“Days of Rage”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Gerry Talaoc
This “Special Abnormally Large Size Issue!” of the Incredible Hulk is another classic of the 1980s. Not only was it the climax and culmination of writer Bill Mantlo’s two year storyline featuring Hulk with Banner’s intellect, but it also kicks off a bold new direction for the Hulk.
This issue really highlights Sal Buscema’s art with his great page layouts (Hulk throwing Starfox the full length of the page, from top to bottom) and breathtaking splashpages (the double-page splash with Hulk smashing a billboard with the issue’s title is engraved in my mind and there’s a really great page with Doctor Strange and the winds swirling around him). Gerry Talaoc’s inks are very distinctive, but work rather well with Buscema’s pencils.
The last half dozen issues featured the slow deterioration of the Banner’s control of the Hulk. And with #300, there’s little to nothing left of Banner, leaving only the raw savageness of the Hulk.
All of this was to buy some time for Dr. Strange to find a appropriate dimension to banish the Hulk to. Dr. Strange joins the battle and whisks Hulk to a dimensional crossroads that will allow him to explore a variety of dimensions as he sees fit.
The next dozen issues gave Mantlo the opportunity to explore the Hulk’s personality as he experiences conflict in the various dimensions he visits. Mantlo used an interested dynamic, a psychological anchor to the crossroads, which teleported the Hulk back from any dimension to the crossroads whenever he was unhappy.