Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Weirder than I remembered, which was pretty weird.


I know I had this one as a kid, or at least had access to it; perhaps at a babysitter's or some such: from 1980, Incredible Hulk #243, "Death--and Destiny!" Plot by Roger Stern, script by Steven Grant, art by Sal Buscema, with Roy Thomas as "Celestial Advisor."

In the fabled city of El Dorado, the Hulk and his accidental sidekick, the gimmicked-up thief called Goldbug; are wrapping up a battle with long-time Hulk-hassler Tyrannus. In yet another attempt at immortality, Tyrannus has merged with the "Flame of Life," and while he's losing control, he's gambling that if he drains the Hulk's life, he could control the Flame again. In surprisingly short order, the Hulk wrecks up the machinery controlling the Flame, and as a fireball Tyrannus is launched into space. (He'd be back. I don't why he was so hung up on immortality, since he runs into the Hulk all the time, seemingly dies almost every time, and always comes back.) The sole witness to Tyrannus's space shot, is Gammenon, the first of the Fourth Host of the Celestials! (They weren't kidding about Roy Thomas there!) It's written like Gammenon just shrugs it off, like it wasn't anywhere near the weirdest thing he'd seen today...

With Tyrannus gone, the Hulk remembers Goldbug was due a bit of an asskicking as well, but realizes they are standing on some sort of transporter pad, and they are beamed back to the sewers of New York City. Meanwhile, the surviving citizens of El Dorado set out to build a new city, without tyrants or keepers, and head into the vast caverns. They of course are never seen again. (Actually, they were, but it probably didn't go great for them.)

Goldbug is thrilled to be back in civilization, but the Hulk isn't about to let him off so easily. Fleeing topside, Goldbug can't believe his luck as he realizes he's only two blocks from his penthouse...and runs into Power Man and Iron Fist! Luke remarks "What sewer did you crawl out of?" as he and Danny take him in; with none of them noticing the Hulk tear his way through a manhole and then start jumping out of the city.

And the rest of this issue is subplots and continuity patches! Former Hulk companion (they should be called that, like Dr. Who!) Fred Sloan is interviewing Betty Ross for an upcoming book, and his friend Trish Starr (Nighthawk's ex-fiance and Egghead's niece, we mentioned her forever ago) gets him on the Mike Douglas Show with special musical guest Rick Jones! In Arizona, a newly reassigned Agent Clay Quartermain says his goodbyes, including to Gamma Base's new commander--Colonel Glenn Talbot! Clay worries that Glenn rrrrrreally hates the Hulk, which could cause problems; and Glenn pledges to stop the Hulk, by any means necessary. Meanwhile, the Hulk appears in eight comics in two pages: they recap a half year's worth of Defenders, and Daredevil #163. The latter is another of DD's traditional "victories" that involve fighting a much-more powerful foe to a standstill stout beating about DD's head and face.

I remembered Goldbug, and flaming Tyrannus, but that was about all I did recall about this one. In fact, Goldbug I only remembered because in another comic about that same time, he seemingly drowned in an accident that seemed to be completely ignored by everyone. Crime doesn't pay, I suppose...


2 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

Those panels man. Dear God the layouts and sheer story-telling skill...
And Goldberg's never showed up after his "Death"?
Where'd he die?

googum said...

A Spider-Man book, I think--or maybe Defenders? His Gold-tank-mobile whatever sank and he drowned. Allegedly; he came back. He was one of those villains that seemingly dies at the end of every appearance, which is a bit tougher to pull off when the Punisher shoots you in the face during Civil War...