Here is some follow-up to comments left on yesterday’s post about Hulk breaking his leg in Secret Wars…but first, let’s pause for a moment as we realize that not only did I just type the sentence “here is some follow-up to comments left on yesterday’s post about Hulk breaking his leg in Secret Wars,” but this is like my third day in a row mentioning said event on my website. …Who says crossover event comics don’t have lasting effects?
Anyhoo, reader William says:
“Although, to be fair, Secret Wars started the Hulk from the then-Bruce Banner controlled version to a more savage one that had to be exiled off of Earth. That storyline dominated the book for at least a year. It wasn’t a permanent change, or the one advertised, but it was a rather major change.”
That “Hulk regressing to savagery” plotline was already in motion prior to the Secret Wars thing, as I recall, though the SW series did sort of speed up the timeline a bit, with Hulk going away to the Secret Wars a bit unstable in one issue, then coming back the next really out of sorts. Now, this Hulk with Banner’s brain story was always eventually going to end with that particular status quo being reverted, I’m sure, regardless of the existence of Secret Wars, but being able to tie in what you were planning to do anyway with the high-profile crossover event is just one of those skills comic writers were beginning to realize they’d have to learn at the time.
Now, the Hulk breaking his leg…that felt more like something forced into the ongoing Hulk comic, especially since that particular “change” was disposed of almost as soon as they were able to get rid of it. Not that the broken leg was anything other than a cosmetic change anyway…no scenes of the Hulk saying “ooh boy, I’d like to fight the Abomination, but, man, you know, my leg.” He just had the crutch, and then eventually the crutch went away.
“And then there was those FF issues where Byrne kept forgetting to draw Banner’s crutch. And that Avengers Annual where She-Hulk and Reed collected said discarded crutch. And I believe the Thing eventually used it after taking a smackdown from the Hulk. Forget to mention all that, Mikester?”
Geez, ask me nicely, why don’t you?
Bruce Banner guest-appeared in Fantastic Four #266-268, as one of the consultants assisting Reed and Sue Richards during the super-power/radiation-related difficulties with Sue’s pregnancy. Now, how exactly this fits in with Hulk continuity at the time, I’m not sure, but Banner’s there, and, as Mr. Anonymous points out, sure enough that crutch only sporadically appears in these issues. There’s a splash page appearance here, and single panel appearance there…but yeah, it’s not consistently presented. And it doesn’t really have anything to do with the story, anyway.
As for later appearances of Hulk’s Crutch in Avengers and other places…I’ll have to look into it and get back to you on that. For, you know, an exciting fourth day on the topic. Hopefully there’s a “Hulk’s Crutch” entry in my Marvel Universe comics.
Kid Nicky sez, he sez
“You could easily argue Spidey’s symbiote has had a huge impact on the Marvel U. The new Venom was a part of Dark Avengers,so to this day it’s still a major plot point.”
That is something I brought up in that four year old post of mine I linked at the end, where I said
“…There was Spider-Man’s new black costume, probably the only lasting impact the series has had, though the evolution of that costume into his arch-nemesis Venom was more after the fact than because of anything in Secret Wars itself.”
I should probably amend that to the “only significant lasting impact,” since, as Nimbus says earlier in the comments, this is where the Julia Carpenter version of Spider-Woman was introduced, and apparently she still turns up now and again.
And perhaps I should give a little more credit to Secret Wars for the villainous nature of the black costume, since its nefarious aspects started turning up right away in Amazing Spider-Man, while Secret Wars was still running, so obviously editorial had that particular story arc in mind from the start. But I’m pretty sure no one had any idea that the real impact it’d have on the Marvel Universe would be as part of the villain Venom, created years later.
There is this sign that something is amiss about the costume in Secret Wars #12:
I like Johnny Storm’s (EDIT: or, okay, Reed’s) response. “Why you talkin’ crazy, crazy man?”
There’s a bit of irony here in that my general point is that crossover-inspired changes to the status quo usually lack lasting impact, and here I’m still talking about a very minor occurrence from a crossover series published 25 years ago.
Well played, James Shooter. Well played, indeed.