Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Indexible Hulk #22!

Tales to Astonish 066Issue: Tales to Astonish #66

Title: “The Power of Dr. Banner!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Pencils by Steve Ditko, Inks by Vince Colletta, Letters by Art Simek.

Supporting Cast: General Ross, Major Talbot, Betty Ross

Villain: The Leader, the Chameleon (cameo)

Hulk Intelligence: With this issue, the Hulk stops dropping the definitive article and refers to himself entirely in the third person... “Now it is Hulk's turn!” etc.

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: At the Soviet weapons base, the Hulk and his new friend are suddenly ambushed by the leader of the base, firing a proton gun. The Hulk's friend dives in front of the ray, sacrificing himself. The Hulk becomes enraged and pursues the leader of the base, who flees because the proton gun takes an hour to recharge between blasts. As the Hulk pursues his quarry through building after building, the stress begins to take its toll, and the Hulk changes back to Banner. Outside the base, tanks and soldiers arrive on the scene. Back in the USA, Major Talbot is informed that Banner is behind the Iron Curtain, and that he must be rescued or silenced. Talbot volunteers to get Bruce, but he's denied. At General Ross' headquarters, Ross gets word about Banner's whereabouts, and Betty overhears. Betty, of course, can't believe Bruce is a traitor. Talbot arrives and insists Bruce is. At the Leader's HQ, he contacts the Chameleon to see if there's any word about Banner's location, and when he hears Banner's behind the Iron Curtain, he figures the Hulk is there, too. The Leader contacts the Commissar, and asks about Banner, learning that Banner's at the weapons testing center. The Leader decides to take no action, but wait for new developments. At the base, jets fly over searching for the Hulk, but can't spot him, mainly because he's still Banner. When the jets spot Banner, they open fire on him. Banner runs, and passes by the corpse of the Hulk's friend. The sight causes him to change back into the Hulk just as an artillery blast strikes! Angry, the Hulk leaps into the air holding two large pieces of debris, which he throws at both jet planes, destroying them instantly. When he lands on the ground again, he starts walking toward the armored task force.

Invention Exchange: Nothing really new this time!

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

Notes: Adapted as episode 10 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. It's interesting to note how on the cover that Giant-Man is still getting the lion's share of the space, eh? This story seems to be another in the endless series of tales in which Stan's just trying to fill in space while he figures out what's going on. Yes, we get to see the Hulk's reaction to losing his first friend (well, at least the first friend he remembers). And didn't Stan even care enough to provide names for the commander of the weapons base, or the prisoner whom the Hulk befriends? We got the name of a professor who was captive, and then he's gone from the story forever!

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