Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Indexible Hulk #1

“The Indexible Hulk” feature is one I've considered doing for quite some time, in which I'll go over Greenskin's adventures (mostly in his own mag, but I will include pertinent stuff from other mags), index the characters involved such as supporting cast, villains, and guest-stars, and probably do a bit of affectionate mocking (especially where Bruce Banner's inventions are involved). Here's how each installment will break down:

Issue: The title and issue number being covered

Title: The title of the story

Credits: Should be pretty self-explanatory!

Supporting Cast: Typically, this will be Gen. Ross, Betty, Rick, and so forth!
Villain: Whoever Greenskin is fighting, if applicable

Hulk Intelligence: Whatever level of intelligence the Hulk is demonstrating, probably put into semi-humorous form.

Guest-Stars: Anyone from another Marvel title making an appearance in the tale.

Plot: Brief summary of the plot.

Invention Exchange: Whatever high-tech gear is introduced in the story... it may be Banner's inventions, or the Leader's, or someone else's.

Reprinted In: Wherever the story was reprinted.

Notes: Whatever I feel like mentioning that wasn't covered above.

So, without further ado...

Hulk 001Issue: The Incredible Hulk #1

Title: Part 1, “The Coming of the Hulk,” Part 2, “The Hulk Strikes!”, Part 3, “The Search for The Hulk!”, Part 4, “Enter... The Gargoyle!”, Part 5, “The Hulk Triumphant!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Pencilled by Jack Kirby, Inked by Paul Reinman, Lettered by Art Simek

Supporting Cast: General Ross, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Villain: Igor (an undercover spy posing as Banner's assistant), the Gargoyle

Hulk Intelligence: Crafty Brute

Guest-Stars:
None

Plot: At the first test of Bruce Banner's Gamma Bomb, teenager Rick Jones is spotted in the test area. Bruce orders the countdown stopped so he can get Rick out of there, but assistant Igor doesn't stop the blast. Bruce gets Rick to safety, but he himself is caught in the blast, and miraculously survives. Hours later, Bruce awakens to find Rick grateful, but moments later, Bruce changes into the Hulk (not named quite yet) and smashes his way out of the hospital. He demolishes an army jeep on his way out to the desert, followed by Rick. Rick and the Hulk hide from the searching soldiers (who've just coined the Hulk's name, although Hulk isn't around to hear it at the time), and they make their way to Bruce's cottage, where they find Igor looking for Banner's formula for the Gamma Bomb. The Hulk knocks Igor out, finding the formula in the process. The Hulk's about to deal with Rick (the only person who knows his secret) when the sun comes up, changing him back to Banner. Bruce thinks his nightmare is over, but then Ross and his troops enter the cottage, asking if they've seen the Hulk. They also find Igor (referred to as “the spy we've been searching for,” even though there was no mention of Igor being identified as a spy prior to this). Bruce's formula is turned over to the soldiers for safe keeping, after which the soldiers leave. Bruce realizes that he became the Hulk when night fell, and worries the transformation will happen again. Meanwhile, in a cell, Igor uses a hidden miniature radio to contact the Gargoyle behind the Iron Curtain to tell him about the Hulk. The Gargoyle, a brilliant scientist who's been deformed by radiation, decides to travel to the USA to capture the Hulk. Shortly after the Gargoyle arrives, Rick and Bruce are driving around when night falls, and Bruce changes into the Hulk, with the Gargoyle spotting him. The Gargoyle tails the Hulk to the Ross home, where the Hulk confronts Betty, causing her to faint. The Gargoyle then reveals himself, shooting Rick and the Hulk with a pellet that saps their will. The Gargoyle brings them to where a raft waits to transport them to a sub, and then to a hidden sub-orbital jet, which takes them to the USSR, but as the jet crosses into daylight, Bruce changes back. The Gargoyle doesn't understand why Bruce would want to be the Hulk, and Bruce agrees to cure the Gargoyle's deformities with radiation, which turns the Gargoyle into a normal man. As Rick and the Hulk escape in the Gargoyle's escape rocket, the former Gargoyle sets off a self-destruct device to destroy the base.

Invention Exchange: Bruce's Gamma Bomb, thumbnail-sized sub-miniature transistor invented by the Gargoyle, the Gargoyle's experimental man-carrying rocket, the Gargoyle's will-sapping pellet.

Reprinted in: Origins of Marvel Comics, Marvel Masterworks #8, Incredible Hulk #417, Essential Incredible Hulk Vol. 1, Pocket Books Incredible Hulk Vol. 1, Marvel Tales Annual #1, Marvel Collectors' Item Classics 14-16, Incredible Hulk Special #1.

Notes: In the early Hulk tales, the Hulk clearly recalls much about Banner's life. The Hulk is colored grey in this first issue, although most reprints change his skin color to green. Much later, it was established that the grey skin was also an indicator of his intelligence, as evidenced by the “Mr. Fixit” storyline that Peter David wrote. This issue was adapted as episodes 1-3 of the 1966 Hulk animated cartoons.

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