The Fantastic Four Meet the Incredible Hulk

The Fantastic Four Meet the Incredible Hulk

The Fantastic Four #12, March 1963

Featuring:  The Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk

 

Synopsis of “The Incredible Hulk”

Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, and his blind girl friend, Alicia Masters, have just left a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth symphony when one the men nearby points over his shoulder that an infantry squad of the United States Army is marching through the city. Ben gets angry with man who attempts to apologize but when he sees the Thing he is frightened by his monstrous appearance.  The troops in the city then begin to attack Ben, assuming that he is the Hulk.  The troopers fire a device to restrain Ben, but he breaks the restraints.  Next the troops attack the ever loving blue eyed Thing with a green gas. Minutes later Ben wakes up with Alicia by his side with the troopers apologizing to him because they believed him to be the Incredible Hulk.

Ben walks Alicia home and then heads for the Baxter Building.  When he gets there, he realizes he dropped his key to the special Fantastic Four elevator.  Ben decides to climb the 55 floors to their headquarters.  Once inside his team members Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic, Susan Storm, aka the Invisible Girl, and Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, greet him.  Reed informs Ben that the team has received a call from General Thunderbolt Ross about the Hulk.  Ross informs the four that one of their missile installations in the desert has been sabotaged and only the Hulk could have pulled it off.  Ross declares that he wants the Fantastic Four to find and destroy the Hulk!

The team is shown footage of the Hulk, collected by General Ross, which frightens Sue to the point that she becomes invisible.  The other three gloat as to how their power will stop the Hulk.  Ross wonders if Johnny is too young to go on the mission but Reed reassurances the general by pointing out his skills as a mechanic.  Johnny has reworked the Fantasti-Car to fly across the country.  Ross and the Fantastic Four then use the Fantasti-Car to fly to missile base in the desert southwest. 

At the base, Ross has a discussion about the finding the Hulk with Reed, Dr. Bruce Banner, Dr. Karl Kort, and Banner’s young helper Rick Jones.  Kort asks how the Fantastic Four will find the Hulk, which is applauded with gusto by the general. Banner retorts that the Hulk should not be considered the chief subject as the missiles were destroyed from the inside not the outside, which is not the brute’s mode of operation.  Ross angrily disagrees, and wants the Hulk out of commission no matter what.  Reed tells Banner that he is excited to work with him as he is the world’s best atomic scientist, and Banner tells Reed he is a happy to work with the most brilliant scientific mind of their age.

Kort walks out of the meeting room and is frightened by the Thing when Ben and Johnny ask when they can enter the meeting. Ben asks Kort, “S’matter ain’t you never seen a Thing before??”  Kort runs away in terror and in his haste Ben notices that Kort has dropped his wallet.  Using a new flame technique Johnny picks up the scientist’s wallet.  Angry with the wait, Johnny and Ben break into the meeting room with Sue right behind them.  The Thing gets into a shouting matching the Ross and demonstrates his superhuman strength by destroying an entire filing cabinet filled with phone books.  The situation calms down and Banner promises the four that he will help them find the Wrecker, Banner and Rick Jones name for the saboteur.  Banner whispers to Rick it is too bad we cannot tell them why we know the Hulk is innocent.  Johnny gives Rick Kork’s wallet so he can return it to him. Rick thinks to himself that Johnny would not be so swell headed if he knew that he was the Hulk’s partner.

Later, Banner and Rick make their way to secret underwater tunnel that only the two of them know the existence of.  There in Banner’s secret lab, the great atomic scientist shows Rick what the Wrecker destroyed, Banner’s greatest invention Project 34.  The device when placed in any city creates electro-magnetic waves blanketing the area, making any city completely invulnerable to missiles and rockets. “The perfect defense in the Atomic age!” Banner muses but knows the Wrecker has convinced Ross that the only possible suspect is the Hulk.  Rick decides to head back to the base to return Kort’s wallet.  Upon seeing Kort, Rick realizes there is something strange sticking out of the wallet, it is a membership card to a subversive communist front organization.  Rick decides he needs to tell the Hulk when Kort appears behind him with a gun pointed at him.  Kort declares that he is going to destroy Project 34 and the Hulk.  Rick realizes that Kort is the Wrecker.

