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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 199

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at an interesting issue of Incredible Hulk (#388) where Peter David and Dale Keown where the return of Hulk’s former sidekick, Jim Wilson, is overshadowed by some news that Wilson has…


First off, this issue introduces a new villain known as Speedfreek (I believe he was one of the villains killed in the explosion in Civil War #1. Am I remembering that correctly? Or maybe his sister or something?), and David and Keown establish the character in a very cool opening…

Man, Keown did such a good job on this title. And what you see here is not even the best that he would get – in the #390s, his art and storytelling skills got even BETTER!

In any event, Rick Jones and the Hulk (who hasn’t shown up yet but will follow later) visit Los Angeles where Hulk’s former sidekick, Jim Wilson, is working at an AIDS hospice which has come under fire from some bad guys. So Rick and the Hulk are showing up for protection (while Rick will also do a charity show with his band). Jim drops a bombshell…

As Jim fills them in on why he needs protection, David does a nice little continuity nod, similar to the one I mentioned that John Byrne did in Fantastic Four #258 – David makes reference to another Marvel hero, the Falcon, in such a way that really makes the Marvel Universe seem like a cohesive universe withOUT going overboard and making it so that, like, you needed to know Falcon’s history, etc. It’s very well done by David (as is the stuff with Rick and Jim discussing Jim’s HIV status)…

Speedfreek shows up during Rick’s performance and David/Keown come up with a great little bit here (by the way, Speedfreek is, indeed, a drug addict, hence his odd – even for a supervillain – behaviour)…

Naturally, the Hulk shows up to save the day, and there’s a nice Hulk/Speedfreek fight (I REALLY loved a bit that David came up with that uses Hulk’s healing powers – Speedreek shoots barbs into the Hulk’s legs, and Hulk’s healing abilities heal his skin AROUND the barbs, so he has to dig the barbs out and RE-injure his leg – it’s a good scene).

Anyhow, during the fight, Jim gets stabbed – Rick’s reaction is well handled by David…

Of course, I can’t help but mention the bit at the end of the issue where we learn that, also due to his healing powers, the Hulk doesn’t have to worry about HIV. I didn’t really mind it, as a plot point, but I can see how it might take some people out of the scene a bit.

Still, this was a great mix of action, humor, great artwork and interesting drama while working in a topical storyline that, for a 1991 comic book, was handled with a great deal of intelligence and respect. Well done all around!


liked the issue espically rick even though he does not act like it being scared of jim having hiv espically when he refuses to go and help jim stop the bleeding from his wounds right away. plus love how the falcon gets talked about as if the marvel universe really is one diverse one.

“That was a ’58 Strat.”

That looked nothing like a Fender Stratocaster. If Rick had said “that was a vintage guitar” it would have been no big deal, but the Strat has one of the most recognizable silhouettes of any electric guitar. Even if we are exaggerating the appearance, much as the physical characteristics of the characters are exaggerated; all the wrong characteristics are emphasized.


just to clarify my last comment. ment to say loved how David had rick seem to be buying into the old aids sterotypes and be almost in denial that Jim is hiv positive including how he reacts when him is hurt from speed freak. being afraid of touching jim by running away to try and find some one else. showing the rick might

Ok. It is a little scary that Peter David’s HULK has dialog that sounds so dated.

Still, these were some great comics. David & Keown were a fantastic team. They matched each others tone extremely well.

I haven’t read these issues. Did Peter David ever reveal how Jim Wilson contracted HIV?

Was a little surprised that you spotlighted this issue, and not the one that came after it.

Mike Loughlin

July 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm


David didn’t reveal it. In fact, he had one character ask how, and the Hulk reply, “does it matter?”

This comic blew me away when I was 14. If we must have “relevant” super-hero comics, they should be like this one, intelligent and balanced by action.

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