The Hulk was gray for a while in the late ‘80s, but the change wasn’t purely cosmetic. His transformations were no longer triggered by anger, but by daylight and nightfall. Hulk and Banner were still two distinct, opposing personalities, but the Hulk stopped being a mindless monster. Though still far from a scientist, the Hulk now possessed rational thought and craftiness, and he could hold down a job as a Las Vegas enforcer known as “Mr. Fixit.”
But among all those changes, the core essence of the character remained. The Hulk wants two things above all else—to keep being the Hulk, and to be left alone. And now he has the means to build a life for himself without having to be on the run all the time, and he can devise ways to keep Banner under control because he knows when the transformations are coming. It feels like progress (for the Hulk if not for Banner), but nothing can be too easy, of course.
In #348, an old enemy, the Absorbing Man, comes to town, hired to put down this new Mr. Fixit guy. And of course he strikes in daytime. So the Hulk has to fight off this reminder of his old life while the sun continuously threatens to bring Banner back. He has to bury himself under layers of clothing or keep to the shade, all while trying to defeat this intrusion into his new life. Like any good comic book fight, this one has stakes beyond just winning the battle.
Peter David had a lengthy run writing the Hulk, and he kept things remarkably fresh and creative throughout, all while staying true to the concept.
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Jeff Purves
Inker: Mike & Val Gustovich
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in The Incredible Hulk Visionaries –Peter David vol. 2 (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 10 and up