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Incredible Hulk #146: Review

Dec 1971
Gerry Conway, Dick Ayers

Story Name:

And the Measure of a Man Is Death

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Incredible Hulk #146 Review by (February 15, 2010)
Gary Friedrich participates in the script.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Incredible Hulk #146 Synopsis by Sal Di Fatta
Our story begins with our emerald green hued champion (the Hulk!) crudely thrashing across the lonely hot arid sands of northern Egypt. He vainly tries to remember the events of hours past only to meet with bitter disappointment in the recesses of his darkly clouded brain.

Meanwhile, we briefly shift our gaze back to the United States Nevada desert where a new facility named Project Greenskin is being overseen from a distance by General Thunderbolt Ross, his daughter Betty Ross, psychiatrist Doc Samson, and Jim Wilson, the Hulk's sidekick. This is basically the latest in a long cavalcade of attempts to apprehend and restrain the quasi-human engine of destruction, the Incredible Hulk! The four figures stand discussing the undertakings and how the presidential party will pay the base a visit tomorrow, amid the faint rumble of cranes, bulldozers, and various other machinery. General Ross explains that although they all have done their best to aid Bruce Banner, the man within the great creature, there comes a time where there's a deeper duty than to just save one man's life. Jim Wilson, having heard enough of the General's compulsive talk, decides it's time to cut out, but not before hearing Betty make a reference to some sort of a light in the sky. However, this fact goes unheeded by the rest of the congregation.

Once again back at the desolate desert in the mysterious dunes of Egypt, we find the Hulk, still trying to gain his bearings and discover where he is and how he will get home. Just as he is unsuccessfully pondering this perplexity however, he is suddenly caught in the heart of a savage sandstorm that forcefully gusts in, catching the Hulk completely off guard! Disoriented and bemused, the green skinned behemoth thrusts himself onward through the fury of the massive whirlwind all around him, fiercely determined to somehow make it through! Within the full force gale of the howling desert hurricane, the Hulk glimpses a vision of Betty, his alter ego's lover, and realizing it is only an illusion, he whisks it away with the unbridled fury of a gargantuan thunderclap!

Back on American soil, we find General Ross puffing on his cigar while calmly relaying the presidential reception that will transpire at the base the following day to Samson and Betty. But then, suddenly the General's temperament changes and he begins to bark at Samson, stating that he's tired of just carrying around his dead weight, that he'd better make himself count. They are both clearly shaken by this, but Samson concedes with Ross mindset and says he understands.

Sitting on a boulder nearby, Jim Wilson deliberates why the General is acting so peculiarly when Major Glenn Talbot bursts onto the scene mentioning about the presidential events that will be taking place tomorrow. At first, Ross seems to have no knowledge of this but then he appears to recall as he and the Major depart. As Betty calls out to her father however, he seems not to notice.

Shifting locales again, we find the Hulk, six hours later in the middle of another discovery, as the winds have finally died down enough to make out the figure of a woman coming toward him.

Thinking it may be Betty at first, realization soon dawns as she gets close enough for the Hulk to see that she wields a machine gun---and she’s not afraid to use it!
She fires a barrage of bullets which harmlessly bounce off his thick skin but the resulting pain has made him angry! Advancing upon her, he menacingly bellows that is not going to take this abuse and that he doesn’t like to hit women, but maybe this time will be different…

We step back now to the Nevada base sequence again within the office of General Thunderbolt Ross as twilight falls. Ross forcibly orders Jim to get off the base (and basically out of his hair) via the special ride he has arranged for him. Soon after, as the transport vehicle carrying Jim Wilson glides along beneath the dark night illuminated by the moon, he begins to ruminate over the events of the past hour. Why had the general been so incoherent earlier?

And then, turning to gaze at the driver, Jim wonders why the expression and mannerisms of the military man seated beside him are so brazenly stoic. Jim then begins to panic, warning the driver as the speedometer begins to hit 70 mph, when he pulls out an intimidating ray gun and aims it at Jim Wilson telling him to keep quiet!

Returning to the sand laden hills of Egypt, we discover that the Hulk has followed the girl with the weapon only to find himself face to face with an army of Israeli troops. Certainly no stranger to often being besieged by the army and soldiers, the Hulk decides to stand his ground and fight, declaring his familiar catch phrase--- Hulk will smash! HULK WILL SMASH YOU ALL!!

At that moment however, a blast from the ray gun SMASHES it’s way into a suitcase which Jim Wilson uses as a shield, deflecting it back unto the stalwart driver! But that leaves the now unmanned vehicle careening toward the edge of the embankment upon which they had been traveling and hurtling over the cliff!

