We last left the Hulk in a cave in issue 2, so let’s check in to see what he is up to.
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.
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.
Writer – Stan Lee
Artist – Jack Kirby
Cover date – September 1962
Cover price – 12c
At the time of publishing, the most expensive listing for The Incredible Hulk 3 on eBay is $3,450.
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