Hulk Smash Avengers # 1

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Hulk Smash Avengers # 1

Post by intp » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:55 pm

Hi, I saw an old locked thread on "Placement of Hulk Smash Avengers #1", where the following was stated:

Postby Paul Bourcier » Fri May 11, 2012 9:16 pm
There is an editorial note on the first page of Hulk Smash Avengers #1 that states, "this story occurs between Avengers [vol. 1] #7 & #14." Because A 13 leads into A 14, HSA 1 must occur before A 13. Not that it's a firm indicator, but going by the evolution of Wasp's costume during this period, I'm inclined to place HSA 1 between TTA 63 and A 11, which is contemporaneous with TOS 61-62.

My proposal for character chronologies is thus:

Captain America -- between TOS 60/2 & A 11
Enchantress -- between A 10 (19:6-20:9) & AC 11/2-OP
Executioner -- between A 10 & A 15
Giant-Man -- between TTA 63 & A 11
Hulk -- between TTA 63 & A 11
Iron Man -- between UX 9 & TOS 61
Jones, Rick -- between TOS 60/2 & A 11
Thor -- between UX 9 & A 11
Wasp -- between TTA 63 & A 11
Zemo II/Baron Heinrich Zemo -- between TOS 60/2 & A 15

[end of Paul Bourcier's entry]

The problem with this placement is that the Hulk here is plainly the smart, mean Hulk, who would have preceded TTA 60/2 (he became the dimwitted brute under Ditko's run starting in TTA 60/2). In fact, the Hulk's intelligence is a major plot point in HSA 1 since he otherwise would hardly have joined up with Zemo.


Hulk is smart in TTA 59; he even makes a conscious decision to save Giant-Man's life from a nuclear missile there. Based on Giant-Man's present entry, TTA 59 occurs between Avengers # 7-8. That would suggest that HSA 1 must occur after Avengers # 7, because in TTA 59, Giant-Man notes that the Hulk was last seen fighting Spider-Man in ASM 14. (so it would make more sense to put HSA 1 after TTA 59 rather than before it, since the Avengers would have otherwise just recently encountered Hulky as of TTA 59).

Hulk only has a few entries listed between TTA 59-60:

Hulk (current project)

TTA 59
HFFF
SENTRY2 3-FB
UTSM '97
JIM 112
TTA 60/2



Now, in HFFF, Hulk is already the dumb brutish Hulk. That story can be fit nearly anywhere as it is a fairly isolated story of the Hulk just happening to end up in the Arctic. SENTRY2 3-FB also involves the dumb Hulk, in a lengthy encounter with Sentry near the Canadian border (the Hulk's dumbness is a plot point here as Sentry feels like he 'used' a childlike creature). UTSM '97 features a single panel of savage Hulk leaping around. JIM 112 (end segment) features the smart, mean Hulk "in the great Southwest", boasting about how he will finish Thor the next time they meet, "days later" after Thor tells the kids about the flashback battle in that same issue (JIM 112).

This suggests that JIM 112 should actually precede HFFF and SENTRY2 3-FB.

One way to make this work would be to rearrange Hulk's chronology as follows:

Hulk (proposed):

TTA 59
HSA 1
UTSM '97
JIM 112
HFFF
SENTRY2 3-FB
TTA 60/2

That way, HSA 1 occurs after TTA 59 and before JIM 112; Hulk is smart and mean in all three of those issues. (The reason for placing UTSM '97 before JIM 112 is explained below; the idea being that Busiek just made a mistake in that one panel and portrayed the Hulk as stupid, whereas in HFFF and SENTRY2 3-FB, Hulk's dumbness is portrayed at great length and is of some story significance).



Thor's current entry is as follows:

A 8 (21:7) [battle with Kang]
A:EMH 4 (19 - 22) [which occurs "four days" after the battle with Kang in A 8)
ASM 18
A 9 (1 - 4)
TOS 59

...

