Monday, March 17, 2008

Lesser Known Joe Casey Comics: The Incredible Hulk #470

[Continuing my look at Joe Casey's mostly-forgotten run on The Incredible Hulk. Hey, it's St. Patrick's Day and the Hulk is all green! And... oh, "Banner" is English and/or German. Shit. Guess the Hulk isn't Irish... at least on his paternal grandfather's side of the family. The rest could be all kinds of Irish, who knows. Actually, I bet someone out there knows. Why would someone know that? New posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday.]

And I wrote that intro, like, six-and-a-half hours ago. It's now Tuesday morning, a bit after two, and I just spent three hours playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii with a buddy. We kicked some serious ass. I play as Ganondorf and had a habit of grabbing guys in mid-air and then slamming us both off of the screen, but the game would give them the KO on me and another player the KO on them. Does that seem fair to you? I slammed them. Shit.

What does that have to do with this issue of The Incredible Hulk? Nothing. Or, can I make it tie in?

Bruce Banner hits Vegas and gets involved with the Circus of Crime, which is working at a Circus Circus type casino while also pulling bank heists. You may remember the Clown from Deathlok, except instead of the lean, mean killing machine, we get a chubby middle-aged guy. What happened? Did Joe Casey and Leonardo Manco revamp the character? Did Ed McGuinness draw him wrong here?

While in Vegas, Bruce meets up with Marlo (Rick Jones's ex) and she's in with some shady people, so he tries to get it all sorted out, but that goes wrong and he winds up in the middle of a bank job that the Circus of Crime is pulling, and they fight, with the Circus taking down the Hulk.

This is a wacky-as-hell issue. It continues Casey's efforts to make Bruce the hero of the book with the Hulk as a "secret weapon." He continues his love of using older Marvel concepts with the Circus of Crime, and it also sets up his Deathlok run. The story is framed by the Clown talking to Doc Samson, which makes the story problematic with its relationship to Deathlok as this is not the same character.

Ed McGuinness does art for this issue and the next, and it fits the wacky story. He's one of Casey's... well, frequent isn't the right word, but common collaborators with a guest issue on Cable and the first six issue of Mr. Majestic done together. They seem a good match as McGuinness can do big superhero action well, which is something Casey likes to bring out, particularly early in his career and on corporate-owned books. (Actually, I would classify McGuinness in the same category as Mike Wieringo, Derec Aucoin, Jim Muniz, and Derec Donovan when discussing Casey's work. All have cartoony styles, and do very clean work. I should do a categorisation of Casey artists at some point. Hmm.)

Next issue wraps up the Vegas adventure. And how does this all relate to Super Smash Bros. Brawl? Er...