Saturday, October 22, 2005

Defenders Saturday

Sub-Mariner 34

This is one of those Authority like comics where the heroes have enormous power and are using it to fix the problems of the world without much regard to what the people of the world or their governments want. Well before the Authority debuted, as it happens. Of course an Authority with the Hulk has a bit more of a scattered focus.

As the comic book opens we have a great little Hulk monologue. ‘Hulk swam far – swam hard – to get here! But now – Hulk doesn’t know where he is! Huh? Barbed Wire!? Somebody tries to keep hulk off this Island! Well, barbed wire can’t hurt Hulk – but Hulk still doesn’t like it!!” Fortunately these words of wisdom are not lost as a group of generic Latin American soldiers are watching “La Mole” as they call the Hulk (according to a footnote it means Mass). They try to drive him off but only succeed in building his desire to stay. They report to their leader (who, as events will show, is very unlucky and very stupid), who tells them they should have left the Hulk alone as he would have soon left. D’oh.

We switch to the Sub-Mariner who is watching all this on his view screens. He and his chief scientist (Vashti) discuss how the Hulk could help them face some menace, but conclude he is too dangerous. This is the menace of a vague science experiment that would “wreck havoc with the very weather itself.” The humans won’t listen to Namor’s warnings because he has thrashed them so many times. D’oh.

But then their monitor (set to find potential guest stars to raise the flagging popularity of this book) detects the Silver Surfer in the area. The Sub-Mariner goes to recruit him, first saying good-bye, but not “Till we meet again.” As Namors first meeting goes, this is a pretty peaceful one. They only fight for some 7 panels before the Surfer decides to help Namor. And it’s a good thing, as the Silver Surfer quickly explains. “There are Powers at my beck and call which even YOU can scarcely comprehend! And, only the LEAST of these is complete control over my mystic SURFBOARD.” I had a mystic surfboard once. But then my dad decided to clean out the garage and, well, time makes fools of us all.

The Silver Surfer evidently believes that he can convince the Hulk to join up to stop the evil weather machine. So we move over to the Hulk who is happy h has found a bunch of ruins. Of course, it’s not for nothing that the Hulk is known as a tactical genius. Consider these words. “Good! Hulk can see up here - - See for MILES! Now, if Humans don’t leave Hulk alone, Hulk willl see them coming - - and SMASH them!” Good plan, but rough on any vacationers in the area.

As the Surfer and Sub-Mariner swoop in on the island, General Stupid and Unlucky makes a tactical error. Upon seeing two more gringos (as he describes the Silver Surfer and Namor) invading his island he mobilizes his armed forces and commands them to attack them. He monologues that he has to be careful about using his army because his thankless peons revile his name and deface his portraits. You laugh, but that’s a huge expense putting up those big pictures of yourself. Having them constantly defaced isn’t just annoying; it’s expensive.

Anyway the Sub-Mariner and the Surfer find the Hulk (who attacks immediately), and in a switch-a-roo from the previous scene, the Surfer now thinks that the Hulk is too dangerous to approach, while Namor figures out a way to talk to the Hulk. “The monster WILL join us - - when he has listened to our PLEA! But FIRST as I learned long ago, I must gain his ATTENTION!!” So Sub-Mariner punches him in the face. This doesn’t seem to work, as the Hulk is still pretty determined to thrash him, but then, General Unlucky and Stupid helps out. His men attack the Hulk, the Silver Surfer and the Sub-Mariner. This gives Namor the opportunity to use this forceful argument. “NOW do you see, Hulk? It is not WE who are your true foemen - - but the spiteful HUMANS!”

The three turn the tide on the unnamed latin troops who quickly cry (well one of them anyway) “FLEE! NOTHING will stop these three GRINGO DEVILS!” But despite warning, they are still quickly destroyed. This leaves General Stupid and Unlucky insane, and the three heros leave the island to get on with the real story, which I’ll bet you had forgotten (hint - crazy weather machine). But that’s next issue.

The Simple Honesty of the Hulk – “Hulk doesn’t know what a GRINGO is, but Hulk doesn’t like being called a DEVIL.”

The Space Faring Grammar of the Silver Surfer. “Now we must go - - for a PLANET is yet to save!”

The Trials of the Sub-Mariner. “I could WARN them of their danger - - but when Namor speaks, their ears are DEAF, their hearts HARD!”

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