JIM 111
UTSM '97
TOS 60
JIM 112
A 10 (1 - 10:1)

Placing HSA 1 between A:EMH 4 (19:22) and ASM 18 for Thor would be consistent with the above suggestion for Hulk, as HSA 1 would precede UTSM '97 and JIM 112. HSA 1 would also precede TOS 59. (This placement is supported by the fact that UTSM '97 occurs some time after ASM 18, in Spider-Man's entry).

That would change Thor's entry to the following:

Thor (proposed):

A 8 (21:7) [battle with Kang]
A:EMH 4 (19 - 22) [which occurs "four days" after the battle with Kang in A 8)
HSA 1
ASM 18
A 9 (1 - 4)
TOS 59

...

JIM 111
UTSM '97
TOS 60
JIM 112
A 10 (1 - 10:1)

Putting HSA 1 between A:EMH 4 (19:22) and ASM 18 works fairly neatly for every Avenger (Thor, Iron Man, Cap, Wasp, Giant-Man) while also keeping HSA 1 before UTSM '97 and TTA 60/2:

Iron Man's (current project)

A:EMH 4 (19 - 22)
ASM 18
A 9 (1 - 4)
TOS 59

Giant-Man and Wasp (current project):

A 8 (21:7)
A:EMH 4 (19 - 22)
ASM 18
TTA 60

Captain America (current project)

A 8 (21:7)
A:EMH 4 (19 - 22)
ASM 18
TOS 59/2

Rick Jones current entry is as follows:

A 8 (21:7)
AC 8/2
TTA 62/2

Note that Rick does not appear in A:EMH (19-22), or in either TTA 60 or 61, so it would still work to place Rick's appearance in HSA 1 between AC 8/2 and TTA 62/2.

Zemo, the Enchantress and Executioner can easily fit between their appearances in A 7 and A 9.


So, putting it altogether, I suggest the following modifications:

Captain America -- between A:EMH 14 (19:22) and ASM 18
Enchantress -- between AC 7/2 & A 9
Executioner -- between AC 7/2 & A 9
Giant-Man -- between A:EMH 14 (19:22) and ASM 18
Hulk -- TTA 59, HSA 1, UTSM '97, JIM 112, HFFF, SENTRY2 3-FB, TTA 60/2 (slightly re-arranged)
Iron Man --between A:EMH 14 (19:22) and ASM 18
Jones, Rick -- between AC 8/2 and TTA 62/2
Thor -- between A:EMH 14 (19:22) and ASM 18
Wasp -- between A:EMH 14 (19:22) and ASM 18
Zemo II/Baron Heinrich Zemo -- between AC 7/2 & A 9


I think it works much better for Hulk. Does this make sense?

Edited once.

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Re: Hulk Smash Avengers # 1

Post by Michael » Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:55 am

The problem with your argument is that the Hulk doesn't really become "dumb" until TTA 64/2-66/2.

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Re: Hulk Smash Avengers # 1

Post by intp » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:48 am

No, the Hulk seems pretty dumb from the outset of TTA 60/2. In TTA 60/2, for example, he has difficulty understanding that he and Banner are actually separate entities. In TTA 62/2, his "brutish brain" is easily tricked by the Chameleon (pg. 7). On pg. 8, his "bestial brain" is "unable to retain one thought for too long." While it's true that he occasionally shows "glimmers" of Banner's intellect, that's generally only used as an excuse to justify his occasionally behaving with seeming purpose, and that was a plot tactic that was used throughout the full-on "Hulk smash" days that were to come later. I don't see any clearcut shift from TTA 63/2 to 64/2 in the Hulk's characterization.

Compare TTA 59-- there, he's smart enough to make a conscious decision to save Giant-Man from a nuclear missile and even to wax philosophically about the meaninglessness of his life and the fact that the world may be better off without him.

Edit: There's also the fact that, in both HFFF and SENTRY2 3-FB, Hulk's intellect is that of a small child. In the Sentry story, in particular, the Sentry feels intensely guilty for exploiting the Hulk's minimal intelligence. Both of these stories precede TTA 60/2.

