> Hulk Masterworks Volume 1

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"What'll we do? You can't lick a whole platoon of these cats! Look at all the hardware they're carryin', Hulk!

-- Rick Jones, sharing some naivete, pg. 20

Your tax dollars at work!

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The Incredible Hulk #4
November 1962 24 pages

Script: Stan Lee Letters: John Duffy
Pencils: Jack Kirby Inks: Dick Ayers

Story 1: "The Monster and the Machine!" (14 pages)

Origin: Betty Ross

Innovations: The Iceberg Rocket

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

Story 2: "The Gladiator From Outer Space!" (14 pages)

Villain: Mongu/Boris Monguski, the Commies

First Appearance: Mongu/Boris Monguski

Guest Appearance: Rick Jones

Letters Page: Page One

Story One Synopsis: Rick Jones stands over the Hulk, who is strapped to a gurney underneath a "complex ray-machine" aimed at his forehead. While Rick Jones frets over his task, to change the Hulk back into Bruce Banner, he reflects back on the past.

In flashback, we see Betty Ross, who reminisces of the time she met Dr. Bruce Banner, and how the mystery of the Hulk seems to have come between their love. She ponders the connections between Banner, the Hulk and Rick Jones, that seem so obvious to her. She decides to take her concerns to her father, General Thunderbolt Ross. The general is busy fine tuning his new contraption- the Iceberg Rocket! They test the Iceberg rocket by launching a jet-powered copy of the Hulk, which streaks across the sky, only to be chased down by the rocket which released a "sudden burst of a special chemical" that turns the Hulk copy into a block of ice, sending him plummeting to the earth.

After the rocket test, Betty manages to convince her father that Banner might be in danger, and that finding Rick Jones might lead to a solution to the whole problem of the Hulk. Gen. Ross sends out a call to his men: find Rick Jones!

And find him they do! They stumble on to the cabin where Rick Jones harbors an entranced Hulk. Jones, realizing they have been found out, commands the Hulk to fly away. Rick is taken by the MPs to Gen. Ross, who demands to know where Banner is. Rick refuses to say anything, even to a pleading Betty Brant, for fear of compromising Banner's deadly secret.

Across the desert, the Hulk flies through the sky. He saves a school bus from being run over by a train, but the newspapers don't give him credit for it, saying it was public hysteria. Later, he wrecks a movie set, sending the director and his actors fleeing in fright. He also crashes the movie studio kitchen and gorges on a kettle full of stew, then creates a huge sonic boom by clapping his mighty hands together which stuns a group of men trying to capture him, knocking them out.

As he flies through the sky from his mighty leaping ability, he comes across Rick Jones being taken to an army prison in the back of a jeep. He pulls him from the back of the jeep, showcasing some amazing flying ability. The Hulk and Rick Jones head back to the secret cave, where Rick decides to try to turn Banner back into the Hulk. (The flashback has now caught up with the beginning of the story.) He sets up the ray machine to the best of his ability and applies the ray. Sure enough, the Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner.

Banner, now alert, decides to try to arrange it so he can change to the Hulk while at the same time keeping his intellect and personality intact. He tinkers with the ray machine to affect this change and turns himself back into the Hulk. It seems to work, as the Hulk claims he and Banner are one and the same, but Rick fears there is something fierce and cruel to his attitude. The Hulk wanders out into the desert where he and Rick spot a housefire. The Hulk saves the family trapped inside, but a local deputy shoots at him with his rifle in fear. They fly back to the cave, stung by Hulk's inability to gain respect. Hulk turns himself back into Bruce Banner, and as he goes to sleep worries that he can't continue changing back and forth too often, and also that he wonders if one day the impulses of the Hulk won't overcome his abilities to control them.

Story Two Synopsis: A very strange looking craft lands in the park of a large city. From the hatch comes a massive creature named Mongu! Rick and Banner watch as news reports show Mongu's challenge: he wants to fight Earth's mightiest champion in the Grand Canyon that afternoon, or his armies will take over the Earth. Banner decides to respond to the challenge as the Hulk. He stands under the gamma ray machine and turns himself into the Hulk. Then he and Rick charter a jet to fly to the Grand Canyon.

The descend to a mesa where Mongu and his strange space ship stand in wait. The Hulk smells something fishy and realizes things are not what they seem. It is true, the alien creature Mongu is merely a robotic shell, from which climbs Boris Monguski, a Soviet agent who declares he is going to capture the Hulk and take him back to Russia, where scientists will use him to build an army of Incredible Hulks.

The Hulk spends the next few minutes tearing Monguski's troops and materiel apart, including the "spaceship" which is merely a dressed up Mig fighter. He catches a grenade in mid-air, and it explodes harmlessly in his green fist. A Russian fires an ear-splitting "Sound Gun" which momentarily debilitates the Hulk, but he goes underground and burrows up beneath the gun and destroys it. The remaining troops take Rick hostage, threatening the Hulk to stand down and let them escape from a transport copter which hovers nearby. The Hulk hurls a piece of metal at the helicopter, damaging its landing gear. Their only means of escape cut, Mongusky releases Rick. The Hulk ties them all up and installs them in the helicopter, telling them to "go back to Vodka Land and never come back!"

After the Commies flee back to the Soviet Union, authorities clean up the Grand Canyon scene, uncovering the fake robot suit of Mongu and the disguised Mig fighter, and assume the Hulk set the whole thing up to get hero status. As the world consumes the headlines in the newspaper, Jones and Banner are back at the secret cave, effecting the Hulk's transformation, another wearying day in the life of the misunderstood trio: Bruce Banner, Rick Jones, and the Incredible Hulk.

--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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