Tales to Astonish Issue 100- “Let There Be Battle!”
Published February 1968
A Double-Length Spectacular to Stagger Your Senses! By: Stan (the Man) Lee, Marie (the She) Severin and Dandy Dan Adkins
Lettered by: Sam Rosen
Right now the 2012 Summer Olympics is underway as I sit here typing this sentence, and all NBC the network can do is air Ellen. I have nothing against her, she’s a fine talk show host, but when some awesome is happening right now you’d think they’d show it. Four years ago I saw the Beijing one, and it was terrifyingly cool. This year, if I wanted to watch it, I’d have to pay for a cable subscription, which I’m not. So while I wait for the Youtube to post it, I’ll review something almost as big, a battle between the two stars of Tales to Astonish, the Incredible Hulk and Namor, the Sub-Mariner.
Meanwhile while we were hooked on the Hulk’s adventure, the Sub-Mariner had a little political upheaval to deal with and was ousted out of his undersea kingdom. He watches a video of the Hulk destroying the Living Lightning base and wonders if the brute would make a fine ally. But what about his eyesight, as Namor watches the video on a giant screen bigger than he is. He goes to the surface world and is quickly attacked by a vessel, and the deposed king retaliates but not before the sailors contact their “master,” not their admiral or any naval officer, their master.
The scene switches to a bald man talking about how Namor might have saw through his scheme that involved an experimental vessel and a puppet crew of two. Why it’s none other than the Puppet Master, that old Fantastic Four villain, looking not as creepy and skinny as usual. He’s even wearing a super villain outfit. Before the old man can do anything, Namor quickly sinks the ship. Once again finding failure, he smashes a statue of Namor (he wanted to control him), and decides to switch targets on to the Hulk. He builds a little voodoo doll in the likeness of the green ogre, and irradiates it to somehow tap into our other hero’s mind. And so, the Hulk awakens and smashes his way out of the landslide he was trapped in last episode.
At the base of the peak, General Ross prepares to blast the mountain apart to clean up the mess from last issue. Rick Jones runs in and tells them not to do it, as it would mean killing his best friend. He futilely tries to dig through the dirt, but suddenly the Hulk jumps out. Rick runs to him, but the Puppet Master tells him to slap him aside, and the young boy is sent to the hospital. General Ross once again vows to take down that emerald menace.
The Puppet Master leads the Hulk to the location of the Sub-Mariner, commanding his slave to swim and leap miles and miles to him. Namor sees the Hulk and pleads with him to join forces, and the prospective ally responds with a punch. Namor kicks him away, and returns the favor with a two handed swing. The fight continues with neither side giving up, and the Sub-Mariner decides to lure him into the sea and taunts his foe. The Hulk starts to get confused until the Puppet Master corrects him, and they begin again. They tussle some more and then the Hulk throws Namor far into the sea, handing him the terrain advantage. The old man berates our simple-minded gargoyle of this boner. Namor struggles to keep his balance and successfully manages to fall into the sea safely, but not before poking a hole through a sailboat.
At the missile base, Betty leaves her room to check on the situation, and finds Rick seriously injured. Seeing his weak form has convinced Betty that her love is truly lost withing that savage beast. Glenn Talbot now has to opportunity to seize her love, but decides against it because this would be the coward’s way out. He now has to focus his energies on killing the Hulk instead to win her heart. Aw, to think he’d have done more by now but the drama is just too much for any sort of lull time.
Namor decides that this battle will be one to the finish, after the ignominy that the Hulk has just dealt. He flies back to the shore and it turns out to be Miami of all coastal cities. Just as the Hulk leaps down to the city, the Sub-Mariner tackles him, shouting his battle cry, “IMPERIUS REX!” He slams the oversized ogre into the sea and starts pummeling him with no regard to the surrounding area. The Hulk is then commanded to jump and he takes Namor with him all the way over the condos.
The battle alerts the authorities, and Talbot demands that he should lead a task force armed with missiles. General Ross definitely denies that request, as it would mean blowing up the City of Magic. Back in Miami, the cops are on red alert and are told to leave the combatants alone for it would be suicide. Soon, Namor flies away for a quick retreat, and the Hulk decides to chase him. The giant brute’s leap accidentally totals a helicopter, and Namor and the Hulk try to save the pilot inside.
After that brief rescue, the Puppet Master commands the Hulk to take this opportunity and kill the Sub-Mariner. Refusing to, the simple-hearted brute fights the order with all of his strength. “Hulk does not want to kill!” he shouts, and Namor realizes what is happening, the Hulk is being controlled! The Sub-Mariner leaps into action and churns a funnel wave that Stan Lee describes as a “living Holocaust,” weakening the mental link between the Puppet Master and the Hulk. The resulting tidal waves also hit the actual location of the old man, and his plan is finally foiled.
Namor decides to go check on the Hulk, and finds the body of Bruce Banner instead. The former King of Atlantis leaves as the waves wash over the beach. The Hulk-puppet is among the debris that floats in the sea.