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Innocent Blood
Review And Media by Stu

Episode #5 - Innocent Blood
Original Airdate October 6, 1996

Ghost Rider is hot on the Hulk's trail, vowing to make him pay for the innocent bloodshed at the brute's hand! Things get worse for Hulk when Talbot comes calling with a gamma weapon, designed to poison Hulk!

Written By: Len Wein
Directed By: Rich Trueblood
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Haim Saban
Animation Services By: Sae Rom Productions
Guest Starring: Richard Grieco as Ghost Rider, Shadoe Stevens as Doc Sampson, Kevin Schon as Talbot, Matt Frewer as The Leader and Mark Hamill as Gargoyle.

Review: A thoroughly entertaining episode, which goes down as one of the series best, mainly due to the strength of the guest star, Ghost Rider. It’s no secret that this episode served as a backdoor pilot for a possible Ghost Rider series on UPN, which never came to fruition.

The Incredible Hulk had a huge amount of guest spots for a relatively short show, but they worked well in the context of the series. With Banner travelling through the country searching for his cure, he ran into them, rather than everyone running into him. Whereas over in Spider-Man, most of the heroes came to New York and he ran into them. This episode is one the show’s best guest starring episodes, and comes this close to topping Iron Man’s Helping Hand, Iron Fist episode, which may very well be the best team up in any Marvel cartoon.

One of the things I like most about this episode is that this is the same Ghost Rider from the Fantastic Four show with Richard Greico returning to voice the character, as only he can. Whilst his appearance in the Fantastic Four was short, it was so memorable as Ghost Rider has a very powerful presence with thankfully continues over in this episode. Whilst I know nothing of the characters comic book counterpart, or how he became Ghost Rider in the first place, but I still enjoyed both of his appearances.

The plot was interesting, to say the least. Ghost Rider apparently is summoned when innocent blood is shed, and since Hulk just destroyed a small village (which wasn’t shown) he came gunning for The Hulk. With Talbot also planning on poisoning The Hulk and Doc Sampson and Betty still working on the Nutrient Bath in order to cure Bruce, this episode certainly had more than it’s fair share of sub plots.

I loved the ending. I thought getting Hulk madder than ever was a good idea, but I liked how they didn’t physically make him angry, they did it emotionally. The characters are developed, rounded characters, each with strong motivations. It’s a shame this was forgotten about towards the end of the show’s run, but this first season features so few bad episodes, it’s a shame it wasn’t as popular as it should’ve been.