Title: “The Hulk Must Die!”
Credits: Written by Stan Lee, breakdowns by Jack Kirby, finishes and inks by Bill Everett, letters by Sam Rosen.
Supporting Cast: Major Talbot, Betty Ross, Rick Jones
Villain: Dr. Konrad Zaxon
Hulk Intelligence: We're pretty much at classic Hulk lack of intelligence here, although still a bit on the aggressive side.
Plot: In the abandoned cave lab, the Hulk appears in the midst of a whirlwind, the effect of the T-Gun wearing off! The Hulk can't seem to remember how he got there, but he isn't worried, because he's the strongest there is! Leaving the cave, he's soon spotted by soldiers who contact Major Talbot at the base. At the base, Dr. Konrad Zaxon, a scientist hired to replace Bruce Banner, is being welcomed by Talbot. While Banner focused on Gamma Rays, Zaxon's focus is on organic energy, which he promises will be of more use than Banner's inventions were. Just then, Talbot's told that the Hulk's been spotted, and he orders Plan H put into effect! Meanwhile, the Hulk starts leaping toward the base, and he's immediately fired upon! The Hulk lands in a camoflauged pit that's filled with gas (a gas Banner invented), but before it can completely knock the Hulk out, he jumps out, only to find the area he's in is criss-crossed by more such pits, and the gas starts to get to him! Meanwhile, Rick Jones is talking to Betty Ross, and tells her that the Hulk and Bruce were one and the same, but Betty doesn't want to believe him. Suddenly, Talbot bursts in with the announcement that he's trapped the Hulk, and Rick realizes that he's betrayed the Hulk! Back at the pit, the Hulk tries to climb out, but there are electrical trip wires that activate anti-matter elements when he touches them! The Hulk tries to leap out, but there are criss-crossing anti-matter beams that knock him back! Then, Zaxon arrives at the scene, and uses a gadget of his to measure the organic energy of the Hulk, and all his needles go way to the maximum! Talbot, Betty and Rick arrive, and Rick has to verify that the Hulk is, indeed, alive. Betty looks herself, and at first, the Hulk's face starts to soften at the sight of Betty, but then that is erased by the rage of the Hulk! This causes Betty to continue to refuse to believe that the Hulk is really Bruce Banner, and Rick says it doesn't matter anyway, because they can't bring Banner back. Zaxon asks Talbot for permission to study the Hulk, to learn whether or not he has a double identity. Talbot says he'll call Ross, but also puts the Hulk in Zaxon's charge! In the privacy of his lab, Zaxon plans to use the Hulk's organic energy to power a machine he'll control to make himself the most powerful man on Earth! He envisions several scenarios as to how he'll use this power to cause disasters, and pictures himself as ruler of the world! He dons a protective suit of his invention, orders the soldiers away from the Hulk, and brings a hand-held Organic Energy Attractor that he plans to fire at the Hulk! He gets to the pit, shuts off the Anti-Matter Rays, and waits for the Hulk to emerge before firing the gun point-blank!
Invention Exchange: Bruce Banner's gas (how is a gas related to gamma research?), possibly the anti-matter charges and rays are Bruce's inventions as well; Zaxon's aromored suit and Organic Energy Attractor weapon.
Reprinted In: Marvel Super-Heroes #33, Essential Hulk #1.
Notes: It's a good thing that when the T-Gun wore off of the Hulk he didn't return to his point of origin, i.e. Washington, DC! I wonder if his physical location when he arrived in the future corresponded to DC, and he just coincidentally happened to be on the site of his old lab when it wore off? And once again, we see that security for the base is absolutely terrible – who cleared Dr. Zaxon for this, anyway? The guy couldn't have passed a psych eval on his best day!