Tales to Astonish #62, Dec. 1964
Written– as if you couldn’t guess by now– by Smilin’ Stan Lee!
Drawn– and here’s a little twist for you– by Capricious Carlos Burgos!
Inked– as if he knew what he was doing– by Devestatin’ Dickie Ayers
Lettered– as though each syllable is a gem– by Amenable Artie Simek
Sensationally scripted by: Stan Lee
Dynamically drawn by: Steve Ditko
Impeccably inked by: George Bell
Lovingly lettered by: Sam Rosen
One of the big deals about the Giant Man adventure in this issue is that someone finds out his secret identity. Obviously this is a bad thing, so the guy has to do something about it. This generally either means the guy loses his memory in some way or another, or dies in an accident the hero can’t prevent. In this one, he gives him some memory erasing juice he had just lying around the lab. You know, if some asshole made me drink something that he said would erase my memory, I’d tell him I didn’t remember his secret identity either. Just sayin’, how are you supposed to know if that shit actually works?
Hank Pym is doing some research on a super-growth formula for plants, which is way too good. So good, it causes the plant he’s testing to become super-gigantic and start terrorizing the city. Where’s Plant Man when you need him? Anyway, the plant knocks Hank out, and it just happens to bring a thug named Second-Story Sammy into his lab. He steal Giant Man’s suit and decides to become a super-criminal, but he’s almost immediately found out by the Wasp, who beats the crap out of him, thinking that he killed her man. Hank wakes up and orders a flying ant to bring Sammy back to him, knocks him out with one punch, takes his suit back, then uses the ants to locate the taproot of the plant and pull it out.
When we last left the Hulk, he was trapped by some sort of contraption designed by Dr. Banner to apparently hold the Hulk. Some guy in a helmet who calls himself “The Leader” tells the Chameleon to go to the base and find out what happened to the spy he sent there a couple issues ago (the idiot stole a robot and fell into a hole). The Chameleon helps the Hulk break out, then steals some nuclear secrets from Banner’s lab, as well as a grenade version of the gamma bomb that created the Hulk in the first place. While he’s trying to run away from the Hulk and… you know, continue living, Chameleon throws the grenade at him, which turns him back into Bruce Banner. What’s this going to do to his powers? For that matter, what’s the deal with this “Leader” fella?
Of course, the Leader would end up being the Hulk’s main antagonist for years to come (besides General “Thunderbolt” Ross, that is), and his introduction is a major turning point in the Hulk being any damn good at all. Like I keep saying, a hero is only as good as his villains, and up to this point the only good villains the Hulk has had are other superheroes. Also, just to bash on Giant Man a little more, I’d like to remind you that his enemies in this issue are a guy who couldn’t steal a single thing with super powers, and a big plant.