Incredible Hulk 296 Hulk vs Rom Click for larger pic
|The Incredible Hulk issue 296 is one of
my favorite comic books from back in the day. This is
one of those classic issues that you can read over and
over again. Not only does the Hulk take on Rom
Spaceknight, but he also battles another Hulk.
"To Kill or Cure" starts out with Rom
Spaceknight searching for Dire Wraith lairs when his
energy analyzer picked up gamma rays coming from Bruce
Banner's lab. Of course, Rom investigates which leads to
Rom having to take on the Hulk.
Previously, in issue 295 the Hulk had just came back
from the Secret Wars,
which most comic book fans look back as one of the
biggest comic book events of Marvel Comics' history. It
was the event that brought us Spider-Man's black costume
and left the Thing able to change at will from Ben Grimm
and back to his rocky form. At this point Bruce Banner had finally managed
to gain control of the Hulk's power while still
retaining his Banner persona. This was probably, at the
time, the longest Banner had ever been in control as this
particular story line had ran for several issues.
I knew like most readers the rampaging Hulk would be back
soon enough and issue 296 was basically the return of the Hulk's
angry self. This Hulk as it turns out would be even more
monstrous than he was originally.
While Banner was fighting the Secret Wars, Max Hammer a old
time gangster had taken over Banner's lab. Before Hulk/Banner
had left, he forced Banner to shoot him up with gamma rays to
cure his frail health. Max had kidnapped Banner's girlfriend,
Katherine Waynesboro. Interesting note, in issue 294 Max Hammer
was called Max Stryker and by issue 295 he's suddenly known as Max
Hammer. I'm not sure what happened there.
||Max took it upon himself to radiate the
sick with gamma rays. It seemed like a good idea to make
the sick healthy, but unfortunately, gamma rays always
come with a price. Eventually, everyone exposed began to
die except for Max Hammer who became the Hammer Hulk. I
have to think that this Hulk was inspired by the aged
Hulk from the
Incredible Hulk TV show that Bill Bixby
and Lou Ferrigno faced.
On the TV
show, from the two part episode, "The First" it was an
older man named Dell Frye who sought gamma rays for the
sake of the power it gave him. Check out the
What always struck me as interesting was how much
skinnier this older Hulk was than the Banner Hulk. The
regular Hulk looked like a body builder and the old
version like a giant basketball player.
||Hammer Hulk and the Hulk battle as Banner loses
control, and the Hulk side of his persona takes over.
This Hulk is more uncontrollable than usual and
attempts to kill Hammer Hulk if not for the intervention
of Rom the Spaceknight.
Rom's neutralizer shines upon the two Hulk's, but
only the old Hammer is affected, once again becoming an
The Hulk continues his attack against
what is now a helpless old
||Kate Waynesboro informs Rom of the Hulk's injured
leg, which was injured in the Secret Wars. Rom attacks the Hulk in
order to prevent the Hulk from becoming a murderer.
Rom attempts once again to neutralize the gamma rays in
the Hulk in hopes of returning control to Banner.
Unfortunately, it only does so momentarily.
||The Hulk attacks Rom mercilessly, until
Kate gets in the way and when the Hulk slaps her back,
Banner is jolted back into control. The Hulk then jumps
into the air screaming, "God in heaven, help me! Help
me!" as Rom attends to Kate.
At the time Rom and his war against the Dire
Wraiths was completely intertwined into the Marvel
Comics universe. Rom appeared in several other Marvel
series as well as his enemies the Dire Wraiths in Marvel
books such as Power Man and Iron Fist, the X-men, Marvel
According to wikipedia as Marvel no longer owns the
rights to Rom, some of the reprints including Rom had
Rom completely removed from the story.
The Incredible Hulk:
Regression trade paperback features a heavily edited version
of The Incredible Hulk #296, removing Rom's entire appearance in
Fans of Rom will be happy to hear they can read
Rom's latest adventures on
Kindle on Amazon.
Unfortunately, it looks like if you want to
read all of Rom's original adventures, you'll probably have to
get back issues.