Tales to Astonish Issue 69- “Trapped in the Lair of the Leader!”
Hulking Story by: Stan Lee
Hulksome Art by: Jack Kirby
Hulkish Inking by: Mickey Demeo
Hulkable Lettering by: Art Simek
The Leader has finally succeeded in capturing the Hulk! Months he has waited for this, and this is surprising since it is believed that Marvel Time runs slower than actual time, but let’s just say it’s two months? He commands the rest of the Humanoids to take the Absorbatron and begins his escape. A Naval ship finds out what is happening on Astra Island and alerts the authorities. While he shrinks his army, the Leader enters his ship and prepares for liftoff. Using a powerful tractor beam, he and his new prizes fly all the way back to his secret base.
The MP arrives and awakens Talbot, who tells them that Banner has fled once again. The commander tells Talbot that an air ship was seen leaving the area with the Absorbatron in tow. And Talbot is thus completely convinced of Banner’s guilt. They quickly go and search for the Hulk, due to their apparent connection.
The Leader returns to his base, which is somewhere on top of a mesa in the southwest. The Hulk’s skin is so strong that even the current devices that the Leader owns won’t be enough for him, and so he upgrade them in order to study the titan. Unfortunately for him, Banner wakes up and escapes his giant bed. He quickly sends an S.O.S. to whomever can receive it. The Leader doesn’t notice it yet, as he’s too busy with his work. I guess he has no friends, considering he may also be paranoid.
Rick Jones goes back to his friend’s secret laboratory and hears Banner’s morse code message. The Army also picks it up and so Jones follows the troops to the Leader’s lab. Pretty soon, the Mesa lab is completely surrounded.
The Leader goes back to check on the Hulk, but finds that he has escaped, so he pumps more gas into the chamber, but instead of getting knocked out, Banner turns into the Hulk and begins laying siege to the lab. With one thought from his subconscious, the Hulk summons the will to destroy Banner’s Absorbatron, as no one is allowed to have it. The Leader escapes through a secret tunnel, and vows that he will have the Hulk once again.
The Army arrives i time to see the Hulk and begins firing at him. Rick Jones arrives to find the lab destroyed, and despite his Avengers ID, he is not allowed in, but the young lad forces in anyway. Soldiers are already sifting through the damage, and they are carrying somebody with them. It is the body of Bruce Banner, and he’s not breathing! Was the battle too much for him? What will happen next in this action packed saga?
In this half-issue format, I can say that the Hulk has finally found its niche as issue after issue, something thrilling always happens, with little time to sit and wait.