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Hulk Smash Avengers #3: Review

May 2012
Roger Stern, Karl Moline

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Story Name:

Once an Avenger ...

Review & Comments

4 stars

Hulk Smash Avengers #3 Review by (March 22, 2016)
This issue tells us it lies between Avengers #227 and #228, and Hulk #280 and #281. This issue's writer Roger Stern was the scripter of the Avengers at that time.

The clues that fit this issue exactly in the Avengers timeline are that Captain Marvel joined the team in #227 and Tony Stark is finishing his cerebral scanner in #228 as Henry Pym's trial starts.

Similarly for the Hulk the Leader's Humanoids kidnap Rick Jones and Bereet in his #280 and he flies the Avengers quinjet to rescue them in #281.

Tony Stark's guilt over Janet Van Dyne and Av#224 is not so much that he dated her when she was vulnerable but that he didn't tell her he was Iron Man right away.

Hulk will rescue Rick Jones and Bereet in his #281. He'll move into Avengers mansion in #282 and he and the Avengers will defeat the Leader in #283-284. At the end of that last issue Wasp will offer him Avengers membership again. But at the start of #285 he'll decline in favour of continuing his life as a scientist.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Hulk Smash Avengers #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
(Scattered through this issue is a discussion between a couple of artists outside Avengers Mansion. Their comments clue us in to a lot of what's been happening in the Hulk and Avengers' worlds lately. And the dedication at the end of the issue clues us in to the fact that they are representations of Mark Gruenwald and John Buscema.)

The new Captain Marvel and trainee Avenger (since Av#227) Monica Rambeau zaps in to the Mansion at light speed from New Orleans. Apparently Hawkeye asked her to pop in and join him in the gym. When she gets there she finds him in a practice session - he invited her here to cause a distraction, and prove to himself it wouldn't put him off his stroke.

Since she's here now CM decides to continue her research on her deceased predecessor. This time she comes across a reference to a fight between Mar-Vell and Hulk (with the cover image of CM#21 on the screen). This leads her to the Hulk's history with the team:- being a founder member in Av#1; quitting after the Space Phantom debacle in #2; teaming up with Sub-Mariner against them in #3; helping them against the Lava Men in #5; and the incident with the Masters of Evil in #1 of this series. And the artists mention that Hulk's now a hero and been pardoned by the President (Hulk #279).

The artists also mention that Wasp now leads the Avengers (since #217), and she's recruited She-Hulk (#221). We join that pair relaxing at a spa, until Jennifer Walters hits a raw nerve when she mentions Jan Van Dyne's recent (#224) fling with Tony Stark.

At Stark International's Long Island site Thor uses his lightning to recharge some power packs for Stark. Tony is desperately trying to complete a cerebral scanner which he hopes will prove Henry Pym's innocence at his upcoming trial. He is driven by guilt over how he treated Jan (#224 again) so soon after her divorce from Hank.

Meanwhile Captain America is helping SHIELD fight Hydra when he sees Hulk leaping past. He knows that Bruce Banner is in control of Hulk these days, but he heard about Banner getting Hulk-angry with journalists in a restaurant (Hulk #280) and he hopes this isn't a bad sign.

Hulk's leaps take him to Avengers Mansion where he's attacked by the automatic security system. It also sends out an alert to all the current team-members. The Jolly Green Giant of course makes short work of the defences. Captain Marvel zooms out to calmly confront him, but he doesn't believe she's CM or an Avenger. Luckily he does recognise Hawkeye. Unluckily the impulsive archer immediately attacks with sonic arrows. A patented Hulk handclap deals with him, but then Cap leaps the compound's wall on his motorbike.

However Steve Rogers as usual thinks before acting, and Hulk is able to say he came for help. He's just been attacked by the Leader's Humanoids. As if to verify his claim some of those very Humanoids rise up from the ground around him, growing from microspores that he must have carried from the previous battle site.

As the Humanoid horde multiplies the Avengers are joined by Iron Man and Thor, and then She-Hulk and Wasp. But all their efforts seem useless as the elastic Humanoids just absorb blows and blasts.

In the midst of the fray Bruce and Jan hatch a plan to overload the foe. Wasp orders everyone to fight free of the mob. Then Captain Marvel corrals the Humanoids in a tightening noose of light energy while the heroes with super-strength push them closer together. Cap and Hawkeye keep their heads down, and Wasp flies out to tell the crowd of civilians to do the same.

When they've got the Humanoids in as tight a bunch as possible CM hits them with an intense energy pulse. And they all vanish. Everyone congratulates her, including the cheering crowd.

Afterwards Banner tells them that the Leader sent some Humanoids to kidnap Rick Jones (Hulk #280 again). Cap offers their aid to rescue the honorary Avenger (and Cap's sometime partner). But Bruce knows that Leader is just using Rick (and Bruce's alien girlfriend Bereet) as bait to get him. All he wants is the use of a quinjet to get to the villain's orbital base. The Avengers comply with his wishes, but are ready to back him up if required.

In a final scene with Captain Marvel about the tendency for super-heroes to get into fights with each other, Captain America confides that Iron Man once mistook him for Chameleon (Tales Of Suspense #58).

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Karl Moline
Jay Leisten
Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Lee Weeks (Cover Penciler)
Lee Weeks (Cover Inker)
Andy Troy (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Clint Barton)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Jennifer Walters)


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