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Thanos Vs Hulk #1: Review

Dec 2014
Jim Starlin, Jim Starlin

Story Name:

Part 1 of 4

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thanos Vs Hulk #1 Review by (January 20, 2015)
This year Jim Starlin returned to his epic creation Thanos in Thanos Annual #1 and the Infinity Revelation graphic novel. Starlin's involvement with Thanos has happened in waves. His 1970's saga ended with the Titan's death in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2. The ghost of Thanos accompanied the hero away from this life in the Death of Captain Marvel GN. Then Jim brought Thanos back to life in the early 1990's, ushering him through the Infinity Gauntlet/War/Crusade with the Infinity Watch on the side. Then Starlin left him to others to look after. But he returned in the early 2000's for Infinity Abyss, Marvel Universe: The End and then Thanos' own short series. An editor's note says this mini-series happens before Infinity Revelation, while Banner/Hulk was working for SHIELD. This would have to be the early part of the Indestructible Hulk series, before the Infinity event after which Thanos was imprisoned. And I'm not sure Infinity Revelation fits in there so well. Pip the Troll is another Starlin creation who started off as a sidekick to Adam Warlock. Thanos killed Pip by lobotomy (as mentioned this issue) in Avengers Annual #7 which immediately preceded MTIO An#2. Warlock too died in those Annuals. But Starlin brought both back with Thanos in Silver Surfer in 1990. Pip and Warlock accompanied Thanos through the Starlin's 90's phase into the Infinity Watch, and then into his 2000's stories. As mentioned here he was last seen working for X-Factor in 2011 where he apparently got shot dead. But here he claims to have money he embezzled from that team. Pip mentions that Warlock is dead again (as of the Thanos Imperative). But he'll get sort of resurrected again in Infinity Revelation.

Heater Delight is a more obscure example of Starlin's creativity. Pip thinks of her as his girlfriend but she obviously isn't interested in him. She was actually the (or a) lover of the Titan Eros/Starfox in Warlock (1972) #12, but Heater cajoled Pip into rescuing her because she didn't want Eros to get into a fight. She appeared in 3 solo Starfox adventures in 1989-90. While Pip is considering which Infinity Watch member to go to for help, he doesn't notice Drax the Destroyer behind him in the bar. Other patrons include the Inhumans Gorgon and Karnak, Ronan the Kree Accuser and a blue Zippy the Pinhead-alike from Infinity Revelation. The Wendell Vaughn Quasar is also there, and that's who Heater approaches when Pip leaves her. The Negative Zone and its major inhabitants are the brainchildren of the Lee/Kirby run on Fantastic Four. The Zone was invented in FF#51 and given its name in #61. The FF's 1st adventure within it led them to Blastaar in #62-63. Annihilus was introduced in Annual #6. He was killed at the end of the Annihilation event, but reborn as the young Annihilus we see here.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thanos Vs Hulk #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Iron Man arrives at SHIELD's scientific base in Nuclear Springs Nevada unhappy that they've let Bruce Banner wander free on a vacation. Director Maria Hill isn't worried. He's riding 1 of Captain America's motorbikes, fitted with a GPS tracker, and he's got an implanted transmitter. And there's a drone following him.

But then an agent rushes up to say that Banner's transmitter has gone. The drone shows that a character whom Tony Stark recognises as Pip the Troll teleported onto the back of the bike and injected Bruce with a sleep-drug. Then he teleported them both away.

SHIELD's files say that the alien was a member of the Infinity Watch and recently worked for X-Factor. But Stark is more concerned that Thanos was also in Infinity Watch. He bets that the big baddie has Hulk, and they could be anywhere in the universe.

Where Banner actually is is within the type of spacecraft we saw in the Annihilation Wave. Pip has delivered him to the Negative Zone villain Blastaar and some insectoid aliens, all working for some unnamed boss. Bruce transforms to Hulk when he wakes up, but a Cerebral Disruptor on his forehead turns his brain off.

The Troll claims his prize for delivering the Hulk. And the aliens return his hostage 'girlfriend' Heater Delight. They teleport away to a bar somewhere in space. Pip fears the Avengers might be after him for kidnapping Hulk, so he figures he'd better do something about getting him back. He leaves Heater to chat up another patron of the bar and teleports to find ...

... Thanos in his Sanctuary spaceship. The Titan is guarded by some of the Outriders seen in Infinity. And he's not pleased to see the Troll. Pip tries the tactic of telling an obvious lie, to lull his opponent into accepting the alternative as the truth. Thanos immediately dismisses Pip's claim to have just dropped in for a chat for old time sake. Then the Troll gives an edited version of the true story, leading up to Hulk now being in the hands of Annihilus (who didn't guess that?).

Pip finishes by asking Thanos for help getting Banner back. The mad Titan reminds the Troll of the last time he disturbed his peace - he lobotomised him. Pip teleports a hasty retreat.

But after he's gone Thanos activates a hack into Annihilus' network and learns about the Cerebral Disruptor that the Negative Zone scientists had devised to control Hulk. As Pip had expected the Titan wants to know what Annihilus needs the Hulk for. And the sneaky Troll is still hanging around waiting for Thanos to locate their target. Once found Pip hopes to do the rescue by himself.

Blastaar has taken Hulk to the Negative Zone and the lab of Dr Bultar, inventor of the Cerebral Disruptor. who confirms to Annihilus that Hulk contains the element they seek. When we finally get a good look at Annihilus we see that he is still the young version. Something about the Hulk is going to restore him to his full stature.

Bruce and the Hulk have found themselves in the unusual situation of both being together in the 'place' they exist while the other is in control of their body. Then Thanos materialises beside them, a conscious projection from his spaceship.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Jim Starlin
Andy Smith
Frank D'Armata
Jim Starlin (Cover Penciler)
Andy Smith (Cover Inker)
Frank D'Armata (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: X-Factor.

> Thanos Vs Hulk: Book info and issue index

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