Today, we check out Fear Itself: Wolverine #3, Heroes For Hire #11, and Blast to the Past for The Incredible Hulk #141. Enjoy and spread the word!
Slicin,' Hirin,' and Hulkin!'
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Heroic Age and beyond? Check no further than this link right HERE.
It's time to draw some Fear Itself minis to their inevitable close starting with...
Fear Itself: Wolverine #3
Writer: Seth Peck
Penciler: Roland Boschi
In this story:
• Melita Garner tries to get a hold of her boyfriend to tell him what a wackjob the leader of STRIKE, Sutton, is.
• Wolverine is strapped to a nuclear bomb. Some of the STRIKE team is questioning the orders to bomb New York City.
• One of them, Bexley, asks Sutton what is up but gets stabbed at the first sign of questioning orders.
• Croydon walks in right after this killing and is killed as well.
• Wolverine tells Brom and Harrow that STRIKE is a rogue agency with no connection to the British government that it used to serve. Sutton enters and confirms this.
• And it's a big fight all around. Brom ends up freeing Wolverine to help.
• But Logan uses his freedom to check his messages.
• After learning what he can about Sutton, Wolverine tells Brom to take the injured Harrow to the escape pods so he can handle the maniacal STRIKE leader.
• Sutton drops the nuke and then gets his hand cut off. Wolverine follows it down and performs a quick disarm before the thing hits the ground.
• Wolverine hooks up with his girlfriend and then returns to the Fear Itself event with the Avengers.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
The rogue British counter-terrorist-turned-terrorist strike team, STRIKE, has commandeered the decomissioned HAMMER Helicarrier, the Prometheus. Flying it to New York, they're prepared to drop a nuclear bomb on the United Nations building. With most of the Avengers deployed to various Fear Itself hot spots, the only thing standing between STRIKE and a nuclear detonation in New York City is the Wolverine.
So how's that working out? Not well. More on that later.
First, we catch up with Wolverine's girlfriend, Melita Garner, who is racing through New York to get closer to the UN Building. She's trying to get Wolverine some intel on the STRIKE leader, Sutton, but the com signals aren't running with their usual efficiency. This isn't helped by Sutton trashing the Prometheus' communications room. As Melita runs through the streets, an explosion sounds behind her.
Avengers Tower has just fallen. Since Melita was in the building just a short time ago, this probably moves her more than the other guys on the street.
So what's Wolverine up to while his girlfriend is busy trying to get him intel? He's strapped to a nuclear bomb that is going to be dropped on the United Nations. Guarding the little mutant are three members of STRIKE, Croyden (telepath), Brom (the guy with blue skin), and Harrow (the girl). Brom isn't sold on their current action. Sure, sure, steal a helicarrier. That's all well and good. Dropping a nuke on an ally nation? Nothing about that seems brilliant.
Croyden isn't concerned as long as he's getting paid. He and Brom's debate gets heated. Harrow sends the telepath out of the room.
Pulling Brom aside, Harrow tells him that there is definitely something fishy going on here. Bexley, the computer geek for this mission, hasn't tracked any incoming communications even though Sutton keeps on saying that their orders are being modified. They've pretty much figured out that Sutton is acting without even the pretense of official sanction but Bexley's up topside to see if Sutton will reveal anything more damning.
I'll cut through this next scene as easily as Sutton cuts through Bex. Sutton might be insane in the membrane but he knows that his computer geek has figured him out and also knows that this information has been passed to some of the others. When Bexley asks if he's REALLY going to kill the people of New York in a nuclear fireball, Sutton finishes Bex off while revealing all of this. There's also some crazy talk but that's mostly because Sutton is crazy.
After this killing, who should walk onto the bridge but Croyden.
Before Croyden gets a bullet in his forehead, his telepathy reveals that STRIKE hasn't worked for the British Government in a LONG time.
In the shadow of the UN, Melita turns on her laptop and gets just a TOUCH of a signal. That will have to do. Garner sets up her webcam and sends Wolverine all the information she's dug up on Sutton.
On the Prometheus' bridge, Sutton watches news reports on the situation in New York. He's even having a conversation with the corpses of Bexley and Croyden. The news reports start getting a bit too personal when they start talking about Sutton's background. It appears that Melita has released her online report about the Prometheus and its hijack crew. The local news has picked up on it. Sutton destroys the television monitors and rants a bit about how his work will make NYC "a SHRINE to the SERPENT HIMSELF."
