Monday, September 24, 2012

The Indexible Hulk #35!

Tales to Astonish 079Issue: Tales to Astonish #79

Title: “The Titan and the Torment”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, layouts by Jack Kirby, finished pencils and inks by Bill Everett, letters by Art Simek.

Supporting Cast: Major Talbot, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Villain: Dr. Konrad Zaxon

Hulk Intelligence: Not quite as stupid as he got in the 1970s, and definitely much, much angrier!

Guest-Stars: Hercules

Plot: Zaxon fires his Organic Energy Attractor at the Hulk to power his own device, but he didn't reckon on the Hulk getting madder – and of course, the madder the Hulk gets, the stronger the Hulk gets! The Hulk pushes through the ray and swats Zaxon aside, causing the OEA to strike a wall and hit Zaxon himself, instantly killing him! The Hulk leaps away, hearing soldiers approaching! Meanwhile, a short distance away, a train hurtles down the track – and within it rides Hercules, the son of Zeus, and the press agent of a Hollywood studio, who's convinced Herc to come out west with him to play Hercules in a movie! The radio Hercules is listening to interrupts the music to announce the Hulk has escaped after murdering a scientist (Herc's mad at the music going away, and crushes the radio). The agent dreams of the Hulk and Hercules meeting (“It'd be a press agent's dream!”). Back at the base, Rick doesn't believe the Hulk killed Zaxon, and it seems Betty is coming around to the idea that the Hulk and Bruce Banner are one and the same. Talbot is leaving with Rick to try to take the Hulk alive, if possible! Miles away, planes have been called in to attack the Hulk, and the Hulk decides to fight back! Landing near some train tracks, he starts pulling up the rails and throwing them at the planes, destroying enough to send all of them away. Of course, this is the same track that train is on, and it stops, the engineer seeing the damage ahead. Hercules, of course, also comes off the train, and sees the Hulk there! Herc tells the Hulk to prepare for a lesson from Hercules imself, and the two begin to fight! But after two pages of battling, Hercules realizes that the Hulk is stronger than he realized (he also starts to understand why Thor likes it on Earth so much). They continue to fight, grappling at first, and then Hercules throws the Hulk into the cave of a nearby small mountain, and closes it in after the Hulk. The Hulk, however, simply tears the top of the mountain off to free himself! Then, the entire area gets pelted with shells from the approaching soldiers! The Hulk figures he doesn't have the power to fight them all (rather uncharacteristically), and decides to leave! Hercules is all right after this, and goes back to the train, which he gets past the area of damage by lifting one car at a time to the other part of the track. Meanwhile, the Hulk lands some distance away, having escaped his pursuers, and sits.

Invention Exchange: Nothing new this time!

Reprinted In: Marvel Treasury Edition #5, Marvel Super-Heroes #34, Essential Hulk #1

Notes: It's kind of disappointing that the fight between the Hulk and Hercules lasted only the one issue... this is the second time in the span of just a few issues where the Hulk had a foe he could really go toe-to-toe with, and Stan didn't really exploit this!

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