Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is The Hulk An Avenger?

The Hulk might be a major part of the Avengers' movies, but he wasn't really a member of the Avengers for very long.

Sure, he was there for the first issue in September, 1963 (by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) and helped to found the team....

Short lived membership

Hulk hung out with the team in the in Avengers #1 1/2 (a loving tribute to the past that came out in December, 1999, by Roger Stern and Bruce Timm)...

...but the Hulk left the team after a misunderstanding in Avengers #2 (November, 1963 by Lee/Kirby) with the Space Phantom....

Hulk the menace

Hulk ended up teaming up with Namor the Sub-Mariner (who had issues with the human race at the time) in Avengers #3 (January, 1964, by Lee/Kirby)...

...and that led to the Avengers finding Hulk's replacement (Captain America) and even a battle with the rest of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four (in Lee/Kirby's Fantastic Four #25-26 of 1964).

Hulk the guest

Hulk was only a guest star in Avengers #17 (June, 1965 by Stan Lee and Don Heck) as Captain America looked to boost up the strength of his team, which included Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.... well as in Avengers #88 (May, 1971, by Harlan Ellison, Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema), wherein the not-so-jolly green giant meets fellow guest (and future Avenger) Falcon, then faces off against the menace of Psyklop (and the Avengers and others plot to rid the Earth of the Hulk, which goes into the Incredible Hulk #140 in June, 1971, wherein the shrunken Hulk first meets his lady love of Jarella...).

Hulk the returning member

Hulk did return as an Avenger, with Avengers #5 (May 1964, by Lee/Kirby) where he helped fight the Lava Men....

...and in Avengers #100 (June, 1972, by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith),  wherein the entire team faces off against Ares and the Enchantress!  (Avengers #1, #2, #5 and #100 are the only complete gathering of Avengers, as other members would usually be absent during other mega-gatherings).

Hulk returns a Defender

Hulk returned to the Avengers...but as a member of the Defenders (along with heroes who had been considered villains like Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer, Hawkeye and Valkyrie, all led by Dr. Strange), during the Avengers-Defenders War of Avengers #115-#118 and Defenders #8-#11 of 1973...

...and Hulk battled Thor (as he often did) but Hulk fought Thor as a member of the Defenders (with Thor as an Avenger), at least until the two teams gathered together to fight Loki and Dormammu at the end in this epic written by Steve Englehart with art by Sal Buscema on the Defenders parts and Bob Brown on the Avengers parts.

Hulk does come back to the Avengers

It is worth a mention that the Hulk did fight with the Avengers again, most notably during the Heroes Return with Avengers #1 of February, 1998 (by Kurt Busiek and George Perez)...

...but he doesn't stay for long, not like he did with the Defenders!

The Battle Settled

More often than not, when Hulk returns with a group... is with his fellow Defenders...

...and why wouldn't he?

Even Marvel knows the Hulk doesn't quit fit with the Avengers, as evidenced by the 2012 mini-series, Hulk Smash Avengers, wherein the big green guy was followed over his career...smashing Avengers!

Issue #1 by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz, issue #2 by Joe Casey and Max Fiumara, issue #3 by Roger Stern and Karl Moline, issue #4 by Jim McCann and Agustin Padilla and issue #5 by Fred Van Lente and Michael Avon Oeming all prove that the Hulk and the Avengers just don't get along!

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