The Incredible Hulk 3

Hulk3

We last left the Hulk in a cave in issue 2, so let’s check in to see what he is up to.

Synopsis

We find the Hulk banging against the walls of his prison, but they are not giving way.  Outside, Rick Jones is hoping that the wall will hold till daybreak, when the Hull will revert back to Bruce Banner. Rick briefly reminisces over the events leading to the Hulk’s self-inflicted imprisonment, before deciding to leave, confident that the wall will hold.

He is soon stopped by military police, and they explain to him that they have been keeping the whole area under surveillance and have orders from General Ross to bring him in. Ross is having a staff meeting , where they are discussing how they will use Rick to bring in the Hulk. Rick enters the meeting and he is told why he must bring in the Hulk… so that they can use him to test a new missile. Only the Hulk can withstand the g-force of the missile when it is fired.

Rick ponders the request and then decides to comply, for his country. He returns to the cave and opens the door. The Hulk smashes through, and seeing Rick thinks he is to blame for holding him in the cell and gives chase. Rick leads the Hulk towards the waiting army.

Rick gets to the missile, and climbs the steps, with the Hulk still in pursuit. He lures him in, and then the signal is given for the door to close. The Hulk is trapped inside and the missile is fired.

The missile soon enters the atmosphere and is then bathed in sunlight, causing the Hulk to turn back into Bruce. But the missile continues, and then enters a radiation belt, causing Bruce to once again be bathed in rays of intense radiation. The missile then escapes the radiation belt and keeps on, whilst Rick looks on from the ground below.

Rick returns to the control center and hears the army personnel congratulating themselves for getting rid of the Hulk. He quickly realises that it was a trick. Rick decides to take action in his own hands and moves to the control panel. As he touches the switch, radiation is fed back from the missile to the base causing Rick to recoil in pain, and unbeknownst to him, creates a link to the Hulk.

As a result of the switch being pressed, the rocket package drops away from the missile and crash lands back on earth. Rick rushes to the scene as the rocket crashes down, and is astonished to see the Hulk emerge into daylight. And not only has he emerged, but he is also now a glowing green colour.

The Hulk again blames Rick for his predicament and effortlessly picks up the rocket and throws it at him.  He then gives chase and once he corners Rick, vows to take revenge. Rick pleads for the Hulk to stop, and amazingly he does. He then gives a series of instructions and the Hulk follows them. He appears to be under his command. He instructs him to take him down from the rocks where their chase ended.

Rick returns home and climbs into bed, but before doings so orders the Hulk not to move. But only a few moments later, he hears something and awakes to find the Hulk no longer there. Rick follows the trail of destruction to find the Hulk in the middle of the town causing mayhem. The state troopers arrive but are not able to stop him. Rick intervenes and tells the Hulk that they have to get out of there. The Hulk scoops up Rick and leaps away, almost flying.

They land miles away, on the outskirts of the town. Rick realises that the pressure of controlling the Hulk is too much, so leads him again to the underground cave and orders the Hulk inside. We then get a brief interlude where the origin of the Hulk is retold, before we are introduced to a new villain, the Ringmaster!

The story takes us to a deserted town called Plainville, that was bustling a mere 24 hours earlier. We find two FBI agents driving through, and they explain that Plainville is just like two other towns they have visited, where every resident appears frozen in time. Not only that, but the town has also been ransacked and the bank vaults emptied.

Then, one of the agents notices a poster for a circus on the wall and remembers that he saw similar posters in the other towns. We are then taken to the circus, where the Ringmaster is centre stage and hypnotizing the entire audience. Once under his control, the Ringmaster orders his men to rob the audience of their possessions. Once they have robbed the audience and the entire town, the circus moves on in the night.

Meanwhile, once Rick is satisfied that the Hulk is safe, he decides to visit his aunt to get some food and wash up. After dinner, Rick pops into town and notices that the circus is performing that night. He heads in and the Ringmaster soon performs his hypnotic act. Rick is about to be cast under the spell but is still able to think and calls for the Hulk to help in his mind. The Hulk senses this and escaping his cell, runs straight for the circus.