Meanwhile, Ben tests out the army’ s new rocket sled.  Everything is going just fine when Ben notices that one of the rails has been mangled, sending Ben high in the air.  Johnny flames on and catches Ben in midair and drops him off to Reed who uses his stretching powers to become a human trampoline to catch him. Ben declares that the rocket sled was sabotaged.  Banner returns telling the four that Rick is gone and that he believes the Wrecker kidnapped him.  The four do not believe him and Ben states that only the Hulk could have mangled the ties.  Reed asks for proof but Banner cannot give any and Sue replies that the team cannot go on just Banner’s say.  Ben and Johnny state that they cannot trust Banner.

Banner did not show the Fantastic Four the note we found from the Wrecker that reads, “To the Hulk! Rick Jones is my prisoner!  Unless you drive the Fantastic Four from this area, you will never see him again!  The Wrecker.”  Knowing the he cannot get the Fantastic Four to leave or defeat the Wrecker, Banner goes to his secret lab and uses a machine that acts in the same as the gamma rays that first turned him into the Hulk.  Banner is now the Hulk again and will deal with the Fantastic Four and the Wrecker!

Meanwhile Karl Kort takes his teenaged prisoner through under caves to old west ghost town by gun point, but the Hulk is aware of the caves too and is heading through them to finish off the Fantastic Four.  The team is also in the tunnels and the Hulk surprises them but Ben Grimm, the Thing, is ready to tangle with the green brute.  The Hulk knocks out Ben and douses Johnny’s flames with sand.  Hulk goes to the surface to find Reed and Sue, but Reed stretches his arms from below to tangle up the brute.  Reed’s strength is no match for the Hulk and the brute breaks free, going on a rampage in the ghost town.  The Hulk needs to get the four out his way to save Rick but the team keeps coming after him.  Reed tangles the Hulk up with his body but the Hulk escapes by spinning his body like a tornado.  The Hulk then uses his thunderclap with his hands to knock down Reed, Sue, and Johnny.  The Thing and the Hulk go at it again but the Hulk falls before Ben throws his best punch.  Sue tells Ben that some sort of ray came out the ground and hit the Hulk in the head.  Suddenly a giant robot comes out the ground angering Ben as the contraption halted his presumed victory over the Hulk.  Ben trashes the robot creating a hole in the ground that leads to Kort’s secret lab. Ben realizes that it was the Wrecker who created robot.  It is clear that Karl Kort is the Wrecker and Ben tells Rick that he will save him.  The Wrecker is holding a two handed atomic weapon that will destroy the Thing.  However, little does the Wrecker know that Sue is invisible and adjusted the weapon to the ground rending it useless.  Both Sue and Ben realize the weapon was used to incapacitate the Hulk during his fight with the Thing.  Ben wants to clobber the spy but Reed and Johnny reach the scene and inform Ben that the general will want to question Kort. Hulk awakes from the hit he received from the atomic gun and can hear that the four have apprehended Kort and that Rick is safe.  In two giant leaps, he returns to Banner’s secret underground lab. 

With Rick free and Fantastic Four’s duty complete, Banner speaks with Reed and both express interest in meeting up again.  Rick wonders if Reed figured out that Banner is the Hulk, and Banner replied that with a brain like Reed Richards’ you never know but was glad that Mister Fantastic was on their side.  A military review by soldiers at the base takes place for a group of civilians: The Fantastic Four.  The next day the team heads back to New York City and the Hulk watches from a mountain top wondering if he will meet them again.

 References

Lee, S., & Kirby, J. (2009). Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four. Volume 2. Marvel Comics.

https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Fantastic_Four_Vol_1_12

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