Tag Archives: Hulk

Tales to Astonish #77, Mar. 1966

tta077Tales to Astonish #77, Mar. 1966

Stan Lee, writer
Gene Colan, penciller
Vince Colletta, inker
Sam Rosen, letterer

Script by: Stan Lee!
Layouts by: Jack Kirby!
Pencilling & Inking by: Johnny Romita!
Lettering by: Sam Rosen!

two-stars

Namor gets a special guest star in this issue, Hank Pym, the asshole scientist also known as Ant Man! Or… Giant Man. Whatever you call him, he’s still the single thing I hate more than anything else in the world and my bile just rises knowing that he’s still around. After his “retirement” almost a year ago, there’s been a wonderful reprieve from the inept adventures of Hank Pym, but he just had to come back, didn’t he? DIDN’T HE?!

Now that the Sub-Mariner’s got Atlantis all situated and back in his capable hands, he decides to leave immediately and go back to fighting the surface worlders over random things that he decides are offensive to him. He starts with a giant underwater drill that caused an earthquake in Atlantis which is being driven by Hank Pym. He breaks the thing and easily gets past the platoon of guards around it and threatens to beat up Pym unless he tells him what’s going on.

Meanwhile, in the distant future, the Hulk is fighting the Executioner over… well, I don’t think there’s really a reason for it except that the Hulk is just really into fighting. He saves a town from being blown up by the evil Asgardian, then disappears before the ungrateful villagers can attack the Hulk for saving them. In ordinary times, the pressure is getting to Rick Jones and he finally spills the beans about the Hulk and Bruce Banner being the same guy. After all, they’re both dead, aren’t they?

And with that the Hulk’s pointless adventure into the future comes to an equally pointless end. Still, at least one interesting thing happened: Major Talbot now knows of the Hulk’s true identity, and he used to be one of his biggest enemies as far as calling Banner a dirty commie spy goes.

tta077p


Tales to Astonish #76, Feb. 1966

Tales to Astonish #76, Feb. 1966

Story: Stan Lee
Pencilling: Adam Austin
Delineation: Vince Colletta
Lettering: Sam Rosen

Script: Stan Lee
Layout: Jack Kirby
Pencilling: Scott Edward
Inking: Mickey Demeo
Lettering: Artie Simek

Namor wraps up a now seven issue long plotline here… though they’re only half-issue stories, so I guess it’s more like three and a half issues long. Still, that’s pretty long for as lame as this Sub-Mariner series has been. Especially since basically nothing at all happens in this final issue of it… which… I guess that only makes it three normal issues long.

Namor gets back home and beats the crap out of Krang for being a bad man who dun tried to steal his underwater empire. He promotes the old guy who helped him to Grand Vizier and exiles Krang because he couldn’t possibly be a threat anymore. That’s it, that’s all that happens. This would be good pacing for the non-action stuff if this was a full-magazine feature, but it ain’t so it ain’t.

The Hulk is in the 25th century because the army stupidly shot him with a time-travel gun without knowing anything about what it does. He’s attacked and eventually captured by a bunch of future soldiers in goofy Kirby-esque costumes who bring him to their king. The king asks the Hulk’s help against an evil guy who’s attacking them, but the Hulk really doesn’t give a shit and breaks out just in time to see future tanks approaching the city. He rips the top off one of the tanks to see just who this evil one is, and who would it be but the Executioner!

The last we saw the Executioner, he was running away from the Avengers along with the Enchantress, who later joined up with Power Man and did her own thing. But this is also 500 years or so in the future, and since the Executioner is one of Asgard’s immortals, it could just be him from this time period having fun raiding castles and the like and not have anything to do with time travel. I guess we’ll find out in the next Tales to Astonish!


Tales to Astonish #75, Jan. 1966

Tales to Astonish #75, Jan. 1966

Story by: Smilin’ Stan Lee
Pencilling by: Admirable Adam Austin
Delineation by: Valorous Vince Colletta
Lettering by: Sagacious Sam Rosen

Story: Stan Lee
Layouts: J. Kirby
Illustrations: M. Demeo
Lettering: S. Rosen
Enjoying: That’s your job, pussycat!

Oh good, we’re finally at the end of this Sub-Mariner plot where he has to go to random places in the ocean and do pointless shit so he can get a big ol’ golden bejeweled trident. He still has to deal with Kang, but that’ll be next issue. This whole two half-stories per issue thing has it’s benefits and it’s downsides; sometimes it’s annoying that it takes so long to get to the end of a story, but it’s also an extremely good marketing ploy to get people to keep buying your comic.

Looks like Namor’s gonna die with Lady Dorma in his arms as he stares down a troupe of Faceless Ones that are gonna rip him up. Just then, Neptune himself shows up and tells the Sub-Mariner that he’s won, and that abandoning his quest to help the girl he loves was actually the last part of the test. Okay, whatever. Namor has to book it back to Atlantis so he can put Dorma in a revitalizing chamber and heal her, and he has to fight through Krang’s forces while holding her to do it. He literally beats an army without using either of his hands.

