Tales to Astonish Issue 66- “The Power of Doctor Banner!”
Power-packed script by… Stan Lee
Hard-hitting art by… Steve Ditko
Two-Fisted Inking by… Vince Colletta
Silken-soft Lettering by… Art Simek
While the Hulk and his new friend attempt to leave the weapons research facility, a man comes from the shadows carrying a deadly proton gun. It is none other than the Commandant from the last issue, and he prepares to take revenge on the Hulk. He aims and fires, hitting the scientist. The scientist tells his new comrade that he had no regrets, that in the end he was a mensch not a mere slave to the Soviet machine. The Hulk starts to feel sadness for the man who sacrificed himself to save him, and using a complicated thought process realizes that somebody killed his only friend in this godforsaken country.
The rampaging Hulk continues his trip through the base, rushing toward finding the man who killed his friend. However, the excitement got his gamma-irradiated blood pumping too much, and he turns back into Banner. He ought to wake up soon because the Soviet fleet is approaching.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Major Talbot learns from his superior that Banner may be behind the Iron Curtain. Talbot demands to go find Banner, but his request is denied. Talbot’s willingness to go after him is apparently not just for patriotic duty, but to show Betty once and for all that Banner is a traitor to the flag. Meanwhile, General Ross learns of Banner’s defection, and Betty does not believe this startling development, pleading with her father and Glenn that there has to be a better explanation. Talbot comforts the upset Betty, while General Ross begins to accept him as a son.
The Leader deliberates on what to do next, because if he has the Hulk under his grasp, the combination of brains and brawn would be more than enough to conquer the world. He starts to wonder where Dr. Bruce Banner is, and conveniently, the Chameleon calls the Leader, telling him of Banner’s latest action. The big-headed one contacts a Soviet General, that looks suspiciously like a fit Stalin, and tells him that he will be arriving, just as soon as the Hulk’s location is relayed to him.
Behind the Iron Curtain, fighter jets are scouring what is left of the weapons research lab, and Banner awakens and attempts to flee. He finds the body of the scientist that helped the Hulk, but before he can properly react the explosive shock wave from heavy artillery knocks Banner to the wall. By the time he hits the bricks, Banner has transformed into the Hulk. The Hulk finds the jets and leaps up and destroys them both. As soon as he hits the ground, he runs for his life.
This was a pretty interesting interlude, as Banner is definitely in deep water, as the US is prepared to shoot him on sight after accounts of his betrayal. And with the Hulk free, a showdown between him and the Leader is imminent. But in the meantime, where is the Hulk going? Will he escape to the Atlantic, or continue getting lost in the Soviet Union. Find out next issue.