Jim manages to jump out and cling to the rocky ledge at the last moment, looking over his shoulder to see the car erupt into flames upon impact below!

Watching the fire engulfed wreck, Jim concludes that the man may yet still be alive and no one deserves to die that way! So playing good Samaritan, he descends the rocky precipice and upon reaching the smoldering burning mass, Jim makes a startling discovery! As the flesh melts away from his face revealing the machinery beneath, Jim Wilson sees that the man whom the General had sent with him was nothing more than an android!

We rejoin the Hulk’s plight in Egypt again, although thoroughly bewildered now by the sight of a whole battalion of armed women, the likes of which he has never before witnessed! Then, the gruff looking bearded male platoon leader snarls a command to open fire, and suddenly the whole desert is awash with the sound of raging gunshots! Challenged by what to do in the face of not feeling comfortable with fighting against women, the Hulk is caught off guard as he tries to sort it out.
But the time for that has clearly passed! Stomping his way into the fracas, the incredible Hulk attacks the male faction of the group! He heaves up a massive tank in one hand while smashing another into pieces as the occupants fly skyward, and proceeds to wreak volumes of destruction on the hapless Israeli army!

Holding an immense tank above his head, the Hulk spots the one who issued the order to fire and prepares to use the tank itself as a weapon! But then, reconsidering an objective made in the flurry of extreme annoyance, the Hulk drops the cumbersome attack vehicle to the side and leaps away. He realizes that further assault is senseless.

Much later, growing weary after hours of mile devouring leaps, the Hulk comes to rest at an airport in Tel Aviv. Before long, he sees a plane coming in for a landing, which he blatantly determines will take him home! Spotting the Hulk, the pilots try to pull up at the last moment, but the Hulk has already grabbed onto one of the right engines of the plane and hoists himself up to ride it cowboy style!

A message quickly goes out to the Tel Aviv airport to which, after contacting the U.S. Pentagon, the control tower responds that they have very special plans for the Hulk!

And miles away across an ocean and a continent, we find Jim Wilson at the door of “Thunderbolt” Ross with details of his amazing discernment! After “acting” surprised by his tale, the General vows to Jim that he will get to the bottom of whatever is going on. Slowly, Jim Wilson departs from the building, his nerves still jumping until he gets the revelation that General Ross was indeed the one who ordered the android to take him for a ride. Therefore, he must be behind the fiasco, whatever it may be! Running back to the building, Jim slithers into a basement floor window determined to uncover the reason why things have been so strange lately.

Brooding over exactly how that will be done, he makes his way down a corridor and into a dark room, looking for any clues to this mystery that he might find.
Once within the room, Jim Wilson gets the shock of his life as he sees two tubes encasing automatons of both President Nixon and vice President Gerald Ford! He bolts out of the room in light of this, determined to find someone he can show his startling discovery to so they will believe him! Conveniently (or maybe inconveniently), he runs into “Major Talbot” whom he pleads to come with him to reveal what he has found! But this proves to be Jim’s undoing as after pointing out the robots in the storage room, “Major Talbot” (who you probably already guessed isn’t Major Talbot) siphons away his deceptive disguise revealing the true features and towering green head of--- The Leader!

Jim flees in frantic terror! But “General Ross” stands ready to greet him with his gun drawn as Jim vainly tries to exit the room. Soon, Jim, the General, and the Leader all board a car bound for a destination deep in the Arizona mountains. As they pass via a secret entrance into one of the mountains, Jim is led to a holding cell where the rest of the base’s congregation (the real General Ross, Major Talbot, and others) have been jailed! Then, the Leader begins to recant the earlier events of the day, attempting to piece it together for the baffled assemblage. He explains that a spray emitted from his hidden ship had rendered the General, his daughter, Doc Samson, and Jim Wilson immobile and uncomprehending as it landed, and Ross was summarily replaced by an android clone!

Just then another robot enters the room squeaking a monotone message that the Hulk was on his way to the base. Our story concludes with the Leader triumphantly proclaiming that tomorrow before the president and vice president they will kill--- THE HULK!


Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:




Dick Ayers
John Severin
Herb Trimpe (Cover Penciler)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Betty Ross
Betty Ross

(Elizabeth Ross)
Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)
Doc Samson
Doc Samson

(Leonard Samson)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
President Nixon
President Nixon

(Richard M. Nixon)
Thunderbolt Ross
Thunderbolt Ross

(Thaddeus Ross)

Plus: President Gerald Ford.

> Incredible Hulk: Book info and issue index

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