The Incredible Hulk #182

    The Incredible Hulk » The Incredible Hulk #182 - Between Hammer and Anvil! released by Marvel on December 1974.

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    Hulk befriends homeless man Crackerjack Jackson in the wilds of Canada. What will happen when Jackson is reunited with his long lost son, Johnny Anvil?

    Our story opens with the Canadian government reining agent Wolverine back in from his unaccomplished mission of destroying the Hulk. He reluctantly retreats, and they send their special-op commandos to take on the brute. When even that doesn’t work, they detonate a huge sleeping gas bomb at him, which finally puts the Hulk out. When the Hulk comes to, he is flying high above the forest, carried by the agents in a steel cage. The Hulk angrily breaks free of his prison, and jumps away to safer pastures.

    After a day of bounding across the plains, night is approaching, and the Hulk slows down for a rest. He is making his way through the brush of the trees, when he hears someone playing music off in the distance. He goes into the bushes, where he comes upon an old black man playing “Nobody Knows The Troubles I’ve Seen” on a harmonica as he cooks up some beans over an open fire. Hulk is disillusioned and says “Bah! Is only another puny human!”, but the friendly gentleman introduces himself as Cracka-Jack Jackson and invites him to stay for a meal of beans.

    Meanwhile, two fugitives from the state prison are on the run. They are Johnny Anvil and Hammer Jackson, two men that are forced to be partners because they are chained to each other!! As they trudge through the swamp, they are confronted by a huge alien humanoid, who is wounded and beseeches their aid. The two evil men have no intention of helping this creature, and Hammer gets out a stolen revolver and shoots the alien multiple times, with the obvious intent to kill it. Unbelievably, however, the metal from the bullets are exactly what the alien needed to sustain his support systems, and he grants them a reward. He destroys the chain between them, but before they can react, he has replaced it with ANOTHER chain, this time one of gleaming gold!

    The two fugitives, of course, cannot believe their misfortune, and complain that it is just another handcuff, but the alien reveals it is a powerful Energy-Synthicon, an attachment that enables them to cut through anything! Drunk with the power, they opt to RETURN to the prison and mete out punishment to their captors!

    The next morning, Crackajack Jackson has found the Hulk has stayed, eagerly waiting for more beans. Instead, the old gentleman takes Hulk fishing, talking about his life as they relax with their makeshift fishing poles. He tells Hulk he is on his way to see his son, and invites him to come along.

    Later that night, after a full meal of beans, Crackajack sees Hulk playing with a stick, and jokingly asks him if he’s “writing his memoirs”. The Hulk doesn’t understand the term “write”, so Crackajack obliges the giant, and spells out “Hulk” on the ground. “See? That’s Your Name!” Hulk is excited by this new discovery, and wants to write, too, so the kind old Crackajack Jackson sits down and slowly teaches the Hulk the whole alphabet, until the Hulk proudly scrawls H-U-L-K in the the dirt and exclaims “Ha! Hulk knows Hulk’s NAME!” Crackajack is proud of Hulk, too. “A man ain’t nothin’ if he ain’t got his name.” He then also says that no matter what, he considers Hulk his friend. Hulk nods, “Hulk Knows, Crackajack.”

    The next day, Crackajack is stopped at a roadblock. They tell him he cannot go up the road because there is an altercation up at the State Prison,and are about to send him back where he came from, when suddenly the Hulk comes out of the bushes and demands they let his friend through. When the police threaten him, he smashes their patrol car, and carries Crackajack off.

    Several miles up the road, they stop at the State Prison. Crackajack confesses his son is in prison. He’s afraid knowing his son is a criminal, Hulk might leave, but of course, Hulk states, “Why? You are Hulk’s friend.” He then carries the old man over the prison walls, where they step right into a prison riot!

    Hammer and Anvil have arrived and are taking out the guards, when Hulk and Crackajack land. Once there, the old man immediately recognizes Hammer as his own son Leroy, and approaches the fugitive, apologizing profusely for not visiting sooner.

    Hammer won’t hear any of it. He’s always had a grudge against his father for always being on the road, and wants him to STAY out! Crackajack tries to reason with his son, but as he reaches out for him, he touches the deadly energy synthicon, and it electrocutes Crackajack, killing him instantly.

    Hammer immediately regrets his actions, but the Hulk is inconsolable. He cannot believe his OWN SON has done this to his father, a man that he knew as a loving and caring man, a man who spoke highly of his son. He faces the Hammer and Anvil and screams “You killed Hulk’s Friend!” and lunges into the duo.

    The Duo slug it out with the Hulk, and eventually have the titan tied up with the deadly harness. They wrap the chain around Hulk’s neck, and are slowly tightening it like a garrote until the Hulk uses all his strength and tears the synthicon apart. The effect is horrific- the Hammer and Anvil, it seems, are somehow connected through the chain, and the separation has left them writhing in pain. Hulk picks up Crackajack and leaps out of the prison.

    Back in the forest, a grieving Hulk apologizes to Jackson, “Hulk is sorry he brought you here.” In tears, he buries the old man deep in the side of a hill, and as an afterthought, pounds out a makeshift grave marker. With his fingernail, he slowly, laboriously etches the crude and uneven words “Kraker-jak Jakson” onto the stone, remembering that “A man ain’t nothin’ if he ain’t got his name.”



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