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Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #18: Review

Dec 1979
Doug Moench, Ron Wilson

Story Name:

Cast Away

Review & Comments

4 stars

Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #18 Review by (February 15, 2010)
A very touching story that makes the reader wonder about the future of America and its older population. At the time, mandatory retirement was not unheard of and term fixed income was just working its way into common language. Of course things are little different now, but at the time, Cast Away was poignant, and its still worth reading if only to open minds to what happens to the older generation once they pass their ability to be useful to the community as a whole. Done in "MarvelColor", Alfredo Alcalas art work is able to portray the Hulk as a huge, and bestial creature. The interior cover has a nice color shot of Bruces transformation into the Hulk done by Ernie Chan. A Moon Knight story backs up the book and a full-page advertisement for the Hulks newspaper strip is nostalgic now.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #18 Synopsis by Barry Harter
The Hulk wakes up in a strange hospital bed in Africa in his usual confused state which leads to a tantrum and the military arriving in force. The confrontation is defused when the army pushes aside an old man from the village and the Hulks muddled mind ponders how and why humans not only try to persecute himself, but others like themselves. With a sudden flash of cognizant insight the Hulk realizes the humans only wish him away from them and bounds away to the coast and further. Luckily for the man brute he splashes down near an island and the tranquility calms him enough for the transformation into Bruce Banner. The activities have left his human form exhausted and he quickly falls asleep. Modern day Robertson Caruso Thaddeus Hatcher, walking with his goats Billy and Nan, discover the Hulks footprints. They follow them as the prints become more normal size and find Bruce. Thaddeus fashions a travois for the goats to haul Bruce back to Paradise Acres, a cave where the islands lone occupant lives. Bruce finally comes to and Thaddeus introduces himself and relates his story of how he became Paradise Acres founder. His story is one much like many who came of age when America first took its place as a world power following World War II. He found steady employment in a timber mill where he was eventually retired from. His pension and social security werent enough to keep up with the taxes on his house so when Thaddeus lost it, he moved in with daughter and son-in-law. Knowing he was a burden to those he loved and unable to find another job, Thaddeus took his remaining savings and began his trek across the world. Having rented a fishing boat, Thaddeus went to sea only to fall asleep in the noon days heat. When he awoke, the skies had darkened and he was caught in a storm that eventually deposited him on the he island. There, Thaddeus found fresh air, fresh water, and fresh food. Most importantly he found the will to live again. Each day he marks another notch on his totem and thanks God for his new life. Thaddeus invites Bruce to share his island, but warns him that there is work to be done to earn the privilege. Using his guests youth and strength, Thaddeus begins to build the Paradise Acres hed always envisioned, but was physically incapable of creating. The work progresses over days and weeks until it is at last completed and Bruce admits he is ready to stay on the island the remainder of his days. Thaddeus sheds a tear of happiness and confesses Bruce has been like a son to him and welcomes him. That evening, a hard wind starts off the coast, an ill omen of what is to come, and the two seek shelter in their new lodgings. The wind is just the harbinger for a tropical storm that rages with punctuations of lightening. Unfortunately the storm also triggers Bruces transmogrification into the Hulk. Raging against the storm, the Hulk takes his fury out on the newly completed Paradise Acres doing more damage than the storm ever could. Thaddeus finds Bruce, his anger spent, on the shore the following morning. The Hulks origin is told once again, but Thaddeus understands Bruce is not responsible for what his alter ego does and forgives the previous nights episode by telling Bruce they can just rebuild. On day 40, Bruce and Thaddeus spy a small pleasure boat drifting off shore. On board are Sandy and John, sister and brother, out for adventure. The siblings swim to shore and are met by the islands chief occupants. They explain something had happened to their boats engine. However, Sandy and John arent the only two making a visit that day. Thaddeus has also seen a boatload of modern day pirates and smugglers who stop periodically for drop offs and pick ups. Made anxious by seeing the brother and sister teams boat, they have come ashore on the opposite side of the island. John isnt frightened by the tales of pirates and sets off to find them believing them to be a search party looking for he and Sandy. Upon finding them, John is shot and Bruce is given cause to turn into the Hulk again. He makes quick work of the invaders, but Johns dying and theres no way to get him back to the mainland. No way for anyone else, but the Hulk. Diving into the water, the Hulk and knocks the island away from its base securing it to the earth and begins to carry/swim the island back to land. With the coast in sight, Thaddeus chops down his totem knowing his days in paradise are over. The task completed, Thaddeus finds Bruce washed ashore the island, now sitting just off coast from the mainland, and takes him to the nearest hospital. Bruce is given a clean bill of health and heads off to find Thaddeus. As the local police tell Bruce Thaddeus has disappeared, a local man runs over to report that one of his boats is gone. In its stead is a sardine tin with a hand full of moneyall Thaddeus had left from his globe trotting.

Ron Wilson
Alfredo Alcala
Steve Oliff
Bob Larkin (Cover Penciler)

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