Monday, April 09, 2012

The Indexible Hulk #19

Tales to Astonish 063Issue: Tales to Astonish #63

Title: “A Titan Rides the Train!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Penciled by Steve Ditko, Inked by George Roussos (as George Bell), Lettered by Sam Rosen

Supporting Cast: General Ross, Major Talbot

Villain: The Leader, Humanoid, Chameleon

Hulk Intelligence: Brute who can still form complete sentences, for the most part

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: The tale opens at the lab of The Leader, who's just finished work on his Humanoid. He then flashes back to his origin (he was a laborer who was exposed to the explosion of a gamma ray cylinder, which turned his skin green and expanded his brain and intelligence). Back at the missile base in New Mexico, the Chameleon emerges from the rubble of last issue's battle and hopes he can do one last service for the Leader before escaping. In Ross' office, Ross briefs Major Talbot about the move of one of Banner's inventions to another base by train. Even though they both consider Banner a risk, the Pentagon insists that he accompany the train to explain its operation. Ross sends Talbot to keep Bruce under surveillance. Later, the Chameleon discovers the move is occurring, and contacts the leader, who activates his Humanoid and, after a short test, sends it off in a remote controlled helicopter to meet the train. When the copter arrives, the Humanoid is lowered to it. The soldiers on the train spot it and fire, but bullets pass right through it. When Talbot is alerted to the commotion, he locks Bruce in a train car so he can investigate, but as soon as the door closes, Bruce transforms into the Hulk and bursts out of the car! Meanwhile, the Humanoid has uncoupled the train car the device is on, but the Hulk spots this and leaps to the car. Unaware of this, the Humanoid looks at the device – the Leader sees through the Humanoid's eyes, so he studies it at the same time. Suddenly, the Hulk lands on the Humanoid, sending it to the ground, but causing the Hulk to bounce off it. The Hulk battles the Humanoid, but due to the elastic-like properties of it, none of his blows seem to affect it! The Humanoid sends an electric shock into the Hulk, which enables it to toss the Hulk off the train just as it approaches a bridge. It seems the Hulk is about to hit the bridge, but... (to quote the caption) “...he performs a seemingly impossible feat! By sheer brute power alone, by actual muscle control, he forces his flying body to lift itself up, over the sold stone trestle!” I know, patently impossible, even by comic book standards! The Hulk lands on the train again, and the Hulk and Humanoid begin to battle again, but the force of their fight causes restraining bolts holding the nuclear device in place to come loose! Then, the Hulk manages to damage the Humanoid enough that the Leader loses contact with it, causing the Humanoid to fall limp.The Hulk leaps back to the car where the device was, now jostled enough that it's about to strike a tanker car behind it (who thought of putting a tanker car full of explosive stuff right behind a nuclear device, anyway?). The Hulk knocks the device off the train safely, but the stress causes him to revert back to Banner. Shortly afterwards, Talbot and some soldiers arrive, and of course Talbot assumed that Bruce had something to do with the attempted theft, so Bruce is jailed. Meanwhile, the Leader ponders the idea that there's another gamma ray-mutated being out there like himself.

Invention Exchange: The Leader's Humanoid, Bruce Banner's “nuclear device” (it's not really made clear what it is)

Reprinted In: Incredible Hulk Special #1, The Incredible Hulk (Simon & Shuster, 1978), The Incredible Hulk #400, Essential Hulk #1.

Notes: Adapted as episode 7 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. Given that nothing about the device is specifically named, I suspect that Stan figured he'd come up with something by the next issue!

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