Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Indexible Hulk #20

Tales to Astonish 064Issue: Tales to Astonish #64

Title: “The Horde of Humanoids!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Penciled by Steve Ditko, Inked by George Roussos (as George Bell), Lettered by Artie Simek.

Supporting Cast: General Ross, Major Talbot, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Villain: Leader, Humanoids, Chameleon

Hulk Intelligence: Strong But Slow... Stan describes the Hulk's brain as “clouded,” although he does at least question why he can't destroy the Humanoids he fights.

Guest-Stars: The President of the United States (not directly seen or named, but it's heavily implied)

Plot: Bruce Banner is in a cell at the New Mexico Missile Base due to events from last issue. To prevent the stress from causing him to change into the Hulk, Banner's been taking tranquilizer pills. Meanwhile, the Chameleon reports to the Leader that Banner has been arrested, but while the Leader would like to use it as an opportunity to study Banner's invention, he'd really prefer to learn more about the Hulk! Later, Bruce is meeting with his attorney (not Matt Murdock) prior to his treason trial when Rick Jones shows up. Talking privately, Rick asks Bruce why he doesn't just admit he's the Hulk, but Bruce fears if his secret got out, enemies of the US would capture him to try to learn how to make more Hulks! Rick decides to head out and find someone who he can safely tell Bruce's secret to who could help out – and he gets in with the help of his Avengers ID card! After a few minutes, Rick tells the President about what the situation is, and the President agrees it's best to keep this a secret. Later, at the base, orders come from the Pentagon clearing Bruce! Even though Ross still thinks Bruce is guilty, he immediately sends him to Astra Island with Major Talbot to test his new atomic device, the Nuclear Absorbatron, which is supposed to absorb the impact of an atom bomb blast. Meanwhile, the Leader has sent a horde of his Humanoids to the base, dropping them into the water some distance from Astra Island so they can walk the rest of the way there. On the island, Talbot and Banner go to the control room, where Talbot acts like a complete ass while Bruce sets up the Nuclear Absorbatron for its test. Talbot's browbeating gets Bruce stressed, but when Bruce goes to take another tranquilizer, he discovers he's all out (should've refilled them before going out!), and he runs away before he changes into the Hulk. Outside the control center, Talbot sees the Hulk and decides that Bruce must've called the Hulk somehow. Talbot activates the security doors to try to keep the Hulk out, but the Hulk starts breaking through. Suddenly, the Humanoids approach the isle, and they immediately pile onto the Hulk! As the Hulk battles the Humanoid horde, Talbot activates a series of buttons sending the device deep underground into a titanium shielded shelter. About four or five minutes into the fight, the Hulk realizes that the Humanoids are some kind of machines, but nothing he does seems to be able to stop them! As the battle continues, the stress causes the Hulk to become more and more savage, and his pulse rate changes, which will cause him to change back to Bruce Banner shortly!

Invention Exchange: Bruce Banner's Nuclear Absorbatron (again, when did he have time to invent this? It doesn't seem to be the same device from last issue).

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

Notes: Adapted as episode 8 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. As noted in the previous installment, it seems as though Stan wasn't really thinking too far ahead with this series. Indeed, it's almost as if this time around, he just wanted to kill time while he figured out what he really wanted to do, so threw more Humanoids at the Hulk! The Hulk doesn't appear until page 6, then page 7 starts four pages of fighting with the Humanoids.

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