Tales to Astonish Issue 81- “The Stage is Set!”
Published July 1966
Hulkable Script by: Stan Lee
Hulksome Layout by: Jack Kirby
Hulkorious Art by: Bill Everett
Hulkated Lettering by: Sam Rosen
Costumes by Tibor of Transylvania!
A bunch of hooded men are studying footage from one of the Hulk’s battles, as he tries to escape from the might of the Orion Missile. They note that even though it didn’t directly hit the Green Gargoyle, the shock wave was strong enough to knock him him out. The film may show the Hulk using his immense strength to survive his fall, but it is evidence enough that the Orion is strong enough to knock him off his feet. It is decided that this organization would steal the missile for their own purposes, and they call a contract super-villain to do the job. His name? The Boomerang?!
Far away, the blonde man known as Boomerang is receiving his orders right in the middle of his date with a hot brunette. While talking to his employers, the woman remarks that he was once a star pitcher who was suspended for reasons yet to be revealed. Maybe it’s about the money, since he’s just been hired to commit a crime? The man tells his girlfriend to leave, and promises her another date. She leaves in a huff, stood up again! He turns on a switch and under his huge television is none other than his Boomerang costume. Tonight, he’ll have to infiltrate the missile base.
Meanwhile, all the way underground, Bruce Banner must somehow find a way to save Betty, Major Talbot and Rick from the battle between the Mole People and Tyrannus’s army. While walking through the winding tunnels, a crazed Tyrannus tells Banner to get out of his way. Banner stops him from shooting off his gun anymore and interrogates the old man to telling him how to get out of this place. The former despot responds that the three surface-dwellers have been returned, and the only way up there is through a matter transporter. Left alone, the old man sees some puddles that may be the waters of youth.
Back on the surface, some soldiers quickly find Betty and the rest, and warn Talbot that the Orion Missile’s safety may be compromised, especially without his security. Not far away, the Boomerang ambushes the jeep, and starts throwing some tiny metal disks, destroying the steering wheel. The soldiers try to respond but the former pitcher quickly dispatches them and tears apart their weapons. Taking away Betty, he causes a rock-slide, dooming Jones and Talbot.
The story ends with the Hulk fighting his way to the Matter Transporter, destroying Mole Man and Ground-Dwarf alike. He rests on the machine, to be hit with another adventure as he reaches the top.
This had a rather abrupt end to the last story as usual, but it’s to keep the pressure going at 10 pages.
Tales to Astonish Issue 82- “The Battle Cry of the Boomerang!”
Published August 1966
Writer: Stan Lee
Designer: Jack Kirby
Illustrator: Bill Everett
Letterer: Artie Simek
and a touch of the Muse, Inspirer!
The Hulk wakes up on the surface when suddenly… Things start exploding in his face, and then they stop! It appears that he has woken up on a missile testing range, but the Hulk is too angry to notice this and leaps away. General Ross appears and yells that this Green Gargoyle is somehow involved in his daughter’s kidnapping. Jones and Talbot arrives and Ross personally holds the Major responsible for Betty’s disappearance.
In their hidden bunker, the hooded men watch as the Boomerang with his rocket boots takes Betty hostage. It turns out they are a part of the Secret Empire, and it is about time they become less… secret. The one known as Number Five attempts to call Boomerang but is gassed instantly, and dies. The two left surmise it must be Number Nine that did it, and that they must be wary of him.
The Hulk leaps and finally sees Betty calling for help. He goes after the Boomerang, but he’s just too quick for our emerald brute. Underestimating his enemy, the ring clad man plays with our hero for a bit, trying to disable him by sticking a collection of magnetic discs onto the Hulk’s vital joints. The magnetized force holds the Hulk in a fetal position, and a high voltage boomerang is thrown at him. But it is not enough, as the Hulk quickly gets up in time to chase the villain who hold Betty.
General Ross receives news of the Hulk battling Boomerang, and commands Major Talbot to stay behind and guard the Orion Missile. Rick Jones sneaks away to try and help his best friend. Talbot is understandably stressed that he can’t do anything for Betty.
The Hulk manages to catch up to the Boomerang, but it turns out Betty was a diversion tactic all along. The villain jumps into a high speed helicopter to another location, possibly the Orion Missile. Our humongous hero watches as his foe flies away, and vows to destroy him as a Hulk is wont to do.
And so the story ends… or does it as its to be HULKINUED!