Cover Date: September 1964
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky
“Enter the Hulk”
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Dick Ayers
Inker: Paul Reinman
What’s Going On?
Giant-Man is on the trail of the Hulk, to convince the mercurial monster to rejoin the Avengers. However, the Human Top has a plan to turn the Hulk against Giant-Man!
- The Human Top is out of prison, on bail, and wants to get even with Giant-Man!
- Entirely by chance, the Human Top notices Giant-Man and the Wasp walking down the street as they discuss their plans. Giant-Man wants to visit New Mexico ASAP to find the Hulk and convince him to rejoin the Avengers. The Human Top decides to follow them on their flight.
- In New Mexico, the heroes learn that the Hulk hasn’t been seen in weeks. When General Ross directs them to Bruce Banner for more assistance, he tells them that he knows nothing.
- The interaction upsets Bruce as he drives away from the military base, which leads to him transforming into the Hulk. The Hulk thinks that Giant-Man must be looking for a fight, and decides to oblige him.
- The Human Top decides that his best chance at revenge is to team up with the Hulk against Giant-Man. The Hulk doesn’t want to bother with the Top, and heads off to fight Giant-Man on his own…which, from the Human Top’s point of view, is even better than a team-up!
- Giant-Man tries to use cleverness to tire Hulk enough to listen to reason. The Hulk does not seem anything more than annoyed by this tactic.
- Meanwhile, Thunderbolt Ross approves the firing of an atomic warhead into the town where the Hulk and Giant-Man are. He knows that the town was evacuated when the Hulk approached; he didn’t know Giant-Man was there. The Wasp tried her best to stop the atomic round, but she couldn’t. She does warn Hank, though.
- When Giant-Man tells the Hulk about their impending atomic death, the Hulk leaps up to grab the round. Not because he’s worried about dying, mind you, but because he should get the credit for defeating Giant-Man, not a bomb.
- The Hulk then catches it and throws the atomic round into the mountains…right around where the Human Top was.
Is It Good?
This was fun. The Hulk should absolutely destroy Giant-Man in a fight, but they do a good job justifying why he doesn’t. This comic has had a lot of mediocre-to-bad stories, but this is a promising start to the upcoming Hulk back-up features. I’m not a fan of Dick Ayer’s version of the Hulk, but at least he drew an entertaining issue.
- This is the Hulk’s first appearance in Tales to Astonish. Beginning next issue, he will receive his own feature in this title, apparently drawn by Steve Ditko! And apparently, Hulk will wear khakis instead of purple pants!
- The Hulk last appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #14.
- The Avengers last faced the Hulk in Fantastic Four #26.
- The Human Top last appeared in Tales to Astonish #55.
- Betty and Thunderbolt Ross last appeared in Incredible Hulk #6.
- The Human Top has developed a new ability: he can fire compressed air bursts. He is also opting not to wear his costume, to avoid being identified.
- There is a workout scene in this issue, showing Giant-Man lifting 2 tons without apparent strain at a height of roughly 12′-15′ tall.
- In case you are wondering, yes, Hank still has the ability to change his (and the Wasp’s) size with mental commands.
- This is the first time where Hank has actually planned and made good use of his miniaturization powers.
- This is the first time we’ve seen a connection between anger making the Hulk stronger. This is also the first issue where his transformation was triggered by rage.
- In case you were wondering, Bruce Banner and Betty Ross are still a couple.
Comics Are Goofy:
- Exactly what sort of workout are the Avengers partaking in here? Why is Iron Man sitting on the barbell? What is Thor doing?
- Somebody really needs to take a closer look at the penal system in the Marvel universe. The Human Top was arrested four issues ago, and is already out on bail?!?
- Everything about this interaction is funny to me. Hank and Jan trying to roam the street incognito, but neither changing out of their costume? Hank wearing a fedora over his mask? “Street corner wolves”? All of these are goofy-ass choices. I also like that the “wolves” can tell that Janet is a “living doll” with a bulky fur coat and her helmet on, but can’t see Hank’s mask.
- Hank Pym is extremely self-aware about how lame his powers are.