Friday, November 29, 2013

The Indexible Hulk #53

Tales to Astonish 096Issue: Tales to Astonish #96

Title: “What Have I Created?”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Penciled by Marie Severin, Inked by Herb Trimpe, Lettered by Al Kurzrok

Supporting Cast: N/A

Villain: New Men

Guest-Stars: High Evolutionary

Plot: As Bruce Banner is trapped in the Evolution Machine, the High Evolutionary's lab on Wundagore II is beset upon by the former Knights of Wundagore, evolved animals who are reverting to savagery! When they burst into the lab, the Evolutionary frees Bruce, hoping he'll turn into the Hulk. But before the transformation can take place, the Evolutionary is struck, forcing him to activate a force field to hold off his attackers. Bruce still hasn't transformed, causing the HE to complain Bruce is a weak, powerless non-entity, in his words. Grabbing a sword and mace, the Evolutionary charges into the fray! Bruce is confused by all this, but it's not until one of the beast-men picks him up and prepares to throw him that Bruce changes into the Hulk!

The other beast-men attack the Hulk, but are no match! The High Evolutionary, however, is gravely wounded, and as the Hulk battles the New Men, the Evolutionary prepares to use his Evolution Machine on himself. The transformation is accompanied by an explosion that stuns the New Men, though the Hulk is unaffected. When the smoke clears, we see that the Evolutionary has evolved into the ultimate form, pure thought and energy. He has decided to become one with the very cosmos, but before he does that, he realizes he must make up for tampering with nature, and reverts the New Men back to their original animal forms. Then, as his final mortal act, he returns the Hulk to Earth, changing reality itself so it is as if the High Evolutionary never existed!

So as the story ends, we find the Hulk, unaware of his adventure in space, wishing he could reach the stars.

Invention Exchange: The Evolution Machine again.

Reprinted In: Marvel Super-Heroes #51, Essential Hulk #2, The Incredible Hulk (Pocket Books)

Notes: Of course, the High Evolutionary would eventually return, having apparently decided that being one with the cosmos isn't much fun. And the ending basically makes the whole adventure rather pointless, doesn't it?

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