Monday, August 27, 2012

The Indexible Hulk #33!

Tales to Astonish 077Issue: Tales to Astonish #77

Title: “Bruce Banner Is the Hulk!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, layouts by Jack Kirby, finished pencils by John Romita Sr., inks by Romita, letters by Sam Rosen.

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

Villain: The Executioner

Hulk Intelligence: Dumb brute! He's starting to refer to himself in the third person!

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: Having learned that the Evil One is really the Executioner, the Hulk still refuses to back off, so the Executioner starts to fight him! The Hulk demands that the Executioner send him back to his own time, but he refuses! Even though the Hulk is the strongest there is (he says so himself), it does no good, as the Executioner is, after all, an immortal, and his power is eternal! The two continue to clash! Meanwhile, back in the present, Ross and Talbot question Rick Jones, asking him where the Hulk is. Rick assumes that the Hulk was killed by the T-Gun, but Ross figures it was all a trick, and demands to know the real purpose of the T-Gun! Rick is sent away, but he still refuses to reveal Bruce Banner's secret. Betty sees Rick being escorted away, and asks Ross if he's going to keep hounding Rick like he'd hounded Bruce. Talbot vows to find the connection between Bruce and the Hulk. Back in the future, the Executioner's men see the fight, and decide to blast the two with their stun gun, which won't harm their master. As powerful as this blast is, it barely staggers the Hulk! This causes the Executioner frustration, as he cannot tolerate a mortal having power almost the equal of his own, and starts laying in to the Hulk again, knocking the Hulk down! The Hulk's rage and hatred grows, and of course, the madder he gets, the stronger he gets, and sends the Executioner off his feet by pulling the ground up from underneath him! The Executioner's men start blasting at the Hulk again, as well as at King Arrkam's city. Back in the present again, Rick wanders to the hidden cave lab, where he remembers Bruce and how he feared the change into the Hulk. Finally, Rick starts to have a nervous breakdown and collapses... right in front of Major Talbot, who followed him. He tells Rick that the secret Rick's been guarding is too much to handle, and he needs to tell someone. Back in the future, the Hulk is ready to just let the two opposing forces destroy each other, because he belongs with neither side... but then decides that he can't just watch the Executioner destroy the city, so he leaps into the fray, destroying tripods! The tripods turn back and flee, but the Hulk calls out, taunting the Executioner. Then, Arrkam's forces come out from the city, figuring the Hulk drove away their enemies so he could take the city for himself! The Hulk is about to attack when he starts fading away, because the T-Gun's effects have worn off! Back in the present, Rick finally breaks down and tells Talbot that Bruce and the Hulk are one and the same, and that it doesn't matter, because both are dead! Talbot considers that maybe, since the Hulk just vanished, that perhaps he and Bruce are still alive! As the two men walk out of the cave, a whirlwind seems to form behind them, unnoticed!

Invention Exchange: Other than the heat rays fired at the Hulk and the stun gun, not much!

Reprinted In: Incredible Hulk Special #4, Essential Hulk #1, Marvel Visionaries: John Romita Sr.

Notes: Adapted as episode 36 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. Things are really kind of bouncing around a lot at this point, aren't they? The Hulk's spent only two issues in the future, and now he's going back to his own time!

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