> Hulk Masterworks Volume 1
 
 

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"That's it! We've got him! He'll never escape again! This is the end of the Hulk!

-- Military Policeman, pg. 11


What If the Hulk was really Arnold Schwarzenegger?

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The Incredible Hulk #6
March 1963 24 pages

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


Title: "The Incredible Hulk vs. the Metal Master!" (11 pages)

Villain: The Metal Master

Origin: The Metal Master, Teen Brigade

First Appearance: The Metal Master, Teen Brigade

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

Letters Page: Page One


Story Synopsis: The story opens with a delayed missile launch, and Gen. Ross blustering about the whereabouts of Dr. Bruce Banner. Dr. Banner is, in fact, otherwise engaged as the Hulk, who is trying to gain entry to his cave hideout, but it is blocked by troops on Hulk-patrol! Eventually, the Hulk gets into his cave, and turns himself back into Banner with the gamma ray machine. Banner notices that even though he is in his human form, he still has incredible strength. But this feeling fades quickly and he nearly collapses. Then, he watches on a monitor as Gen. Ross, his daughter Betty, and Rick Jones gaze at the missile they were prepared to launch, and it seems to have melted!

Back at the base, the perpetrator of the missile melting reveals himself as The Metal Master! After he describes his powers (the ability to control metal at an atomic level,, gives a brief account of his origin (he claims to be an exiled alien from planet Astra,) and his diabolical plans (he wants to find a planet rich in mineral resources and take it over!) he melts a tank and uses the refuse to trap Gen. Ross, Betty and his troops behind a wall of coagulating metal. Quite pleased with himself, he floats away on a metal disc and Ross orders a missile strike on him, which fails since the Metal Master can destroy them with a mental whim.

Rick races off to the cave hideout to get the Hulk ready for action. Banner is way ahead of him, already changing himself back into the Hulk via the gamma ray machine when they see a startling sight: the Hulk is completely green except for his face, which is still that of Bruce Banner! The Hulk, who is in crabby and antagonistic personality mode, barks orders at Rick on his way to find a special Hulk mask which he can cover his face with. Now, primed for battle, he leaps off towards the Metal Master.

In his initial face-off with the villain, he is subdued by flying debris and a cage made out of metal rubbish. As they fight, the Metal Master makes an offer of villainous solidarity with the Hulk- together they can rule the world! For a second, this appeals to the Hulk, but only for a second, before he bellows that he can do that without the Metal Master. Immediately thereafter, the Metal Master knocks out the Hulk with a chunk of metal to the forehead and flies away. Surrounding troops huddle around the unconcious Hulk and realize he is wearing a mask! They pull it away to reveal- the green-skinned face of the Hulk, not Banner! They airlift the Hulk to a "special stone building" Ross prepared to jail the Hulk in.

Rick Jones goes to visit the Hulk, who is furious with Rick for what he believes is a betrayal. The Hulk thinks Rick told them to pull off his mask and reveal Banner, and calls Rick a "rotten squealer." Rick sadly walks away, as the Hulk pounds on the cell wall. Rick asks the General what he can do to sign up for the Army, and the Gen. reminds him that what America most needs from Rick is that he stay in school and get a good education before joining the Army.

While the Metal Master crosses the Earth on a path of wanton destruction, Rick Jones stumbles onto an incredible epiphany. While trying to figure out a purpose in life, he realizes he can help the world by organizing teenagers across the country to band together in times of crisis through ham radio! He forms the Teen Brigade with some willing friends. At this time, the Hulk has finally busted out of his stone jail cell and makes his way back to his cave, where he turns himself back into Banner. He is so weak that he passes out, and Rick returns to find him coming in and out of consciousness and leads him to a bed. Banner is very concerned about defeating the Metal Master, and Rick decides to bring the Teen Brigade into action!

Banner has given Rick his plan, and Rick turns to the Teen Brigade to help put it into play. From all over the nation, teenage boys gather the supplies and materials Banner will need to make the weapon that can defeat the Metal Master. Of course, the nations of the world are also trying to beat the villain. The UN sits around yapping ineffectually about what can be done, and Red China fires missiles at him, which are easily decimated.

Turned back into his monstrous form, the Hulk races to the Teen Brigade HQ, where his new weapon is made ready. The Hulk exits the teen's barn with what looks like a massive gun. He leaps to Washington, DC with this gun, which is where he finds the Metal Master who tries to destroy the new threat with his mental commands. His urges for the gun to explode, however, do not work! General Ross comes onto the scene with a strike force of tanks and missiles, and the Metal Master, fed up with his inability to defeat this weapon the Hulk possesses, tries to run away. The Hulk grabs him and threatens his life unless he puts the Earth back to normal and leaves never to come back. The Metal Master agrees to this plan. After he has exited our universe, the Hulk reveals his secret weapon as not a huge metal gun, but an elaborately crafted cardboard box! He and the Teen Brigade revel in their outwitting of the interplanetary menace of the Metal Master.

This heroism doesn't stop Ross from chasing the Hulk off with his strike force. The teens explain to General Ross how the Hulk saved the world as Banner is back in his hideout trying to turn back into his normal form. But this time he can't change back! He is stuck as the Hulk. Time passes and we see Betty Ross searching for her love Bruce Banner. The Teen Brigade contacts Rick and the Hulk to notify them the government has pardoned the Hulk for his crimes because of his defeat of the Metal Master. The Hulk flies into a rage at this news, saying "Is that the best they can do?!?!" and unexpectedly turns back into Bruce Banner!

After resting, Banner returns to see Betty Ross, to put her mind at ease. His claims that he was in Bermuda do little to appease Gen. Ross curiosity. Betty tries to get Bruce to confide in him about his secrets, but he refuses, and Rick is left wondering in the Hulk's cave how the future will turn out, since the Gamma Ray Machine is so unpredictable.

--synopsis and panel images by Gormuu


Issues Reprinted
Incredible Hulk #1-6

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.

 
HULK #1 HULK #2 HULK #3 HULK #4 HULK #5 HULK #6

 

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

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