So that's awesome.
In the bomb bay, Wolverine is telling Brom and Harrow that STRIKE isn't an official part of the British intelligence anymore. In fact, he had met real members of STRIKE and these guys are not it. Neither of them like what they're hearing and when Sutton enters the room, they don't get any better assurances that what they're doing is sanctioned.
Sutton claims that he found a new backer after the British thing fell through. He kept the name STRIKE because it wasn't in use. Oh yeah, everything they're doing is perfectly off the rails and into crazy town. How do you like that?
Brom and Croydon are upset but they don't attack Sutton until they learn that all the prisoners that they took alive have been killed and strung up outside the helicarrier. Which is messed up.
Wolverine convinces Brom that they're fighting the same fight and gets the blue guy to slice the chains holding his amr in place before Brom runs off to continue his attack on Sutton. Logan is able to use his claws to cut through the rest of the chains and free himself. Before he rushes into battle, Wolverine checks his messages and learns the Secret Origin of Sutton.
While he's doing that, Harrow catches a bullet in her gut. Brom could continue this fight but Logan tells him to get on and escape pod and get Harrow to the hospital before things get fatal for her. Sutton is Wolverine's.
I don't really know how much Sutton's backstory actually helps Wolverine but it at least gives the two something to talk about. In a nutshell, Sutton was experimented on. It might not have been as invasive as the experiments that gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton and claws but at it still drove the man crazy. In fact, it took away Sutton's ability to feel remorse for any of his actions.
Which is why this guy is totally going to drop the bomb.
Wolverine reaches Sutton too late but the STRIKE leader still loses his hand to Wolverine's claws. Logan leaps out of the Helicarrier and rides the nuke all the way down, working his magic to disarm the thing before it impacts the UN grounds. Of course, he's successful in disarming the nuke but the landing is still rough. There will be some heavy healing factor action in the next few minutes but we skip right over this.
Melita meets up with him near the UN and they catch up on their latest adventures. The Prometheus is recaptured and the injured Sutton ends up in custody.
A lady takes over his departure. She assures Sutton that he won't be spending too long incarcerated. After all, Black Air worked hard to make him what he is and they'll want a return on that investment. Black Air? Another rogue British intelligence agency. There are a LOT of rogue British intelligence agencies.
Wolverine's plans include a shower, maybe with his girlfriend for the extra sexy. After that, he's got to join up with the Avengers and tackle Fear Itself. Maybe he'll also hit up Uncanny X-Force for a completely unnecessary Fear Itself tie-in. As Wolverine, it's kind of his responsibility.
Heroes For Hire #11
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Kyle Hotz
In this issue:
• Purple Man controls Elektra and tells her to kill Shroud while he watches.
• Brady Breidel, the man that can become other people's fear, names himself "Monster."
• Misty Knight finds Gargoyle and Paladin and learns about Breidel.
• She tales a stun gun from Paladin and tells the two to go into rescue mode as she chases down Monster.
• Elektra kicks Purple Man's @$$. She was holding her breath. Purple Man still ends up escaping and accidentally falling out of the Raft into the water.
• When confronting Misty, Brady becomes what her unborn child would have been like. He runs away from her.
• As the Heroes for Hire search for Yancy Street survivors, Purple Man makes it to the shore.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
The Purple Man is still in the Raft's infirmary. Odds are he didn't kill the Puppet Master who is in a coma (or something close to it). When Elektra and the Shroud run into him while they are rounding up escaped prisoners, Zebediah Killgrave uses his pheremone powers to sic a mob of criminals on the two. When that doesn't completely satisfy him, he takes them both over.
Last issue ended with him ordering Elektra to kill the Shroud. Shroud has no choice to just sit there and get killes since he's under Killgrave's influence. Elektra has a little more leeway. Purple Man's pheremones would mean that she has to kill him but she can go about it anyway she likes. Her sai pricks Shroud's neck ever so slightly. This looks like it's going to be a slow death.
On Yancy Street, the newest villainous menace gets his feet wet learning his powers and abilities. This is Brady Breidel but he's decided that his bad guy name is going to be "Monster." I am actually surprised that the name wasn't already taken. According to Comic Book DB, there's been a DC Monster and a Marvel 2099 Monster but not a regular Marvel U Monster.
