> Hulk Masterworks Volume 1

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"I thought I heard someone crashing thru the underbrush! Better see who-- who-- oh no! NO!!!!!

-- State Trooper, on discovering "you know who!", page 1

"I'm King of the Toad Men!
I'm in charge of 47 people!
I drive a Dodge Stratus!"

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The Incredible Hulk #2
July 1962 24 pages

Script: Stan Lee Letters: Artie Simek
Pencils: Jack Kirby Inks: Steve Ditko

Chapter Titles:
Part 1: "The Terror of the Toad Men"
Part 2: "Prisoners of the Toad Men!"
Part 3: "Bruce Banner, Wanted for Treason!"
Part 4: "Hulk Runs Amok!"
Part 5: "The End of the Hulk?"

Origin Retelling: The Incredible Hulk, Rick Jones

Villain: The Toad Men, featuring Torrak, invading ship captain, and the unnamed ruler of the Toad Men, with a sceptre and a really funky crown!

Innovations: Toad Men's Magnetic Grapplers, the Hulk's hideout/prison cave; The Gamma Gun

Guest Appearances: General Thunderbolt Ross, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Synopsis: The Hulk reappears at the edge of town, menacing a state trooper who has stumbled upon him. The trooper flees to the town where he hysterically warns all to hide in their homes. As he wanders the streets, a truck tries unsuccessfully to run him over, and a gang of policemen cannot gang tackle him. Rick Jones emerges from the rabble, trying to calm the Hulk down. As Rick Jones leads the Hulk away from town to safety, their origin is recounted.

Meanwhile, an unearthly spacecraft reaches Earth's orbit. Inside the craft is an advance team of Toad Men, who fire their "magnetic grappler" device to lead them to the "most brilliant scientific mind on Earth," so they can better determine the ease with which they can take over the planet. (It will lead them to, of course, Dr. Bruce Banner.) Not knowing the Toad Men's scheme, Bruce and Rick wander off to a secret desert cave underneath a lake. They begin the construction of a cell which will contain the Hulk and his rage inside during the night, while Rick Jones stands by to release him when the sun comes back up. As they finish construction, they are overtaken by the Toad Men and their magnetic guns, and whisked off to the alien craft in orbit.

Captain Torrak of the Toad Men threatens the pair with all kinds of awful things they will do to Earth via their control over magnetism. They don't much care for Rick Jones, so they ship him back to Earth. At this time, the craft orbits around the moon and the sun is obscured, leading Bruce to change into The Hulk! He immediately begins to dismantle all around him, and turns the Toad Men's guns back on them. Interestingly, the Hulk imagines what he could do to mankind with all the advanced weaponry on board.

Before he gets this opportunity, General Ross commands a missile strike on the now-detected Toad Men ship. The missiles score a direct hit, and the craft falls to Earth in the vicinity of Ross' base. The Toad Men escape, leaving only Bruce Banner (changed from the Hulk now that he is in broad daylight,) to emerge from the wreckage, holding the bag. Ross brands him a traitor and confines him to a jail cell. At this time, the escaped Toad Men toss a magnetic flare to the sky, alerting the whole fleet of Toad Men space crafts in outer space to attack. At cities across the world, the skies are filled with Toad Men craft. The Supreme Commander of Toad Men (my designation, the story credits him with no name) takes over control of the TV and declares his plan: the moon will be knocked out of orbit and ram into the Earth unless there is total world-wide surrender! Blustering General Ross, of course, won't stand this!

Then, proving that no cell that can hold Bruce Banner can also hold the Hulk, night falls and the Hulk blasts out of the prison! He rampages through the base on his way to the home of the General to get vengeance, but simply winds up making Betty Ross freak out. Realizing she is in danger, Gen. Ross and his troops break away from the Toad Men crisis to go rescue his daughter, with Rick Jones tagging along. The Hulk doesn't seem to respond well to Rick Jones, and knocks him and all of Ross' troops away. He grabs Betty as a hostage and rampages off towards Banner's lab, Rick Jones following Rick again tries to talk sense into the Hulk, but the green giant will hear nothing of it, and advances towards the boy when a moon-caused earthquake knocks him off his feet.

The sun rises, and Banner comes back to reality as the Hulk fades. He puts Betty Brant to sleep after she has fainted and heeds Rick's urgent pleas to do something about the Toad Men. Bruce remembers he has a "Gamma Gun," which just may do the trick. He climbs into the massive Gamma Gun and fires into space. The Gun miraculously reverses the magnetic attraction of the Toad Men fleet, and sends them hurtling back into infinity. The Earth has been saved, and Betty Ross talks her father into dropping treason charges against the man who saved the world, Bruce Banner.

In the final, poignant scene, Rick Jones stands behind the huge door in the cave under the lake, listening as the Hulk rages into the night, a prisoner inside the cell, and inside himself.

--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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