Issue(s): Hulk #2
This was due to a problem with using grey colors in early comics production. No in-story explanation is given for the color change here and indeed a flashback to issue #1 here shows the Hulk as green as well, but of course years later the Hulk will "revert" to his original grey form, which also corresponded to his early, nasty-but-canny personality (but that personality is retained even beyond issue #1).
In this issue, alien Toad Men come to earth and use "magnetic grapplers" to identify the world's "most brilliant scientific brain" which is Bruce Banner, so take that Reed Richards!
Banner is with Rick Jones, constructing a secret hideout that will serve as a prison for the Hulk at night.
But the Toad Men capture Bruce and Rick...
...They soon get sick of Rick's whining, so they beam him back to earth. Suddenly the Toad Men fly to the dark side of the planet, which causes Banner to transform into the Hulk. The Hulk trashes the Toad Men...
...and then - this is the cool part - decides that he'll use the Toad Men's technology to destroy humanity.
Unfortunately the US's arsenal of missiles destroy the spaceship, and Bruce Banner is arrested as a traitor. Meanwhile, the rest of the Toad Men's space fleet show up to attack the Earth. Then Banner turns back into the Hulk and the army puts more effort into him than the Toad Men (poor guys get no respect). Then the Hulk turns back into Banner and Banner makes up some science in order to defeat the Toad Men.
He shoots gamma rays into their magnetic field, which has the effect of sending them all home. Obviously.
Banner is cleared of the traitor charges...
...and the issue ends with one of those surreal panels where the Hulk is trapped under water in his cell held by a hydraulic beam supplemented by Rick Jones.
Pretty cool to see the protagonist as a straight-up villain of the book.
Not completely unique since we had the Sub-Mariner (and i guess the Yellow Claw) in the Golden Age, but still a rarity. Also a rarity is Ditko inking Kirby.
Rick is still established as the one person that the Hulk will tolerate.
It's only issue #2 but the the long cycle of abuse for Rick Jones is already happening.
Unlike most other issues of the Hulk's original series, this has a full-length story. It's divided into multiple chapters.
Other than this issue and #6, all of the other books are split into two unrelated adventures.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Hulk vol. 1, Marvel Collector's Item Classics #9, Marvel Collector's Item Classics #10
The one thing I always loved about this story - clever enough to build a gamma bomb that turns him into a Hulk, intelligent enough that the aliens come to collect him as the smartest man on Earth... but not smart enough to build some sort of freaking timer or remote control into his door, so he still has to rely on a dopey teenager to lock him in every night.
Though that panel of Hulk in the underwater base reminded me of something - have you ever heard of/read Marvel Saga?
It was a title they were putting out in the 80's that basically recapped the Silver Age origins of the Marvel universe by summarizing early stories (like this one), in order, but also including references to later issues that retconned early details (like the issue that addressed Doom's first appearance in FF#5 explaining Doom's origin by referencing early Lee/Kirby stuff as well as Byrne's later FF run). Basically, it was about 1/3rd reprinted comic panels from the original comics, 1/3rd new art acting as joining pieces, and about 1/3rd pure text. I think it ran for 25 issues or so.
If you can find it, it might be really useful to sorting things chronologically (at least for stuff that wasn't directly contradicted or changed in the 90's/00's). And even if it isn't, it might come in handy for finding issue summaries/pictures from older issues that you might not have.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | July 22, 2014 1:52 PM
ParanoidObsessive, Marvel Saga was my first exposure to the Silver Age stories. I was too young to fully get the context and realize these were snippets of comics from two decades before but still I enjoyed the series quite a bit, in a similar way to how I enjoyed the Handbooks. I'm probably repeating myself since I vaguely recall discussing Marvel Saga on another entry on here within the past couple of years but my memory is not the greatest these days.
Posted by: Robert | January 24, 2016 3:01 PM
I placed Incredible Hulk#2-5 just before FF#12
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 22, 2016 5:48 PM
Marvel Saga was fantastic, also my very first exposure to the Silver Age. I remember being 7 years old, maybe younger, and getting whatever issue (#4?) has the Angel on the cover as the Avenging Angel. I remember how powerful and ominous the Hulk looked with that thick Dick Ayers ink line, and the back inside cover showing old stories from the sixties. My mind was blown, I was endlessly fascinated with comic history after that.
Posted by: Wis | January 8, 2017 11:49 AM
Ah, the dreaded Toad Men. To me, the only memorable parts of this story were (a) Bruce and Rick's ability to build a Hulk-proof cave seemingly out of thin air; and (b) Banner being identified as the greatest mind on Earth (though I'd place him more as # 4 behind Richards, Doom and Stark).
This site is great. I'm really enjoying going through it in order (more or less).
Posted by: intp | September 21, 2017 3:55 PM
Hulk looks a bit like Boris Karloff in a few of these panels, which makes me read his lines in Karloff's voice in my head. This delights me to no end.
Posted by: Kouban | January 18, 2018 11:51 PM
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