Brady took a surprise bath in Mister Fear's fear chemicals as well as a bunch of other substances mixed around with some electricity when Angrir (Thing) destroyed Yancy Street soon after picking up his Worthy hammer. The chemical slurry was enough to change Brady's form into a hulking beast. Not that it really matter what he looks like when no one's looking. Everytime he encounters someone, he physically becomes what they fear.
Showing off that ability, he becomes a giant acid spitting rat, living fire, and a demon clown in quick succession, scaring away some of the survivors and rescue crews running around Yancy Street. Last issue, he became an avenging angel when confronting Gargoyle because Isaac's greatest fear was that he was an unredeemable sinner. Paladin's greatest fear was that he wasn't good enough. That's why Monster became an impossibly skilled version of Paladin.
When Misty Knight finds the two heroes, Monster is very curious what he'll become for her. He still holds back as Misty brushes the stoned outer layer off of Gargoyle. Paladin wakes up on his own but both of them have just been through hell. They explain the situation and even give a pretty accurate description of Breidel's abilities.
He manifests as your greatest fear? That'll work for Misty. She takes one of Paladin's stun guns and orders the two spent heroes to help the Yancy Street survivors. There's some grumbling but Misty is Control. You don't argue with her and win.
On the Raft, Purple Man is getting anxious for this show to get good. Elektra is either taking her sweet time or is resisting him. He orders her to speed things up. Instead, Natchios attacks him. Killgrave isn't a fighter. It's not something that comes up a lot. He goes down hard.
As soon as Purple Man is dropped unconscious, Elektra wakes Shroud out of his controlled state. When he asks why she wasn't effected, Elektra tells him that she was holding her breath. Shroud finds that incredulous but she explains that it's a ninja thing.
When the two look for Purple Man, they find that he's already woken up and run off. Shroud wishes that Elektra would have broken her contract and gone lethal because no good comes from Purple Man running loose.
For example, Killgrave runs through the broken down raft and falls into the ocean when a section of the former prison collapses. You can bet that something like this won't kill him even with the genetically altered jellyfish roaming the waters.
On Yancy Street, Misty Knight searches for Monster.
So what does Brady Breidel become when confronting the woman behind the current Heroes for Hire? He becomes her unborn child.
No, not in a gross way. What he really becomes is "the IDEA of a child she lost because it was never REAL." Some people have complicated fears. Misty Knight and Danny Rand were going to have a child until they found out that it was a false pregnancy brought on because of Iron Fist's mystic connections.
While this is emotionally traumatizing for Misty, it freaks Brady out even more. He runs into the smoky remains of Yancy Street before Misty has a chance to catch him.
Paladin and Gargoyle catch up to Misty (technically, they could just say they were "looking for people to rescue"). Paladin, who can probably guess what Misty is about to say, gives her a comforting hug. Misty breaks away from it soon enough. They have people to save.
And what of the Purple Man? His survival isn't left up in the air. We see him on the other side of the Hudson River, scrambling to the shore. Lying on the beach, Zebediah Killgrave lets out a maniacal laugh.
The Incredible Hulk #141
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Herb Trimpe
In this story:
• Hulk runs around looking for Jarella.
• Doctor Leonard Samson, Psychiatrist, convinces General Thunderbolt Ross that he can save the General's daughter through some very non-psychiatric techniques.
• Finding the Hulk, they calm him down to make him revert to Bruce Banner. Banner willingly accompanies them to an Air Force facility in an attempt to save Betty Ross and maybe get rid of his curse forever.
• After enduring a plethora of scientific tests that have nothing to do with psychiatry, Bruce enters Leonard Samson's Cathexis-Ray Machine.
• When he becomes the Hulk, the Cathexis-Ray Machine quickly drains away the Hulk's energy, immediately changing him back to Banner form. The captured energy is used to turn Betty Ross from crystal statue to human form.
• As both Bruce and Betty recover, Samson studies the remaining Hulk energy and then gives himself a controlled dose of the energy. He grows to hulk size and gets long, flowing, green hair.
• Bruce has to endure Betty dating the new Doc Samson. Granted, Banner doesn't even throw his hat in the ring for Betty's affection.
• Eventually, Bruce misses being hunted and endangering people and takes his own blast from the Cathexis-Ray, returning to his life on the run as the Hulk.
• In a fight against Doc Samson, the Hulk beats the psychiatrist by getting a lot angrier and stronger.
• Betty rushes to Samson's side, having fallen for the loser in this fight.
