Comic Browser:


Marvel Graphic Novel #29: Review

Aug 1987
Jim Starlin, Bernie Wrightson

Story Name:

Hulk and Thing: The Big Change

Review & Comments

5 stars

Marvel Graphic Novel #29 Review by (June 28, 2022)

Review: A marvelous effort from an impressive creative team. Every Marvel fan knows Jim Starlin, creator of Thanos and his whole extended character galaxy; Berni Wrightson didn’t do that much for Marvel but his work on DC’s horror anthologies of the 1970s, plus creating Swamp Thing, makes him one of my all-time favorites. And together they present this sci-fi comic romp featuring the usually irritable Thing and the dumb as a rock Hulk against a band of off-planet bad guys. I never would have imagined that a story where Hulk and Thing don’t battle would be one of their most entertaining tales but here we are. As a bonus, we also get brief versions of their origins, not strictly necessary but still cool to look at from Berni. Aces all around. 

Favorite Line: On meeting the Thulcan Death Rob, Thing says, “I’ve never felt it was a good idea to turn my back on anything that has the word “Death” in its name.”

Comments: Two of the Yancy Street Gang members are Stanley and Jack, after their creators, Lee and Kirby. Hulk’s entrance is a parody of the intro to the 1950s SUPERMAN TV series and its radio predecessor. Alien names are based on puns: Mall Addy is “Malady,” Stamben Malelet is (likely) “Stamp and Mail It,” Fyletten Looset is “File It and Lose It,” and Maika Kopi is “Make a Copy” (Starlin seems to have been running out of ideas by that point).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Graphic Novel #29 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Thing is clouted in the head by a tomato hurled by a member of the Yancy Street Gang; he chases the kid and runs into two more gang guys with tomatoes. Then Thing is suddenly teleported elsewhere and the gang figures they scared him off….

In the desert, a sculptor is putting the finishing touches on his life’s work: a one-hundred foot tall statue of his hero, Ben Grimm, the Thing. Then the Hulk suddenly appears and smashes the statue to bits and prepares to smash the sculptor as well but he is suddenly teleported elsewhere….

The Watcher fills us in on the situation: Thing and Hulk have been teleported to Matriculon, a planet known for change and innovation. Bureaucrat Stamben Malelet has been chosen to deliver a legal document to inventor Mall Addy who has just discovered the latest big change in nutrition and the Bureau want to ensure that it is marketed fairly. Problem is, Mall Addy has been kidnapped by gangster Nasty McBurne, part of the infamous Banger McCrusher Mob and Food Outlet. Afraid to confront the mob, Stamben Malelet delegates responsibility by summoning Thing and Hulk, whom he has seen on television, from Earth. Stamben explains the situation, sedates Hulk so he will be relatively calm for the next 24 hours, and offers as their reward for delivering the document two wishes, including changing them back to their original human forms—or curing all disease or eliminating hunger on Earth. Thing has to talk Hulk into carrying out the mission (becoming Bruce Banner is not an incentive for him) and they head out, Mall Addy’s location being telepathically printed on their minds….

They thumb a ride on a spaceship transporting a load of vegan worm waste to the Biological Reclamation Center; the driver eventually recognizes them from television and ejects them from the ship and into the Reclamation Center. They walk out though a lot of muck and head across a swamp where they are challenged by a Thulcan Death Rob that tries to verify they are the agents of Stamben Malelet. It does and then opens up into a giant stilted version programmed to kill them; it is more than a match for the two Earth heroes. It pursues them until the land runs out and then it trips over Thing and crashes into the water, ruined. A short while later they fall into a hole that drops them into the midst of a huge gang of Banger McCrusher’s guards; Thing tries to reason with them and it doesn’t work; Hulk tries to reason with them and, after an hour and a half of the Hulk’s rambling discourse, they are all asleep, including Thing. The heroes find their way to where Nasty McBurne is holding Mall Addy and the hood refers them to his boss, Banger McCrusher who is a fifty-foot-tall combination of Hulk and Thing and much stronger than either of them. The two are knocked around, with the sedatives given Hulk preventing him from getting angrier and stronger. Eventually, Thing convinces Hulk that the bad guy called them crazy and together, “It’s smashin’ time!” and they clobber him. Thing hands the legal document to Mall Addy and they are instantly transported back to the Bureau. Stamben Malelet demonstrates what Mall Addy’s invention is: a smell and flavor enhancer, which Thing finds underwhelming. He asks them their wishes; Thing assumes Hulk won’t want a wish and decides to ask that they both be returned to their natural human forms but while he is pondering a second wish, Hulks asks for food and to be sent home….

They land in the desert with a mound of burgers beside them. While Hulk munches burgers, a disappointed Thing picks up a huge rock to drop on Hulk’s head….

Bernie Wrightson
Bernie Wrightson
Bernie Wrightson
Bernie Wrightson (Cover Penciler)
Bernie Wrightson (Cover Inker)
Bernie Wrightson (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Jim Novak.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Bruce Banner)

(Ben Grimm)


> Marvel Graphic Novel: Book info and issue index

Share This Page