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Incredible Hulk #182: Review

Dec 1974
Len Wein, Herb Trimpe

Story Name:

Between Hammer And Anvil

Review & Comments

4 stars

Incredible Hulk #182 Review by (June 2, 2020)
A sad story. On one end, Hulk loses a friend, a newly found one, but a friend, nonetheless. To make matters worse, he dies right in front of him and despite his famous might, he is totally unable to prevent it. The loss, the impotence, fills the mightier of the angry with a rage that makes the coldest of men bleed water from the eyes. Revenge does not fill the void, only time will do.

On the other end, a father-son tragic story. The son, enraged, disappointed and careless for his father due to a burning hate, fed from early days. When he needed his father, he was not present, he was away, not there for him. The father recognizes his fault and apologizes but is unheard by the son. Unfortunately, the son isn't able to see things differently now as an adult, he holds on to the feelings of a child, which makes him blind to see things in gray tones, to forgive his father who does care for him.

The father is guilty, he did abandon his family, at least for some time, searching for a dream, of becoming a famous musician, such would have benefited his family, financially. But, his selfishness, his prolonged absences, caused him to lose something much more important than a fortune, his very own son. And, instead of riches, he now owns a few pennies, some rags, in a lonely existence. Such would make any man go mad, and Crackajack isn't the exception. Why then befriend a large green-skin monster that appears from the woods in the middle of the night? Who in his right mind could do such that, and with a smile? None, except those who think with their hearts. Perhaps this world needs more of those.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Incredible Hulk #182 Synopsis by Julio Molina-Muscara
A Canadian chopper appears over the Hulk and Wolverine, ordering the later to get inside for failing in defeating the green behemoth. A gas bomb knocks the Hulk. Carrying him inside a cage, Hulk wakes up, frees himself and leaps away to freedom.

As he wonders the mountains, he hears someone playing a harmonica. His name is Jack Jackson, a gray-haired black man, former musician, now living alone in the woods. When the Hulk turns back into the forest, Jackson, alias "Crackajack", invites him to stay, offering the warmth of fire and beans. The Hulk stays and devours the food.

Meanwhile, inmates Johnny Anvil and Leroy Jackson alias Hammer run through the forest after escaping from the state prison. They're chained together, a joke played by a prison officer since they cannot tolerate each other. As they advance, they stumble upon a human-like alien with a large head; he is hurt. Jackson fires at him but the metal in those bullets fixes a system inside the alien's costume, saving his life. In appreciation, the alien uses a hand device to replace their regular chain with a thicker one he calls an energy-synthicon. With it, the criminals can slice a tree in half and feel as "strong as an army". The alien returns to his ship and flies back to space. And Hammer and Anvil run back to the prison looking for revenge.

Next day, after fishing together, Crackajack invites the Hulk to go visit his son, Leroy. It's a long walk. During supper, Crackajack teaches the Hulk to eat with a fork, and how to write his name with a stick. It's quality time, and both feel they have found a friend.

Meanwhile, in Hulkbuster Base, New Mexico, Colonel Armbruster orders his men to check on Glenn Talbot since he suspects something is wrong with him.

In the morning, a police black, due to the escapees, doesn't let Crackajack through. Hulk comes out from hiding and clears the way, throwing the patrols away. Minutes later, they are standing in front of the state prison. Crackajack reveals Hulk that his son Leroy is been there for five years and understands if he wants to leave. But the Hulk carries Crackajack with a leap inside the prison.

In there, Anvil and Hammer are fighting the guards. Hulk lands next to Hammer, who is Leroy Jackson, and Crackajack greets his son. But Leroy isn't happy to see him. His father was always away, playing music in bars when Leroy needed him. And such the son cannot forgive. Crackajack is sorry but his explanations are ignored by Leroy who wants to make lots of money with his new-found powers after destroying the prison. He won't be a poor man like his father.

As Crackajack begs forgiveness, he accidentally touches the energetic links, receiving a fatal discharge. Hulk believes Leroy had purposely killed his own father and charges against both. But they are barely stunned and fight the Hulk to a standstill. Closing on the Hulk's neck, he uses a great deal of strength to break the golden chain, causing them to go insane.

In the confusion, Hulk grabs Crackajack's body and with tears in his eyes, leaps away from the prison. After burying him, he carves his name on a tombstone remembering what Crackajack said, "a man ain't got nothin' if he ain't got his name."

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Herb Trimpe
Herb Trimpe
Herb Trimpe (Cover Penciler)

Editor: Roy Thomas.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Colonel Armbruster
Colonel Armbruster

(John D. Armbruster)

(Bruce Banner)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Anvil (Johnny Anvil), Crackajack (Jack Jackson), Hammer (Leroy Jackson).

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