June 1971! Amazing Spider-Man #98, Fantastic Four #112, Avengers #90, Captain America #139, Mighty Thor #190, and Sub-Mariner #39 were on the stands. In Incredible Hulk #141, the mighty Doc Samson was making his debut appearance.
Doc Samson is one of the more nonsensical origins that we've ever Super Read simply because he's listed as a psychiatrist but doesn't end up doing anything particularly psychiatric in nature in this entire comic. He'd much rather play the role of traditional mad scientist than delve into the minds of others. Now, I'm not a psychiatrist myself and I know it's a lot more than just sitting people down on couches and asking how they feel while blaming everything on mommy issues. I get that. There's a science to it. There's even the ability to prescribe medication. I just don't think many psychiatrists would decide to solve the case of a crystalized girl. Doc Samson is that exception.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I just wanted to go through the psychiatrist angle early on so I can avoid it as much as possible throughout the rest of the comic. I should also just get the biblical reference out of the way while I'm at it. Doc Samson has long hair and super-strength, purposely mimicking the Israelite Judge, Samson. Much like Samson, Doc Samson's strength doesn't COME from that long hair but it sure helps make him recognizable.
Our story starts with the Incredibly Hulk, fresh back from his first trip to Jarella's world, where the consciousness of Bruce Banner was combined with the physique of the Hulk for the first time. After a whirlwind romance with the green-skinned Jarella, Hulk found himself forced out of the microscopic world and returning to a world that fears and hates him. Hulk searches for Jarella, not really comprehending what just happened.
On an airliner in the skies above, the crystalized form of Betty Ross is being transferred to the facilities of one Doctor Leonard Samson. Like I said above, Len's a psychiatrist with a crazy plan for returning Betty to her regular, human form. Top scientists have told Ross that his daughter is dying so he's ready to grasp at any straws placed in front of him.
Samson explains that his plan is to syphon the energy out of the Hulk and use it in a machine that will take away Betty Ross's crystal form. There's even a chance that it will forever free Bruce from the curse of the Hulk. That means this is win/win... if it succeeds.
It also means that General Ross has to do something he's had trouble with from almost the first issue of the Hulk: he's gotta capture old Green Skin. The track the Incredible one to a nearby city. Instead of attacking the Hulk with as many tanks and soldiers as he can, Thunderbolt sends in Major Glen Talbot to reason with the simple minded creature.
Hulk isn't one to be easily reasoned with, especially by a rival for Betty's affections. He might not be remembering what's been going on with Betty, but he knows an enemy when he sees them. It's only after Dr. Samson fires his image gun (showing a picture of crystalized Betty) that Hulk begins to recall who Betty is what what she means to him.
This, in turn, helps change him back to his Bruce Banner form. Bruce immediately agrees to any plan that might have a chance to save Betty's life... even if there's a chance he'll die in the process. He's transported to Leonard's lab where all manner of tests are performed on him to make sure that this procedure will have a good chance of success. Throughout, Bruce is doped up so there's little chance he'll suddenly change into his monstrous alter-ego.
When everything check out, Bruce Banner is led to the Cathexis-Ray machine. Everyone has their own thoughts one what this means. Both Bruce and General Ross have much the same feelings. They both would do anything to save Betty Ross's life. Major Talbot is a lot more conflicted. He wants to do anything to save Betty but he also knows that this will return Bruce to full-time human and his main rival for Betty's affections will be back.
Oh, if only he knew that Bruce is the LEAST of his worries.
Before we go much further, I should describe Doc Samson for you, pre-powers. He's the spitting image of Bruce Banner from the very first issue of Hulk. Short brown hair. Spectacles. Smoking a pipe. Science background. The two have a lot of similarities and I'm betting that is intentional.
OK, back to the main show. Bruce is led right inside the Cathexis-Ray. Samson tells him that he'll be changing into the Hulk but the machine will be drawing off his energies immediately. The important thing is not to fight the change.
Things go off without a hitch. The Hulk manifests and is quickly sucked dry of energy. The Cathexis-Ray fires this Hulk-Energy at the crystal form of Betty Ross and she collapses to the floor as flesh and blood. General Ross and Major Talbot race over to check on Betty. At this point, Bruce is almost an after thought.
Both Bruce and Betty have some recovering to do but for Doctor Leonard Samson, it's right back to work. It turns out it didn't take as much of the Hulk's energy to change Betty back to human form as he expected and there's a lot of it left over. Heck, all you'd need to do to gain the powers of the Hulk is stand in front of the Cathexis-Ray and pull the trigger.
