Tales to Astonish Issue 79- “The Titan and the Torment!”
Published May 1966
Hulkish Story By: Stan Lee
Hulkable Layouts by: Jack Kirby
Hulking Artork by: bill Everett
Hulksome Lettering by: Artie Simek
Bruce Banner’s replacement, Dr. Zaxon activates his organic energy absorber at the Hulk! Despite the machine draining all of the Hulk’s life energy, our hero manages to shake off Zaxon and knock him away. The machine bounces and ricochets its beam at Zaxon, killing him. The Hulk realizes this and runs away, leaping into the wild blue yonder. Soldiers watch in amazement as the misunderstood giant leaves, believing that Zaxon was murdered by his hands.
Miles away, Hercules heads to Hollywood by train, as his immense weight would sink a plane. A slimy agent tries to convince him to be in the movie, while the son of Zeus tries to figure out how a transistor radio works. The agent tells his fellow traveler that the Hulk is loose once again, and if the two fight it would make for one hell of a blockbuster.
At the missile base, Talbot and Jones prepare to leave for Washington D.C., and Betty tries to convince them both of Bruce’s innocence. Far away, fighter planes continue to hound the Hulk,, and he conveniently lands on the same track Hercules is headed. He rips out a piece of the track and throws it at the planes, taking care of one menace, becoming another.
Hercules steps out and challenges the Hulk to battle. They trade blows, and nobody seems to have the better advantage. The immortal from Olympus finishes the match by sealing the Hulk into a mountain. Before the green giant can retaliate, a bombardment falls on our hero and he escapes once again. Hercules ends the story by moving the train cars to the other side of the rail, finishing the journey.
This was a cute little interlude, and it leads to the next story featuring the return of an old foe.
Tales to Astonish Issue 80
Published June 1966
Script: Stan Lee (Doctor of Hulkishness)
Layouts: Jack Kirby (Master of Hulkability)
Art: Bill Everett (Bachelor of Hulkosity)
Lettering: Artie Simek (The Pride of Hulkdom)
The Hulk is alone with his thoughts, just wondering what to do with this hated existence as usual, when suddenly a intense force pulls him underground. A bunch of midgets and an old man marvel at their newest capture, but before they can do anything, “Nobody captures the Hulk!,” the green giant shouts. The midgets try to fire, and the old man manages to calm both sides down. The old man reveals to the Hulk that he was once Tyrannus, and after the above-ground dwellers left, events happened that left the once young and virile king a decrepit old mess. This time he engages the help of his captive to gain access to the fountain of youth.
The Fantastic Four villain, the Mole Man, watches with glee as Tyrannus grows weaker and weaker by the minute. He turns to his legions of faceless beings and rallies them to prepare for battle. A scout returns and tells him that Tyrannus’s forces approaches, and the Mole Man activates an octopus machine to destroy his enemy.
The Hulk sleeps and Tyrannus awakens him to attack the Mole Man. The emerald brute refuses to, choosing to go back to sleep, and a little encouragement forces him into action. Somehow Tyrannus has managed to also capture Betty, Rick, and Talbot, and holds them as prisoners. The Hulk breaks down the jail door, and runs outside causing mayhem, destroying the tyrant’s flyers and soon going after the Mole Man’s forces. Nothing does get in the Hulk’s way, as usual.
The Mole Man panics and activates the “Octo-sapien” which holds the Hulk in a tight embrace and pins him down using its gravity rays. The Hulk continues to move and the robot resorts to using a “life reduction ray” on him. Just as the final blow is about to be struck, the Hulk throws the Octo-Sapien and forces it to explode. Out of the remains emerges, Banner.
Out of the pot and into the frying pan, this serial format sure knows how to keep the suspense going.