Tales to Astonish Issue 64- The Incredible Hulk Battles… the Horde of Humanoids!
Written with the sparkling skill of Stan Lee
Drawn with the peerless power of Steve Ditko
Inked with the classic clarity of George Bell
Lettered with the tv set on by Artie Simek
Bruce Banner is in deep water now that he was arrested by the military for attempting to sabotage his nuclear device and was caught red handed, or at least that’s what it looked like right after the Hulk’s battle with the Humanoid. The lack of witnesses and evidence that disproves the military’s case doesn’t help Banner one bit. Just how will he get out of this? Will he start to live that fugitive lifestyle that we’ve seen in the tv adaptation?
The newest chapter in the only “super-hero soap opera” (before Claremont got his hands on X-Men) begins with Banner receiving the tranquilizer pills he requested earlier. General Ross and Major Talbot seriously do not buy Banner’s explanation that he was trying to save his machine. The events that led up to this, Banner’s constant absences leave him nary a chance to escape the tribunal. Banner is taken away to stand trial, and all Betty can do is weep for him. Talbot comforts her, with an ulterior motive to steal her heart.
In a secret base far away, the Chameleon tells the Leader the news about Banner. The big headed cheese takes delight at this and will soon unleash an entire horde of humanoid to attack the military base for Banner’s invention. Before he can start it, his desire to learn more about the Hulk and how the gamma rays affected his strength and not his mind becomes his primary target.
At the Capitol, Banner’s lawyer delivers the bad news, if evidence of his innocence is not found, he may be ruled guilty of treason. Rick Jones arrives to help Bruce, but Banner’s tells him there’s nothing he can do. Jones leaves him and decides to go straight to the President, explaining the situation about his best friend. He gets into the Oval Office by flashing his newly minted Avengers I.D. Card, which somehow overrides four ambassadors and six congressmen. After discussing Bruce’s case with a man who is clearly Lyndon B. Johnson, General Ross comes barging into Bruce’s room telling him he’s been cleared of the charges. Still angry yet bound to his duty, Ross pulls Banner to a taxi, telling him that it’s time to go to Astra Island to test the new nuclear device.
On some deserted island, the invention is revealed to be the Nuclear Absorbatron, a device that was built to withstand any atomic attack. It works by absorbing the radioactivity of the fallout, allowing any city to survive an atom bomb. If only Banner had this device in issue one. The Leader begins his plan, sending an entire horde of Humanoids to attack the island and get away with the device.
Talbot keeps a close watch on Banner, surprisingly without the aid of soldiers, as they walk toward the command structure. While Banner does his job, the Major continues to accuse him of sabotage and calling the Hulk onto the island. Banner realizes that he is out of tranquilizer pills and instantly turns into the Hulk due to panic. The first person the Hulk goes after is Talbot, and not even a solid steel door is enough to stop him. The slow-witted Hulk turns his attention to something else just as he was about to break it down. He figures out he is on a deserted isle, and blames Banner for taking him here. Never mind that in a previous episode he leaped from Taiwan to China, so escape shouldn’t be impossible for him. Meanwhile, Talbot alerts the authorities about the Hulk, telling them that although the Absorbatron is safe, he is not.
The Leader quickly finds the Hulk, using one of his Humanoid’s cameras. He quickly commands his entire horde to capture the brute and the battle ensues. While the horde continues to overwhelm our green giant, a thought forms in his after a mere four minutes. It may be possible that these Humanoids may be in fact machines! He tries to shake them off, smash them down, the works. Nothing seems to happen in this action packed climax. Why are these Bakelite bionics so hard to destroy? Is there anything the Hulk can do about them? And this is where our story ends.
This newest development isn’t going to help Banner one bit. Even though he’s been saved by LBJ, his escaping from Talbot may as well lead to a kill order by the Pentagon. And what is up with these humanoids? The Leader could make a killing selling the materials, especially since they can resist just about any impact. Till next time.