Soon, there's no doubt that Len is going to do just that. He strips off his shirt to prevent it from shredding and takes a controlled dose of Gamma Radiation. This stuff has been altered after being in Hulk's body so Samson's experience is different than he we'd expect.
In fact, it's what everyone would dream would happen if you were exposed to Gamma Rays. He gets all the benefits and none of the negatives. Super-strength? Check. Muscular physique? Yep? Fits of blind rage? Nope. This is basically what would have happened if Bruce Banner had remained in control of the Hulk but without the green skin. In fact, the only real adverse effect is long, green hair. He doesn't even need his glasses any more. It's a damn good bargain and much better than Samson deserves for experimenting on himself.
After he's finished flexing in front of the mirror, he gets a house call from a greatful Betty Ross. She's apparently been let out of the hospital and wanted to thank Samson personally. She notices the changes in Leonard from their earlier meeting and Samson isn't really hiding what he's done. He asks if she's going to see Bruce but she tells him that Banner was still asleep. Siezing the opportunity, Samson takes Betty out himself.
Turns out Bruce wasn't actually sleeping. He was following Betty. He watches as Samson takes the girl he loves out on the town and correctly guesses what Samson did with that left over Hulk energy. Feeling like he doesn't stand a chance when compared to the muscular and smart Samson, Bruce drops out of the picture.
Leonard Samson wastes no time picking up a costume and beginning his training to become a full fledged super-hero, taking the obvious name, "Doc Samson." He's pretty certain that because of how his Gamma Radiation was delivered, he's stronger than the Hulk but knows that he'll never be able to prove that since the Hulk is gone forever. In his free time, Leonard keeps on dating Betty Ross even though she's still waiting on a call from Bruce that will never come. That's because Bruce is letting the rage of losing everything get to him.
Even though it makes zero sense, Bruce Banner breaks into Samson's office and gives himself a blast of the remaining Hulk energy. The big green guy is back.
Meanwhile, Doc Samson is proposing to Betty. She won't commit to anything because she's still waiting on that call from Banner. In the middle of this, General Ross rushes in to tell them both that the Hulk is back on the prowl. Seeing that he probably isn't going to get any tonight, Doc Samson decides that this would be the perfect time to make his super-hero debut. General Ross scoffs at this but that's because he hasn't been following the plot very closely and doesn't realize Samson's new power levels.
Leonard finds the Hulk pretty easily. Big Green isn't much for hiding. The fight is furious and Doc Samson actually holds his own for a while. The problem for Leonard is that he was operating under a false assumption. He has Hulk's strength but only on a base level. We all know that the Hulk's strength increases depending on his anger levels. Samson's doesn't. That means that as soon as the Hulk starts getting pissed off, Doc Samson is out-classed.
And he KNOWS it.
As the Hulk is celebrating his victory over the green haired hero, Better Ross breaks away from her father and runs out into the combat zone. She's not going out to calm Hulk down or even yell at Banner for returning to Hulk form. She's going to check on Leonard Samson. It turns out that seeing him get creamed made her realize how much she loved him. Samson lost the fight but won the girl.
The Hulk? He doesn't really realize what just happened but a very small part of him knows that he just lost something.
Doc Samson wouldn't keep Betty's affections for too long before they broke up. Samson would remain a guest star in Hulk's comic for a long time, eventually using his psychiatric skills to "cure" Banner of multiple personality disorder. While this ACTUALLY led to a new personality, this wasn't revealed for at least a decade. Samson became a super-hero psychiatrist to other heroes. Most prominent on this list is his psychiatric evaluations of the government mutant team, X-Factor.
Doc Samson was killed after he developed his own multiple personality disorder. He was attempting to siphon out some Hulked Out Heroes at the tail end of World War Hulks but his body couldn't take the strain. He was left a burnt out skeleton.
But death is for other people when it comes to comic book heroes. Leonard Samson was resurrected during the Chaos War and fought alongside the Hulk against the forces of the Chaos King. Since my Chaos War knowledge is minimal, I'm not sure if his return was permanent or temporary. Either way, I'm certain that the Marvel Universe hasn't seen the last of Doc Samson.
And that is where we'll call it a day. I hope this was an informative experience for you. Thanks for Reading.
Until next time: Excelsior!
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX