Thursday, August 25, 2005

It's Not Easy Being Olive-Drab

A few people I know have complained that in Hulk: Destruction, the Abomination is being depicted in a darker, less emerald color than in previous appearances. To me the obvious reason for that has to be purely artistic.

The art just isn't that good. I found the art an incoherent mess in issue #1 and I haven't changed my opinion with #2. Someone else may think so also, since #2 has two pencillers and three inkers in the credits. So the color difference is not only for dramatic purposes but it helps the reader tell the Hulk and Bommy apart when in a clench.

But I have a geek-answer for the color change! I found that answer in the novel Hulk: Cry of the Beast (Marvel Novel #3, written by Richard S. Meyers, 1979).

In that excellent novel, Banner theorizes that the Hulk is green partly because the monster's skin cells symbiotically hosts Chloroplasts, mitochondria-like organelles that convert light to energy but usually only exist in plant life. The organelles, altered by gamma radiation, also aid in fueling the Hulk's biological system. It's a neat idea and helps to explain 'why green?'. Being a creature spawned in a similar desert environment (geographically) as Banner, the Abomination would share some physiological characteristics.

Being locked away under lights that do not readily support plant-life and only contributes to brain clouds has caused the chloroplasts in the Abominations' surface cells to die out. He'll turn back to regular color once he gets out and about a little more, and the gamma-altered chloroplasts will help with a boost in the strength department.


By the way, If you can find them, the Marvel Novel series of the late 70's were good reads and I recommend:

Mayhem in Manhattan (#1, Spider-Man)
Stalker From the Stars (#2, Hulk...this is a good one!)
Cry of the Beast (#3, Hulk)
And Call My Killer...MODOK! (#6, Iron Man)

Stalker From the Stars has a great pulpy, pre-FF Marvel Monster era feel to it. Cry of the Beast features some kick-ass Shield Agents and nose-picking. The Iron Man novel has a great concept in it I wish comics would use more often. As a contingency plan Ultron hypnotizes people to rebuild him after each destruction. The nifty concept is that the hypnosis doesn't turn people into stiff, momotone mouth-breathers as it is often depicted in comics. Instead, the mind-control just alters personality of the victim enough that they don't see anything wrong with helping out Ultron.

By the way, I am officially ignoring the retcons to both the Abominations's origin and the two wives named Nadia. Is this really written by PAD or did he make a few extra bucks by selling the rights to his name for this mini-series? Cripes, guys.

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