Tales to Astonish Issue 71
Published September 1965
Stan Lee, Stunning Story
Jack Kirby, Lavish Layouts
Mickey Demeo, Awesome Art
Artie Simek, Luscious Lettering
Last time, the Sunday Punch is headed straight toward the Hulk and the Giant Humanoid, and Rick Jones can’t do anything to save his friend. The Hulk realizes what the big honkin’ missile is and saves the young lad, leaping to also avoid his enemy’s grasp. The jump was so great that the shockwave from the missile got them out of the atmosphere, knocking out Jones. Thankfully, the Hulk saved them both, leaping away in time and avoiding the radiation area. Holey moley, the Army wasn’t kidding with the name.
In the bunker, Talbot views the result through a periscope and informs General Ross that even though the Humanoid is down, the Hulk remains missing. The giant remains whole due to its plastic composition, though I wonder why it didn’t melt like regular ones do. With the Humanoid knocked out, the military can begin researching it, but the Leader activates its “flame-destruct” mechanism, reducing it to a pile of ashes.
The Hulk realizes Jones’s condition, and attempts to help him by taking him into the hidden cave, but the army begins to chase the Hulk and his friend through the desert. They find the secret laboratory and surround it, preparing to bombard it into pieces. While Rick tries to rest, the Hulk tries to ward off the attacks, throwing boulders and destroying their main weapons. General Ross gives the Hulk an ultimatum, surrender peacefully or be nuked by the warplanes. The Hulk tells Rick to escape so he can live, but Rick refuses as it would mean abandoning his friend. The Leader sends a message to the Hulk, telling him that his only way out is to join him.
Tales to Astonish Issue 72- “Within the Monster Dwells a Man!”
Published October 1965
Thrills, as only Stan Lee’s story can provide them!
Power, as only Jack Kirby‘s layouts can create it!
Drama, as only Mickey Demeo‘s Artwork can present it!
Sound effects, as only Sam Rosen’s pen point can letter them!
The Army closes in on the Hulk, shooting their flamethrowers, while the Leader smugly waits for the green giant’s decision. Rick Jones tries to stop General Ross from doing any more damage to the lab, and Major Talbot realizes that Rick was never the Hulk’s captive. If not that, then surely the two are in cahoots with each other. Looks like he’s in trouble…
With no choice, the Hulk decides to go with the Leader and is instantly teleported across the Earth to Italy in a rather ingenious explanation. The Hulk is transformed into electro-waves and then transmitted all the way to the Leader’s location, where he is reconstructed through a device resembling a film projector. As the Hulk arrives, he marvels at the Leader’s genius. The big headed one quickly gives the Hulk an explanation regarding his origins, as he and the giant are basically the same only beings on the planet. A shame that party’s going to get disrupted in 50 years time.
A tour of the Leader’s facilities are given and the Humanoids have a lot more uses than sabotage, as they take care of all of the basic utilities in the base. More on these plastic robots are given, as they are birthed from giant artificial eggs, and hatch in a matter of hours. While the Hulk is too busy being mesmerized by this operation, he gets knocked out by the sleeping gas that permeates the lab.
Over in America, the military searches for any trace of the Hulk while studying the remains of Banner’s lab. Talbot puts more twos together as all of the equipment in the cave can only belong to Bruce Banner and the Hulk, and that the scientist’s body is missing. He tries to press more out of Jones, but gets nothing. He surmised that the Hulk is a result of Banner’s experiments (kinda true.) Ross has apparently not put those pieces together, despite knowing Banner longer. He thinks that the Hulk is actually a “super robot,” even though Banner built one and the Hulk was unsuccessful in destroying it.
Back at the Leader’s hideout, it turns out that he is basically living in a museum somewhere in a fancy city. This is obviously a bad idea, especially since he’s basically brought a bull to this magnificent china shop of a town. The Hulk quickly wakes up and starts destroying the Leader’s equipment, trying to find a way out of this place while he needs his gamma ray machines to remain his giant self. The Leader is currently at work with another experiment, if successful, can defeat the other star of Tales to Astonish, the Sub-Mariner. His security system, a gang of Humanoids the color of marble awakens and start beating up the Hulk. One knocks out the Hulk by using its stun club, and so the story ends.
It would’ve been great to see more of the Leader’s lair, but next issue the Hulk finally gets to leave the Earth.