Monday, October 11, 2010

Why Can't We Be Friends? Spidey vs. the Hulk! Part One

Amazing Spider-Man 119 (April 1973)
"The Gentleman's Name is... Hulk!"
Gerry Conway-John Romita/Tony Mortellaro/Romita

Doug: The last time we posted in this category, it was the ever-fun Thing vs. Hulk/Thing teams up with Hulk story from FF #166-167. This time 'round it's Spidey's turn to go a few rounds with ol' Greenskin! This tale was brought to us by Spidey's Bronze Age scribe and Silver Age artist-extraordinaire, so it promises to be a tour de force!

Karen: I have to admit, this was a favorite of mine as a child, mainly because of the spectacular cover art!

Doug: I think the Jazzy One draws a better face on the Hulk than just about anyone. As we dig in, we find Spider-Man in transit, fast approaching the Westchester home of Aunt May. If you're not up on the previous six months of stories, this is from the time when May and Dr. Otto Octavius were somewhat of an item. Even though Ock was in jail during this story, May was staying in an estate, guarded by Ock's henchmen.
Anna Watson had received a telegram, addressed to May, and asked Peter to deliver it. Hence, the arrival -- Spidey-style!

Karen: That's some pretty lax security ol' Ock's got! Spidey just vaults over the fence and changes his clothes right there.

Doug: Once on the ground, Peter overhears a couple of goons discussing the telegram. Wondering what is written inside, Pete decides to keep it until he can read it. After a short visit with his aunt, Peter leaves and heads back home. Once in his apartment, he reads the telegram, which is very mysterious and hails from the Great White North - Canada! Leaving, Pete encounters a very sick Harry Osborn and his twisted father Norman. Norman goes postal on Pete, awakening fears in Peter that Osborn might be slipping back into Goblin-mode. Of course, we know what will happen in just two short issues...

Karen: Conway really moves the story along nicely. I love some of the little things, like Spidey hitching a ride on top of a bus, or thinking that he needs to wash his costume soon. Everyman hero indeed!
The scene with Norman Osborn was quite dramatic and ominous, as you note.
Doug: So, how to get to Canada to see the author of the telegram. Well, how about the Hulk running rampant across the border?
A quick trip to see J. Jonah Jameson (just a classic JJJ moment, too), and Pete's off to the airport. Once on the ground in Canada, Pete makes his way to see the attorney Rimbaud who had sent the telegram. Finding that he is not home, Pete sets off to the street. Finding a commotion, he stumbles into a press conference by none other than General Thunderbolt Ross, in Canada to assist the Canadian military with their "Hulk problem".

Karen: I felt like Peter got Jameson to agree to send him to Canada a little too easily -and couldn't guaranteeing Jameson that he'd get pics of the Hulk "smashing Spidey into red and blue toothpaste" be a little dangerous to his secret ID? After all, how could he know Spidey would be there? But, I guess we need to bring these two together somehow.

Doug: Of course, this is Ross at his blustering best. Conway has his voice down just fine. In the middle of the press conference an alert comes in that the Hulk is only miles away.
As the convoys of military men and press corps head out, Peter is denied access. But, you can't keep a good Spider down, so Pete launches himself at the last truck and latches onto the gate. Shortly, the truck is upended by a very angry Hulk!

Karen: Scenes like this, where the Hulk is threatening innocents, make a very good argument for shooting him off into space.

Doug: The rest of the story is one long battle: Hulk vs. soldiers, Hulk vs. Spidey, Hulk vs. more soldiers -- you get the idea. Suffice it to say that the Jazzy One is at the top of his game. As I said above, I've always liked the way he draws the Hulk, and of course his Spider-Man is without peer.

Karen: Romita's art is so smooth and dynamic here; it's just about perfect!
I like the fact that Spidey manages to get in a lucky shot at the beginning of the fight and actually knocks the Hulk down. The Hulk's power has been amped up so much the last few years, that would never ever happen now! Despite all the destruction and havoc, Peter still feels sorry for the Hulk. It reminds me of Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, when he let the Hulk go rather than bring him in to the Avengers. Being an underdog himself, Peter has a soft spot for hard-luck cases.Doug: As the story winds down, the Hulk has attempted to destroy a dam. Spidey was able to quell the water pressure on the other side of the wall, but Hulk got even madder when the weakened wall continued to leak. What to do? Just slam that sucker! But uh oh... that made the whole dam collapse, with Spidey and the Hulk swept into the drink! To be continued!


Fred W. Hill said...

Ya know, I hadn't thought about it until just now, but the Hulk's previous appearance in Spidey's regular mag, #14 (and not including that King Size ish) also happened to include the first appearance of the Green Goblin and here he is in a story just before what would be the most significant Goblin tale. I actually started regularly collecting Spider-Man (as in every month rather than once every few months or so) with the 2nd part of this story. Oddly enough it came with two covers.
I wouldn't recognize it until much later, but I was coming in just at the very end of one era and the beginning of another.

Jack Alberti said...

Two covers?

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