The circus performers try to stop the Hulk and manage to tie him up in rope. They decide that the Hulk should become part of their act, drawing in even more crowds. The Ringmaster is about to perform his hypnosis again, when he is interrupted by the FBI. It would appear that once the victims of the earlier towns snapped out of their hypnosis, they told the FBI everything. Rick is also there and hearing his voice snaps free from his chains.

They try and fail to capture the Hulk again, and sensing defeat, the Ringmaster makes his escape. The Hulk notices this and manages him to catch him before the army appear. They point their guns at the Hulk, bur Rick orders the Hulk to jump. He leaps through the circus tent and away into the distance, leaving an infuriated General Ross behind.

Comment

A story of two halves here, the first following on from the end of issue 2 culminating in the Hulk’s powers changing, and the second introducing the Ringmaster.

As we can see here, the Hulk is now green and is not affected by the moon. However, he appears to be under the control of Rick. We also see the famous Hulk jump for the first time although his powers are still considerably weaker than what we are accustomed to, with the circus performers able to overpower and capture him.

Details

Writer – Stan Lee

Artist – Jack Kirby

Cover date – September 1962

Financials

Cover price – 12c

At the time of publishing, the most expensive listing for The Incredible Hulk 3 on eBay is $3,450.

Coming next

 

Journey into Mystery 84

Tales to Astonish 35

Star Wars 3

ComicRetrospective 2016

@comicretrospect

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The Incredible Hulk 2

Incredible Hulk 2

Fresh after his introduction in the previous issue, we rejoin the Hulk and Bruce Banner as they continue to come to terms with each other.

Synopsis

The issue begins with the Hulk appearing out of a swamp at night time. Local police are drawn to his presence, noting surprise that he is still alive.  As the townspeople are quick to hide behind closed doors, it looks as if nothing will stop the Hulk, until Rick Jones appears and appeals to him to stop. The Hulk momentarily pauses, before we are given a brief retelling of the events of last issue.

Back in the present, we see that a spaceship flying into our solar system, carrying the Toad Men! The ship then fires magnetic energy beams at the Earth. It becomes clear that the Toad Men are after the most brilliant scientific mind on the planet.

Meanwhile, we see Bruce and Rick dressed strangely carrying tools, but they are interrupted by General Ross and his daughter Betty. General Ross is unimpressed with Bruce, thinking that he hid when the Hulk last appeared, but Betty is quick to come to his defence. Bruce and Rick then head off to conduct a scientific experiment.

The pair stop at an underground cave, which will serve as a fortress to restrain Bruce when he changes into the Hulk.  They have created a ten foot concrete door which they help will be able to resist the power of the Hulk. Just then, they fall backwards and are pinned to the wall. The Toad Men have found their prey.

Bruce and Rick are taken to the Toad Men’s spaceship, where they are informed that there is a fleet of ships waiting to attack Earth. But first, they want to know how advanced scientifically the human population is. Bruce refuses to comply. Rick backs Bruce in his stance, but the Toad Men make clear they have no need for Rick, and send him back to Earth in an escape capsule.

Rick lands safely on Earth, just as night falls. And on the spaceship, Bruce turns into the Hulk. The Toad Men are astonished to find the Hulk in their ship, and the Hulk wastes little time in capturing the Toad Men. The Hulk then notices the weaponry on board, and realises that he can now become the hunter, rather than the hunted.

Back at the army base, the Toad Men’s ship has been picked up on radar and General Ross orders it to be shot down. They strike the ship, sending it crashing down to Earth. Soldiers surround the ship, but it is Bruce that appears from the wreckage. Whilst General Ross accuses Bruce of trying to attack his country, the Toad Men escape and head below ground. Once clear, they fire a magnetic flare, signalling the rest of the fleet to attack.

