Incredible Hulk #329-330 (1987): Thunderbolt Ross dies

A few issues ago, Rick duplicated the Bruce Banner experiment and became Rick Jones Hulk.  He was green, despite the fact that when Banner did it he was grey (and became green in issue #2 when Stan Lee realized that green was a much more efficient color for comic books).  And he was green at a time that Bruce Banner Hulk turned from green to grey.

And Rick duplicated the Banner experiment and got similar results despite the fact that there have been dozens of attempts to duplicate it over the years by much smarter people that have not bred that kind of success.

As you can tell, I’m not a huge fan of this storyline.

But wait!  It gets worse!

All the desert snakes and scorpions who were irradiated by the gamma bomb suddenly emerge and love Rick Jones.  But they don’t like Banner Hulk.

SHIELD finds out about Rick Hulk and his menagerie, and decide to go after them because, hey, why not?  I mean, SHIELD never really follows its “espionage” mission and instead just kind of butts in wherever there’s something cool.  Plus, Banner’s Hulkbusters, a team formed during John Byrne’s run when Banner and Hulk were split, have decided to join SHIELD.  I would do that, too, frankly.  They’ve got giant helicarriers and flying cars.

This brings us to the subplot that becomes the main plot.  The guy in the picture above is writer Peter David.  There’s some kind of alien monster that has been jumping from body to body, making its way across the country towards Gamma Base—looking for a super-powered host body.

It eventually jumps on Doc Samson.  After that comes the inevitable brawl between Hulk and Samson, which is ended when Thunderbolt Ross uses his Zzzax powers to fry the alien parasite.  Through the course of the battle, Ross realizes that Banner isn’t such a bad guy after all and kind of redeems the years of hatred he had for him.

I kind of have a problem with Ross’ intense hostility to Banner being seen as a bad thing.  Hulk is clearly a national security problem.  If he were, say, a schizophrenic serial killer, nobody would have a problem with locking him away forever.  Yet, for some reason, Banner having a Hulk personality is a source of sympathy.

Anyway, we’re led to believe that Ross dies in the exchange.  But nobody reading this is that stupid, right?



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