The Incredible Hulk #213 (July 1977) "You Just Don't Quarrel With the Quintronic Man!" Len Wein-Sal Buscema/Tom Palmer
Doug: This is a great cover, isn't it? If I had been a Hulk fan when I was 11, Ernie Chan would have made me buy this.
Doug: This one hits the ground running. The splash page features our hero with his young charge, Jim Wilson, facing a barrage of bullets. When last we saw these two, Hulk had just vanquished the Constrictor -- a super-baddie who had a hit on young Wilson! As New York's Finest continue to blast away, Hulk keeps moving forward until eventually the boys in blue have fled or had (as in the case of the last brave fool) their weapons crushed in a big green fist. But what should our wondering eyes next reveal to us? How about a huge box truck from Stark International that stops right on Hulk's doorstep, opens, and unleashes a huge robot-like construct -- the Quintronic Man!
Doug: Piloted by five techs, this "multi-million dollar piece of merchandise" prepares to engage the Hulk. And right away, we have a cutaway -- to Gamma Base, where Doc Samson is trying to help some transient get his memory back. OK, back to fightin'. This Quintronic Man is weird, in that the tech in the head orders the guys running the four limbs to do certain things. Of course it's all pictured as if it would be fluid, but I'm thinking the delay in reaction time is going to cost somebody down the road here. Hulk scoffs at this new robot, but is soon on his backside. Foolishly thinking they've KO'd him on the first kick, the Quintronic Man moves in. Bad choice. He's barely able to parry the Hulk, who despite falling backward is able to rip the asphalt from under the giant.
Doug: Cut to Banner's boarding house, where April Sommers is watching all of this transpire on the news. We see a shadowy figure outside of her OPEN DOOR (duh), but he scoots away when she investigates a noise in the hallway. She assumed it was going to be Banner, and as we saw last ish, he's been a mystery-man and she wants some answers.
Doug: Cut again to some hoods, who are about to get their seedy meeting busted up by the Jack of Hearts! Jack's on a revenge mission for his dead father (carried over from Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #23) and wipes up the place pretty easily. Hearing about the Hulk on the radio, though, makes Jack want to test himself as a real superhero -- so it's Hulk-hunting he will go!
Doug: There are numerous further indignities heaped upon the Hulk, but none like the "somna-gas" that he's blasted with -- and you guessed it -- la la land. Oh, shoot -- another cut, and back to the SHIELD tanker. Except this issue they've transferred the gamma-irradiated cylinder to the Helicarrier. General Ross is aboard to be debriefed on the thing. Trouble is, all attempts to breach it have been unsuccessful. And wouldn't you know that as everyone vacates the room, the bugger starts to quiver a bit. Hmmm... OK, back to the Hulk. He's loaded into a vault-like truck, and Jim is detained and made to ride in the front with the police.
Doug: What follows is an odd scene, with several squad cars leading the heavily-armored truck and all followed by the Quintronic Man. As the processional moves, Jim suddenly jerks the wheel from the driver and steers the truck right into a wall. And you know what? The armored roof cracks. Give. Me. A. Break. Look at the thing! If it wasn't tailor-made to hold the Hulk, and it cracks? Solid steel (or whatever) cracks?? Well, I'm going to be surprised if this one ends well.
Doug: Of course the somna-gas is allowed to escape, Hulk wakes up (question -- why didn't he switch back to Banner when he was zonked?), the Quintronic Man gets in a couple of good shots, but in the end Hulk hurls a chunk of concrete that lands in the construct's chest cavity -- and oh-so-conveniently backs up the air system, reversing the direction of the somna-gas. Robot can't function if its five pilots are all out. The end. Well, except that Jack of Hearts arrived about two seconds too late to get in on the action -- throwdown coming up in a future issue. Doug: Tom Palmer's inks are much heavier in this issue than were Ernie Chan's in the previous book. And I think Chan's generally got a heavy brush. Certainly we see elements of Palmer overpowering Sal's pencils, and while that's not terrible it does tend to make me think more of the John Buscema/Palmer collaborations than really getting a Sal-feel for this art. After two issues of Len Wein, I see the trouble that all Hulk, and Superman, authors must face -- how do you have a fight each issue where your protagonist is nearly omnipotent? Tricks, gags, deus ex machinas -- I guess you have to have all of that. Neither the Constrictor or the Quintronic Man should have been worthy of battling the Hulk, but Wein manages to squeeze a 22-page story out of each bad guy. Of course, all of the foreshadowed plot threads help to stretch things out. So, while I'd have rather seen the Hulk take this big robot apart limb by limb, I'll settle for the dumb luck that ended this fracas. But I'm only giving this book a B- because of it.
Our collaborators, Martinex1 and Redartz, have opened a new blog called Back in the Bronze Age... If you have liked the sorts of topics seen here on Bronze Age Babies, then you are going to feel right at home at Back in the Bronze Age... Give them a visit!
Karen and Doug
Bronze Age Babies, Unite!
On Sunday, 4/23/17, Martinex1, Doug, and Redartz gathered for a day of fun at C2E2 in Chicago. It was great to finally meet in person after years of online cameraderie.
Rules of Engagement
Welcome to the Bronze Age Babies.
We hope you'll find the conversation stimulating. Not only will you be able to participate in the day's discussion, but don't hesitate to journey into our archives and visit almost 2300 posts on all manner of pop culture.
We hope you enjoy our community. Please be aware that this is a TROLL-FREE ZONE. We'd appreciate if combativeness, prejudicial or racist statements, and general surliness be taken elsewhere. Here, we are free to hold an opinion and to be asked to argue for it -- but all in a spirit of respect.
Karen and Doug met on the Avengers Assemble! message board back in September 2006. On June 16 2009 they went live with the Bronze Age Babies blog, sharing their love for 1970s and '80s pop culture with readers who happen by each day. You'll find conversations on comics, TV, music, movies, toys, food... just about anything that evokes memories of our beloved pasts!
Doug is a high school social science teacher and department chairman living south of Chicago; he also does contract work for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is married with two adult sons and a daughter-in-law.
Karen originally hails from California and now works in scientific research/writing in the Phoenix area. She often contributes articles to Back Issue magazine. She is married. She hangs out with Joe Biden occasionally.
Believe it or not, the Bronze Age Babies have never spoken to each other...
We don't own property rights for any of the images we show on Bronze Age Babies -- those copyrights are retained by their respective owners. Most images are from books, etc. that we have individually purchased, while others have been copied from the Internet. All images are displayed here for the purpose of education and review within the "fair use" terms of U.S. Code: Title 17, Sec. 107. If we've used something we shouldn't have, please ask and we'll take it down. Thank you -- Doug and Karen
Dig Karen's Work Here? Then You Should Check Her Out in Back Issue!
BI #44 is available for digital download and in print. I've read Karen's article on reader reaction to Gerry Conway's ASM #121-122, and it's excellent. This entire magazine was fun! -- Doug
Back Issue #45
As if Karen's work on Spidey in the Bronze Age wasn't awesome enough, she's at it again with a look at the romance of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch in Back Issue's "Odd Couples" issue -- from TwoMorrows!
Karen's talking the Mighty Thor in the Bronze Age!
Click the cover to order a print or digital copy of Back Issue! #53