Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Indexible Hulk: Incredible Hulk #107!

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Hulk 107Title: "Ten Rings Hath... The Mandarin!"

Credits: Written by Gary Friedrich, Layouts by Marie Severin, Pencils by Herb Trimpe, Inks by Syd Shores, Letters by Artie Simek

Supporting Cast: None

Villain: The Mandarin, Yuri Brevlov

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

Plot: When last we left old Greenskin, Soviet agent Yuri Brevlov, ordered to kill the Hulk, was forced to fire upon the Green Goliath, even though the Hulk was with a small boy at the time! Yuri fires, but the Hulk is unharmed by the blast, and the boy protected. Brevlov is reminded of the Uni-Disintegrator weapon on his flying saucer, but he's hesitant to use it as it might harm the boy. However, angered at the attack, the Hulk launches himself at the saucer, even though it fires back at him with nearly its whole arsenal!

Brevolv decides he has to use their ultimate weapon, and targets the Hulk! However, before he can fire, smoke is spotted on the saucer, and the crew realizes it's under attack by SHIELD! The saucer begins to crash, but Fury orders his team to use their Vortex Beam to prevent the craft from crashing. The Hulk sees this, however, and leaps to where the saucer is, and rips it in half! Brevolv tells the Hulk he did not wish to harm anyone, but before the Hulk can smash him, Fury pulls his counterpart onto his own ship with the Vortex Beam. Fury greets Brevlov (we're promised that next issue their connection will be revealed), and he tells Dum Dum Dugan to take Brevlov to his quarters.

On the ground below, the Hulk swears he'll get is revenge, but he is unaware he's being spied upon by the Mandarin! The Mandarin plans to use the Hulk to conquer the world, and fixes his viewer upon the Hulk so he may locate him at any time. Meanwhile, the Hulk approaches a village with the boy, hoping to find food for the child. But as he approaches, the villagers assume he means the boy harm, and surround him. The Hulk puts the boy down, and he prepares to attack, but the boy convinces him otherwise! The villagers realize that the Hulk has befriended the boy, and leave him alone as the Hulk walks away. (By the way, nowhere does it mention at all that the boy and villagers must be speaking Russian, and that the Hulk has no problem understanding them, or being understood himself)

Suddenly, the Hulk vanishes, to reappear in the Mandarin's lair! The Mandarin tells the Hulk he'll be tested to be sure he's the one the Mandarin seeks, and a series of machines go into operation to test the Hulk's durability and strength. The Hulk succeeds against these devices, getting angrier all the time, until he breaks free of the last of them and attacks the Mandarin, which he discovers is really just a robot! Watching in a hidden room, the Mandarin figures the Hulk's exceeded his expectations, but there's still one more test: he releases what appears to be a clawed giant to attack the Hulk, and the Hulk fights back! After exchanging blows, the Hulk grabs a humungous curtain from a wall, captures the giant into it, and then flings it outside of the room and into space!

Pleased with these results, the Mandarin tells the Hulk he has decided to allow the Hulk to be his ally, but the Hulk's hearing none of this, and starts breaking out of the Mandarin's headquarters. Causing major destruction, the Hulk breaks through wall after wall, seeking the Mandarin, whom he finds waiting for him in a throne room, but when the Hulk leaps to attack, he discovers it's merely a projection, which he passes through and then lands into a pit filled with what he believes to be a sticky mud, from which he can't extricate himself! Still refusing the Mandarin's offer of alliance, the Hulk sinks below the surface, leaving just a few bubbles of air in his wake!

Invention Exchange: The Uni-Disintegrator, used by Brevlov, does not seem to be one of the items Fury's counterpart has copied directly from SHIELD. The Mandarin's range of testing equipment used on the Hulk (a bizarre mix of stuff, to be sure).

Reprinted In: L'Encroyable Hulk #2 (Canada), Marvel Super-Heroes #61, Der Unglaubliche Hulk #2 (German), Essential Hulk #2

Notes: As noted in the plot summary, there's no explanation as to how the Hulk is able to speak and understand Russian. One can assume the Mandarin communicates with the Hulk in English, as he's done the same in his encounters with Iron Man. It's always struck me as bizarre when a villain wants to team up with the Hulk, he first decides he has to test Greenskin, something that never ends well! One would think the Hulk's reputation would have preceeded him.

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