Tales to Astonish Issue 61: The Incredible Hulk- Captured at Last
Published: November 1964
Author: The Incomparable Stan Lee
Illustrator: The Inimitable Steve Ditko
Inker: The Indescribable George Bell
Letterer: The Inevitable Sam Rosen
Last time the Hulk fought against Banner’s newest invention, a heavily armored robot. The fight was short-lived due to lack of space in the 24-page format, and the dastardly Soviet spy in the mechanical suit escaped just as the Hulk began to transform back to normal in his overexcited state. What can our hero do now that his robot has gotten away from him with the high risk of the Red using it against our fair country?
The story begins right after the battle, as the unnamed spy wanders the desert in the impossibly well ventilated suit. He soon finds a hidden cave somewhere in the countryside, and it turns out to be Banner’s secret laboratory. Upon seeing all of Banner’s magnificent gadgets and equipment, the spy decides to use it for his own nefarious purposes with a little can-do and know how. The parts found in the lab should be enough to build a crude missile enough to destroy the American base, the spy muses. Banner shouldn’t have left his thing lying around, especially when somebody could use the gamma ray materials…
Back at the base, Bruce is feverishly at work trying to recapture the robot, building some kind of electronic scanner. Nearby, a new officer has come onto the base, a Major Glenn Talbot, who quickly assumes his duties and orders the men to keep a constant watch of Bruce Banner at all times. The screwup from last issue has gotten the top brass on edge, especially since it seems that Banner may have sabotaged his experiment, seeing as he’s the only one with access to the robot. At General Ross’s office, this is indeed confirmed. Talbot tells Ross that an investigation into Banner has already begun regarding his suspicious activities. Ross immediately takes a liking to the Major, and encourages Betty to take him for a tour on the base. “Perhaps Glenn Talbot can take her mind off that milksop Banner!,” General Ross thinks.
The two head straight for Banner’s lab, but an officer informs them that Banner left as soon as he arrived for his post, carrying a strange electronic instrument. The Major invites Betty for a helicopter ride, and she obviously knows it’s just to find Banner. As they prepare for liftoff, Banner and his enormous scanner have found the robot hiding somewhere in the hills. It turns out the spy has completed his missile, but unlucky for Talbot and Miss Ross, the robot is perched right above their ‘copter. Bruce sees the Robot lifting a giant boulder over his head and transforms into the Hulk before his girlfriend and the Major gets crushed by it. The boulder shatters, but Glenn is hurt, inadvertently driving Betty closer to him. Oh, if only this were a more romantic comic book…
The Hulk tackles the robot and their battle begins anew, as he pushes it down the ledge and right near a bottomless pit. The spy remains unhurt, and uses the same strategy as he did last issue, let the Hulk fight until he tires out. As the robot attempts to finish off the Hulk with another giant boulder, the missile has launched, aimed at the heart of the military base. The Hulk knows he has to wrap it up, and dodges the boulder and pushes the spy into the bottomless pit, robot suit and all. All that’s left is to destroy the missile before anybody gets hurt. The Hulk succeeds, but ends up getting knocked out by the explosion.
Major Talbot arrives to find the unconscious Hulk and reports his finding to the General. Surely the green gargantuan is a better prize than going on a trail for Banner, Talbot remarks. At the base, General Ross jumps for joy upon hearing the news and dispatches a squad to capture the Hulk. This time instead of locking him inside a steel prison, the military decides to use Tony Stark’s specially designed chains, which should be enough to make sure the Hulk doesn’t break out of them. Now that the matter is settled, what remains is the location of Bruce Banner. Talbot and Ross discuss about what to do with him, and about his apparent connection to the Hulk.
The story ends with the Hulk securely bound by these special shackles with a tank turret pointed at his face. Just what will happen next? How will our emerald golem break free? And what happened to that robot? And how exactly does that spy go to the bathroom? Find out next time.