This week in geekdom:
My comic pulls for this week were Optimus Prime #9 (I’m reviewing that one for Shoot the Breeze), Weapon X #5 (another one I’ll review), Generation X #4, X-Men Blue #7, Jean Grey #4, and Old Man Logan #26.
This issue marks the first “Impact” title I’ll cover. the Onslaught Impact issues were generally titles that you didn’t need to read to get the whole story, but were just dealing with some of the fallout of what Onslaught was doing, whereas the Phase stories were the big ones…the ones you had to read to get it all.
For the most part, unless it’s an X-Men issue, I’m not going to cover the Impact titles separately…but this one is different. It’s a complete continuation of Cable #34 so it’s kind of needed.
Incredible Hulk #444 (August 1996)
[Onslaught, Impact 1]
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Angel Medina
Inker: Robin Riggs
As Hulk flees with Cable, Storm chases. He stops on a skyscraper, turns, and does that famous Hulk clap that sends hurricane force winds against Storm, briefly interrupting her flight. Cable finally wakes up and tackles Hulk, sending them both crashing down to the street. Hulk begins to pound on Cable until he is interrupted by a picture of a model: Betti Page. Of course it’s the name “Betty” that captures the Hulk’s attention and seems to pull him out of the rage.
Cable takes this brief respite to enter Hulk’s mind, hoping to free him from Onslaught’s control. Instead, he finds Onslaught’s mind inside, a giant boulder (literally) trapping Banner inside and trying to kill Cable. Cable rushes up some stairs to find a giant door. Through it is an abyss…and the boulder crashes into him from behind, sending them both careening into the darkness.
The shock wakes Cable up, just in time to watch as the Hulk prepares to pound him. Cable is saved by a tornado, whipped up in time by Storm (duh!). Hulk manages to knock Storm away and out into the river by throwing a chunk of debris at her. Both Cable and Hulk are separated as the tornado disperses. Cable recalls a specific memory…one of him as a young man, an opponent of his lay dying and Cable had left to find help, but when he returned the opponent was dead. It was something that had always bothered Cable…had he done everything in his power to save his fallen opponent? Or had he maybe allowed the other man to die.
Then Cable snaps out of memory lane and sees a nearby gun store. Hulk shows up shortly after to find Cable walking out with a large gun (against the owner’s wishes). He fires it at Hulk and the shell explodes against Hulk, releasing a yellow gas. Hulk leaps to the air to get away but the nature of gas is to follow. Eventually the gas overtakes the Hulk and he collapses momentarily. This allows Storm and Cable to regroup and as the Hulk attacks, they combine their powers to fry Hulk’s mind, allowing Cable another entry into Hulk’s mind. However, this leaves Hulk clinging for life.
Storm urges Cable to leave as the police are on their way, but the flashback Cable had earlier reminds him to not leave an opponent behind to just die. Instead, Cable enters Hulk’s mind and finds himself falling with the boulder. He starts pounding into the rock until a human hand reaches out. Finally, the rock crumbles, revealing Bruce Banner. Next, Storm jumpstarts Hulk’s heart, waking him up, free on Onslaught’s control.
It’s hard to know where to start with this issue…except to say this is probably one of my least favorite tie-in’s to Onslaught.
First of all…the art is just…not good to look at. Hulk’s head is comically small compared to the rest of his body. And the action scenes are just…boring. And the color is weird. Hulk is more of a dull green and just doesn’t look right.
But the art isn’t necessarily the worst part. Honestly…I know Peter David is considered one of the giants when it comes to the Hulk comic (as well as X-Factor), but this issue was just bad…and I have to wonder if Peter was somewhat protesting being forced into this crossover.
First of all, I find it hard to believe that Cable, someone who has rarely used his telepathy, could easily stroll around Hulk’s mind and free him from someone as powerful as Onslaught. Second, if Hulk’s intent was to kill Cable and Storm, why does he instead run with Cable, leaving Storm behind from the end of Cable #34? The two were knocked senseless. He should have beat them to a bloody pulp then and there (especially Storm who has no more durability than a normal human woman). I know, I know… because “comics”.
The flashback Cable had was pointless and there was no reason for him to even remember that except to set up why he wouldn’t just leave the Hulk for dead later on. But it made no sense. I mean sure, at least David gave a little development to Cable, but it was kind of pointless. And while we’re on the topic of Cable not leaving the Hulk for dead, what the hell was with Storm being the one who wanted to leave him? Storm? Who values all life? I guess you can assume that Onslaught has shaken her to her core, but I find it hard to believe that Storm would advocate for leaving the Hulk to die. And somehow, this gun store had gas bombs? Admittedly, I’m not a gun aficionado but I’m pretty sure those things aren’t carried in most gun shops that you find in storefronts.
And lastly… the method they use for taking out the Hulk IS THE SAME WAY THEY TOOK HIM OUT IN CABLE! Pretty much, anyways. Cable syncs with Storm’s power and then a blast of telepathy downs the Hulk. And then Storm has to use her power to revive the Hulk, JUST AS SHE DID CABLE.
It was just such a craptastic issue. I love Cable and I do enjoy Storm, and admittedly I don’t care for Hulk all that much, but I loved Cable/Storm vs Hulk in Cable’s mag! So why did this one just fail to deliver? The Cable part of this story had flaws, but it was wrapped up so nicely, that I was okay looking past it. This one, though? If it weren’t for the fact that it’s kind of necessary for the story, I’d suggest you skip it…