The Fantastic Four #25, April 1964
Synopsis of: “The Hulk vs. The Thing”
Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic, is once again trying to concoct a formula that will turn his best friend Ben Grimm, aka The Thing, back to his human form. However, Ben has no time for it as his girlfriend, the blind artist, Alicia Masters likes in his rocky form. Thing even goes so far as to destroy the beaker with the potential cure in it. When Alicia does arrive at the Baxter Building she informs the team about the news of the Avengers going on a manhunt for the Hulk.
Elsewhere in New Mexico, the Hulk is on the run from the authorities. The entire area is corded off, but the Hulk makes his escape with some truckers and asking them if he can stow away in the trailer. Hulk dozes off in the trailer and awakes hours later as Bruce Banner. When the truckers are stopped at a checkpoint, Banner escapes into the desert and finds a cave to hide in. He hopes his friend Rick Jones can help him and get him out of this mess. However, Rick Jones is helping the Avengers in an attempt to find his friend. The Hulk discovered that he has been replaced on the Avengers by Captain America and sets his sights on revenge. His next move is to find his way to New York City.
Back in New York, Reed is working on a new experiment when he suddenly collapses. Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, is sent out to find a doctor to help Reed. While on the way to get Reed’s physician, he notices the Hulk tearing up the streets of New York. Johnny engages in combat with the Hulk but is no match for the brute. Reed tells Susan Storm, aka the Invisible Girl, and Ben to deal with the Hulk. Both are concerned that Reed might be sicker than they thought and may die. As the two arrive, Johnny is still engaging the Hulk but clearly has little chance of victory. Sue uses her force field to protect her brother, but the brute’s sheer power quickly weakens her. Now it is the Thing’s turn, and he has been eager for a rematch since Fantastic Four #12 (see my June blog for that story).
Back at the Baxter Building, Reed attempts to get himself out of bed but his illness is more severe than first imagined. The Hulk and The Thing have been duking it out throughout the city as they reach the George Washington Bridge. Ben is running out of energy and attempts to finish the fight by tying up the Hulk with one of the bridge’s tension cables.
Sue is able to track down a doctor, but he cannot diagnose the illness that Reed is suffering from and can only recommend bed rest. The Hulk eventually defeats Ben and moves on to his real quarry, the Avengers. Minutes later, Ben gets up and commits himself to stopping the Hulk.