Sunday, November 01, 2015

The Indexible Hulk: Incredible Hulk #106!

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Hulk 106
Issue: The Incredible Hulk #106

Title: "Above the Earth -- A Titan Rages!"

Credits: Written by Archie Goodwin and Roy Thomas (Archie wrote the first half, Roy the second), pencilled by Marie Severin (layouts) and Herb Trimpe, Inked by George Tuska, Colored by Marie Severin, Lettered by Artie Simek.

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

Villain: The Missing Link, Yuri Brevlov

Guest-Stars: Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Gabriel Jones

Plot: Betty, distraught and crying in her parked car, wonders what's happened to Bruce Banner as a policeman tries to get her to move off. When she learns that the Hulk is nearby, she drives past the policemen. Meanwhile, Talbot tries to hold off the Missing Link with his pistol while Banner (who can't turn back into the Hulk again, thanks to effects from Reed Richards' device from last issue) stands helplessly. Banner insists that Talbot run and leave him. The Link has figured out that Banner is the Hulk, and wants to continue battling him. At that instant, Betty arrives on the scene and crashes her car into the Link! She's thrown clear.

Meanwhile, Ross is in contact with Nick Fury, as SHIELD is taking over the situation, to Ross' dissatisfaction. Nick and his men gear up to face the situation. Back at the Link, Betty is coming around, but she's weak, and Talbot has to carry her. Bruce, also injured from before, is being helped away by Rick Jones, but still wants them to leave him behind. Suddenly, the Link revives and grabs Bruce! Rick, Talbot and Betty flee as the Link's radiation undoes the effects of Reed's gadget, causing Bruce to turn back into the Hulk, who breaks free! Rick, Talbot and Betty get into the waiting helicopter and start to take off, which the Hulk doesn't like, but he can't do anything about it as long as the Link is still fighting him! The two continue to battle, with the Link being thrown into a (presumably) abandoned building, and then throwing pieces of it at the Hulk. The Hulk pursues his foe into the building, climbing up the side of it, but then the Link jumps down at him, sending both plummeting to the ground!

Suddenly, the two are caught in a vortex beam, and are drawn into a waiting helicarrier... except that Ross had been told that Fury was bringing saucers and gas! The helicarrier speeds away from the city, and we soon discover that this helicarrier is a Russian one, and is commanded by Nick Fury's counterpart, Colonel Yuri Brevlov. Meanwhile, Fury arrives at the scene and discovers that Brevlov's taken the Hulk and the Link away. 

On the Russian helicarrier, the Hulk and the Link have been subdued with gas, and are transporting them to holding cells. Brevlov reminds one of his men of what they'd learned about the Link, and how it was released in New York, but also that Russian scientists have been trying to duplicate the Link by experimenting with apes. Suddenly, the Russian helicarrier pitches from side to side, as the Hulk and the Link have revived and try to escape their cells! The Hulk succeeds first, breaking free.

Meanwhile, the Link remembers his own history as the Hulk smashes his way through the ship. The Hulk's rampage accidentally frees the Link, but the Hulk finds himself hanging on the outside of the Helicarrier! Brevlov uses magnetic shoes to go after the Hulk, but when one of his men fire a shell at the Hulk from a saucer, the impact loosens the magnetic shoes, sending Brevlov falling! 

Elsewhere, the Link feels strange, the pain in his head growing worse by the second... and he realizes he's going to die just seconds before he explodes! The explosion sends a part of the hull towards Brevlov, but he and the Hulk are still falling! The men in the saucer catch the duo in an anti-gravity grappling ray, and the Hulk throws Brevlov at the saucer before jumping to the ground.  Brevlov orders his men to abandon the chase, but when he's reminded of his orders, he gives the order to kill the Hulk!

On the ground, the Hulk hears someone crying out, and finds a small boy who reaches for him. The Hulk realizes that when the saucer renews the attack, the boy will be in danger, so he picks up the boy and leaps off. On the saucer, they can't tell the Hulk is carrying the boy until Brevlov gets the Hulk in his sights... and prepares to fire! He doesn't want to doom the boy, but he has is orders, so he prepares to fire...

Invention Exchange: Hoo-boy! There's the Russian Helicarrier, the anti-gravity grappling ray, and the Russian saucer... all apparently copied from SHIELD!

Reprinted In: L'Incroyable Hulk #1 (September 1968), Marvel Super-Heroes #60 (minus two pages), Essential Hulk #2, Der Unglaubliche Hulk #3 (1980)

Notes: As noted, the first half of the issue was written by Archie Goodwin, while the last half was written by Roy Thomas. I'm not sure either one of them had any plan in mind, as we've gone from the Hulk Vs. the Missing Link last issue to the Hulk Vs. Russian Superspies this issue... and next issue, the Mandarin enters the scene! Even the whole plot of Banner being cured of the Hulk from last issue is abruptly undone this issue, pretty early on, as though it was decided that this wasn't a great idea (although other times Banner was cured, there were some pretty cool stories that came about from it).

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