Incredible Hulk Annual #5
Cover Date: 1976
Sale Date: July 13th, 1976
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Sal Buscema
Inker: Jack Abel
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Plotter/Editor: Len Wein
“And Six Shall Crush the Hulk!”
Guest Stars/Supporting Cast: Morrie n’ Joe (fisherman)
Villains: Diablo, Taboo, Goom, Groot, Blip, Xemnu
Synopsis: Open to the Hulk busy thrashing the famed 3rd Armored Division. One famed shockwave later, the brute takes his leave and later tries to fish with two oblivious fisherman. He’s then promptly attacked by the smoke demon Diablo. After a brief struggle, the Hulk dissipates the smoke creature with a hand-clap. He wanders the river and then runs into the mud monster called Taboo. Again, the Hulk overcomes the creature after smashing the riverbed and then watches Taboo get sucked into the whirlpool. The brute takes his leave and makes his way thru the forest – only to get attacked by tree branches under the control of Groot. Since he’s made of wood, the Hulk easily tears apart the alien tree, but the toll of these battles are beginning to catch up to the brute. He’s becoming extremely tired to the point where he can’t leap great distances anymore – and leaps right into the attack of the flying Goom! This angers the Hulk into action, but Goom is able to shrink the Hulk with a quick zap from his eyes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long and the Hulk’s rage overcomes the shrinking beams and he heaves Goom into a mountain side and pummels him until the cliffs collapse upon both of them. An exhausted Hulk breaks free, just in time for a thunder storm to gather and the electric alien called the Blip to attack him. The Hulk mistakes the Blip for Zzzax, but this foe seems a heck of a lot easier to beat than Zzzax. One heave into some powerlines take out the Blip and the Hulk finally collapses in exhaustion. Strangely, the ground around him envelopes the Hulk and carries him across the country side. He awakens in the headquarters of Xemnu the Living Titan, who reveals that he was the mastermind behind all the monster attacks. After a battle underground and atop a flood control damn, which breaks after an explosion in Xemnu’s hidden lab, the Hulk emerges victorious and declares himself the strongest one there is.
Commentary: A very fun story that harkens back to the Silver Age with the use of chapters and the old Atlas-era monsters. While plotted by Wein, it was scripted by Chris Claremont, who in this time and place, was barely making a dent in the comics scene as the X-Men writer. His grasp on the Hulk’s speech pattern is very good, and I’d always wondered what a Claremont Hulk run would have been like.
*Bonus* Here's the Art Adams recreation as well.