The Hulk is back on Earth and he’s a little surprised that the supremely advanced machine he stole from the Watcher has killed the Leader. Pretty much right after seeing that he decides, fuck it, he’s going to try and use the machine as well, and because of this he receives a psychic message from Rick Jones that he needs to go to Washington D.C. On his way there, General “Thunderbolt” Ross shoots him with an experimental “T-Gun” that they found the plans for in Bruce Banner’s stuff and then built, despite not knowing what it does. What does it do? It sends the Hulk into the distant future, where everything is all broken and smashed!

So Bruce Banner, who is under suspicion from the government for being a commie spy, designed this gun that shoots people through time… and the army just built it because, what the fuck, why not? Even for fiction, that’s pretty incredibly reckless and amazingly stupid. I wonder if the Hulk is going to meet Kang the Conqueror…


Tales to Astonish #74, Dec. 1965

Tales to Astonish #74, Dec. 1965

Devastating drama by: Stan Lee
Shattering spectacle by: Adam Austin
Explosive embellishment by: Vince Colletta
Cataclysmic calligraphy by: Sam Rosen

Dreamed up by: Stan Lee!
Designed by: Jack Kirby!
Drawn by: Bob Powell!
Delineated by: Mickey Demeo!
Doodled by: S. Rosen

I gotta admit, I don’t really understand why Namor taking a break from his quest to save Lady Dorma from being eaten by the Faceless Ones (wait, how can they eat if they don’t have a face?) means that he fails the quest. Can’t he just go back and continue afterward? Why would there be a time limit on something like that?

Dorma’s protected by a little dome thing from the onslaught of the Faceless Ones, but it’s only a matter of time before it cracks. The Sub-Mariner uses his usual conflict management style of punching everything in his path to try and save her. Meanwhile, Krang is dealing with an armed revolt in Atlantis, which he manages to pacify by hiding in a room and using a goofy robot tank to stun everybody in the entire city. That’s how you tyrannize.

The Hulk is on the moon fighting a big red alien monster that’s nearly as strong as he is for the chance to steal one of the Watcher’s devices. The alien thinks he’s got the Hulk’s number when they dive underwater (the “blue area” of the moon where the Watcher lives has water, okay? Shut up) and he wedges the Hulk in a crevice. Of course the Hulk breaks free and throws the alien into space. He grabs the golden orb that the Leader wants him to, then beams back to Earth. The Leader wears the thing as a hat in hopes of gaining all knowledge in the universe, but instead it kills him. Whoopsie.

I can’t stress how much bullshit the Watcher’s “non-interference” is. First he beams the Hulk and the red guy out of his lab so they won’t break any of his stuff, then he beams the red guy back to his home planet when the Hulk throws him into the air, figuring that means the Hulk won. Hey, Uatu, watch with your eyes, not your magic powers.


Tales to Astonish #73, Nov. 1965

Tales to Astonish #73, Nov. 1965

Script: Smilin’ Stan Lee
Art: Amiable Adam Austin
Inks: Valiant Vince Colletta
Lettering: Angelic Artie Simek

You’ll never forget Stan Lee’s script!
You’ll never forget Jack Kirby’s layouts!
You’ll never forget Bob Powell’s art!
You’ll never forget Artie Simek’s –eh– let’s see now, what did Artie do?

There’s some pretty badass Namor action in this issue, where he goes on about how awesome he is while beating up an old guy with a magic diamond hat. See, that sounds terrible, like “oh my god, the Sub-Mariner is a horrible person” kind of terrible, but it works really well. For as much as Stan Lee is remembered for his really goofy sensibilities, he’s also really good at that sort of macho bravado stuff, which you get a lot with Namor and Cap and Thor, all of whom are really well-rounded characters that are also super-powerful and unbeatable (well, Cap less so, but you get what I’m saying).

Namor is at this place called the “diamonds of death”, which sap the power out of him and make him about to die at the hands of a weird old guy with a hat that protects him from the diamonds’ power. Namor summons power from all the plants and fish around him (this guy can do all sorts of convenient fish-related things!) and beats up the guardian, eventually electrocuting him and his dumb diamonds with eels. One of the eels speaks to Namor in King Neptune’s voice (which I assume is one of the things you learn to deal with when you can talk to fish) and tells him that his final challenge is probably to rescue that lady from those monsters that you should’ve done last time, asshole.

The Hulk is about to change back into Bruce Banner, which will kill him because he has a bullet lodged in his brain. The Leader gets near him before he passes out, and his “gamma force” which I guess radiates off his body heals the Hulk enough so he doesn’t change. Then the Leader’s nice enough to operate and remove the bullet from the Hulk’s brain, but also gives him a massive dose of gamma rays, strengthening him and keeping him from EVER being able to turn back to Bruce Banner. To repay this surgery, the Hulk goes to the blue area of the moon, where Uatu the Watcher lives, and tries to get a device which will help the Leader rule the world. Oh, and there’s a big red alien who he has to fight to get it out of nowhere.

How many times has the Hulk’s condition/powers changed in just four years? WAY too many, that’s how many. It really speaks to the weakness of the character, that none of the power profiles they settle on are able to carry a story for more than four or five issues without being changed. I mean, sure, changing powers and names and costumes and what have you, that’s expected of a superhero… but not THIS much. The fact is that the Hulk on his own is only interesting when he’s smashing things or when he’s Bruce Banner and worrying about turning into the Hulk, which they don’t do in these early comics almost at all, and a platform of just smashing is kinda the exact thing the Silver Age of comics was all about evolving away from.