> Hulk Masterworks Volume 1

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Keep out of this, Betty! This is man talk!

-- Gen. Thunderbolt Ross, page 2

Bruce Banner, meet Gamma Rays!
Gamma Rays, meet Bruce Banner!

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The Incredible Hulk #1
May 1962 24 pages

Script: Stan Lee Letters: Artie Simek
Pencils: Jack Kirby Inks: Paul Reinman

Ranked #13 in 100 Greatest Marvel Comics of All Time list

Chapter Titles:
Part 1: "The Coming of the Hulk"
Part 2: "The Hulk Strikes!"
Part 3: "The Search for the Hulk"
Part 4: "Enter...the Gargoyle!"
Part 5: "The Hulk Triumphant!"

Origin: The Incredible Hulk, Rick Jones

Villain: Igor the Spy, the Gargoyle, the Commies

Death: The Gargoyle

Innovations: Gamma Rays

First Appearance: Dr. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk, Igor, General Thunderbolt Ross, Betty Ross, Rick Jones, the Gargoyle

Synopsis: In a desert military complex, a group of scientists and military brass await the firing of the "incredible G-Bomb" rocket, a firing which has been delayed for weeks due to safety precautions. Among these scientists is Dr. Bruce Banner, who is beset by fellow scientist (and closet saboteur) Igor to confide in him "the secret of the gamma ray!" Banner warns Igor and the blustering General "Thunderbolt" Ross that the test firing is imminent and that they are "tampering with powerful forces," but refuses to share his secrets, either out of arrogance or fear that they will be stolen.

Meanwhile, in the distance, Rick Jones is noticed by Dr. Banner driving his car out onto the firing range. The young man is comitting a practical joke, but one which endangers his life. In a fit of hysteria, Dr. Banner asks Igor to delay the countdown while he runs out to the range to save the young man's life. Naturally, the evil Igor does not delay the countdown and the test missile explodes in the desert. Dr. Banner manages to push Rick Jones down into a trench, but he is caught in the gamma ray explosion.

Dr. Banner survives the radiation bath, and initially seems healthy, but as night falls, Rick Jones witnesses his transformation into a gray behemoth of a man, with an extremely irritable personality! The monster crashes a wall down and destroys a military police jeep, on his way out into the horizon, Rick Jones feverishly following out of loyalty and fear for the man who saved his life.

While the military investigates this strange incident, frantically relating tales of "that--that Hulk!!!!", the newly transformed Banner wanders towards his home, wherein he and Jones stumble onto Igor. The spy is rummaging through Banner's materials trying to find the gamma ray formula. He fires a shot from his pistol into the creature, which is useless. The Hulk destroys the gun and tosses Igor across the room. Rick Jones attempts to calm him down, and they see a framed picture of Banner, where the transformed creature asserts his fury and independence from the "puny weakling" scientist. But as the sun rises, the Hulk transforms back into a confused Dr. Bruce Banner.

Into the cabin pours the military police, as well as Thunderbolt Ross and his daughter Betty. The Russian spy Igor is arrested, and the MPs pass off assumptions about what this Hulk really is- perhaps a gorilla escaped from the zoo, or maybe a big bear, escaped from the circus! Betty Ross tries to care for a distraught Banner, but leaves at his request to be alone. Banner and Rick discuss his future as a strange monster, with Banner admitting to his fear of the unknown and the power he is capable of unleashing when night falls.

Meanwhile, in lockup, Igor sends a message back to Russia through a sub-miniature transistor radio. It is received by the Gargoyle, a grotesque human being with an enlarged brain. The message relates the presence of the Hulk, and the Gargoyle sets out to capture the Hulk in order to destroy him as a threat to his power. While the Gargoyle flies out to the American desert, Banner and Rick Jones are out for a drive when night falls, and the Hulk emerges, crushing the jeep they are driving in. The Hulk aimlessly decides he wants to go see Betty Ross, who is out taking a walk in the desert night. He finds her and shouts at her. Seeing the Hulk for the first time causes Ms. Ross to faint. At the very same moment, the Gargoyle discovers his catch!

The Russian madman shoots both the Hulk and Rick Jones with a gun, the bullet tipped with an incredibly powerful serum that allows him to control their actions. He smuggles them back to Russia, while General Ross finds his daughter scared out of her wits because of the terrifying monster. General Ross vows to find the Hulk, "even if it takes an eternity!" As the two Americans land in Russia, day breaks and the Hulk turns back into Dr. Bruce Banner. The Gargoyle is very aware of the imminent scientist, and immediately breaks down crying! In a strange twist, the Russian madman finds a soulmate in Dr. Banner and his dual life as a freak, and admits that he would give anything in the world to become normal again.

Banner tells him he can help, but it would take a cure by radiation, which would make the Gargoyle normal again, but rob him of his incredible intellect. The Gargoyle begs him to do so. Indeed, the cure works, and the Gargoyle is normal again. He flies into a rage at his superiors in Communist Russia and decides to take out the test complex he has been in charge of for many years. His final act of humanity is to blow up the complex with all the evil Soviets in it. Dr. Banner and Rick Jones fly back to the US in a rocket, narrowly escaping the bomb blast.

--synopsis and panel images by Gormuu

Issues Reprinted
Incredible Hulk #1-6

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.



All cover images are courtesy of the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Gallery.

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