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Monday, April 25, 2016

Classic Comic Battles Key Issues Part 2

This here is round 2 of classic comic battles. I will all over the place when it comes to these key issues, so don't expect anything really ordered or by character.

Pretty much just for fun and no speculation or comic investing approach is taken here, although some of these are already pretty valuable. So some are good comics to invest in and some are just really fun reads that may bring back some nostalgia.

However, there all classic battles for some reason or another whether they're the first time two powerhouses go at it or rival characters like Hulk and the Thing. If you missed Part 1, the link will bring you back. Here's some more classic slug fests in comics.

Incredible Hulk #181 comic cover image
1st full appearance of Wolverine
1st Wolverine & Hulk battle

Definitely going with an obvious one here. 1st full appearance of Wolverine, and it's no surprise that this issue has the 1st Wolverine and Hulk battle. Still, that's not ever noted in Overstreet nor any of the third party grading companies, but it is a fact that this here is their first battle. I suppose it's pretty obvious that it doesn't need to be noted.

When it comes to first meetings, the two do first meet in one panel in Incredible Hulk #180. That key notation is often over-looked as well. 

No doubt that fans do like battles between the two. The Incredible Hulk #340 issue also has another classic battle between the two, and it probably helps a lot that Todd McFarlane drew that issue. 

This issue here is obviously a lot more sought out because of Wolverine's first full appearance, in which used to noted just as a 1st appearance until it was recently argued that Wolvie has a cameo in Hulk #180. 

Anyway, in this brawl, Wolverine is sent by the Canadian government to stop Hulk in the previous issue. However, in this issue, Wolverine first helps the Hulk to defeat Wendigo.

After Wendigo is dispatched, the brazen little mutant then sets his claws toward the Hulk. It's a furious but brief brawl. They are both knocked out by chemicals or gas by Marie Cartier and Georges Baptiste, both of whom are there to conduct a ritual that will remove the Wendigo spirit from the body of Cartier's brother and transport it into the Hulk. 

Sounds like an awfully bad idea to me, but both Wolverine and Hulk awake and the battle ensues. In the end, Hulk gives a glancing blow that knocks Wolverine out cold. BWOK! Guess his adamantium skull wasn't as strong then, and I always get a kick out of these panels.

First full appearance of an extremely popular Marvel character, classic battle or a fan-favorite of seeing two characters go at it. Anyways, Incredible Hulk #181 is still one of the most sought-out and valuable Bronze Age key issue comics to invest in. I really don't have to explain why any further, and this comic has the cover date of November, 1974.

Incrediblre Hulk #340 comic coverINCREDIBLE HULK #340
Wolverine vs. Hulk 2nd battle?

I'm not really sure if this is the 2nd one-on-one battle between the Hulk, but I can't find an earlier issue that seems to have Wolverine go toe-to-toe with the Hulk after issue #181. Yes, this is a Copper Age comic, but seeing Wolvie coming back to the comic series that debuted him is cool.

Also, another round at the Hulk is an awesome thing to see when you got Todd McFarlane penciling the issue. There's two more cool points concerning that. Also, this is the Grey Hulk version that Wolvie has to deal with this time around.

Being a Wolvie fan, this is probably my favorite issue from the McFarlane run. The fight is furious, but I do have to admit that this first McFarlane Wolverine does have some funky panels where the inks are just way too light.

It's a fun issue and always brings back some good ole nostalgia for me, as I did grow up reading McFarlane's run on Incredible Hulk back in the day. What I liked about this battle was actually seeing the damage that Wolvie was doing to the Hulk with his claws, and just how ineffective they ultimately were in the long run. Wolvie's surprise is kinda weird since he had battled the Hulk previously, but Hulk #181 never really showed Wolvie doing any damage like this here comic issue.

Another classic battle between Wolvie and the Hulk, and for a Copper Age comic, it's pretty sought but it hasn't blown up to ridiculous prices. Don't think it will any time soon.

CGC 9.8s are selling within the $200 range, but this issue definitely isn't rare. Still a great classic battle, though, and Incredible Hulk has the cover date of February, 1988.

1st published meeting Wolverine & Sabretooth
1st published battle Wolverine & Sabretooth

Okay, when it comes to canon, I have to use the word published here, because Wolverine and Sabretooth do have a 1st battle in Wolverine #10 that was published later than this one. That issue retroactively has a 1st encounter between the two before this one concerning Marvel's continuity timeline.

But I go by 1st time in comics - the first in a comic to see whatever happen. Part of the Mutant Massacre cross-over story, Wolverine finally meets up with Sabretooth after tracking him through the Morlock tunnels for some time.

Although this is the first time we comic readers see the first meeting of Wolvie and Sabretooth in comics, this issue does hint that there is already an established history between the two readers had yet to learn about when this issue first hit the stands. Regardless, the issue and classic comic battle contained in this comic does establish the rivalry that would fester between the mutie runt and Sabretooth henceforth, and the villain would become one of Wolverine's greatest foes and arch enemies without a doubt.

