Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Indexible Hulk #21

Tales to Astonish 065Issue: Tales to Astonish #65

Title: “On the Rampage Against the Reds!”

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

Supporting Cast: Major Talbot

Villain: Leader, Humanoids

Hulk Intelligence: Brute, but still capable of using contractions, plus he doesn't always refer to himself in the third person... it's all “I'm the Hulk!” or “Nothing can stop the Hulk!” So he hasn't lost the article yet!

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: On Astra Island, the Hulk continues to battle the Leader's Humanoids even though the strain is beginning to revert him back to Bruce Banner, and also while a group of soldiers approach the scene! The soldiers attack with grenades, causing the ledge on which the battle is occurring to collapse, sending the Hulk and the Humanoids into the ocean. The Hulk, sensing the change is about to occur, swims away; the Humanoids merely walk away. On the island, the soldiers don't see any sign of the Hulk, so Major Talbot orders them to find Bruce. More than a mile away, the change finally hits and Bruce Banner breaks the surface of the water... yards away from a Soviet submarine! They bring him aboard and imprison him. Back on Astra Isle, Talbot is informed that a patrol saw Banner entering the sub, which makes Talbot even more sure than before that Banner is a traitor. At the Leader's lab, the Leader decides that if he captures Bruce Banner, he might find the key to the Hulk's secret. Sometime later, Bruce is brought to a Soviet encampment, where he's introduced to the leader of this camp (who goes unnamed, at least initially). They plan to starve Bruce to get him to work for them. While he's being brought through a weapons lab, Banner spots Professor Stromm, a geophysicist thought to be dead. Suddenly, another prisoner has had enough and starts to revolt against his captors, but he's soon brought down. Bruce is placed into a cell that looks to be about three feet by three feet by three feet. Bruce figures that at least if he dies a captive, the world will be safe from the Hulk, but suddenly realizes that if he became the Hulk, he could get free! Despite the stress he'd been under before, he hadn't changed – but now, he focuses on what he's seen, and begins to get angry, changing into the Hulk! The Hulk breaks free and smashes his way through the building, finding ways to shield himself from the weapons being tested, save for one hit on his shoulder by an evapo-ray blaster. Finally, the soldiers all flee from the Hulk, and the Hulk finally notices his wounded shoulder. The prisoner who had started to revolt earlier comes upon the Hulk and uses a salve of his creation to treat the wound before the two of them sit down to eat. Meanwhile, the leader of the base calls for backup – tanks, heavy artillery, and more – and then he straps a proton gun to his back to use agains the Hulk!

Invention Exchange: Russian weapons, including a high-intensity field cannon, an evapo-ray blaster, and a proton gun.

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

Notes: Adapted as episode 9 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. About that Soviet sub... a mile away from Astra Island, where a top-secret test was being held? Talbot still isn't doing a very good job of maintaining security, is he?

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