The Incredible Hulk Issue 104- “Ring around the Rhino!”
Published June 1968
Editor: Stan Lee
Scripter: Gary Friedrich
Artist: Marie Severin
Inker: Frank Giacoia
Inker: Sam Rosen
Letterer: All Questioned
We begin with the front page headlines of the Daily Bugle, with a front page editorial by J. Jonah Jameson. Makes you wish Peter Parker was there to take the photos… Bruce Banner is imprisoned at Sing Sing, though wouldn’t cops put them in Rikers first? In his jail cell, Banner tries to fight his captors and call for the General and Major. His cries fall to death ears, and he is quickly knocked out with a powerful tranquilizer.
In another part of the city, the man known as Flint Marko is about to finish a process that took him three months, allowing him to become the Rhino once again! The last time he fought Spider-Man, his suit got dissolved by an acid developed by the wall-crawler, and it left him weak and vulnerable as a puny human. With this new suit, impervious to acid and bombarded by Gamma Rays, the Rhino is back in action. His employers now have their sights on the Hulk and command him to go and destroy him.
Meanwhile, Banner is tormented by dreams of the Hulk, no matter what the tranquilizer can do. General Ross, Betty, and military personnel are are hand to make sure Banner’s transfer goes smoothly. Betty is her usual caring self, demanding to be near Bruce, but is denied the demand once again. As the heavily armored ambulance with Banner inside goes along the Long Island Expressway, the Rhino appears and attacks. Not far away Rick Jones is driving to the scene.
The Rhino drags Banner to a helicopter, while Ross and Betty fight tooth and nail to stop his kidnapping. Suddenly, Rick Jones’s car flies out and smashes into the chopper. The General falls off the whirlybird, while Betty remains aboard as a hostage. In the chaos, Banner is about to fall out of the helicopter due to the Rhino’s poor handling, and his pulse rapidly increases, turning him into the Hulk once more. The titan smashes the helicopter motor, and safely lands its passengers on to the ground. Now that Betty is safe, the fight can begin.
The gray ungulate-wannabe tackles the Hulk in the back, and what does Betty do? As usual she cries that the Hulk mustn’t be harmed! With the green brute on the ground, his foe attempts a body slam on him but our hero powerfully kicks them away. The Hulk realizes something is wrong with the girl, and he goes to her aid. Betty is trying to stop the helicopter pilot, but he’s carrying a loaded gun. The Hulk scares the guy away, and takes Betty somewhere safe, to the top of a watchtower. So he isn’t concerned that either he or his foe may crush that thing apart in their melee?
Landing on the ground, the Hulk gets punched in the face by the Rhino. He returns the favor by using all of his strength to smash him to the ground. The Rhino gets up again, and the Hulk gives him another gargantuan punch. The grey costumed freak throws a truck at him, but the Hulk uses it and smashes the Rhino once again, causing an explosion. The suit makes it hard for the Rhino to see and breathe, especially in a fire, so the Hulk takes him to a quieter place for a fair fight. The match could stop now, the Hulk says, but the Rhino remains defiant giving him a death wish. The brawl continues as parts of the Rhino’s costume is finally torn apart, and with each punch either side delivers, one of them will surely be closer to death. The Rhino doesn’t get up anymore in the end.
The Hulk goes and checks on the girl, and is soundly yelled at by the General. He doesn’t care, as it is Betty that matters the most. Betty awakens from her spell, and tells the Hulk to go away. Instead, he kidnaps her. What the hell is he up to now?
The Incredible Hulk Issue 105
Published July 1968
“This Monster Unleashed!”
Editor: Stan Lee
Script: Bill Everett, Roy Thomas
Art: Marie Severin
Inking: George Tuska
Lettering: Sam Rosen
Score Cards: Honest Irving Forbush
Well if it isn’t the cover image to the Essential Volume 2. There are plenty of covers in this trade paperback to use, but it is still a fine example of the unyielding power of the Hulk. Marie Severin’s picture of the savage green giant tearing through the sidewalk of an already dynamic city does say alot enough by itself. So.. let’s go to the story!
