“The Incredible Hulk vs. the Metal Master!”
Cover Date: March 1963
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
Cover Artist: Steve Ditko
What’s Going On?
The Metal Master, from the planet Astra, has decided to conquer Earth.
Who can possibly stand up to this mighty alien? The Hulk, obviously.
Is It Good?
It’s not great, but definitely the best issue of the Hulk to date. The conflict is split pretty evenly between the Metal Master, the struggle between Hulk and Bruce Banner, and some minor hurdles for the Hulk to overcome, and I think it made for a well-balanced issue. I liked Steve Ditko’s art; his slim figures make the Hulk’s bulk really pop.
- The gamma device that triggers Banner’s transformations is not working as planned. It still works, but its effects are unpredictable.
- Apparently Hulk sometimes doesn’t fully transform into the Hulk now. (This doesn’t last long, by the way.)
- The Metal Master offers to share his rule of the planet with the Hulk. Hulk considers, but rejects the offer…because he didn’t see the point in sharing.
- The Hulk was briefly knocked out by the Metal Master; the Army quickly imprisoned his unconscious body inside a concrete bunker. Hulk didn’t say confined for long before he broke out.
- Banner has a plan to defeat the Metal Master, but he needs the help of the Teen Brigade to make it happen.
- Banner’s plan was to create a non-metal prop that looked like metal, so the Hulk could get close enough to do some real damage.
- Banner’s Plan worked! The Hulk forced the Metal Master to fix everything he had damaged, and then leave the planet for good.
- There is a moment where the Hulk is temporarily (but he doesn’t know that!) unable to transform back into Banner, and he shows a rare moment of humility and humanity.
- This is the first issue of Incredible Hulk that is a full-issue story.
- This is also the final issue of this series. The Hulk’s next starring feature will be co-headlining Tales to Astonish, beginning with issue #60 in 1964.
- It’s worth noting that this is the first time the Hulk has been shown with normal-looking feet. Kirby always drew him with three toes.
- This is the first appearance of the Metal Master, as well as his alien race, the Astrans.
- We get the classic “Hulk wants to be left alone” rant.
- This is the first appearance of Rick Jones’ Teen Brigade, the nationwide network of ham-radio-operating teens. How did it go nationwide? Don’t question the allure of ham radio!
- Before now, we have been told that the Hulk has Banner’s intelligence; this is the first time it has been explicitly stated that that knowledge is incomplete.
- The Hulk is pardoned for his crimes as a reward for saving the Earth From Metal Master.
- Since the world at large didn’t know much about the Hulk and treated him like a criminal in Fantastic Four #12, I think it’s safe to conclude that this issue — and the pardon — occurred after Hulk’s appearance in FF.
- Hulk/Banner’s emotional state impacted his transformation for the first time. Interestingly, rage and despair Help Hulk transform into Banner, not the other way around.
- Betty Ross and Bruce Banner are officially mutually attracted to each other. Until now, only Betty had expressed any romantic feelings.
Comics Are Goofy:
- Wait…Hulk is worried that he won’t be able to transform back into Banner? That’s out of character.
- Banner may have made casts of his face, but the cast isn’t of his face. Doesn’t this mean Hulk took the time to make his own plaster cast?
- What does Scooby-Doo do when the mask matches the face?
- The whole world (well, maybe just Greenland) says: “The Metal Master!”
- I like how much the Hulk’s strength varies from issue to issue. It took him hours to punch his way out of concrete? I mean, it probably depends on the thickness, but maybe that could have been explained better.
- The Metal Master gives General Ross 24 hours to convince the world to surrender to him.
In the meantime, Hulk is captured by the military, escapes, transforms back into Banner, tells Rick and the Teen Brigade to gather supplies — some of which are coming from as far away as Pittsburgh, and it’s not like this junk was being express delivered in 1963— and builds a device before finally confronting the Metal Master. Perhaps Metal Master didn’t mean 24 Earth hours?
- What the hell is Metal Master doing in the cloud? Clouds aren’t exactly a highway rest stop.
Well, That Aged Poorly:
- Stay in school, kids! Then join the army.
- Remember, kids, always listen to authority figures like General Ross (even though he basically lied to you and used you as bait to fire the Hulk into space that one time). I can’t believe Rick is told to stay in school twice in one issue.
- The worst thing about Rick Jones is that his dialogue is a constant reminder of how grown men assumed teenagers talked. Also, are these the same jerk friends who dared Rick to drive onto a bomb range? Screw these guys.