The Incredible Hulk Issue 114- “At Last I Will Have My Revenge!”
Published April 1969
The latest and perhaps the greatest charismatic collaboration: Stan Lee and Herb Trimpe
Embellisher: Dan Adkins
Letterer: Artie Simek
Talk about double trouble! The Hulk has to contend with two villains and they’re not his usuals! I can understand Spider-man’s non appearance here, but Iron Man, really? Doesn’t Stark keep tabs on his enemies, and see what commie messes they’re up to every week?
The Mandarin shouts the story’s title as he watches current footage of the Hulk running away. He also searches for the Sandman and quickly picks him up on the monitor. The Fu Manchu wannabe declares if the two villains team up, they’ll be unstoppable, yadda yadda.
Back in America, the Hulk is struggling to figure out what he was trying to find but his limited intelligence doesn’t allow him search his brain thoroughly enough. He tries to sleep, but the thoughts keep pounding at him until he turns back in Bruce Banner. The weakling remembers that the Hulk saved Betty from that car accident, and goes back to the base to make things up with her.
As the Sandman tries to escape by walking down some railroad tracks, the Mandarin finds him via a helicopter. Suspicious, the grain manipulator tries to crush the whirlybird in two, but the Mandarin stops him with one of his rings and karate chopping a stone. They decide to team up after a show of their power.
At the base, Betty is told to stay in her room by her father and to forget about Bruce. In typical teenage fashion (she’s a grown woman btw,) Betty cries over her boyfriend. Somebody sneaks into her room and it’s Bruce! Wow, just like horny boy he slips into his girlfriend’s room! Instead of just her father beating the crap out of him, Thunderbolt sends an entire squad to subdue Banner. The excitement makes it too much for the milksop and he turns into the Hulk again! Just when he reaches outside, a missile is dropped on him. It’s no ordinary missile, as it was filled with gas. The culprits? None other than the story’s villains, who prepare to capture the Hulk and Betty with a shovel claw.
The Hulk wakes up and struggles to get out of the molecular bonds the Mandarin has made for him. It turns out to be a finger trap, as no matter how much he struggles, his bonds get tighter and tighter. Looking around, he sees Betty encased like a Barbie doll, and this only serves to piss him off even more. He finally breaks free and stars tearing up the place, especially when it features one of his hates, machines! The Sandman tries to pummel him with sand, and the Mandarin tries to use his rings on him. Nothing seems to work, until they hold Betty hostage and attempt to dump her into a pressurized cooker. The Hulk does his patented thunderclap and a huge weight falls down, but the Mandarin stops it in time. The Sandman is less fortunate as he falls into the cooker and becomes Glassman. The savage green giant wants to punch this reformulated villain, but Betty stops him, as this would mean the Hulk killing somebody on purpose.
The Army soon arrives and uses the Neutralizer on the Hulk, causing him to fall down and faint. With his last conscious breath, he becomes convinced that Betty has betrayed him. She doesn’t take it in stride, especially when Glenn tries to console her.
The Incredible Hulk Issue 115- “Lo, the Leader Lives”
Published May 1969
An all-new Stan Lee and Herb Trimpe Action Epic!
Inking: Dan Adkins
Lettering: Art Simek
Wait… what?! The Leader lives?! Comic books and their resurrections! I actually wonder when they first started, maybe I’ll ask somebody anyhow.
Following last episode, General Ross has captured the Hulk and now must make a decision regarding the gargantuan’s fate. Everyone knows that the Hulk has ridiculously high resilience, and if they keep using the neutralizer on him over and over, it’ll cease to work on him. Thunderbolt decides that this menace must die, but Betty cries as it would mean the death of Bruce Banner. She convinces her father to find Rick Jones instead, as it would prevent another murder. The General calls the Avengers Mansion, and learns from the cleaning woman that Jones is missing ever since he went with Captain America on a trip.
Sidebar: According to this issue of Captain America, the Red Skull has used the Cosmic Cube to switch bodies with that paragon of patriots. As the Captain, the Red Skull manages to alienate all of Captain America’s friends, including Rick Jones. So… no one can find Jones because he’s being all mopey, and that’s why nobody can find him.
Outside of the base a spaceship manages to elude the Air Forces radar, and inside is the Leader! He goes to the General’s office and tells everyone that he has returned and has a solution for their Hulk problem. General Ross wants to arrest him, but the big-headed one tells them that he’s legally dead, therefore you can’t prosecute a dead man. But doesn’t this mean he faked his own death with certificate and all? Meaning that he can be arrested for that?
Anyway, the reason that he’s alive is because he had a heart attack, not “brain-drained” as it was clear. One of his Humanoids brought him to a machine and resuscitated him. Despite the last volume telling up that he was made brain-dead by the Ultimate Machine, it turns out he just suffered from the silent killer? A clear case of “comic book death” if anybody’s ever seen one. It might not be the first, and it certainly won’t be the last.
The Leader is quickly put to task building a device that will contain the Hulk, especially when a neutralizer won’t work anymore. The military decides to give him carte blanche, even though he’s clearly not to be trusted. The Hulk awakes, and he starts wrecking the place once again, as he really hates machines. As he leaps to escape, a soldier fires the neutralizer ray at him and he falls to the ground, destroying a valuable fighter jet. Betty continues her incessant crying over the fact that Banner mustn’t die because he’s not a monster nor a beast!
The soldiers quickly transport him to the Leader, who has a giant plastic cave made especially for the giant green misanthrope that’s not a monster. They seal the cave and the Hulk wakes up and tries to break free, but he can’t, as it is made of the same stuff the Humanoids were made of. General Ross moans about why Betty is so obstinate about Banner, as he’s a no-good milksop. He goes check on the Leader and finds his daughter with the Leader despite telling her to go to her room. Seeing Betty through the window convinces the Hulk that she too has betrayed him, and it gets worse now that the Leader laughs at his face. Each punch he delivers to the walls ends up vibrating back at him.
The Leader mocks the Hulk for his stupidity, and is overjoyed that he has finally defeated the Hulk! What will our humongous hero do now? Can you chew the plastic of the cave? Why hasn’t he attempted that? Anyway to be Hulkinued again!