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Re: Hulk Smash Avengers # 1

Post by Somebody » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:14 pm

Can't really use Sentry as evidence - up until World War Hulk, Hulk *always* turned into Savage (dumb) Hulk around Sentry, regardless of what else he was at the time.

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Re: Hulk Smash Avengers # 1

Post by intp » Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:38 pm

Not sure I agree. In HFFF, Peter David portrays the fully dumb Hulk. In SENTRY2-3, on page 6, the Sentry notes that the Hulk is "a mindless beast who becomes docile in your presence." In other words, he was already a dumb brute but just becomes a gentle puppy in Sentry's presence.

Ditko's entire run starting from TTA 60/2 seems fairly consistent in its portrayal of the Hulk as being childlike, dimwitted, and savage. Kirby, on the other hand, tended to portray the Hulk as smart, mean, and canny (see e.g. A 1-3, 5; FF 25-26).

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Re: Hulk Smash Avengers # 1

Post by Michael » Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:00 pm

My point is this- the Hulk doesn't start talking in "Hulk Speak" until issue 66, and it's in that issue that we really see his childish longing for friendship for the first time. In the earlier issues of Ditko's run, he's dumber than the average adult but not childlike- take his thought balloons from issue 62, for example:
"First, I'll make sure the patrol can't interfere with me!! This will keep them back long enough! I remember...when Banner built the bomb...it's stronger than anyone knows! It can blow up this whole post...kill everyone!"

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Re: Hulk Smash Avengers # 1

Post by intp » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:32 pm

Well, the original rationale for placement didn't seem hugely compelling-- it was basically just going by the Wasp's costume (which was admittedly not a "firm indicator"): "There is an editorial note on the first page of Hulk Smash Avengers #1 that states, 'this story occurs between Avengers [vol. 1] #7 & #14.' Because A 13 leads into A 14, HSA 1 must occur before A 13. Not that it's a firm indicator, but going by the evolution of Wasp's costume during this period, I'm inclined to place HSA 1 between TTA 63 and A 11, which is contemporaneous with TOS 61-62." [original note].

The HSA 1 story has to occur after A 7, since Baron Zemo, Executioner, and Enchantress are in it, and they didn't meet until A 7, and it must occur before A 15, where the Avengers have their big showdown with the Masters of Evil; but there's no strong indication of where it occurred otherwise. Except, in my opinion, in the way the Hulk is written.

The way the Hulk is written in HSA 1 is pretty much the mean, clever (in a street smart way) and bullying Hulk who was in the Avengers back in A 1-2. I just don't see that character in the Ditko TTA run, at all. Admittedly, the stories are not 100% consistent in their portrayal of the Hulk's mentality, but for the most part, the stories that precede TTA 60/2 tend to have the smart and mean Hulk, whereas all of the malice seems gone in the Ditko portrayal and the brief moments where he acts non-stupidly can be explained as 'glimmers' of Banner's intellect which was often used as a plot excuse for the Hulk's behavior in particular instances.

I noticed the problem right away because some writers have done a good job with retro-Hulk, but others, not so much. With the major exception of Hulk:Destruction, Peter David has done a fine job with Hulk's continuity. Joe Casey also did an excellent job with the mean early green Hulk in A:EMH in the segment set between A 1 and A 2, where Hulk refuses to sign the charter, as well as in Avengers: Origin. Bob Harras did a good job with the same mean Hulk who makes Jarvis faint in A 280-FB then tries not to take the blame. Roger Stern did a good job with A 1.5, where the Hulk goes so far as to rip Dr. Doom's head off (of course it turns out to be a Doombot, but he didn't know that). But Jeph Loeb inexplicably wrote Hulk: Grey with the Hulk being about as feeble minded as a man with a 50 IQ, almost as if he had never even read H 1-2 (whereas Daredevil:Yellow was fairly faithful to the original comics), such that I don't see how Hulk:Grey could be considered canon.

My personal interest is in making the Hulk's chronology as consistent as possible, as he's always been my favorite character, so I tried to come up with a placement before TTA 60/2 that also worked with the other characters.

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