Incredible Hulk Issue #5
Artist: Jack Kirby
Writer: Stan Lee
Inker: Dick Ayers
Lettering: Art Simek
Here we are in the fifth issue of the Incredible Hulk, with another two irresistible yarns starring that chartreuse dishabille. I’ve never noticed as a kid that the Hulk was drawn in a specific manner. The TV show, and comic books at the time, gave him a rather fair haircut, normal looking-ish, but on those old pages, he does look like an overgrown kid, a giant rascal. Look at that giant head, and on top he has some sort of flat-head haircut, much like a lot of boys did when they were still in kindergarten. It certainly does add a lot to how much different the Hulk is compared to the calm and composed Banner.
“Beauty and the Beast,” the first tale begins with General Ross showing Betty, Bruce, and Rick a “top secret” army film, showing the three what they haven’t already seen by now. They watch as the Hulk breaks apart a giant magnet, rips a building’ s wall apart, and survive an atomic missile. Ross wants Banner to find another solution in dealing with the Hulk menace, and the milksop scientist leaves the house promising to fulfill the General’s wishes.
While the General talks about how much of a pain that Banner is, Betty starts wondering what to do about her obvious feelings regarding our hero. She also worries about what would happen if she opened up to her father about this, as if nobody on the base didn’t know about it already.
At that very moment, a man dressed something like a Roman remarks how he will make Betty Ross his love, and with her help he will conquer the surface world. He heads toward the fountain of youth to regain his composure, as it is nearly time for his plan to go into affect. Tyrannus reveals, (to his servants for the ten-thousandth time), that he was once in mortal combat with Merlin the Magician, and was banished to the center of the Earth by his meddling. Biding those thousand years or so, he manages to enslave a race of shapeless dwarves who bow to his every command and salute his majesty.
The next day, Bruce and Rick arrive at the Ross home to see none other than Tyrannus talking with Betty. He cleverly disguises himself as Dr. Tyrannus an archaeologist who seeks to explore the nearby caves. Banner doesn’t trust the guy, though it may be for different reasons than the obvious fact that there’s practically no family named Tyrannus. Instead he mistrusts him for feelings of jealously, a simple ploy by Betty to get his attention.
Banner and Jones follows Betty and Tyrannus to a cave, but the villain seals the cave shut with a giant boulder. It is clear that Tyrannus has succeeded in kidnapping Betty,and his ransom, complete and unconditional surrender by the Earth military forces. “You must be mad!,” remarks Betty, and the underground emperor retorts,”I was a brilliant master of Black Magic a thousand years before your were born!” Nah, Betty he’s just insane.
Rushing to her rescue, the Hulk and Jones return to the boulder and smash through it, finding Tyrannus prepping his ship with Betty in tow. And so they descend into the subterranean kingdom to save her. Unlucky for the two, the blackguard manages to use some kind of volcanic knockout gas, incapacitating them, even the invincible Hulk. Later on, they awaken and the Hulk plays along to Tyrannus’s demands for the Betty’s safety.
The Hulk is quickly put to task fighting a mechanical gladiator, the mightiest fire breathing warrior under the Earth. The robot quickly shoots a bolt of flame at our hero, who dodges and then blocks it with his asbestos shield. The Hulk grows angrier by the second and begins to fight the robot mano-a-mano, but it turns out it has many tricks up its sleeves, including a dozen retractable arms, and a hydraulic punching machine. They become minor annoyances to the Hulk, as he quickly makes short work of the gladiator. The next target is now Tyrannus, but the king has a stun gun up his sleeve. The Hulk is now made to be one of many slaves under his thumb, working in a similar manner to Heracles. A thousand tasks later, our hero still needs to do five hundred more.
Tyrannus grows tired of Hulk’s labors, as they posed no challenge to the green giant, and the kind decides it’s best to end his existence. While nobody isn’t looking, Rick picks up Betty and takes him to the Hulk’s cell. An amusing exchange happens between the two as they run there, as Betty realizes it’s just Rick, though she might have been expecting Chubby Checkers. Anyway, it’s about time they left this underfoot kingdom. The Hulk easily manages to get out of his cave, and defeats the entire Tyrannus army while Rick and Betty prepare the escape capsule. In a split second escape, the Hulk also destroys the bulk of the kingdom, preventing the emperor from bothering our heroes again, though that calm is rather short lived, especially in Marvel Time.
“The Hordes of General Fang” begins with the Hulk doing his daily exercises, leaping around the desert so he doesn’t “become a muscle bound creep,” though vigorous exercise does do that according to a Planet Fitness commercial. Meanwhile, General Ross’s patience pays off as the Hulk leaps withing range of the Iceberg Rocket the Army was testing in the last issue. Rick tries to warn the Hulk about the missile, but it’s too late, he becomes a giant ice-cube. While the Army catches up to him, the missile appears to be quite futile, as the Hulk’s radioactive power allows his body to easily increase the temperature around him, making the ice in a matter of minutes. Rick meets up with Bruce latter in his cottage, finishing the day.
In another part of the world, in “Llhasa,” obviously Lhasa in Tibet, a man on a horse warns his comrades that the Chinese Army led by General Fang draws closer and closer to the country. As news spreads, one monk compares Fang to the most brutal warlord ever, Genghis Khan. I guess the Mandarian hasn’t emerged yet. The Llhasans alert the world news agencies about the invading Fang Army, and Bruce catches it on his radio. Deciding to do the right thing, Banner transforms and goes to his library to devise plan to stop this new foe. Of all the books, he picks up Strange Myths and Legends, rather than some like.. The Art of War. So the two take the first jet to Llhasa, but the Hulk’s personality is too big for his disguise, spilling some coffee. Conveniently, they were right over Formosa (Taiwan), and so the Hulk leaps from the Eastern coast all the way to Tibet in a matter of hours, barring a few annoyances by a defending army.
Landing somewhere in the Himalayas, the Hulk’s plan goes into action, as both he and Rick dress up in furry suits. Apparently, they intend to scare Fang’s forces by impersonating the Abominable Snowman, who already exists according to Tintin. The bulk of the forces are cleared out in a manner of minutes, and General Fang becomes incensed at the news that a mere cryptid is destroying his magnificent regiment.
As the Hulk approaches, the General uses a holographic image of a dragon to lure him into a high voltage pen. The General gloats that the Abominable Snowman is none other than than that American monstrosity.Rick manages to save the Hulk by short-circuiting the pen, but by the time he does, Fang has begun his attack on Llhasa, shooting an entire silo of missiles at the minuscule defenders. The Hulk manages to disable the missiles, and the Llhasan army begins their retaliation on the Red army. Still undaunted, General Fang sends paratroopers into the battle. However, the Hulk returns the favor by somehow snapping an entire forest backwards, and releasing them with enough force that the resulting wind blows away that entire squadron.
General Fang tries to retreat in humiliation, but the Hulk leaps and catches the poor commander. Continuing the leaping, the Hulk dumps Fang in Formosa, giving the Republic of China army a nice present, a top military official.
Back in America, Rick is thankful that they are safe once again after another tiring adventure. But the Hulk reminds his protege that as long as he walks the Earth, nobody will be safe, ever.
It was nice to see the Hulk fight a different battle, rather than the usual 0ne-on-one fight his brutish self usually participates in all the time. If there’s ever a place for the Hulk in this world, it has to be fighting Communists in the Cold War, though the politics would just make our jolly green giant spew chunks.