Monday, February 24, 2014

The Indexible Hulk #57

Tales to Astonish 100Issue: Tales to Astonish #100

Title: Let There be Battle!

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, penciled by Marie Severin, inks by Dan Adkins, letters by Sam Rosen

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

Villain: The Puppet Master

Guest-Stars: Sub-Mariner... Sort of. This issue of ToT was a full-length team-up tale between the two stars of the book!

Plot: Prince Namor is watching the surface world on his Computo-Viewer when he sees the Hulk plunging to his apparent death from the explosion of the Living Lightning's base. Namor ponders how the Hulk could be a mighty ally for him. Since his own people have branded him a traitor, he's friendless and forsaken, but teamed with the Hulk, they'd be invincible!

When Namor breaks the surface off the southeastern tip of the USA (yes, he noted the Hulk was in the southwest earlier), he's fired upon by the crew of an experimental hydrafoil craft who are under the control of the Puppet Master. The Puppet Master had ordered the crew to fire on anyone approaching the craft as they brought it to him. After Namor cripples the craft, the Puppet Master recalls how Namor last defeated him.

Since the Puppet Master can't control Namor, he decides to find someone he can control... And he sees a newspaper headline about the Hulk being buried in a landslide (apparently some time passed between Namor's viewing and his arrival off the coast of the US). He quickly fashions a puppet of the Hulk out of his radioactive clay, and takes control of Greenskin, ordering him to free himself. As the Hulk breaks free from his stony tomb, the Puppet Master gloats that while the Hulk will be the victor against the Sub-Mariner, the triumph shall be his.

Meanwhile, Ross has ordered a blasting crew to clear the rubble and find the Hulk, but Rick protests, saying if the Hulk is alive the explosions might kill him. Talbot stays the Hulk is too dangerous to be accounted for. Suddenly, the Hulk breaks free! Rick approaches the Hulk, but as he does, the Puppet Master tells the Hulk all who live is his enemy, and the Hulk swats Rick aside before leaping away. Ross swears that he'll get the Hulk, even if it takes forever.

It doesn't take long for the Hulk to leap from the southwest to the southeast coast, where he finds the Sub-Mariner. Namor offers the Hulk a chance to join forces, but since Jade-Jaws is mind controlled, he hits Namor! And so, the battle is on!

It's obvious that the Hulk has an advantage while they fight on lend, so Subby tries to goad Greenskin into following him to the sea! The Puppet Master realizes this, and orders the Hulk to strike again. Namor tries to use his ability to fly as an advantage, but the Hulk can leap wherever Subby can fly.

As the fight goes on, the Hulk grabs Namor by the arm, and then as the Puppet Master thinks victory is at hand, the Hulk throws Namor out to the sea! Angered, the Puppet Master orders the Hulk to go after Namor.

Meanwhile, Betty arrives at the scene of where the Hulk broke loose, having heard someone was hurt and fearing it was Bruce. Seeing it was Rick, and learning the Hulk injured him, she fears Bruce is lost to her forever. Talbot ponders that he wants Betty's love, but not because she can't have Banner... But how can the Hulk be killed?

Back at the battle, Namor has been invigorated by the water, and wanting to kill the Hulk, he breaks the surface, flying back to his foe. The two re-engage in battle at the beach of Miami. Namor forces the Hulk into the water, where the Hulk starts losing the advantage. The Puppet Master orders the Hulk to get out of the water, and he does so.

Back at the missile base, word of the battle comes in, and Talbot offers to lead a missile-armed task force to stop them. Ross turns him down, as you can't fire missiles over a populated area.

The battle rages on into the streets of Miami, but when Namor starts to fly off to get a breather, the Hulk leaps after him, and accidentally strikes a police helicopter. Namor saves the policemen inside, but the Hulk approaches again... But something is different! Though the Puppet Master orders the Hulk to kill Namor, the Hulk does not want to kill. His hesitation gives Namor the edge, and the Sub-Mariner forces the Hulk into the water again.

The battle churns the waters of the sea, and suddenly, the Puppet Master loses control of the Hulk! Then, suddenly, the Puppet Master realizes that a tidal wave, caused by Namor's gyrations in the water, is about to strike the Puppet Master's island stronghold, and when it hits, it apparently kills him (as if... He returned from the dead almost as much as Doctor Doom). 

Meanwhile, Namor allowed the Hulk to wash ashore, but when he gets to the shore, he doesn't find the Hulk, only Bruce Banner. Since Namor doesn't know who Bruce is, he assumes the Hulk perished, and he returns to the sea once more.

Invention Exchange: Namor's Computo-Viewer, the Hydrafoil craft.

Reprinted In: Marvel Treasury Edition #5, Essential Hulk #2.

Notes: It's never specifically mentioned who built the Hydrafoil craft... Was it a Hydra design? AIM? Stark Industries? We will never know. Eventually it's determined that the Hulk is at least resistant to mind control.

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