are the Masters of Evil. Zemo wants revenge on Cap for getting his mask glued to his face in World War II with the Baron's invention Adhesive X. The others blame Thor for their banishment from Asgard. Zemo wants Hulk as insurance that his latest scheme against the Avengers will succeed.

Enchantress transports them to the Hulk. Zemo convinces him that the only way to get the Avengers off his back is to join forces and defeat them once and for all.

Meanwhile the hero team have joined up with the army to continue the search for the Green Goliath. Cap wants Rick to stay out of the way - he doesn't want to lose a 2nd partner (ie after Bucky). But the teenager is driven to do what he can to help Hulk because he's responsible for his creation.

Iron Man detects signs of Hulk's very recent presence . At the same time the army loses contact with its advance scout truck. Which comes crashing down onto their convoy. And the Hulk and his allies attack.

The soldiers leave it up to the superheroes to fight the supervillains while they ferry their injured out of the way. Executioner attacks Thor while Enchantress takes on Giant-Man and Wasp. Hulk and Iron Man square off, but while the Golden Avenger's power starts to run down the Hulk just gets angrier and stronger. That leaves Cap to face Zemo, the Nazi who killed Bucky. But the Baron sends a killbot against his foe, controlled from special gauntlets that make it ape Zemo's moves.

Wasp distracts Enchantress with her sting while her partner grows free of the vines Amora had entangled him in. The sorceress hits Wasp with a whirlwind, until the shadow of the extra-sized GM falls on her. But she counters him with another giant made of rocks.

It's Executioner's axe vs Thor's hammer as the Asgardian immortals battle on. Skurge is driven not just by the sting of banishment but by his love for Amora, who unfortunately has set her heart on the Thunder God. A final blow from Mjolnir sends the Executioner off the edge of a cliff into the river canyon below. But Thor flies down to save him from his fall.

Hulk starts to crush Iron Man's chestplate (without knowing that this is the thing most likely to kill him via his damaged heart). But Tony Stark desperately channels his remaining power into a repulsor blast to the face.

Cap is barely able to hold his own against the killbot. But he thinks he's spotted a weakness. When next Zemo sends the robot leaping towards his foe Steve Rogers dodges aside, and a slicing blow of his shield decapitates the 'bot. But slimy Zemo grabs Rick Jones as a hostage with a gun to his head.

That's a bad move. When Hulk recovers his sight he sees his pal Rick in danger. A fist-blow to the ground starts a tremor which knocks Zemo off his feet. As Amora magically guides her rockbot pummelling Hank Pym she's suddenly covered in ants. And Janet Van Dyne hits her with another sting. Skurge hears her scream and rushes to her side. Realising that the tide has turned against them, Enchantress magics the Masters of Evil away.

Hulk can't be bothered to keep fighting, and leaps away too. Thor wants to give chase but Cap, Giant-Man and Iron Man are knackered. Also their ex-comrade's concern for Rick Jones has struck a chord with Steve, and he thinks they should leave him be.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Ron Frenz
Sal Buscema
Nick Filardi
Lee Weeks (Cover Penciler)
Lee Weeks (Cover Inker)
Andy Troy (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)


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