> Hulk Masterworks Volume 2

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"I've waited months for this moment! This is my greatest triumph! I've finally captured the only other green-skinned human to walk the Earth!

-- the Leader, pg. 2

Yes, Major Talbot! YES!!!!!

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The Incredible Hulk
from Tales to Astonish #69

July 1965 10 pages

Script: Stan Lee Letters: Artie Simek
Pencils: Jack Kirby
Inks: Mike Esposito (credited as Mickey Demeo)

Title: "Trapped in the Lair of the Leader!"

Villain: The Leader, Humanoids

Guest Appearance: Glen Talbot, General "Thunderbolt" Ross, Rick Jones

Gadgets & Technology: Molecule Ray

Letters Page: Page One

House Ads: Page One Page Two

Story Synopsis: After the Hulk is carried into his ship, the Leader gathers together his Humanoid minions and destroys them with a "special acid-gas compound", having no further use for them. The Leader and his Humanoids are spotted from the distance by a Navy battleship, who sends a landing party to check the scene out. But by the time they arrive on Astra Isle, the Hulk and the Absorbatron have been pulled away by a tractor beam. The landing party finds Talbot and rouses him from unconsciousness. He is astonished to see the Absorbatron missing, and when he hears the Hulk was following it up into the air, he figures that Banner must have had something to do with it, with the Hulk acting as perhaps his agent.

The Leader finally arrives at his base in the desert southwest with his two prizes- the Hulk and the Absorbatron. He connects the Hulk to an array of testing equipment, then takes leave to study other things. But while he's gone, the Hulk turns into Bruce Banner and realizes he's been turned into a pawn of the Leader. He sends out a SOS signal in morse code using some of the Leader's equipment.

While General Ross rages about his lost Absorbatron, he issues a "shoot on sight" order for Banner. Rick Jones overhears this and moves into overdrive to protect his friend, heading to the underground cave lab Banner used to employ. But using tracking equipment, Talbot is able to lead Gen. Ross and his men to the location of the Absorbatron, and they surround the site with tanks and soldiers. The Leader returns to his lab to see the Hulk gone from his table, but doesn't see Banner cowering in the corner. He pumps a sleeping gas into the room to flush the Hulk out, but the gas makes Banner turn into the Hulk! The green-skinned goliath comes out brandishing a huge steel bar as a bat, with the Leader trying to defend himself with a Molecule Ray. But the Hulk, on some subconscious command in his brain, throws the steel bar at the Absorbatron, destroying it completely.

The laboratory erupts in flames, and the Leader escapes, wondering why the Hulk would be so intent on destroying the Absorbatron, which makes him only more fascinated with the monster. Talbot emerges into the chaos and realizes the Absorbatron has been torn apart, and the Hulk yells at him from the flames, saying he had to do it, to protect the machine from "him!" Talbot has no idea what he's referring to, and orders his men to shoot.

Rick Jones hears the guns going off inside and races to Banner's side. But Talbot's men are carrying the limp, lifeless form of Bruce Banner out of the cave. He's been shot, and there is no pulse. Major Talbot pronounces Bruce Banner- the traitor- is dead!

--synopsis and panel images by Gormuu

--letters page and house ads provided by Justin Fairfax

Issues Reprinted
Giant-Man from Tales to Astonish #59
& Incredible Hulk from Tales to Astonish #60-79

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.

TTA #59 TTA #60 TTA #61 TTA #62 TTA #63 TTA #64 TTA #65
TTA #66 TTA #67 TTA #68 TTA #69 TTA #70 TTA #71 TTA #72
TTA #73 TTA #74 TTA #75 TTA #76 TTA #77 TTA #78 TTA #79


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

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