Tales To Astonish #62 (Hulk)
Issue(s): Tales To Astonish #62 (Hulk story only)
I thought it was odd to see a low-key Spider-Man villain in this series, but i guess there's the Ditko connection.
Meanwhile, Rick Jones has heard that the Hulk has been captured, so he decides to leave the Avengers to help. When Cap likens Rick's running off to the rescue to something Bucky would have done, Rick's sensitive response is "You still can't forget your dead partner, Bucky, can you, Cap??".
Rick and the Chameleon arrive on the same flight, and while Rick is getting chased off by Talbot, the Chameleon disguises himself as General Ross and tries to form an alliance with the Hulk. It doesn't work very well...
...but the strain causes the Hulk to turn back into Banner (something Rick was aware would happen).
Rick helps Banner escape and tells him that he felt like a deserter for leaving with Cap and the Avengers. But Rick isn't really leaving the Avengers for good just yet.
Note in that scan above, Banner says that the Hulk "can't think... can't reason". That hasn't really been shown to be true, but it probably does reflect Banner's point of view. We've seen the Hulk as basically a separate person who can indeed think, but Banner probably doesn't realize that (and may not admit it if he did).
More Chameleon shenanigans has the Hulk facing Bruce Banner, except, amazingly, Stan Lee doesn't use it to reinforce the idea that Hulk hates Banner or sees him as a separate person.
Instead he just moves right into a standard device where the bad guy threatens to detonate a bomb. Granted, it's a Gamma bomb.
The story ends with the Hulk throwing himself on top of the bomb.
The Chameleon thinks to himself that he "barely escaped alive". Ross and Talbot are suspicious of Banner but thanks to the Chameleon's actions no one is sure enough of what was going on for them to have any proof that Banner's been doing anything wrong.
The "leader" - in fact, the Leader, in his first appearance, albeit in a full radiation suit - decides to get more directly involved in things for next issue.
Rick Jones accidentally calls Betty "Miss Brant" this issue. Understandable mistake.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Hulk was captured at the end of last issue and is still a prisoner at the beginning here, but it seems that a little time has passed between issues. Banner is back on the Gamma base in a normal capacity at the end of this issue, and i have him appearing in Hulk Smash Avengers #1 next, which works pretty well especially with Rick Jones having recently arrived after leaving the Avengers. Perhaps the rest of the team shows up soon afterwards to check up on him.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Hulk vol. 1
Inbound References (1): showBetty Ross, Captain America, Chameleon, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Glenn Talbot, Hulk, Leader, Rick Jones
Weirdly, the Chameleon's involvement in this story didn't get resolved. He just sorta disappeared.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 15, 2012 11:14 PM
He's seen reporting to the Leader a few more times but i figure since the Leader's just using him as a spy it's ok that he's not used against the Hulk again.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 16, 2012 12:38 AM
I think these Ditko Hulk issues really improve the Hulk mythos. Very superior to the first six issues, and a great introduction to the Leader - one of his prime rogues. I think Ditko must have had a lot to do with these issues. The introduction of the Leader as an unknown, distant manipulator is similar to how Ditko portrayed several mysterious foes in Spider-Man like the Master Planner and Green Goblin.
Posted by: Chris | December 16, 2012 3:06 PM
Your indubitable "C+" Quality Rating's not actually listed. Good review!
Posted by: Cecil Disharoon | June 29, 2014 4:30 AM
Posted by: fnord12 | June 29, 2014 9:29 AM
Rick Jones accidentally calls Betty "Miss Brant" this issue.
Posted by: Robert | March 9, 2016 10:22 AM
Maybe Betty Ross was coloring her hair gray in these issues to cut down on people confusing her with Betty Brant. Only her hairdresser knows for sure.
Posted by: James Holt | August 19, 2016 9:55 PM
I think the words of David Byrne works best regarding Betty:
"I've changed my hairstyle so many times now, I don't know what I look like."
Posted by: Ataru320 | August 19, 2016 9:58 PM
I liked this run on the Hulk a lot and thought the Leader was the perfect evil counterpart.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 30, 2016 6:02 PM
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