Tales to Astonish Issue 83- “Less than Monster, More than Man!”
Published September 1966
Script: Smilin’ Stan Lee
Layouts: Jolly Jack Kirby
Art: Wild bill Everett
Lettering: Whammy Sam Rosen
Applause: Honest Irving Forbush
Last issue, the Boomerang got away and is now free to target the Orion missile. Now the Hulk and Betty are meeting face to face, and she wonders if the brute will harm her as much as the villain did. It begins to rain, and the downpour means that either party must seek shelter or catch cold. The Hulk turns and starts tearing rocks apart to make a makeshift cave for Betty. He takes her inside the new shelter and Betty begs her captor to take her to her father. The Hulk responds rather violently to this request, as he and Thunderbolt aren’t exactly the best of friends. Betty holds the Hulk and wonders if Banner is really in there. The Green Giant stars blankly as if he is trying to form a coherent thought.
Meanwhile in the helicopter, the Secret Empire heads chastise the Boomerang for losing the girl, as she was their only bargaining chip. One of them threatens to turn him over to “Number One” due to his failure, but a radio bulletin about General Ross sending a large squadron for the missing Hulk and Betty Ross gives the Boomerang a second chance at the mission. He jumps out of the copter and flies to his destination, the mostly unguarded Air Force base.
General Ross’s “hard hitting tank force” arrives at the place where the Hulk was last seen and continues advancing. By then, the rain has stopped and the Hulk is hungry. He strikes a fire and leaps in search of food. Before he can do anything, the Army has him in his sights and starts firing at him. He just can’t catch a break.
At the Air Force Base, Major Talbot continues to worry about Betty Ross, who still doesn’t show any affection for him. He curses the fact that he has to guard the Orion with a small force, and tries to focus on this job, despite his heart for Betty. The Boomerang attacks and destroys a tank of missile repellent, wounding the Major with a piece of shrapnel. Talbot tells his men to guard the missile with their lives. Soldiers rush to stop the Boomerang, but are their weapons enough to stop him?
At the Secret Empire headquarters, Number Two decrees that the Boomerang must be put to death for his incompetence. Number Nine protests, as he still believes the master pitcher is can still be a vital asset. Another hood tells him to be quiet, as he is still under suspicion for the murder of Number Five. Suddenly, Number Nine throws a stun grenade into the room, knocking out everybody except himself, as he was wearing a protective suit of armor. His quest for power knows no limit, as he is headed straight for the leader of the Secret Empire.
General Ross’s task force has finally cornered the Hulk ready to fire at a moment’s notice. Rick Jones comes out and tries to calm his friend down, reminding him of Banner’s good side. The Hulk fights the urge to acknowledge himself as Banner and destroys a Jeep. He takes General Ross and Rick and leaps away. Jones realizes that he is taking them to see Betty, reuniting father and daughter once again. The Hulk jumps away when Betty tries to help him, but with Thunderbolt in the cave that is a futile gesture. The three leave, as the Hulk is alone with his thoughts.
Tales to Astonish 84-“Rampage in the City!”
Published October 1966
Script: Stan (The Man) Lee
Art: Almost the Whole Blamed Bullpen
Lettering: Artie (Smartie) Simek
Therapy: Honest Irving Forbush
The Hulk has made up his mind, and once again he will stand alone and nobody will hurt him, nobody will stop him, he’s the Hulk! And yet he goes and seeks out Betty Ross who helped him. He leaps to the Army Missile Base but finds nothing there, and decides to go find the Avengers. His jump is so powerful that it practically lands him into the middle of New York City. Radar technicians quickly notice this anomaly, as a giant thing has somehow quickly entered the city.
Deciding that he needs a disguise, he breaks down a Big Men’s Clothing store and takes the largest coat and hat he can find as a disguise. Luckily for the store owner, the insurance will pay for it and that it was night time. After a day of wandering around Manhattan, a cop makes him out, and alerts the entire battalion to go after him. The Hulk flees and enters a movie theater, currently showing a newsreel. However, the audience is too worried to watch as in the lobby, it’s the Sub-Mariner! He’s currently off in his little adventure.
Eventually the murmur dies down and the Hulk watches the reel of the Boomerang attack the Air Force Base and Major Talbot fighting him with his dear life. The Boomerang is too much for him and the Major does the final thing of destroying the Orion Missile. The villain flees the scene, and luckily the self-destruct is averted with the arrival of General Ross and his forces. The reel continues that Major Talbot was awarded another medal, and that the missile was moved to Cape Kennedy in Florida, where it is now under lock and key. The Hulk leaves and continues his search for the Avengers.
Over in Cape Kennedy, Rick Jones hears the news that the Hulk has been sighted in New York. Unable to pay for a fare, he decides to get a job delivering a car north, which is apparently a common thing in 60s America. An hour later, he gets the job, but is told NOT to open the trunk. He has less than two days to deliver the car, bu the employer apparently has an ulterior motive in mind.
Back in New York, the Hulk’s cover is blown thanks to the Atlantic breeze that knocks away his hat. Cops instantly swarm the area and our misunderstood hero flees to the place where the homeless and disenchanted go, the subway. He falls down into the tracks and gets shocked by the third rail. A train is about to enter the station, but the Hulk broke the track, leaving him with no choice but to stop the train with his bare hands. He succeeds but the police are already down there, trying to send away the crowd. The Hulk continues his run and finally breaks out of the subway. He’s free, but to do what?
Finally the Hulk goes to New York proper, though I actually forget when was the last time he was in the city. Ah well, what will they do about Boomerang?