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Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #27: Review

Jun 1981
Steven Grant, Gene Colan

Story Name:

Multiple Stories: See Synopsis

Review & Comments

3 stars

Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #27 Review by (February 15, 2010)
Both stories are good, but not indicative of what the magazine series offered overall. While there have been better stories earlier, these are good enough for the Hulks swan song and Gene Colans art was fresh, offering a brutish Hulk who looks capable of being the earths mightiest being. Associate Editor Ralph Macchio supplied an appreciated explanation for the titles demise in his editorial at the beginning of the book citing vendor confusion on how best to display the book as well as distribution problems. The magazine actually seems more like a fore runner to the current incarnation of the Hulk with more mature themes than the comic of the time once it was given a new direction and the earlier "lost" stories were replaced with current pieces. The series is a gem worth picking up.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Rampaging Hulk, The / The Hulk! #27 Synopsis by Barry Harter
Credits: Lora Byrne (w), Gene Colan and Dave Simons (art)

Bruce hitches a ride with truck driver Gary whos hauling genetically identical mice when the two spy a shapely J-L Willoughby with her thumb stuck out. Gary makes an excuse for Bruce to ride in the trailer allowing he and J-L to be alone in the cab. A short while later the tired hiker is asleep among the cages in the back and forgotten. J-L produces a pistol and orders Gary down a winding, abandoned side road where he finds a dead end wheres shes met by her brothers who take the trailer and leave a bewildered and angry Gary behind. Arriving home the Willoughby family spills out of a Waltonesque house hoping for a "good haul". When Bruce spills out of the back, J-L suddenly remembers the second passenger and quickly intervenes when brother, "Bro" as the family refers to him, sets his sites, literally, on killing him. In the confusion that follows after the family discovers theyve highjacked a trailer of mice, J-L spirits Bruce into the house for a bite to eat. Not sure what to do with him, Bruce is allowed a reprieve for the time being after finding a buyer for the mice. In the mean time, he learns the family is pushing for J-L to marry neighboring Milton-Lynn, the meanest, toughest man in the valley, though she has other thoughts. In a tirade J-L reminds Ma she doesnt like Milton because, "...he looks like Gary Cooper! An I dont like Gary CooperI like John Wayne!" Three days later Bro tells Bruce Milton-Lynn is due over for a roast and the country boy will kill him for messing with his woman. No amount of reason can break through the backwoods beliefs and Bruce is shortly nose-to-nose with the much feared Milton-Lynn. J-L and Miltons brother Felix edge on the antagonist while Bruce grovels for fear the fight will trigger his change into the Hulk. As the brawl ensues, Felix drags J-L away promising a life away from "...squirrel stew and McDonalds hamburgers." With all eyes on the fight, none notice either slipping away. Milton-Lynn has opened Bruces flood gates of adrenalin and the Hulk suddenly takes the place of his alter ego much to everyones surprise and dismay. The Willoughbys make a quick retreat, but Milton-Lynn feels hes finally found an opponent worthy of his fighting skill. A shot to the stomach and mouth that nearly break Milton-Lynns hand does nothing to discourage him and the Hulk hangs his hapless foe from his suspenders on a nearby tree limb and bounds off. Hours later a disheveled Bruce is back along the road with his thumb out. In an odd turn, Gary pulls over and allows Bruce back in the cab where he finds J-L cuddling with the truck driver. Shes surprised to find Bruce so far from the homestead, but rather than pry explains Gary had been looking for his lost cargo when he saved her from Felix and, "...a death worse than fate." The two were looking for a new beginningmuch the same as their new companion.

"Happy Accidents" (Article)
by Steven Grant

Steve Grant re-tells the origin of the Hulk in this article that brings new readers up to date with Stan Lee and Jack Kirbys creation.

"One For My BabyAnd One More For the Hulk"
Credits: Marc DeMatteis (w), Gene Colan and John Tartaglione (art)

The Hulk has found himself in Las Vegas. Even the most jaded guest in the city that never sleeps takes some notice of the green giant, but feel hes just part of the pageantryuntil a slot machine catches his interest and with usual Hulk care, he tears the machine apart in search of the "things" men have made come out of them. When security shows up, the Hulk rampages through the casino proper until a voice described as "bourbon smooth" catches his ear. The old adage about music soothing the savage beast holds true and the Hulk becomes Bruce Banner who gets the bums rush to the nearest alley where hes rescued by Suzanne, a kind and aging show girl. Known for helping the down-and-out, Suzanne outfits Bruce in one of her boyfriends suits. It just so happens that her boyfriend is Jimmy Martin, a crooner whos seen better days and in the downward spiral of his career, whos voice had calmed the Hulk earlier. Luckily for Bruce, Jimmy seems as kind hearted as his sweetie and takes the down on his luck charge to dinner. After three plates of spaghetti, during which Bruce learns of Jimmys rise to fame with the help of the mob, the crooner is reminded he has a second set to perform. Jimmy, finally fed up with what his life has become, retaliates and Bruce becomes the Hulk. Seeing the Hulk as his ticket out of the mobs pocket, Jimmy has his new friend confront Ricky Siciliano, Vegas mob boss, and offers an ultimatumeither Siciliano lets Jimmy out of his contract and provides him with enough money to get out of town, hell have the Hulk bring Sicilianos kingdom down around his ears. Of course Siciliano consents and Jimmy rushes back to tell Suzanne that both will be able to start new lives. In the mean time the Hulk has calmed down and becomes a confused Bruce again. Suzanne acts excited after hearing the news, but when Jimmy decides to perform the second set, she calls Siciliano and tells him Bruce is really the Hulk, who over hears the conversation and opts to make a hasty escape. During his retreat, Bruce is almost run down by Sicilianos gunmen and turns back into the Hulk. Jimmy rushes to see what the commotion is about just in time to see Suzanne killed by a round that bounces off the Hulk in the gunfight. Consumed by grief, Jimmy finally relents and offers to supply information on Siciliano and the mob to the feds who have been badgering the crooner for some time now. The Hulk is left to wander back into the desert night to ponder if hes done something wrong and if so, is that why he has no friends?

Characters: Bruce Banner, the Hulk, Jimmy Martin, Suzanne, Ricky Siciliano and his mob

Gene Colan
Dave Simons
Joe Jusko (Cover Penciler)

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