The Incredible Hulk Issue 116- “The Eve of… Annihilation!”
Published June 1969
A stupefying study in savage suspense by: Smilin’ Stan Lee & Happy Herb Trimpe
Embellisher: Dan Adkins
Letterer: Artie Simek
Woah! The Leader’s back and he’s brought a lot of toys with him! Last time he trapped the Hulk in a bakelite cage and now he’s brought a special invention on to the base, a “Super Humanoid.” The gigantic robot is more detailed than its previous inventions with a well-defined face and chest, in addition, it’s blue compared to his normal sized brethren’s red. The Leader tells the top brass that he intends to use the robot to guard the Hulk, and obviously nobody trusts him.
Indeed nobody should trust the Leader as he plans on using the Super Humanoid and the base’s missiles to start “World War Three!!” Betty is nearby and hears the crazy plans of this big-headed mad scientist and runs to warn somebody about this. She tells Major Talbot and they both agree that they need actual proof. They go to the Hulk to check on him, and he smashes the screen in a rage. The Hulk still hasn’t gotten over Betty’s betrayal. With the green giant out of commission, Glenn and Betty go see the General, and he doesn’t believe them, especially when Betty’s the one who had the bad news. He believes this is a ploy to get the gargoyle out of his cage, and tells them to amscray. The Major has only one course of action, to mobilize the entire base into fighting the Leader, even if it means risking his own career.
The Leader hears this and activates the Super Humanoid to attack the soldiers. A group realize that fighting the robot is pointless as the bigheaded one is calling the shots and they go after him, only to be killed by his psychic blasts. Betty sees what’s happening in the battle and tries to figure out what to do. Her father appears and wonders what’s with all the hubbub and gets knocked unconscious. The Leader gives Betty a special head device to protect her against his mind powers, and begins to disable the entire base, knocking out every soldier.
Betty goes back to the Hulk and figures out how to free her beau. She will fire the Plasti-thene gun at reverse power, opening a hole for the Hulk. Just as they confront each other, the Leader returns with mind-controlled puppets of the General and the Major in tow. The green giant throws a large portion of machinery at the Super Humanoid but it bounces off the robot. He leaps at it but is shot down by the laser blasts coming from its hands. The Leader finishes off the Hulk by sealing him in a small amount of plastic, the same material as before.
With nothing left to stop him, the Leader can begin to bring about a Nuclear Holocaust to the world! Just what is his goal anyway by destroying the Earth? When he was normal, he just wanted the money for his art collection, and now he’s plain insane. I guess the reader is just as insane to believe that he really almost died of a heart attack. Oh right, to be Hulkinued!
The Incredible Hulk Issue 117- “World’s End?”
Published July 1969
Launched by: Smilin’ Stan Lee & Happy Herb Trimpe
Crewman: Artie Simek
Now that the Hulk is once again dealt with, the Leader is free to start World War III again! What better way to do it by launching a gigantic rocket toward a Eastern Bloc country? Betty cries as usual and calls for the Hulk to break free. That egg head made one big mistake in this new prison, as our green giant manages to break free of it by page four. How can this be? Maybe it’s because the second plastic prison did not reflect the vibrations from the Hulk’s punch well enough? At any rate, the Leader sends both the brute and his bigger opponent to a far off island, complete with active volcano!
Over in Tahiti or something the match begins as the robot shoots a laser blast and stomps on the Hulk, and actually speaking trash talk. “There is nothing that the Hulk can do at which the Super-Humanoid cannot exceed!” It declares with a shout. The green giant resorts to swinging a palm tree at the robot and it realizes it must fight with all of its power, which is practically another laser blast. The Hulk decides to finish the battle by throwing the Super Humanoid into a volcano and forcing it to erupt. Now that the foe is taken care of, the Hulk is free to leap back to the Mainland, ready for revenge!
At the Air Force base, the Leader has managed to launch a missile. The Hulk returns but it’s too late, as there’s no way he can reach it in time! Betty tells the giant that only Bruce can stop it and he transforms back into the genius scientist by calming down even if for a minute. The Leader decides to run away than see what’s going to happen, as he adamantly believes his plan will succeed. It doesn’t as Banner manages to stop it using his specially designed Hunter missile. (For a fugitive constantly on the run, he sure has built a lot of toys built and ready.) It obviously destroys the missile, but Banner can’t remain and turns back into the Hulk.
In his underground bunker, the Leader launches another missile and the Hulk crashes through his wall for some revenge. The big-headed villain laughs that this time Banner won’t be back to stop him again! Betty arrives and tells him that there is still a chance as the Hulk can still reach the damned thing. Placing all of his faith in man, in a hope that they will forgive and accept him after all of these adventures, he leaps into the sky trying to catch it, and trying to capture redemption. He obviously succeeds, but falls into the ocean as a result of the shockwave from disposing the missile. The Leader escapes, free to fight another day. And as Bruce Banner floats along the bay, it’s to be Hulkinued for another day.
As a final story arc to the second volume of the Essential Hulk, this was once again an exciting story. Sure, the villain came back more insane than before, but you can’t deny that he sure caused a lot of crazy things to happen. Fighting a giant robot next to a volcano? Mind controlling the military? Attempting to start WW3? Ha ha ha!
The first volume established the Hulk as he navigated the B-Movie Sci-fi movies and Cold War politics. In this volume, the Hulk’s adventures cemented itself in true Marvel Comics fashion by connecting itself to the wider Marvel Universe, and telling just as loony stories as its brother titles. Whatever is going to happen next volume is sure to be a doozy, but I’m not going to get it just yet. Phew.