REVIEW: INCREDIBLE HULK VS. SUPERMAN

So the question becomes how does a person who runs a Superman blog express his over-the-top anticipation for the upcoming Incredible Hulk film?

Simple, you post an old review of one of the comics where the two characters meet.

Incredible Hulk vs. Superman

In 1995 the two heroes clashed in the High School Class Election of a comic event called DC vs. Marvel, but as my assessment of that book might suggest (I did enjoy it, but it was a popularity contest plain and simple though a fun popularity contest) it wasn’t the most dignified of meetings.

Four years later the two companies came together again to give us this very classy team-up.  These kinds of meetings are always dodgy propositions.  Sure the second Marvel and DC meeting, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man (the first one in case you were interested was The Wizard of Oz) was great and some equally great stories followed, but for every Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man there are a couple of DC/Marvel: All Access type stories to muddy the waters.  Thankfully this story was one of the better crossovers the two publishers came together to produce.

The writing had a lot to do with that.  Roger Stern had strong ties to Marvel in the earlier part of his career before crossing over himself to DC and spending the better part of a decade charting the course for Superman along with Jerry Ordway, Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson and Karl Kesel.  Stern knows both universes and both characters having written a good two year stretch on the Hulk’s book as well.  Actually it is hard to find a Marvel hero from the late seventies and early to mid-eighties that Roger Stern didn’t write.  He knows his history and it shows in his writing.  This story takes place sometimes after issue six of the original Incredible Hulk series and sometime during John Byrne’s Man of Steel mini-series.  It’s an odd mix of histories but Stern makes it works. 

There’s a lot of action and the fight between Superman and the Hulk played out nicely.  This is a meeting of a Post Crisis on Infinite Earths Superman and a Pre-the Madder Hulk Gets the Stronger Hulk Gets Hulk, so it wasn’t an insane clash of outrageously strong powerhouses.    The earth shook and mountains crumbled, but on a smaller scale.  This allowed more time for Stern to focus on the cast.  Bruce Banner, Clark Kent, the Hulk, Superman, Lois Lane, Betty Ross and Lex Luthor all “sound” like themselves and Stern really focuses on the tragedy of Bruce Banner’s plight and Superman’s humanity to it.  The two fight.  That had to happen, but only through a very Marvel style misunderstanding, the Hulk defending himself and Superman finally having enough.  In fact the only person that is even slightly out of character for the time period is General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, who didn’t seem as prone to ranting as he was in those early days of the Hulk’s life.

Steve Rude handled the art work on the story and he was a wise choice for the job.  Rude’s art may not reflect the Superman that Roger Stern wrote but that Hulk was all Jack Kirby.  The power the two characters possess is evident on the page and while I didn’t think that every character looked as good as he could have, particularly Lex Luthor, Rude still did a lot to infuse the story with action, character and a good dash of nostalgia as well. 

This book is well worth your time, attention and money.  I do not know if it is still in print but you should be able to find it at your local comic shop, any of the many online vendors or on eBay.  I find the claims that this book is rare rather dubious but at the same time I bought the thing new so I actually have never had to seek it out.  If you do manage to secure a copy read it, then click on the comment button for this post and tell the group what you thought.  There won’t be a test but extra credit is awarded for doing so.

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4 Responses to REVIEW: INCREDIBLE HULK VS. SUPERMAN

  1. I remember the DC/Marvel mega-crossover. I always hated too. And I’m not just saying that because I’m ticked that Alfred and Jarvis never squared off. I mean, seriously, can you HONESTLY tell me there’s any possible way Wolverine could beat Lobo? Or that Storm could take Wonder Woman? No frackin’ way.

    As to your review, I’ll check that book out some time.

  2. Michael Bailey says:

    It’s well worth the hunt.

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