Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Indexible Hulk #12

Fantastic Four 026Issue: Fantastic Four #26

Title: “The Avengers Take Over!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Illustrated by Jack Kirby, Inked by George Bell (Roussos), Lettered by Art Simek

Supporting Cast: Rick Jones

Villain: The Incredible Hulk!

Hulk Intelligence: Brute of Average Intelligence

Guest-Stars: The Avengers

Plot: Continuing from the previous issue, Mr. Fantastic is still sick from the viruses and microbes he was working with to cure the Thing, the Torch is hospitalized after tackling the Hulk alone, the Invisible Girl's force field doesn't seem powerful enough to deal with the Hulk, and so the Thing is the only one left! Believing that the Thing was down and out, the Hulk turned his back, but then the Thing attacked again. The fight continues with the army and local TV looking on. At the Baxter Building, a team of specialists arrives to treat Reed Richards. At the hospital, the Torch wakes up and flames on, but has to first take off his asbestos pajamas before flying out of his room (yet he still seems to have his uniform on, although it wasn't shown before he flamed on). The Torch barely makes it to the scene of the battle, and starts to attack the Hulk despite Ben's warning him away, and the Hulk pulls a fire hydrant out of the sidewalk and tears the top off to douse the Torch. The Torch avoids the water, but the Hulk's next trick is to create a concussive blast by slamming two large chunks of what was either street or building together, which sends the Torch and Thing flying. The army steps in, firing a cannon shell at the Hulk, which the Hulk catches and spins around to toss back at them. Not far away, the Torch is stunned, and the Thing gets up to resume the fight. Meanwhile, the Hulk has gone underground, where he gets a subway train to stop and evacuate so he can ride it to Avengers Mansion. He enters the mansion to find the Avengers inside. The Hulk launches himself at his former teammates to get Rick, and he takes Rick with him and leaves before he can be stopped. Meanwhile, in a private room at a hospital, an antidote that was administered to Reed has worked, and before long, Reed's out of bed and back in uniform. He meets up with his teammates where the Army is gathering, and gets word that the Avengers are pursuing the Hulk (who'd been followed by the Wasp). The FF get into the Fantasti-Car and join the search. The spot the Hulk, who's being badgered by the Wasp (who flew into the Hulk's ear to buzz him). Suddenly, Captain America shows up and attacks with his shield while easily evading the Hulk's blows. The Torch flies between them to give Cap a breather, but Cap insists that he and the Avengers can handle the Hulk. There follows a veritable comedy of errors where the FF get into the Avengers' way and vice-versa, during which the Hulk manages to escape with Rick. The two teams, embarrassed, try to regroup, but simply argue with each other until Thor suggests they work together, which the Thing agrees to. Learning the Hulk has been spotted at a construction site, the teams converge there and or or less try to use teamwork to attack, although not very successfully at first. Eventually, they get their act together, and the Hulk seems to be on the verge of defeat! Suddenly, Rick Jones tosses an emergency gamma-ray treated capsule into the Hulk's mouth, causing the Hulk to start to change back to Bruce Banner. Before he can change completely, though, he escapes to the Hudson Bay. The Avengers and Fantastic Four vow to help each other in the future when needed.

Invention Exchange: Aside from some Iron Man gadgets, Bruce Banner's gamma ray-treated capsule is about it – but when did he create this and give it to Rick? It's one of the many inventions that Bruce supposedly invented, but we never saw him working on them in any way.

Reprinted In: Fantastic Four Annual #4, Marvel's Greatest Superhero Battles, Marvel Treasury Special – Giant Superhero Holiday Grab Bag (1974), Marvel Masterworks #13, Hulk Vs. Thing, Essential Fantastic Four #2, Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four #3, Fantastic Four Omnibus #1.

Notes: One of the greatest battles in the early days of Marvel Comics by far! Characters from multiple titles all crammed into two issues of a regular book – this would never be able to happen today, it would've probably ended up as a mini-series with crossover one-shots or issues of the regular titles of everyone involved that would've cost you $50-60 to get all of!

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