Meanwhile, Bruce has been placed in a cell, much to Rick’s anger. As General Ross makes preparations for guarding Bruce, he is informed of the alien invasion. The Toad Men make their intentions clear and General Ross vows to save mankind. It is now night, and Bruce is transforming once again into the Hulk. He easily manages to escape from his cell and heads towards the home of the person who imprisoned him, General Ross. But at the house, he finds Betty instead.

The soldiers converge on the Ross home, but Rick manages to fight his way through. All the soldiers are unable to stop the Hulk as he grabs Betty and runs. As Betty tries to reason with the Hulk, Rick manages to catch up with them at Bruce’s lab. The Hulk is not pleased to see Rick and goes to attack him but is stopped when the sun begins to rise. Luckily for Bruce, Betty had passed out so did not see the transformation. Bruce takes her to safety before plotting with Rick about how to stop the Toad Men.

Bruce realises that the only weapon on Earth that could stop them is the same gamma gun that turned him into the Hulk. Despite the General and soldiers are not far behind, Bruce is able to fire the weapon, which has the effect of dispersing the alien fleet.

Bruce’s actions in saving the planet mean that he can no longer be held by General Ross, much to his clear annoyance. He makes it clear that he does not trust Bruce, whilst the last image is of the Hulk in the underground cave.

Will it be enough to stop him? We will have to wait until issue 3 to find out.

Comments

A real mixed bag of an issue here.  We have the continuing story of Bruce and the Hulk intermingled with the out of this world attack by the Toad Men. We do get some interesting snippets into the Hulk’s psyche though, including the Hulk’s hatred for humans and his willingness to attack them. The only people seemingly able to get through to the Hulk are Rick and Betty, but even this is not guaranteed. All the while, it becomes clear that General Ross will be an ongoing thorn in both Bruce’s and the Hulk’s side.

It is also interesting to note that the Hulk appears in green on the cover for the first time, though his appearance fluctuates between grey and green throughout the issue.

Details

Writer – Stan Lee

Artist – Jack Kirby

Cover date – July 1962

Financials

Cover price – 12c

At the time of publishing, the most expensive listing for Incredible Hulk 2 is  $20,000 on eBay.

Coming next

Journey into Mystery 83

Amazing Fantasy 15

Star Wars (1977) 2

ComicRetrospective 2016

@comicretrospect

The Incredible Hulk 1

Hulk 1

Following on from the success of the Fantastic Four, Marvel decided to add to their pantheon of characters by introducing the Incredible Hulk in May, 1962.  Let’s take a look at his comic debut.

Synopsis

The story begins at an army testing facility in the desert.  We learn that a Dr Bruce Banner is about to test a gamma-bomb, but not all of the army personnel are in favour due to the apparent dangers.  It becomes clear that Dr Banner has not informed his clients of all the details about the test, including the “secret of the gamma ray“.  The test is delayed while Dr Banner makes some last-minute checks, much to the annoyance of the soldiers on sight, including one “Thunderbolt” Ross.

Ross’s daughter, Betty, comes to Bruce’s defence.  It’s finally time for the test to go ahead. Bruce’s colleague, Igor, again asks him to reveal the secrets of the gamma ray.  He explains that nobody has checked Bruce’s work, and if a mistake is made, many millions of people will suffer.  Bruce retaliates by saying that he does not make errors.

The countdown begins, only for Bruce to notice that a teenager in a car has driven into the test area.  Bruce tells Igor to delay the test while he speeds off to stop the teenager from being harmed.  Unfortunately for Bruce, Igor decides against delaying the test…

Bruce manages to get to the teenager and warns him about the bomb.  The teenager escapes but Bruce is still in the test area when the bomb explodes, enveloping him in gamma rays.

Hulk1pg4pn4

Hours later, Bruce is still screaming but appears to have survived the blast.  We then learn that the teenager, Rick Jones, brought Bruce back to the army base.  As darkness falls, both Bruce and Rick are still being kept on the base.  Just then, Bruce begins to fell strange and starts to hear a ticking sound.  Bruce then unbelievably changes before Rick’s eyes into a monster.  The monster swats Rick away and then smashes his way out of the cell they were being kept in.  He then destroys an army vehicle and strides off into the desert night.

