Review: Questprobe #1

Questprobe #1 cover
Cover uncredited

Questprobe #1
Published and © by Marvel, August 1984

Title: “Questprobe”
Synopsis: Against the backdrop of a peaceful world facing annihilation, the Chief Examiner comes to Earth to steal the Hulk’s power.

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist (breakdowns): Mark Gruenwald
Inker: John Romita

Review: With the rapid growth of video games and home computers in the 1980s, it’s no surprise to see these fields crossing over with the comic-book market. But such collaborations rarely led to good games or comics, and Questprobe #1 is no exception. Bill Mantlo had a good track record with both licensed properties (i.e., Rom, Micronauts) and the Hulk. But Questprobe is a stinker, featuring a nondescript villain, minimal emotional stakes and multiple variations of “Hulk wants to be alone” and “Hulk smash.” It’s competent but not compelling, which could also describe the journeyman effort on art. For completists only.

Grade: C-

Second opinion: “Questprobe is a book that leaves you with no strong feelings, either positive or negative.” – R.A. Jones, Amazing Heroes #52, Aug. 1 1984 … “A bizarre attempt to promote computer games featuring Marvel characters.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: Yeah, not so much.

Notable: First appearance of the Chief Examiner. … According to the “Questprobe Questions” essay in this issue, the Questprobe concept was co-created by game designer Scott Adams and Marvel creator John Byrne. … An early attempt at transmedia, the story continues in a Questprobe computer game from Scott Adams.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a $1.00 Canadian variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “Faceless man wants to feed Hulk to floating doorway! Hulk will give floating doorway something else to eat!” – Hulk, in one of the story’s more dramatic moments

Editor’s note: This review was written Dec. 29, 2020.

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