Credits: Gerry Conway (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Renee Witterstaetter, Paul Becton, & Heidi Goodhue (colorist)
The Plot: A mysterious scientist builds an energy-transference device, while Peter Parker and Betty Brant investigate a monster sighting in New England. The monster is actually the Hulk, who is traveling with his wife Betty Banner. The scientist detects Hulk’s energy and tries to absorb it while he rests as Bruce Banner. Banner transforms and swats the scientist, accidentally killing him. Spider-Man arrives and briefly fights the Hulk. Hulk leaves him for dead and escapes with his wife.
The Subplots: Robbie Robertson asks Peter to forgive him after his recent behavior. Kristy Watson is released from the Eating Disorder Unit, and accepts a job as the Osborns’ live-in nanny.
Web of Continuity: This is Betty Brant’s first job as a reporter, and she isn’t thrilled with Peter abandoning her when he spots the Banners’ jeep turning into the forest. Mary Jane ponders why she’s so attracted to fellow actor Jason Jerome, a reference to a subplot running in Spectacular Spider-Man.
*See _________ For Details: The scientist is supposed to be the brother of the one who died in Fantastic Four #51 (“This Man…This Monster!”). The footnote incorrectly lists the issue number as #53.
Production Note: Bob Sharen is incorrectly credited as colorist. Issue #71 lists the colorists as Renee Witterstaetter, Paul Becton, and Heidi Goodhue (perhaps that last name is pseudonym).
Review: Gerry Conway’s final arc begins, and it’s far from a classic. In fairness to Conway, he originally planned on taking a few issues off after #70 and then returning, so he didn’t know he was going out on “Spider-Hulk.” This issue sets up Spider-Man’s eventual transformation, while a few supporting cast members are given a little attention. Robbie formally apologizes to Peter, as Kristy finally checks out of the EDU and is given a job as the Osborn’s au pair. This is possibly the last time Kristy was given more than three lines of dialogue in a mainstream continuity book (although Tom DeFalco did resurrect her in Spider-Girl, which seems fitting for that title). When the extended Harry Osborn arc begins next year in Spectacular, I don’t think Kristy even makes an appearance, nor do I recall her ever getting any type of a send-off. Much like the unwanted siblings on Happy Days, Family Matters, and That ‘70s Show, she just disappeared.
Speaking of garbled continuity, can anyone explain the Hulk’s appearance in this issue? He’s back to green and dumb status, even though he appeared just a few months earlier as Joe Fixit in Amazing Spider-Man. I was always under the impression that Peter David never reverted Banner to the dumb, green persona during his Incredible Hulk run. There aren’t any footnotes indicating when this change might’ve occurred, so it’s hard to know if this is supposed to tie in to a specific Incredible Hulk storyline. Also, I thought Marvel had a policy that the Hulk never killed anyone during his rampages. Yet when he accidentally kills the scientist in this issue, the incident isn’t treated as a particularly big deal. Could this be the Hulk’s first on-panel kill?