What I Remember:
I inherited this book from my uncle, like all my books from the 1970s. It features, Marvel Z-lister, the Jack of Hearts taking on on the Hulk in a spectacular battle. I really liked this story as a kid because it was a normal-sized guy taking on a wrecking machine like the Hulk.
The Incredible Hulk #214 “The Jack of Hearts is Wild!”
Writer & Editor: Len Wein
Illustrators: Sal Buscema & Ernie Chan
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Publication Date: August 1977
Cover Price: 35¢
Re-Collection Price: $3.85
The Hulk and his friend, Jim Wilson escape a battle. Jim manages to calm Hulk down and he reverts to Bruce Banner.
Meanwhile, Jack of Hearts helps clean up the wreckage of the Hulk’s latest rampage.
The police lament being overmatched by monsters like the Hulk and wonder why the heroes aren’t banding together to stop him. Jack of Hearts takes this to heart and vows to hunt down the Hulk.
Banner and Jim return to Bruce’s apartment and walk in on a chaotic scene. The last occupant Kropotkin The Great, a magician who couldn’t pay the rent, has returned for his things! After a confrontation with Kropotkin and the landlady Bruce grows agitated and once again becomes the Hulk!
Jack of Hearts immediately finds him and takes the fight to the Hulk. They battle on a pier where firefighters are putting out a blaze on one of the ships.
The battle rages into the burning ship and the Jack of Hearts is getting overwhelmed when the boiler blows.
Jack of Hearts manages to make it to shore but the Hulk’s whereabouts are unknown.
Continued After Ads:
This was a fast read. The entire story was basically a fight. Jack of Hearts goes after the Hulk to stop his constant rampaging and possibly succeeds, although we know that there will be an issue next month, so Hulk survives. Nothing of major consequence happens and the story is neatly tied up in one issue.
Jack of Hearts isn’t a very compelling hero. He seems very generic in this story. Considering this is one of his early appearances a little background into who he is would be nice. All we know is that he wants to help first responders that are cleaning up after Hulk attacks.
There is a nice glimpse into the Hulk’s frustrations with people. He just wants to be left alone, but “split-face” appears out of nowhere and attacks. He doesn’t want to rampage, but people keep forcing him to smash. You, the reader, feels bad for the Hulk.
This story was not my favorite story of all time. It ultimately suffers from the 70s mantra of resetting status quo each issue, so that this issue could be interchangable.
We look at Grant Morrison’s JLA in JLA #5. Where new recruits are invited to the Watchtower. Are the next generation’s superheroes up to the task? Find out next week.