Comic Browser:


Incredible Hulk Annual #16: Review

Jun 1990
Peter David, Angel Medina

Story Name:

Lifeform Pt. : Quality Of Mercy

Review & Comments

4 stars

Incredible Hulk Annual #16 Review by (February 15, 2010)
I can't do the Lifeform story justice trying to summarize it. Obviously this is the best story in the comic, and probably the best chapter of the Lifeform storyline. While it may not be essential to the Hulk's history (he's gray and smart in this one), it's still a great read with an appropriate blend of action, humor, and philosophy.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Incredible Hulk Annual #16 Synopsis by Kevin Hollander
Note: Continued from Daredevil Annual #6

The story opens with a normal George Prufrock (the host of the Lifeform virus) talking to an unidentified audience off-panel. He begins to describe his recent encounter with the Hulk. In a rundown part of New York, the alien Mercy appears and learns a lesson in human behavior. After she pushes a depressed man wishing to die in front of a moving truck, she learns from a homeless woman that people don't always say what they mean. We return to George and learn that he became infected with the Lifeform virus while breaking into Programma (the company that developed the Lifeform virus). He briefly describes his encounters with the Punisher and Daredevil, both of which were unable to stop him. Despite their efforts to destroy the Lifeform, it always reformed.

Mercy appears after his fight with Daredevil and decides to bring George/Lifeform, who is begging for death, to the Hulk so they can figure out what to do. She teleports them both to the desert to find the Hulk inside an abandoned theater. He, in an unusually good mood, is re-enacting a scene from "Young Frankenstein". She decides that the Hulk and Lifeform should talk to "help each other". The Hulk disagrees but Mercy has another idea.

We then switch to Ben Urich interviewing the last victim of the Lifeform, Lamar Kwait, in his hospital room. He was injured when he was caught in the middle of the Daredevil/Lifeform battle. We learn that he, too, was infected by the same virus as George and wanted to capture it in order to find a cure for himself.

We return to the Lifeform, the Hulk and Banner. "Hulk" and "Banner" quickly realize that one of them is fake (although neither can tell which). Almost by default they take opposing sides in the Lifeform's moral dilemma: At what point is there no hope? Eventually the Lifeform's hunger becomes unbearable and he lunges for "Banner". Not willing to take a chance that "Banner" is real, "Hulk" pounds the Lifeform into an unidentifiable slimy stain on the stage floor. When they try to leave the Lifeform quickly reforms, grabs "Banner", and throws him into the overhead lights, electrocuting him. Sparks from the lights make their way down the curtains and set them ablaze. "Hulk" begins to panic at the thought that "Banner" is dead and punches the Lifeform into one of the fires. As it is consumed by the flames, it thanks "Hulk" for his assistance. Then "Hulk" is forced to leave because the entire building is on fire. Mercy meets up with him outside and discloses that the Hulk is real and "Banner" was a double she made to allow the three of them to talk. Hulk confronts her about her therapy session. She asks him, "Don't you believe in perseverance in the face of a hopeless cause?" "No. If it's hopeless, what's the point?" he answers flatly. She replies, "If Banner believed that he'd have killed you both long ago."

We return to George, now completely transformed into the Lifeform creature, who tells his off-panel audience that Mercy found him and restored his humanity. Despite his pleas, she wouldn't kill him. She teleported him back to New York and left. With the virus taking over, he informs his audience that he wants his last act as a human to be one of mercy, since none was shown to him. He walks over to Lamar's hospital bed and we see that he is deteriorating rapidly. He tells Lamar that he will help him. Lamar thanks him as his left arm is raised to the Lifeform's mouth.

Note: Continued in Silver Surfer Annual #3

Story #2

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Writer: Bill Mumy. Penciler: Chris Wozniak. Inker: Tim Dzon.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

The She Hulk and "Weezi" are conned into assisting Gary Redek in a search for the lost treasure of pirate Red Tom Dekker. He takes them out to the spot where the centuries-old pirate is able to recover his lost treasure chest that contains a fountain of youth elixir. Before the rapidly aging pirate can drink the potion, the vial is knocked overboard into shark-infested waters. When he dives after it, time catches up with him and turns him into a skeleton as his sinks to the bottom of the sea, still clutching the vial.

Story #3

The Hulk's 10 Best Brawls

Writer: Gary Barnum. Penciler: Herb Trimpe. Inker: Herb Trimpe.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Apparently the Hulk kept photos of people he's fought over the years. Maybe he hires Spider-Man to do it in his spare time. The list at this point includes (10) Doc Samson (9) Namor (8) Wolverine (7) Rhino (6) Absorbing Man (5) Juggernaut (4) Madman (3) Thor (2) Abomination (1) Thing

Story #4

The Nightmare Never Ends!

Writer: Alan Grant. Penciler: Dan Reed. Inker: Jeff Albrecht.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Doc Samson has a very complicated dream-within-a-dream about his obsession in trying to cure Bruce of being the Hulk.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Angel Medina
Larry Mahlstedt
Angel Medina (Cover Penciler)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Emil Blonsky)
Absorbing Man
Absorbing Man

(Crusher Creel)

(Matt Murdock)
Doc Samson
Doc Samson

(Leonard Samson)

(Bruce Banner)

(Cain Marko)

(Jennifer Walters)

(Ben Grimm)


(James Howlett)

Plus: Madman.

> Incredible Hulk Annual: Book info and issue index

Share This Page