The Incredible Hulk Issue 102- “–This World Not His Own!”
Published April 1968
Stan Lee panoramically presents this pulse-pounding premiere by: Gary Friedrich and Marie Severin
Inked by: George Tuska
Lettered by: Artie Simek
Rather than having to start again at issue seven, they decided to change the title of Tales to Astonish to the Incredible Hulk. Why would they do that besides reducing confusion? It may as well be a tactic used by Marvel Comics regarding a set limit of how many titles they can publish within a given year back in the 60s. I’d try to find that article, but all Google can give me is some stupid things about the “NOW initiative,” even after being more specific. I’d have to go searching sooner or later. Anyway, be happy that this starts the Hulk’s series once again!
The Hulk, after being zapped by Loki, plummets to his death in a bottomless chasm. It really doesn’t help that he has transformed back into puny Banner, until the Executioner and the Enchantress save him. Well, I wonder if this is the past for the Executioner, as he was in the future conquering things until the Hulk stopped him. Anyway, the beautiful sorceress saves him for this mortal may know something about Hercules, to whom she have given her heart.
Back on the surface, the Hulk’s new friends wonder what happened to him. No matter what the case, Volstagg decides to continue their journey to Oldar the Oracle. They reach the Oracle’s place after an hour’s ride, and see a gong in the forest. They strike it and an old lady suddenly appears from where the gong once stood, I was actually expecting Gary Owens or something. The warriors stand back at her frightful appearance, and the fat one complains that her ugliness is a sign of her evilness. Oldar starts telling them the story of the Hulk all in a poem with rhymes. It’s pretty impressive as the whole saga is condensed and told in about four pages. The story ends, and the warriors learn to sympathize with their new friend, though they are concerned about what happens now that the Hulk may be free.
At the Enchantress’s home, Banner is tied as a prisoner and interrogated regarding the whereabouts of Hercules. The Executioner grows tired of Banner’s ignorance, and tries to strike his milksop captive. Banner turns into the Hulk just as the axe strikes, and Skurge is surprised to see an old foe. What?! Did he somehow go into the future too?! They didn’t really give an explanation, though it happened in Thor probably. The Hulk and the Executioner fight as the Enchantress tries to knock out our green giant. She summons a troll army to deal with them, and it still isn’t enough as the Hulk tears apart their abode. Our hero eventually escapes, but not before we see some more political intrigue! The Executioner has an entire troll army in the wings for the “total defeat of Asgard!”
The Oracle tells the warriors one more thing, that Asgard is about to be invaded and that the Hulk is still alive. The warriors leave for the kingdom. Meanwhile, as Asgard knows nothing about the rebellion, the Hulk is still tunneling thousands of feet below to the surface. Above, the troll army begins their attack led by the Executioner and the Enchantress. The Hulk finally reaches the top and sees the trolls thirsty for blood, while the three warriors struggle. He goes and smashes up some trolls, confounding Skurge once again.
Odin appears and quickly ends the battle, swallowing every troll on the land and ending the battle. Enraged, the Enchantress zaps the the Hulk as a final resort, pratically killing him. Fandrall goes to his side to mourn his death, but Odin allows the Hulk to live. Being his usual cantankerous self, he goes and attacks the king of Vikings but is stopped by Balder pleading that the Hulk doesn’t understand anything. Odin does the merciful thing and sends the Hulk back to Earth because the green gargoyle did help Asgard repel the invaders. But where will the Hulk land?
The Incredible Hulk Issue 103- “And Now… the Space Parasite!”
Published May 1968
Editor: Stan Lee
Scripter: Gary Friedrich
Artist: Marie Severin
Inker: Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Artie Simek
The Hulk is teleported to the middle of Times Square of all the places in the world Odin could have chosen. Maybe one of them has a soft spot for the Big Apple? A cop approaches the Hulk, telling him to stay, but he is carrying a gun. As a show of power, he takes a lamp pole and smashes an automat sign. How I wish I could be in one of them, as regular fast food restaurants don’t even serve you a mac and cheese with tomatoes anymore. The massive misanthrope jumps away to safety, and now the city is on high alert once again. Seriously, where the hell are the Fantastic Four/Spider-Man/Daredevil/Avengers?!
Up on the roof, the Hulk does his shouting at the people below but suddenly turns back into Bruce Banner. He narrowly escapes falling again thanks to the ledge, and now needs to find a place to hide and rest.
Meanwhile, a popular talk show is in progress and who are the guests for today? It’s none other than General Thaddeus Ross, Major Glenn Talbot, and Rick Jones. The host tries to get Ross to admit his failures at capturing the Hulk, and Talbot interjects with the fact that their foe is ridiculously tough. Films are shown where the green giant smashes a fifty story building and going toe to toe with the Thing. The host tries to make them say the Hulk is unstoppable, but Talbot refuses to believe such a thing. Looks like they are at an impasse.
Far above the sky, a one eyed alien calling himself the Space Parasite watches the talk show with footage of the Hulk. He surmises that with the Hulk’s life energy, he can sustain himself for years and years! He will now go to Earth and suck him dry, shouting his life’s mission, to fight opponents and take their blood. Yadda yadda.
On Earth, Bruce Banner manages to steal some clothes and jump the turnstile to the subway. He has no money anyway, and what is the Hulk going to do with a nickel? Eat it? Meanwhile, the Space Parasite continues his mad search for the Hulk, but he’s not showing up anywhere. On TV, Rick Jones is trying to give an answer about the Hulk, even after he was smacked by him in a previous episode. Though the brute was being mind-controlled, it still doesn’t change what he did.
Banner reaches Rick Jones’s apartment, posing as his uncle, turns on the tv in time to watch the show. He sees the video and Rick says the Hulk must be destroyed as he’s a menace to society. Rick pulls a gun on Bruce, and tells him because of the trauma, he can’t trust his best friend anymore. The Space Parasite hears this and finds out the truth about the Hulk as well. Betty comes in and tries to stop Rick, but not before he opens fire on the gun. Betty runs to Bruce, crying on his breast, but suddenly does a 180 and yells that Banner must die! The SP, still above the Earth, is manipulating these mood swings using a laser beam. He then teleports to the Earth to fight the Hulk.
Appearing in front of Betty and Ross, the Space Parasite challenges Banner to battle. The Hulk emerges and fights the enemy over the New York City skyline. Nothing the SP can do can hurt the Hulk, and the fights rages on. Millions of miles away on the planet Xeron, a group of people that look like the Space Parasite says they have found “Randau.” It turns out the Parasite used to be their king and went mad with power after being bathed with the rays of their third sun. Now that they know where he is, the Xerons decide to finish this once and for all. Rather than confront him, they activate the self-destruct mechanism on his ship.
Back on Earth the fight continues, even as Randau continues to suck the Hulk’s life energy. The power up doesn’t work, as the Parasite realizes that it’s been far too long since he’s had any life energy. Knowing that he’s going to lose, he attempts to distract the Hulk by throwing a subway car at him as a last resort. The Hulk decides he’s had enough of this fight and finishes the deposed king by crushing him into the subway car and throwing him into the sea. Randau escapes and teleports back to his ship. The Xerons press the button and his ship explodes. The Space Parasite is still in one piece, but the emptiness of space will finish him off.
Before the Hulk can revel in his victory, the police appear to capture him. They throw some powerful gas bombs, and instead of the Hulk, they get Banner instead! It’s to be Hulkinued once again.
That was a weird little interlude, they just needed a space alien just to take him to the next story arc? Hmph.