Friday, July 2, 2010

Marvel History Post 20: The Incredible Hulk # 4

Issue: The Incredible Hulk # 4 Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: November 1962 Brief Summary: In the first of two stories about the Hulk, Betty Ross is reflecting on all the fun she's had with the big green lug, when she realizes that there's some connection between Rick Jones and the Hulk. Betty convinces her dad to find Rick Jones, and he puts the order out to his army subordinates. They find him, and Rick sends the Hulk away before the army men see him. When they bring in Rick, General Ross demands he give up the whereabouts of Banner. Meanwhile, Hulk's out doing silly things in the real world until he is close enough to Rick that he hears Rick's mental command to come to him. Hulk takes Rick to an underground cave with a machine that Banner built that will shoot him full of gamma rays...if Rick can figure out how to get it to work. He does, and transforms Hulk back. But, Bruce has a plan to get the Hulk's body and maintain his intelligence using the gamma ray. He does this, and it works. He does a good deed, and is attacked for it. Hulk transforms back into Bruce, worried that he is over using the gamma ray too much, or that he will lose control again. He drifts off to sleep in this state. In the second story, an ugly dude named Mongu lands from outer space. Mongu tells earth to send its mightiest champion to fight him. If earth's champion wins, Mongu will leave forever. If not, Mongu's people will invade the earth. Banner sees this, and transforms into the Hulk to fight Mongu. When he gets there, he discovers it was a trap, and communist army men attack him. They plan to bring him back to the motherland and uncover the secret of his power. Poor plan. Hulk puts the beating on the communists, and orders them to go back to the Vodka land. By the time the good old Americans get there, they find Mongu's fake spaceship, and believe that the Hulk set the whole thing up so that people would like him. Commentary: The Hulk acts for good for the first time this issue, saving a bus from getting hit by a train. This of course leads into Hulk being able to keep Banner's smarts when he turns into the behemoth. And thus begins one of the eternal cycles of the MU, which is how does the Banner become the Hulk? Every possible iteration occurs at some point, with smart hulks and dumb hulks and all sorts of in between hulks. Although it was done frequently in these days, especially by DC Comics, this issue is broken up into multiple stories. However, in terms of continuity, the first story still leads into the other, so the stories aren't entirely separated. We get a little bit of Betty at the beginning of the first story, but her role disappears long before the story is over. Romance in the MU is rarely an easy thing. We've seen this so far with Thing and Alicia Masters, and Thor with Nurse Jane. Stan also takes his time with these sub plots, as they are in fact subplots. The focus in each issue is on the action, with the romantic story lines forming part of the early continuity of the Marvel Universe. Quick Thoughts:
  • Bruce is really weak after he subjects himself to the gamma ray to return to Banner's form, reliant on Rick Jones for help.
  • There's a lot of moments reminiscent of Young Frankenstein when Hulk is free of Rick's presence in the first story. Perhaps not reminiscent of, since this story came out 12 years before, but you get my point.
Favorite Quote: "I should be the last one to call anyone else a monster!" - Bruce Banner Favorite Panel: Hulk no like wait in line for food. Me agree with Hulk on this sensitive issue. Next: Journey into Mystery # 86