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Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #7: Review

Feb 1978
Steve Gerber, Keith Pollard

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Story Name:

Night Of The Wraith!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #7 Review by (February 15, 2010)
This strange, philosophical tale with its abstract themes was not a one-time experimental fluke in its day. Comic writers like Steve Gerber (Howard the Duck, Man-Thing) and Jim Starlin (Captain Marvel, Warlock) were cranking out very similar avant-garde pieces that were philosophically-laden, and they made for very interesting and uncanny reading.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #7 Synopsis by Harold Holt
In the Balkan Mountains, Hulk throws a destructive tantrum while Rick Jones and Bereet try to calm him. His gripe is that he's tired of waiting for the Krylorians' next move; he wants to take the fight to them, but Rick and Bereet won't let him. Their efforts to hold the goliath in check are futile as the Hulk swats Rick aside. Bereet gives in to anger and vents all her pent-up frustration toward Hulk, who threatens to swat her as well if she doesn't shut up. Bereet reaches into her pouch, presumably for something she can use as a weapon, and a sudden explosion of light erupts. When the smoke clears, everyone is on the ground dazed, and a wraith-like apparition of "molten ectoplasm" rises out of Bereet's dimensional pouch.

The wraith immediately attacks Bereet by trying to phase inside of her, but Hulk draws its attention, engaging it in battle. Hulk learns that he cannot make solid contact with the wisp-creature as his every blow passes harmlessly right through his enemy. The wraith takes the Hulk's breath away, literally, then goes after Bereet again. She puts on her Banshee mask and allows it to expand around her and Rick as it transforms into her flying craft. Her craft protects them from the wraith-creature's attacks. The Hulk manages to land a solid blow against the creature which, in turn, tries to flee with the Hulk in pursuit.

Rick and Bereet learn of the wraith's origin from one of Bereet's living techno-art creations. The wraith is called the Soul-Shade, and it is the manifestation of the "mass creativity" that embodied each of Bereet's dead or destroyed techno-art creations. This manifestation, combined with the anger and frustration Bereet allowed herself to indulge, gave birth to the Soul-Shade. It seeks the death of its creator because Bereet failed to "protect the art" by indulging anger instead of expressing beauty and creativity.

Meanwhile, Hulk's battle with Soul-Shade has reached an ancient port city on the Adriatic Sea. At one point, the wraith inhabits the statue of a colossus which gives it a better edge against the Hulk, but it also gives the Hulk something solid to hit. After a lengthy battle, Hulk demolishes the statue, and the resulting blast knocks the Hulk out. The wraith flees with no one in pursuit, and the unconscious Hulk has become Bruce Banner. Banner is retrieved and revived by Rick and Bereet. After a brief discussion of their situation, Bereet comes up with a plan.

Later, the Soul-Shade terrorizes a clan of Gypsies and their traveling circus. Bereet and Dr Banner use the components of Bereet's dead techno-art creations to construct a gun-like device designed to focus Bereet's love and creativity into an energy force meant to cultivate, not destroy. When they encounter the Soul-Shade again, another melee ensues. When it's over, the Soul-Shade is gone, Rick Jones and Bruce Banner are out cold, and the frightened and superstitious Gypsies have seized Bereet. She is tied to a rock where she will be burned at the stake, for the Gypsies clan leader believes she is a witch that has caused all their misfortune.

Banner awakens and becomes the Hulk just in time to see Soul-Shade rise up from nowhere. As the wraith seeps into Bereet's flesh, she takes on a power-mad grin and a malevolent tone. Her body glows as she easily breaks free of her ropes then lashes out at the Hulk with all manner of attacks. During the fray, Hulk gets his hands on Bereet's "love gun," as Hulk calls it. With Rick's urging, Hulk uses the gun on the possessed Bereet. It has the desired effect, separating the wraith from the girl and siphoning away all the evil and malevolence.

Hulk becomes Banner again. He and his companions awaken to the sight of colorful trees and flowers that Bereet believes are the current manifestations of her dead/destroyed techno-art pieces. She cries and tells Bruce and Rick, "My dead creations have found a new purpose and a new resting place here on Earth."

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Keith Pollard
Jim Mooney
Jim Starlin (Cover Penciler)
Jim Starlin (Cover Inker)
Jim Starlin (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Bruce Banner)

Plus: Soul-Shade.

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