Wolverine and Sabretooth clashes have become fan-favorites for a reason, so is this a classic comic battle between hero and villain? Most definitely! Snickt! Snakt!

Uncanny X-Men #212 has the cover date of December, 1986.

1st Namor & Hulk meeting and battle
1st Namor & Hulk team up
1st Namor & Hulk battle with Avengers
1st meeting of Namor & Avengers

When it comes to Avengers #3, there's so many things going on in terms of key issue goodness it's mind rattling. So, in this issue the Hulk & the Avengers duke it out, but the Hulk wipes the floor with them.

Namor is watching everything, and when the Hulk makes his escape, the two meet each other and have their first battle. After trading a few blows, Namor suggests they form an alliance since both dislike the puny humans.

With this uneasy alliance between the two, Namor and Hulk challenge Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and the Avengers accept. Thor does scrap with both the Hulk and Namor, but it's a brief scuffle and not really an all-out, no-holds brawl between Thor and Hulk.

That classic battle would happen in a different title, but that different title would be connected to this one. We'll get to that issue in a moment.

There is a funny moment in this issue where Hulk tries to wrestle away Thor's hammer from his grip and is unable to do so. "I'm the Hulk! I'm the Hulk!!"
However, the Hulk transforms back into Bruce Banner at a critical moment of the battle and sneaks away while the Avenger subdue Namor the Sub-Mariner. Anyways, a lot of things going on in this issue and a lot of 1sts that aren't really recognized in the secondary market currently. 

Overstreet notes this as the 2nd Namor cross-over outside of the Fantastic Four title. His first is in Strange Tales #107, which has a classic battle between Subby and the Human Torch.

Anyways, Overstreet does recognize this issue as the 1st Hulk and Namor team up, but doesn't mention their first meeting of each other, nor Subby first meeting the Avengers. CGC just notes it as 1st Namor and Hulk team-up.

So, more than meets the eye for this issue and classic team-up battle. Avengers #3 has the cover date of January, 1964.

Journey Into Mystery #112 comic imageJOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112
1st Thor & Hulk battle
Origin of Loki

This isn't the first time Hulk & Thor have tussled. They did so in the Avengers #3, but that wasn't a one-on-one scrap nor did they even trade blows in that issue

Journey into Mystery #112 is strange one, as Thor remembers a different brawl between the two that was never told until this issue. It's an extension of the battle that happened in Avengers #3.

Apparently during the fight between Hulk & Namor and the Avengers, the two powerhouses get separated from the main brawl. So, realizing the Hulk's might, Thor asks Odin to lift the enchantment that binds him to his hammer.

If Thor is not in possession of his hammer, he will turn back into Donald Blake after sixty seconds. Odin grants him five minutes and lifts the enchantment, so his son can test his strength against the Hulk.

However, lifting the enchantment also causes Thor's hammer to become vulnerable. This issue fails to determine who is stronger.

The cavern the two were duking it out in collapses, and Hulk escapes briefly. Thor cannot find him so he rejoins the Avengers against Namor.

Hulk rejoins the fight, and it ends exactly how it does in Avengers #3. At the end of this issue, Thor says he has no proof as to who is mightier and therefore cannot say anything about the matter. The Hulk is also seen wondering when the two titans will clash again.

Any early or 1st battle between two powerhouse characters like the Hulk and Thor one-on-one are classic battles and classic key issues. Oh, yes, and this issue also has the origin of Loki, extremely important.

Overstreet doesn't note this as the 1st Thor & Hulk battle, but they do note it as Thor vs. Hulk. I think it should be considered their 1st battle, but that's just my opinion there. Journey into Mystery #112 has the cover date of January, 1965.

Some important first battles between two popular characters. Yes, I haven't gotten to DC Comics just yet, but don't get all butt hurt. I will be getting to those in due time.

So, more classic battles to come, and if they happen to be key issues, then they happen to be. See ya soon!


  1. My favourite Wolvie/Sabretooth Cover? X-Men 213 for sure. This one is just so intense! I think no artist captured it better how these two animal brutes go at each others throats...


    1. I agree!!, I love the whole mutant massacre story line, lots of keyness in that little run.

    2. Definitely a great battle between Sabretooth and Wolverine in X-Men #213.

  2. Man, Hulk 181. The only major bronze age key I've never been able to add to my collection. I think Hulk 340 is the best Hulk issue published after 181 in the series. Classic McFarlane! Both Avengers 3 and JIM 112 are great Marvel silver age books. I have them both. Of course Wolvie vs Sabretooth, always popular. Looking forward for some more battle key issue goodness.

    1. Have to agree about Hulk #340...definitely one of my favorite battles.