While I’ve always had a fondness for the Hulk, I didn’t buy any of his comics. Frankly, I just didn’t know where to start since I’m mostly a DC guy. That changed when I came across a podcast about Peter David’s run called PADSmash: An Incredible Hulk Podcast. It was being done by J. David Weter, a guy who knows a lot about many superheroes. I mostly knew of Peter David as a Trek writer and I didn’t know about his run on the Hulk. The podcast is on hiatus (I haven’t heard anything else about its status) but it’s out there somewhere. I’ve got most of the run through 50 cent bins, but today’s issue comes from the first Visionaries volume that came out on this run.
Today, I’ll be looking at The Incredible Hulk #335. I’m mostly looking at this one because unlike most of David’s issues, this one doesn’t tie into much. All you need to know is that Bruce is now transforming into the Gray Hulk. Unlike the Green Hulk, the Gray Hulk is not as strong, is pretty smart, and wants to get rid of his weak side (Bruce). Peter David is the writer. Instead of the regular penciler (Todd McFarlane) drawing, we have John Ridgway of Hellblazer fame as the guest penciler. So, let’s see what happens when the Hulk faces… some guy with issues.
Incredible Hulk #335
Writer: Peter David
Artist: John Ridgway
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor in Chief: Jim Shooter
“The Evil That Men Do!”
We start the story at night in a random neighborhood. A young woman (Adria) is sleeping when a man reaches out from under her bed and cuts her eyes (it’s kind of unclear on what he did to her eyes). She ends up outside and runs into the Gray Hulk who’s just walking around for whatever reason. The Stalker, who senses that Hulk is a lot like him, persuades Hulk to hand the girl over. Hulk tells him no. Suddenly, the cops show up and the man disappears. They try to take in Hulk but our gray friend tells them off and leaves.
The next day, we meet a young man named Gil, a gas station attendant who is pretty weird. It’s revealed here that the town has had a series of killings and Adria was the latest. At the hospital, Bruce Banner disguises himself as a psychiatrist and goes to see Adria. She tells him that the Stalker referred to her as “Addy-Addy” in the same way Gil does. The problem with that is that Gil was locked up in jail that night. After Bruce gets this information, he heads out to find Gil.
Bruce eventually finds Gil and trails him throughout the day. We find out that Gil loves horror movies and drinks heavily. Bruce trails him home and waits till night to see what’s really going on. As Banner transforms into the Hulk (he could only transform at night now), the Stalker comes out of Gil while he’s asleep. How Stalker comes to be, I don’t know.The two confront one another outside with Stalker persuading Hulk to join him. Stalker promises that he can get rid of Hulk’s weak side, so they go off into the night.
Probably shouldn't had said that, Stalker.
They go to a bar where some shady men are at. Stalker jumps into beat them up. When Stalker ask Hulk to join in on the fun, Hulk does so by attacking Stalker… I like Gray Hulk. Stalker runs from the bar and steals a police car in order to get Gil to wake up. Hulk chases after him and the two end up back at the house. Gil, who’s had a lot to drink won’t wake up and that leaves Stalker to get destroyed by the Hulk. The shock of Stalker’s death sends Gil into coma. The weird story ends with Addy leaving the hospital with her family and Bruce checking up on the catatonic Gil.
This is a weird story but a decent one. The reason I chose it is because it doesn’t tie into all what Bruce and his supporting cast was doing at that time. It’s the true definition of filler. The whole issue feels like an episode of the TV show starring Bill Bixby. Banner goes into town and finds something wrong. While he does what he can, the Hulk is usually the one who gets the messed cleaned up by running in slow motion. All we needed is Bruce trying to get a ride at the end.
The Stalker was a weird but creepy villain. All he needed was was a red scarf and he could then call himself the Shadow. His origins were especially weird. It wasn’t explained how he was able to come out of Gil’s body like that. Was Gil a mutant? Was the Stalker some sort of entity? The story never gives a clear answer.Other than that, the story is okay. I did like how the Stalker tried to reach out to Hulk’s wishes of getting rid of Banner.
The artwork is pretty decent itself. Ridgeway was a nice fill-in for McFarlane. The artwork had a pretty realistic feel to it. It also had a bit of a horror feel as well. I especially liked how the Hulk looked. There were some wonky images and some of the coloring looked weird, but I did like it. Overall, this was a decent fill-in. Well, I have one more thing to talk about involving the Hulk and I’ll be done with this week. Until then, Peace and God Bless.