Issue(s): Hulk #5
Review/plot: See if you can follow this: Tyrannus, immortal leader of an underground army...
...has refrained from attacking the surface world because he fears a nuclear attack. Let's skip the fact that he's been around for centuries and could have attacked any time prior to the development of nuclear weapons. His solution to this problem is to kidnap Betty Ross, so that he can force the Hulk to ram fence posts into the ground.
If you understand how that protects his army from nuclear attacks, perhaps you, too, have been living underground for centuries with no one to talk to but fat mole people who praise you every time you take a drink of water (it should be noted that Tyrannus' yellow moloids pre-date the Mole Man's).
Betty is afraid of the Hulk, of course.
The Hulk's gladiatorial roots go way back.
In the second story, the Hulk shows an unusual interest in foreign politics and goes after the evil communist yellow menace General Fang.
Also unusually, the Hulk decides to go with having a "plan" instead of just smashing. His plan involves dressing himself and Rick up to look like abominable snowmen (and Rick looks so cute in his little teddy bear suit).
The "plan" serves no actual purpose (although seeing the Hulk in a big fuzzy suit is worth it) because in the end the Hulk smashes them all anyway.
Hulk on a plane:
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Collector's Item Classics #6, Marvel Collector's Item Classics #7
Inbound References (2): showBetty Ross, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Hulk, Rick Jones, Tyrannus
I somehow never knew there were two stories in each of these early, middle HULKs. I've never ever seen them reviewed! It's little wonder (the other halves I remember from the '67 cartoon). One refreshing point about the failures of the early Hulk series is that, revered those these creative teams became, they really didn't have all their best ideas initially...the rest of us need to just keep trying!
Posted by: Cecil Disharoon | June 29, 2014 3:02 AM
Cecil, I enjoy these crazy stories and I think with THIS issue, they were just *starting* to strike/find a balance with these early, weird Hulks... of course, Ditko took over with plotting and drawing with the next (last) issue but it's interesting to think what might have been if Stan & Jack had stayed on.
Posted by: George Gordon | June 29, 2014 3:33 AM
This issue is easily the best of the initial Hulk series IMO. Tyrannus seemed to bring out the King in Kirby that had been missing so far and that, in turn, brought better scripting from Lee. Nothing revolutionary here by any stretch, and still not a great comic, but so much better than the preceding four issues or the final one.
Posted by: Robert | January 27, 2016 4:15 PM
Starting with Hulk #4's The Monster and the Machine, in which the Hulk started retaining the consciousness of an angry Bruce Banner, the Hulk started talking and acting almost exactly like the Kirby/Lee Thing has been talking and acting ever since Alicia Masters joined the FF's supporting cast in Fantastic Four #9, which went on sale the same week as Hulk #4, i.e., Sept. 9, 1962.
Dropping 'g's, and using similar slang, was Kirby dialoging these speaking styles in his margin notes? Maybe? I dunno.
Posted by: James Holt | July 31, 2016 12:41 AM
I hadn't thought much of Tyrannus, but he's head and shoulders above the other antagonists in the Hulk's original series.
Posted by: Mortificator | November 17, 2016 10:18 AM
Tyrannus has the honor of being the only Hulk villain who appeared in virtually all of Hulk's series-- the original 1962-1963 series, the Tales to Astonish run, the 1968 Hulk series (starting with # 102), and the 1998 Byrne series (starting with Hulk # 1). He even pops up again at the very end of Greg Pak's final run in the 630's. Not my favorite villain by any means, but one kind of has to give the character his due for lasting so long.
Posted by: intp | September 12, 2017 3:53 PM
Tyrannus also shows up at another point in Pak's run in Hulk #605.
Posted by: AF | September 13, 2017 3:09 PM
Tyrannus has surprising longevity for a guy I always think of as "the less-interesting Mole Man." Apparently his real name is Romulus Augustulus, and he was a child emperor of Rome. Don't know where that was revealed...
Posted by: Andrew | September 14, 2017 3:16 PM
Romulus Augustulus was a real person. He was one of the last of the Western Roman Emperors.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 25, 2018 12:18 PM
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