Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Indexible Hulk #62!

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Hulk 105Issue: The Incredible Hulk #105

Title: "This Monster Unleashed!"

Credits: Written by Bill Everett and Roy Thomas, Penciled by Marie Severin, Inked by George Tuska, Colored by Marie Severin, Lettered by Sam Rosen

Supporting Cast: Betty Ross, Thunderbolt Ross, Glenn Talbot, Rick Jones

Villain: The Missing Link

Guest-Stars: Mr. Fantastic

Plot: Having taken Betty away from Thunderbolt Ross, the Hulk leaps over New York City, looking for a safe place to hide. Betty talks the Hulk into stopping at her hotel so she can pick up a few things, but as she walks through the hotel garage, she comes upon a pair of thieves! Unfortunately for them, the Hulk has noticed them, and they start to run away. However, as the Hulk rips out a convenient fire escape to throw at them, he starts to change back into Bruce Banner, and one of the thieves shoots him!

Meanwhile, outside the harbors of New York, a foreign freighter approaches. Inside, a crew member wonders about a mysterious capsule they've released, set to arrive at the docks in seconds. When the capsule arrives, it opens up, releasing its living cargo! This cargo was created when a Chinese a-bomb test awakened a caveman who had somehow been in suspended animation, and the radiation changed him! As the radiation affected it, the missing link's hair fell out, and crystals began forming all over its skin. Now a radioactive monster, it ran amok until it was knocked out by gas and placed into the capsule, to be unleashed on the USA!

Back at Betty's hotel, Betty helps Bruce into her car so she can get him to a doctor, but as they start to leave, they're spotted by the police, who order them to stop! But at Bruce's insistence, Betty speeds away... but the stress of the situation starts changing Bruce back into the Hulk again! Bruce leaps out of the car before the transformation is complete, but when the Hulk tries to leap away, he discovers that one leg isn't strong enough for it (the leg Bruce was shot in). As the police arrive, the Hulk instead digs down to the subway, and jumps onto an oncoming train. But as it speeds off, the Hulk decides he is not going to run away, he will stay and fight! So he digs his way back up to the surface, where, coincidentally enough, he runs into the Missing Link!

The Link attacks the Hulk while the Hulk is confused at this creature, and where it hits the Hulk, the Hulk burns from the radiation. But as the Hulk reminds us, he was created by radiation, and he's not afraid of radiation! By this time, the Link has started to walk away, so the Hulk gets his attention by ripping up the street and wrapping it around the Missing Link! This only works for a few seconds, as the internal radioactive heat of the Link melts the tarmac off. The Hulk then hits the Link, and where he hits his foe, the Link's skin shatters into small crystals... but the radiation still burns! The Link grabs the Hulk in a bear-hug, putting the Hulk in agony.

The effect of the radiation causes the Hulk to change back into Banner, and the Link decides Banner's not worthy enough to fight. But it's not as it seems... while it's Banner's body, the words coming from him are in the Hulk's voice! Meanwhile, Thunderbolt Ross has contacted Mr. Fantastic to construct a device that Banner had designed some time ago, which has just been completed and handed over to Major Talbot. Reed warns Talbot that it may destroy the Hulk, but could also kill Bruce Banner as well, but Talbot's willing to take that risk. Rick Jones, on the other hand, isn't happy about it.

Meanwhile, the Link has run into some New York City Policemen, who quickly discover that bullets don't affect them! Not far away, the Hulk in Bruce's body starts regaining his Hulk form again, and then sees the battle between the Link and the Police. The Hulk decides to intervene, being careful not to let the Link get his hands on him again! A few well-placed punches start the crystals of the Link's body cracking, but when the Hulk is distracted for a moment as he helps an injured cop, the Link gets him in another hold from behind!

The Hulk flips the Link over his head and onto the ground, and starts relentlessly battling him again, throwing the Link into a building and smashing it down on it. Talbot and Rick arrive on the scene, and Rick calls out to the Hulk, asking where Betty is. The Hulk refuses to listen, as his foe is not finished off yet. As the Hulk finishes burying the Link in rubble, Talbot uses the device Reed Richards built on the Hulk, which changes the Hulk back to Banner!

But at that point, the rubble bursts away, revealing that the Missing Link is far from defeated yet... and this time, it seems to realize that there's a connection between Bruce Banner and the Hulk!

Invention Exchange: The capsule the Soviets used to transport the link, called an "X-Capsule"; the device designed by Banner and built by Richards (unnamed in the text, let's call it a "gamma-siphon" for lack of a better word).

Reprinted In: Marvel Super-Heroes #59, Essential Hulk #2, Hulk el Hombre Incredible #1 (Spanish), Hulk Liefhebbersserie #2 (German)

Notes: It may seem silly that the idea of the Hulk in Bruce Banner's body was used for only a few panels, when it could've been exploited further, but that's all a set-up for the following issue! This was a fun issue to read, with all the battles between the Hulk and the Missing Link (although it doesn't old a candle to the Thing/Hulk battles of the past).

An anomaly in the timeline of the Hulk is that around this time, Rick Jones is trying to talk Captain America into letting him be his new partner, and the two run into the Hulk in NYC on a rampage. However, looking ahead at the next year's worth of Hulk stories, there's no place in the chronology that Captain America story fits in!

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