Appearing in "The Hulk Vs. the Thing"
- Fantastic Four
- Rick Jones
- Alicia Masters
- Yancy Street Gang
- Sam (First appearance)
- New Mexico State Police (First appearance)
- Joe (First appearance)
- United States Army
- Aunt Petunia (Mentioned) (First Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- United States of America
Synopsis for "The Hulk Vs. the Thing"
Reed Richards has once again created a formula he believes will cure the Thing. However, this time, Ben is uninterested in a cure, because his girlfriend Alicia Masters loves him the way he is.[Continuity 1] When Reed presses the issue, the Thing destroys the beaker containing the cure, much to Reed's frustration. When Alicia later arrives, she informs the group of the latest news about the Avengers' manhunt for the Hulk.[Continuity 2]
Meanwhile, in New Mexico, the Hulk flees from the authorities. With a cordon surrounding the area, the Hulk forces some truck drivers to stow him in the back of their truck. As he sleeps, the Hulk reverts to Bruce Banner.[Continuity 3] When the truck is stopped at a checkpoint, Banner flees into the desert. Banner seeks shelter in a nearby cave, hoping that he can find Rick Jones and get help. Unfortunately, the stress causes him to transform into the Hulk once again, and Hulk seeks shelter in his cave.[Continuity 4] Elsewhere, the Avengers and their ally, Rick Jones, search the nearby wreckage for clues to the Hulk's whereabouts. As their search turns up nothing, the Hulk learns that the Avengers have replaced him with Captain America and decides to get revenge against them.[Continuity 5] The Hulk then bounds off to New York City to face them.
Back at the Baxter Building, Reed suddenly collapses while working on an experiment and Johnny is sent out in the Fantasticar to fetch a doctor. Along the way, he spots the Hulk trashing the streets and flames on to face the gamma-spawned monster. The Torch is no match for the Hulk and is quickly defeated and his flame smothered. As the news of the Hulk reaches the Baxter Building, Reed tells Ben and Sue to deal with the Hulk instead of him, leaving them to worry that his sudden illness is grim and their leader might die. When they arrive at the scene, Johnny is still fighting a losing battle against the Hulk. Sue protects her brother with her invisible force field but soon passes out from the strain. That's when the Thing steps in for a rematch against the Hulk.[Continuity 6] As the Thing and the Hulk battle it out through the city, Reed tries to leave his bed to help the team but finds that his malady has made him too weak to do anything. Ben and the Hulk's battle takes them onto the George Washington Bridge. Exhausted, Ben tries to get a reprieve by trying to bind the Hulk in one of the bridge's tension cables.
Meanwhile, Sue returns to the Baxter Building with a doctor and the prognosis is grim: Reed has been afflicted by an unknown virus, and all the doctor can recommend is bed rest. Meanwhile, the Hulk defeats the Thing in battle and moves on, seeking his revenge against the Avengers. Left behind, the Thing picks himself up and follows after the Hulk, intent on stopping him.
- This is the first time Ben mentions his Aunt Petunia, who raised him after his parents died. She does not make an appearance until many years later in Fantastic Four #238.
- The Avengers had been hunting down the Hulk since he quit the team in Avengers #2. The Hulk was seeking revenge against the Avengers following his battle with them in Avengers #3.
- In this story Banner is referred to as "Bob Banner". Per Incredible Hulk #1 it was established that Banner's first name was Bruce. Calling him Bob Banner in this issue was an error on the part of writer Stan Lee. When this mistake was pointed out in the letter pages of Fantastic Four #28, Stan declared that Banner's legal name was Robert Bruce Banner. While often things in letter pages were dismissed in continuity, this was one of those rare cases where it has become part of long-running continuity.
- The Hulk's transformations to and from his alter ego Bruce Banner became unstable since Avengers #3.
- At the time of this story, the Avengers had recently replaced the Hulk with Captain America after they recovered him from years of suspending animation in Avengers #4.
- The Thing and the Hulk previously clashed in Fantastic Four #12.
- This issue contains a letters page: Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Dick Froese, Mike Gass, Jimmy Edelstein, Paul Kelbaugh, Marc Bailey, Norman Bennett, Richard O'Baid, Personnel 733rd Medical Detachment, John Wachter, Larry Raybourne, and Deborah Rohrer. This issue also contains a Special Announcement Section.