Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Defenders #10. The Hulk vs Thor.

Defenders #10, Hulk v Thor
At some point in his life, there's one question every good comic fan must ask himself; "If I cut the figures out of this comic and stick them to some cardboard and play with them, would that make me look immature, bearing in mind I'm 47?" The next question he has to ask himself is, "Who'd win a fight between the Hulk and Thor?"

Now we all know there're two answers to that question. There's the real one which is that Thor'd win, seeing as he's as strong as the Hulk and can fly and has a hammer and can fire lightning bolts and can transmute elements and can transport people to other times, dimensions and places whenever he wants to. All he has to do is send the Hulk to another planet and that's the end of that fight.

Thor of course won't do that because that'd involve him using his noggin, and super-heroes don't use sense because they know that one good brain can never be as good as two good fists.

The second answer is the Marvel answer which is, it's the Bronze Age, they each have their own comic whose sales must be preserved, so it's always going to be a draw. That means of course that there's no possible fun at all in reading a comic where we know it has to end in a stalemate.

Well of course there is. It doesn't matter that deep down we must know there's not going to be a winner. It's the Hulk vs Thor and, being the gullible fools we are, we still have that hope that this time might be the one where we actually get an outcome.

And so we get The Defenders #10, which features the climax of the Avengers/Defenders War, as Thor and the Hulk take each other on in Los Angeles. They get to hit each other, they get to throw things at each other and then they get to grab each other's wrists and stand there for a ridiculous amount of time, trying to overpower each other, before they're interrupted by  the Avengers and Defenders showing up and calling off the fight. The Sub-Mariner, that epitome of level-headedness, has arranged a truce and then an alliance between the two teams and now they're united in their campaign against their real foes Loki and Dormammu.

The fight's great. It's extremely silly. At one point the Hulk spins Thor round so fast he drills himself into the pavement. In other words, the invulnerability of the contestants means Sal Buscema can treat it almost like its some sort of Tom and Jerry cartoon where impossible beings do impossible things. It's also good to see the Hulk being unable to lift Thor's hammer, a case of Buscema and Steve Englehart remembering that it's magic that stops people lifting the thing and not its weight. It might be straightforward but writers and artists - including Lee and Kirby - didn't always remember it.

So, that's it, the fight's over and we're all friends.

This is where Dr Strange shows the Hulk isn't the dimmest member of the Defenders, by laying the various components of the Evil Eye in the street, where they're promptly snatched by a very strange thing that works for Dormammu. Faster than you can say, "By the Dread Vishanti!" Dormammu's got his hands on the Evil Eye and is using it to drag the Earth into his dimension so he can rule it. Bearing in mind he's been stood on a floating boulder for the entire run of this saga, you can see why he's after something a bit bigger.

Having been the cause of the world's peril in the first place, the teams finish the issue by vowing to give Dormammu a good bashing. How lucky we are to have them - although if we didn't have them we wouldn't have been in any danger in the first place. Isn't it about time someone took their super-hero licenses off them?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember a Silver Age story (probably in The Avengers) where the Hulk tried to lift Thor's hammer, but couldn't.

Then there was the "Big Bang Theory" episode where Penny, Amy, and Bernadette read some comics (to see what their nerdy boyfriends liked about them) and got into a debate over whether Thor was stronger than the Hulk. That naturally led to arguing about why the Hulk couldn't lift the hammer, with one of the women trying to explain that it was because of enchantment, not weight.

I heard that there was a story where Captain America lifted the hammer (because he was "worthy"), but I never saw it.

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