Tales to Astonish Issue 73- “Another World, Another Foe!”
Published November 1965
You’ll never forget Stan Lee‘s script!
You’ll never forget Jack Kirby‘s layouts!
You’ll never forget Bob Powell’s art!
You’ll never forget Artie Simek’s — eh– Let’s see now, what did Artie Do?
We return to the Hulk still getting electrocuted by the Humanoid Statues while they try to keep the situation under control, ie stopping the green gigant from destroying this wonderful museum. Surprisingly the Hulk isn’t fighting back with the same zeal as usual, succumbing not to the laser blasts, but the bullet in Banner’s brain. The Leader notices this change in the Hulk and examines him under the X-Ray. He finds the bullet and uses his Gamma Ray machine to dissolve it, leaving the Hulk free to heal.
The Hulk awakens an hour later, after a process the Leader says would take a mortal days to heal. While his big headed doctor gives an explanation of exactly what happened, the Hulk is too pre-occupied with what happens to him now. He can’t transform back to Banner in front of his captor or his secret will be revealed, and he has to or else he runs the risk of losing his weakling self. No matter what, the Hulk knows that he’ll never be able to live a “normal life.”
A few minutes later, the Hulk is up and ready to take some tests the Leader has specially prepared for him. He rips a giant pipe, gets shocked by giant electrodes, withstands over 100Gs in that astronaut centrifuge, and even doesn’t freeze to death. The behemoth even managed to survive underwater for at least half-an-hour effortlessly. Isn’t there anything he can’t do?
It turns out that all that testing was to send the Hulk into space, as the Leader has discovered where Uatu the Watcher lives. The wizard of widgets built a spy camera to follow the Watcher around and rather than leave a fellow egghead alone, he sends the Hulk to go steal his stuff. Using a more complicated version of the teleporter seen last issue, the Leader sends the Hulk all the way to the Watcher’s current location. In a matter of seconds, the Hulk travels some light years, finally arriving at the Watcher’s private planet where he keeps a veritable zoo of sorts.
The Watcher introduces himself to the Hulk, and our hero can’t help but feel impressed with this impressive collection of habitats. The Leader comes to the Hulk via a telepathic doohickey and commands the Hulk to walk around and look for this “ultimate machine,” a luminescent sphere. Before the Hulk can get his hands on it, another giant looking vaguely like a bald wrestler punches him out.
Poor Hulk, his first time in space and he doesn’t even have to to look as the zoo some more…
Tales to Astonish Issue 74- “The Wisdom of the Watcher!”
Dreamed up by: Stan Lee!
Designed by: Jack Kirby!
Drawn by: Bob Powell!
Delineated by: Mickey Demeo!
Doodled by: S. Rosen
The Hulk is still fighting the scaly wrestler from last issue, and our hero realizes that this was the Leader’s plan all along. He could’ve disabled the Watcher easily, but he needed the Hulk anyway to fight “the most powerful fighter in the galaxy.” The wrestler marvels at the Hulk’s strength, as he was bred to be the perfect fighting machine while his opponent is nothing more than a rage fueled gargoyle. As the Watcher observes, he can’t stand the fact that the battle would basically destroy all of his equipment, and so he sends them to a desolate wasteland for both combatants to duke it out.
It really does start to look like the beginning of a pro wrestling match when the Hulk and his opponent arrive on the desolate plateau. Our hero begins trash talking about how nobody will hear his foe’s cries for help. The wrestler rebuffs the arrogance of Earth creatures and crushes a boulder with ease, comparing the Hulk to it. The Hulk suddenly has a thought and realizes that the trash-talking is making him more savage by the minute. Commentary by Stan Lee?
The wrestler throws a boulder at the Hulk, and he easily deflects it. Then our enemy throws him into the water, revealing that he was also breed for underwater combat. The Hulk decides to use a giant clam to capture the wrestler, but he swims away very quickly. “He’s a regular outer-space Sub-Mariner!,” though the Hulk. The wrestler makes a sling out of some seaweed and a rock, swinging it and enhancing its strength using the water pressure generated by the sea. The seaweed ties around the Hulk, and the Wrestler is hoping that the effort will drain his opponent of his strength, finishing him off through drowning.
Celebrating his victory too soon on land, the Wrestler is suddenly interrupted by the Hulk breaking the ground beneath his feet. Lifting him above his head, he throws him into the sky, and suddenly the wrestler vanishes. Uatu arrives and tells him that the match is over and he sent the scaleman back to his own planet. The Hulk asks why he doesn’t feel the desire to fight the Watcher even though he wants to smash everything in his patch. His response, “[he] is the Watcher, and that is all.”
Taking him back to the planet, the Watcher tells the Hulk that he grows tired of aliens presences on his planet and gives the Hulk the orb as his prize. Uatu warns that the “Ultimate Machine” is nothing to be trifled with, while the Leader in the Hulk’s head keeps bothering him about it. The Hulk is transported back using the teleporter, and the Leader grabs the sphere out of the Hulk’s hands like a child. Triumphant, the big headed one laughs and yells that he has all of the knowledge of the universe in his hands, and nobody can do a thing about it. The Hulk wants to shut this guy up, but he is compelled to watch what happens to him. The Leader puts the orb over his head and nothing happens, except his life energy being drained away from him. A catatonic Leader falls to the ground, and the Hulk can only watch.
Don’t worry, the Leader’s not dead thanks to the magic of future writers who keep reviving dead characters over and over.