Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #3

Credits:

“Banished to Outer Space!/The Origin of the Hulk!/The Ringmaster!”

Cover Date: September 1962

Writer: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

Realizing that Rick Jones has been seen with the Hulk and survived, General Ross rightly assumes that there is a connection between them. Ross tells Rick that the Hulk is needed to test a rocket for national security.

Since the Hulk doesn’t listen to reason — he’s just too wild — Rick tricks the Hulk to get him into the ship. Once the Hulk steps into the rocket, it seals and takes off into space! Unfortunately for the Hulk, General Ross was lying to Rick about testing the rocket; this was all a plan to launch Hulk into deep space, never to return.

Rick realizes that he was tricked, and tries to redirect the ship back to Earth. He is successful, but he receives some electrical feedback in the process. When the ship crash lands on Earth, there are two major changes with the Hulk: the Hulk can exist in the daytime sun now, and Rick Jones has the power to mentally command the green giant!

After escaping the Army with the Hulk, Rick decides to visit a touring circus. As luck would have it, this circus works for the villainous Ringmaster. The Ringmaster hypnotizes his audiences so the circus folk can rob them blind; they then loot the town at their leisure.

When Rick realizes that he’s being hypnotized, he mentally calls for the Hulk’s help. Naturally, the circus folk are no match for Hulk’s strength; Hulk stops fighting, though, when Rick fully succumbs to the hypnosis. The Ringmaster chooses to make the now-gentle Hulk an attraction in the circus. Not surprisingly, when Rick finally wakes from the hypnosis, the Hulk beats up the circus before once more evading General Ross and the Army.

Is It Good?

No, this is a pretty dumb issue. It’s broken into three stories — the rocket ship, a retelling of Hulk’s origin, and the circus — and only the origin is any good. The art is fine, but the detailed, sinister-looking Hulk From last issue is giving way to more of a Neanderthal appearance.

Sub-Plots:

  • Bruce Banner used to only transform into the Hulk at night, but no longer! While in space, Banner was exposed to even more radiation, with the end result being that the Hulk can exist in the day or night.
  • When Rick was redirecting the rocket back to Earth, he gets an electric shock (that was caused by space radiation?) that gives him the ability to mentally command the Hulk.

Continuity:

  • The Hulk is described as being not very fast. I wonder how long that will hold true.
  • The Hulk’s speech patterns are getting simpler, and he is easily tricked in this issue. It is unclear if he is getting dumber, or if this has to do with Rick’s mental control.
  • Now that Hulk can appear regardless of the time of day, a question remains: when does Hulk turn back into Banner? So far, the answer is “he doesn’t.”
  • This is the first appearance of the Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime (although the circus isn’t named in this issue)
  • Hulk’s signature gigantic leaps make their first appearance in this issue.
  • The Hulk has now been to outer space twice in three issues.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Rick is shocked — shocked, I say! — that the obvious trap for the Hulk was, indeed, a trap.

  • Of course a kid dumb enough to drive onto a bomb testing range on a dare would have the knowhow to redirect a rocket’s trajectory, as well as the opportunity.

  • The radiation/electrical mental connection between the Hulk and Rick might be the least scientific thing Marvel Comics has done to this point.
  • Have you ever wanted to see Hulk punch an elephant in the stomach? This issue heard your demands!

  • What is this guy’s plan (part 1): To be fired out of a cannon into someone, so they can both die?

  • What is this guy’s plan (part 2): He’s planning to use a hammer as a weapon while being fired through the air, as a human cannonball. I have so many questions! Has he tried this before? How has he lived this long? Shouldn’t they be firing him towards a net?

  • Rick has been helping Banner because Banner was the only person who ever helped him. Rick is an orphan, so that seems possible. However, Rick apparently has a kind Aunt living in the area, too. My takeaway is that Rick is an ungrateful ass.

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