Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Story: Bill Mantlo
Art: Mike Mignola & Gerry Talaoc

Something of a horror-movie this one.

Stepping back from the regular narrative, this issue jumps back in time to tell Bruce Banner's life story so far, beginning with his birth, and recounting his protracted estrangement from his father throughout his childhood.

There are filmic-devices aplenty here, as the darkly-lit scenes take full advantage of shadows and Bruce's imagination. Throughout there is the spectre of his future, as we can see the green outline of the Hulk's agonised face subtley drawn over the child's features. When he grows up and goes to live and work at Desert Base, only for General Ross to carelessly break his childhood doll, Bruce Banner's famous repressed anger is unmistakably building.

Ultimately, as you know, he becomes the monster that he has so often previously been called.

Back in the present, the Hulk is still banished in another dimension*, where his surprisingly-not-actually-dead-after-all Bruce Banner identity has separated into a trichotomy of his self-preservation, reason and rage.

* It happened in Hulk #300 -- Steve

On page 24 the Beyonder shows-up for his now-customary muse on events. He tweaks circumstances to give Bruce a chance to escape, but this issue really finished back on page 21.

Bruce Banner has always been a tragic character, but this issue paints his life as a thoroughly hopeless one.

So much for the jolly green giant.


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