Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Indexible Hulk #23!

Tales to Astonish 067Issue: Tales to Astonish #67

Title: “Where Strides the Behemoth!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Penciled by Steve Ditko, Inked by Frank Giacoia (as Frank Ray), Lettered by Art Simek

Supporting Cast: Major Talbot

Villain: Kanga Khan, Haukun Gantu

Hulk Intelligence: Angry Moron – this is pretty much the Hulk as we know him through the rest of the 1960s and the 1970s.

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: The Hulk is angry as he leaves the Red Weapons Development Base and runs into a line of tanks! He attacks the tanks, ripping off turrets with ease, but then missile trucks come in, and fire missiles at the Hulk. The Hulk takes these out by ripping up the road and flipping it as if it were a tablecloth and the tanks and missile trucks were toys upon it. The Hulk attacks anew, and soon the entire tank force is smashed, and the soldiers flee on foot. By this time, the Hulk's forgotten why he was there, so he starts jumping away, inadvertently going to Mongolia, where he stops to rest. The resting causes him to change back to Banner just in time to be captured by Kanga Khan and one of his men. Bruce tells them that if he's taken to the nearest Americans, they'll be rewarded. Kanga Khan doesn't believe this, since Bruce is in rags, but the People's Government papers insist that all Americans are rich! Bruce explains he's been lost. Khan's man suggests they should bring Bruce to the Soviets, but Khan believes the Americans are more generous. Leaving his man to guard Bruce, Kanga Khan rides off. Later, at a military installation Stateside, Major Talbot is informed about Bruce, and is assigned to get him – if Bruce is a traitor, to bring back for trial, but if innocent, to serve the US again. Some time later, Talbot (in civvies, looking rather like Indiana Jones) meets Khan's man and is brought to camp. But they are unaware that Haukun Gantu's men are watching the camp, and are ready to attack! Bruce is happy to see Talbot there to rescue him, but of course, Talbot's still convinced that Bruce is a Red agent. Suddenly, Gantu's men attack! Talbot and Banner flee the camp, climbing down a cliffside when suddenly, the outcropping they're standing on gives way, sending the two men plummeting down the cliffside!

Invention Exchange: None

Reprinted In: Marvel Super-Heroes #26, The Incredible Hulk (Simon & Schuster, 1978), Essential Hulk #1

Notes: Adapted as episode 11 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. The cover of this issue, equally divided between the Hulk and Giant-Man, features an iconic Hulk pose of the 1960s. This was Steve Ditko's last Hulk tale for some time, as Jack Kirby was returning to penciling the book the following issue. Stan still seems to be kind of treading water here, as the six pages was Hulk vs. tanks, then four pages with Bruce being captured, Talbot notified, Talbot arriving, and the attack on Kanga Khan's camp.

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