Jun 3, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 829: Incredible Hulk #259, May 1981


Read this today. Will offer some final thoughts on the Hulk (for now!) tomorrow.

Alright, let's finish off this week of The Incredible Hulk.

Only a partial story in today's offering, though it involves some of the more interesting characters in the Marvel U of the 1980s: The Soviet Super-Soldiers. This is an odd crew of mutants and misfits, some of whom serve the state willingly, and some of whom question the totalitarian tactics of the USSR (for those who are very young, that's what Russia used to be). Though seemingly not as numerous as the super-people of the US, there are Russian superhumans, and they fight to support the Communist state. At best, they're portrayed as conflicted heroes whose orders are often at odds with their personal feelings, and at worst they're simply mouthpieces for anti-Communist propaganda (in that they say the things that Americans thought the Russians would say). I find the conflicted portrayal of them almost as problematic as the propagandistic. I teach the creation of the self through communication from what we call "the generalized other," the voice of our respective cultures. This voice imbues in us the cultural attitudes and mores that we consider "natural." So to have these people who have been raised into Soviet culture outright questioning the rightness of their orders rings, to me, a bit false. Perhaps if one of them did, I could see it as an outlier, but when all of them do, we begin to see the notion that the "good" way of thinking, which in this case is very often the American way, is "natural," only overlaid somehow by the corrupted lessons of the Soviet state.

Which, really, is not how these things work. Ever.

Anyway, I think I'm done with the Hulk for a little while, though I'll get back to his series some time in the near future. Not sure where we're heading tomorrow, but it'll be neat.

To be continued.

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