While the Hulk is taking Betty and leaping around the city, she wonders what she can do to tap into the Bruce Banner inside, instead of… screaming for her life like anybody hoisted by giant. They eventually land and end up at a hotel. Betty hopes to use this opportunity to change her clothes, and more importantly to call her father. Before she can do anything, some thugs take her hostage. The Hulk appears to beat them up but as he tries to throw a piece of fire escape, he turns back into the Hulk. One of the thugs shoots Banner, getting away with his partner. As Bruce lies on the ground, Betty can only cry.
The scene changes to the harbors outside of the city, as a freighter has finished ejecting the “X-Capsule.” Two sailors aboard talk about their plan to strike New York while the authorities are too busy looking for the Hulk. The capsule reaches the pier, and what emerges are some glowing hand prints and footsteps. One of the Soviet spies continues with his story about the X-Capsule, and it turns out there is some kind of creature inside of it.
The Soviet Union’s Eastern Allies were testing some nuclear weapons until one day, opening a volcano and causing much damage to the area. Days later, a nomad found a strange creature, but it was so radioactive that the poor guy died of exposure to it. Military scientists eventually captured and studied the creature, and begin to think that this may be the missing link. Very quickly the monster began to shed its hair, and became the hairless freak it is today. The military tried so hard to contain it, but their attempts were for naught. Gas pellets may work, but the top brass agreed that it had to be destroyed sooner or later. They finally decide to dump the monster into the US, where it will be free to rampage and kill, even if indirectly. I’m surprised that the New Yorks of the Marvel Universe didn’t die from being close to the water now that it’s freakin’ contaminated. The story ends, and the “Dreadnought” is wondering where he is now that he free to roam.
Betty finds a car and attempts to take Bruce to the hospital for his gunshot wound. Before she can drive on to the street, the police appears to question them about the shooting just now. Betty steps on the gas, but the excitement from being chased by the cops is too much for Bruce once again and he turns into the Hulk. He leaps out Betty’s car and smashes a hole into the subway. He then rides the N Train (so they’re somewhere on Broadway), and realizes that he is running away, and that shouldn’t happen because the Hulk does not run like some puny human. I would’ve enjoyed him riding the train a little more, as the Hulk going on the Sea Beach Line could be quite a sight. He leaves the subway by smashing up and finds him face to face with the radioactive monster! What a coincidence! Nah, it’s just scripted to get to the fight faster.
The monster punches the Hulk away, and our green brute realizes just how powerful this creature is. “Beast Man hit the Hulk with power of a piledriver!”, he exclaims, and in addition, the effects of his radioactivity are felt on our hero. The Hulk rips up the ground in an attempt to cover the creature, but all it does it burn through it like butter. This missing link then gives the Hulk a bear hug, burning and forcing him to turn back into Banner. How even that milksop is managing to survive the deadly rays emanating from his body is a mystery. The creature leaves, finding no suitable opponent. But before the scene changes, it turns out the Hulk’s voice is still clear through that weakling’s body! What’s going on?!
Meanwhile, General Ross is giving a speech to the media on how to combat the Hulk. Right now, Reed Richards is building a device based off Banner’s notes. As he hands the finished piece over to Major Talbot, he warns him and Rick that if the machine does work, it could also kill Banner.
The creature continues its rampage on the city, now not killing people with its touch. Bruce Banner finds it once again, and transforms into the Hulk to fight it. He punches the missing link and it shatters its chest in a splendor of crystals. The Hulk seizes on this weakness and continues to fight him. A police car comes and nearly interrupts the fight, but our friendly titan moves the car away so it can go to the hospital with the wounded cops. With his back turned, the monster attacks the Hulk from behind. The gargoyle returns the favor with the fury of a “raging holocaust.” He then throws the monster on to wall in a box 3 panels big. In order to destroy the monster, the Hulk decides, he will have to bury him with a destroyed building.
Major Talbot and Rick Jones arrive on the scene and they ask the Hulk where Betty is. The green giant is busy at the moment with the missing link, but it doesn’t stop them from shooting the device. It works as Banner is turned back to normal, but the monster emerges from the wreckage. Everybody is now screwed, especially without the aid of the Hulk. Oh well to be Hulkinued!