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Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #12: Review

Dec 1978
Doug Moench, Ron Wilson

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Story Name:

The Color of Hate

Review & Comments

2 stars

Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #12 Review by (February 15, 2010)
So many elements of this story are politically incorrect in today's world from the crude racial slurs to the police shooting someone in the back. Interestingly enough, it was not strange during the late 60s or the 70s to see racial themes play out in comic book stories. In the late 60s, Roy Thomas's Avengers encountered the Sons of The Serpent, an organization of racist-extremists, and the 70s saw The DEFENDERS battle that very same group. The Marvel comic Jungle Action depicted the Black Panther's struggles with the Ku Klux Klan. However, grounding this particular HULK story to such realistic issues seemed to strip away the sense of adventure established in many of the b/w RAMPAGING HULK tales preceding it.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #12 Synopsis by Harold Holt
The performers of the Torrence Traveling Carnival sadly contemplate their plight after the arrest of Mr. Torrence, the carnival owner. Though all of them are penniless and drowning in debt, Bruno the Strongman is the angriest of all as he blames the Hulk for their sorry state of affairs. After chancing upon a newspaper ad seeking "--strong physical specimens," Bruno leaves the gloomy setting in a huff.

Meanwhile, the Hulk is leaping through the streets of Chicago when he notices a dispute between cops and some black teenagers. The uniformed cops remind the Hulk of General Ross' soldiers, so he sides with the teenagers, believing the police are trying to "--hurt ones who look different." After the frightened cops flee the scene, Hulk's efforts are applauded by the teenagers.

Some time later, Bruno arrives in Chicago and locates the Life Science Institute, the company that placed the ad. He rudely and belligerently convinces Dr. Cranston, the head of the institute, that he is capable of fulfilling the ad's requirements; Cranston reluctantly agrees. Bruno soon finds himself a test subject for an Exo-skeleton Dr. Cranston has been developing. Meanwhile, Dr. Banner's exhausted body is discovered in an alley by an elderly black man who takes Banner in. Time passes as Banner and his aged benefactor find themselves engaged in a discussion about racism. Bruce Banner keeps insisting that the old man's fears are illogical: "It can't really be as bad as you say." The man tries to convince Banner to stay until nightfall so that when he departs, the neighborhood teens won't notice his white face. Banner is told, "These kids around here got to be tough and mean cause they're black, and when they see you, they won't see nothing but white." Sure enough, when Banner and the old man take to the streets, they are attacked by a hostile group of teenagers. The youngsters immediately launch several crude racial slurs toward both Bruce and the old man. When the old man is assaulted, Bruce becomes the Hulk, scaring the teens off. Enraged, Hulk begins a destructive rampage but is abruptly confronted by Bruno, who is now enhanced by Dr. Cranston's Exo-skeleton.

Hulk remembers Bruno from the circus. Bruno verbally vents his hate and rage toward the Hulk before launching a physical attack that holds the Hulk at bay for a short time. Hulk gets angrier and pounds into Bruno with such fury that he batters the Exo-skeleton to pieces. Hulk continues to beat Bruno into unconsciousness until he himself faints from exhaustion. While unconscious, the Hulk becomes Bruce Banner. Bruno regains consciousness first and recognizes that Banner is also the Hulk. He attacks Banner but is shot multiple times in the back by police arriving on the scene. Dr. Cranston has arrived with them. Seeing his creation in pieces, he says, "If this is what my device does to a man, I'm glad it was destroyed."

Banner is up and about as he watches the police remove Bruno's corpse. One cop says, "Too bad we had to kill him." Banner replies, "It wasn't you; hate killed him, just as it might kill us all someday."

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Ron Wilson
Ernie Chan
Joe Jusko (Cover Penciler)

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