Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Indexible Hulk #2

Hulk 002Issue: The Incredible Hulk #2

Title: Part 1, “The Terror of the Toad Men,” Part 2, “Prisoners of the Toad Men!,” Part 3, “Bruce Banner, Wanted for Treason,” Part 4,”Hulk Runs Amok!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Pencilled by Jack Kirby, Inked by Steve Ditko, Lettered by Artie Simek

Supporting Cast: Betty Ross, General Ross, Rick Jones

Villain: The Toad Men

Hulk Intelligence: Crafty Brute

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: The Hulk is spotted in a swamp (are there any swamps in the Southwestern USA?), causing a panic. Rick shows up and gets the Hulk to come with him while recapping his origin. Meanwhile, a magnetically-powered spaceship, manned by the Toad Men, are approaching Earth, seeking Earth's most brilliant scientific mind (which happens to be Bruce Banner, not Reed Richards, Tony Stark, or even Hank Pym). Bruce and Rick convince Betty and the General they're off to do some scientific research, but in reality, they're headed off to a cave near a lake, that they'll use to imprison the Hulk at night. Suddenly, Rick and Bruce are attacked by the Toad Men, who capture them in a magnetic ray, and bring them to their spacecraft. The Toad Men brag about their proficiency with using magnetism, and then in order to get Bruce to talk, they send Rick back to earth in a “magnetically-guided plastic cylinder.” Suddenly, as the orbiting spaceship goes to Earth's night side, Bruce changes into the Hulk, and breaks free, noting the powerful weapons the Toad Men have amassed. Back on Earth, Ross, orders missiles shot at the orbiting craft, sending it crashing to Earth. Since the ship lands in daylight, it's Bruce who staggers out of the wreckage, leading Ross to believe Bruce is a traitor. The Toad Men escape underground to avoid detection, and then send a signal to the invading force to attack. Bruce sits in his cell as Ross hears about the attack craft approaching Earth, but before he can do anything, the armada can be seen over all major cities, and the leader of the Toad Men says on TV that they will force the moon to crash into the Earth, and the only way to stop that is complete surrender! Meanwhile, night is falling, and Bruce turns into the Hulk and escapes. For some reason, the Hulk decides to head to Ross' house, where he finds Betty, but soldiers soon surround the doorway (just like in last issue!). The Hulk takes Betty with him to Bruce's lab, where he's joined by Rick. Before the Hulk can attack, the sun rises again (mighty short nights here), changing the Hulk back to Bruce. When Bruce hears what's been happening, he takes Rick with him to where his Gamma Ray Gun is being stored, believing that it may stop the Toad Men. Soldiers arrive, but Rick holds them off with a fire hose until Bruce gets a chance to fire the gun, which somehow manages to reverse the magnetic polarity of the Toad Men's armada, sending them away from the Earth. Of course, while this clears Bruce of treason, Ross still suspects him, believing there's a connection between Bruce and the Hulk!

Invention Exchange: Banner's amazing 10-foot-thick concrete door that Rick can open or close, the Toad Men's magnetically-powered technology, Banner's Gamma Ray Gun.

Reprinted In: Marvel Collectors' Item Classics 8-10, Marvel Masterworks #8, Essential Hulk #1, Pocket Books Incredible Hulk Vol. 1.

Notes: Beginning in this issue, the Hulk's skin is colored green. I have no idea how it was that Bruce was able to get the equipment into the cave to keep the Hulk contained, much less get it set up! The door to the Hulk's cell is concrete, ten feet thick (although the art doesn't look like it), set up balanced so that Rick can easily push it into place (how this prevents the Hulk from pushing it out is beyond me). Also note that this is the second time Rick and Bruce have been captured in a row, although last issue it was Rick and the Hulk, with the ship moving them into daylight, while this time it's Rick and Bruce, with the ship moving into night. Also, note that while all this stuff is going on with the Toad Men's armada, there appear to be no other superheroes around to deal with the situation – I would've thought the Fantastic Four would've been called in, at least! I guess an integrated Marvel Universe took time to work out! The stories in this issue were adapted as episodes 4 through 6 of the 1966 Hulk animated series.

2 comments:

  1. I love that story - mostly because it was the first Hulk story I ever read - and I loved the combination of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko on art.

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  2. Glad it brought back good memories, Steve!

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