The army immediately starts to search for the creature.  The monster keeps on moving, closely followed by Rick.  The monster is making his way back home.  He walks into his cabin, only to find Igor there searching for Bruce’s gamma ray formula.  Igor shoots the monster, but he doesn’t flinch.  He crushes Igor’s gun in his bare hands and then throws Igor across the room.  In doing so, he knocks a glass beaker over, and taped to the bottom of it is Bruce’s secret formula.

Rick manages to get the monster to stop attacking Igor by mentioning Bruce Banner.  The monster then sees a picture of Bruce and Rick explains to him that before he became a monster, he was Bruce Banner.  He slowly starts to remember as the sun starts to rise in the distant.  And then, the monster transforms back into Bruce.  At that point, the army, with General Ross and Betty in tow enter Bruce’s cabin looking for “The Hulk”.

Rick persuades the soldiers that Bruce is not the Hulk and they soon leave, leaving only Betty and Rick behind.  Betty apologises for her father’s behaviour.  Betty then leaves and Bruce explains to Rick that he thinks he will again turn into the Hulk when night falls.

The story switches to the cell that Igor is being held in, and we learn that he is a spy with some form of miniature communication device on his nail that allows him to send messages behind the “iron curtain“.  The message is received by soldiers and passed on to The Gargoyle!  He immediately gets into a sub and sets course for America.   Upon nearing his destination, .the sub fires a man-carrying rocket, with the Gargoyle inside.  The missile is soon destroyed, but not before the Gargoyle is able to land safely.

Meanwhile, Rick and Bruce are driving away when night descends and the change occurs.  The car crashes and the Hulk sets out on foot to find Betty.  Rick tries to stop him, all while they are both being watched from a distance by the Gargoyle.  The Hulk finds Betty outside, contemplating, but his appearance causes her to faint.  Just then, the Gargoyle makes his move.  The Gargoyle has a gun with a special pellet inside.  Upon being hit by the pellet, the victim will fall under the Gargoyle’s control.  He fires the gun at the Hulk and Rick, but does not notice Betty on the ground.

The Gargoyle leads both the Hulk and Rick to a secret plane, and they fly back to Russia.  However, by the time they land, it is daytime again and the Hulk has turned back into Bruce.    The effects of the pellet have worn off but it doesn’t take long for the Gargoyle to work out that Bruce is the Hulk.  The Gargoyle cannot understand why Bruce would want to be the Hulk, as he does not want to be the Gargoyle.  Bruce explains that he can cure the Gargoyle, by using radiation.  The treatment is successful and the Gargoyle transforms into a man.

The Gargoyle returns the favour by helping Bruce and Rick escape.  As they fly off in the Gargoyle’s rocket, they see an explosion down below and know that it is the end of the Gargoyle.

Comments

There’s lots to talk about in this first issue.  Firstly, the introduction of so many well-know characters: Bruce Banner, Rick Jones, General “thunderbolt” Ross, Betty Ross and of course, the Hulk.

What’s interesting is that there are many details about the Hulk which are either not consistently used, or are no longer considered part of the character.  The first and most obvious are his colour.  When he first appears on page 5, he appears blue or grey, rather than the traditional Hulk.  And the fact that the change was controlled by the sun or moon was a surprise.

It’s also clear that the Hulk is intelligent, but does not necessarily appear to have access to all of Bruce’s memories.  Many of these issues will be further developed in later issues.

Details

Writer – Stan Lee

Artist – Jack Kirby

Cover date – May 1962

Financials

Cover price – 12c

At the time of publishing, the most expensive listing for Incredible Hulk 1 is a staggering $33,995 on eBay.

Coming next

The next reviews in our chronological look at the Marvel superheroes will be:

Fantastic Four 5

The Incredible Hulk 2

Journey into Mystery 83

We will also be taking a detour to start our retrospective review of the 1977 Marvel Star Wars series.

ComicRetrospective 2016

@comicretrospect