Appearing in "The Hulk"
- Betty Ross (First appearance) (See chronology)
- General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (First appearance) (See chronology)
- Rick Jones (First appearance) (See chronology)
- Various army personnel
- Corporal who names the Hulk 🢒
- Nikita Khrushchev (Photo) (Topical Reference)
- Hulk (Future) (Bruce Banner) (Behind the scenes)
- Maestro (Bruce Banner) (Behind the scenes)
- Tomorrow Man (Artur Zarrko) (Behind the scenes)
- Tony Stark (Behind the scenes)
- Gary Swanson (Unidentified)
Races and Species:
- Soviet version of X-15
Synopsis for "The Hulk"
Part 1: The Coming of the Hulk
At an Army base in the desert, Dr. Bruce Banner is readying the first test of his invention, the G-Bomb. General "Thunderbolt" Ross wants to know why Banner keeps delaying the test. His daughter Betty tries to calm him down, with little success. Banner tells Ross that the final countdown has begun. His assistant, Igor, demands that Banner share his work so that someone may check his calculations. "I don't make errors, Igor," says Bruce, and, when Igor threatens him, "You know how I detest men who think with their fists."
Banner takes a last look at the bomb with binoculars. He notices a teenage boy in a car, tells Igor to halt the countdown, and hurries after the boy in a jeep. Igor, who supposedly defected to the U.S. from the Soviet Union, is a spy and decides not to stop the countdown so that America will lose its greatest nuclear physicist. Banner gets the boy into a trench, but, before he can jump in himself, the G-Bomb explodes! Gamma rays saturate Banner's body.
Hours later, Banner regains his senses. The boy, Rick Jones, who drove onto the base on a dare, brought him back to base. Banner waits for some kind of symptoms to appear. When night falls, Jones turns on a "radio," actually a Geiger counter. Its clicking increases, and Banner changes into a huge grey figure. "Get out of my way, insect," says the figure, shoving Jones aside. He pushes through the wall, wrecks a jeep full of soldiers when it hits him, and wanders off to hide. Jones follows.
Part 2: The Hulk Strikes!
The thing that was once Banner, with Jones trailing him, sneaks past the soldiers trying to find him and finds Banner's cabin. Inside, Igor is trying to find Banner's notes. He shoots at the Hulk, without effect. The Hulk takes away his gun and crumples it with one hand. He picks up Igor and slams him down on a lab bench. Jones notices a folder taped to the bottom of a large beaker, labeled "Top Secret: Report on Gamma Ray Bomb," and takes it. The Hulk picks up a photo of Banner and says, "I - I know that face!! But it is weak - soft!! I hate it! Take it away!" Jones reminds him that he is Banner. The Hulk briefly remembers what happened, then says, "I don't need you! I don't need anybody! With my strength - my power - the world is mine! As for you - you are the only one who knows who I really am!" He advances on Jones. The sun comes up at that moment, and the Hulk changes back into Banner.
Part 3: The Search for the Hulk
The MPs storm in, arrest Igor, ask Banner about the Hulk, take the folder, and leave. Betty comes to apologize for her father's outburst and tells him he should get medical attention. Banner says he'll call her and shows her out. He tells Jones that he's afraid he will change again at sunset.
Part 4: Enter... the Gargoyle!
In his cell, Igor uses a transmitter overlaid on his thumbnail. The message finds its way to the Gargoyle, a deformed Soviet scientist and secret agent, who travels by submarine and short-range missile to the desert. Banner and Jones take a jeep out into the desert before night falls, in case he changes again. He does change, and the Hulk wrecks the jeep. He recognizes the area near Ross's house and decides to visit Betty. At the same time, Betty decides to take a walk. She encounters the Hulk and faints in his arms. The Gargoyle appears.
Part 5: The Hulk Triumphant!
The Gargoyle shoots the Hulk and Jones with drug-filled bullets, making them like robots. They follow him to a truck, whose driver also gets shot. Ross finds Betty, who was frightened by her encounter but says, "In spite of everything, there was something... something sad about him!! Almost as though he was seeking... help!" Ross says, "If it takes an eternity, I'll find that monster!"
The Gargoyle and his captives reach a sub on the coast and get into a jet. As they streak towards the USSR, the sun rises on the Hulk, who changes back into Banner. Upon landing, the Gargoyle is astounded to find a man instead of a monster. He begins to cry, because he wants to be normal too. Banner treats him with radiation, which makes him look normal but takes away his super intelligence. The man who was once the Gargoyle realizes how the state has used him, so he puts Banner and Jones on a jet for home and blows up his base along with himself.
- All references to the Cold War, USSR and Nikita Khrushchev should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- The origins of the Hulk were revisited many times as seen in Hulk! #20, Incredible Hulk #312, Incredible Hulk Annual #17, and Fear Itself: The Worthy #1.
- Banner's transformation into the Hulk depicts a monster with Grey Skin, however, immediately after in Incredible Hulk #2 the Hulk has green skin. Production wise, this was an editorial decision as it made for easy coloring. However, this was worked into continuity. Some of the following facts about these early transformations were later explored:
- Incredible Hulk #324 reintroduced the Grey Hulk.
- Incredible Hulk #377 revealed that the Grey Hulk was one of many parts of Bruce Banner's fractured personality.
- Incredible Hulk (Vol. 2) #19 theorizes that the Hulk's transformations at night might have been the night-time transformations stemmed from Banner's childhood fear of the dark.
- There are a lot of things happening behind the scenes here that are revealed later. The gamma bomb was secretly altered by Tony Stark as revealed in Original Sin #3.1–3.4. Stark had long forgotten because he was blackout drunk at the time.
- The birth of the Hulk was also the center point of a number of chronal interferences:
- The Maestro, a future version of the Hulk was sent back in time in Hulk: Future Imperfect #2 and he was caught in the gamma bomb explosion, atomizing his body. The Maestro's spirit lingered as revealed in Incredible Hulk #460.
- This point in time was also interfered with by Zarrko the Tomorrow Man but this plot was foiled by the Hulk of the future as seen in Indestructible Hulk #11–15.
Due to a series of retellings of this story that provide additional details surrounding this story. It affects the chronology of the following characters:
- 🢐 Page 1-2, Panel 3 🢒 - Bruce Banner begins prepping the Gamma Bomb.
- 🢐 Page 2, Panel 4-Page 3, Panel 1 🢒 - General Ross demands that Banner begin to the gamma bomb test.
- 🢐 Page 3, Panel 2-5 🢒 - Igor tries to convince Banner to give up his notes to the gamma bomb.
- 🢐 Page 3, Panel 6-8 🢒 - Banner spots Rick Jones driving onto the test site, rushes out to stop him.
- 🢐 Page 4, Panel 1-2 🢒 - Banner pulls Jones to safety.
- 🢐 Page 4, Panel 4-6 🢒 - Banner is caught in the gamma bomb blast.
- 🢐 Page 4, Panel 7-9 🢒 - Bruce is taken to a hospital.
- 🢐 Page 5 🢒 - Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk for the first time.
- 🢐 Page 6, Panel 1-3 🢒 - The Hulk breaks free.
- 🢐 Page 6, Panel 4-5 🢒 - The Hulk confronts a military jeep, attacks it.
- 🢐 Page 6, Panel 6-8 🢒 - The Hulk stumbles off into the desert.
- 🢐 Page 7-8 🢒 - The Hulk and Rick Jones go to Banner's cabin.
- 🢐 Page 9, Panel 1-2 🢒 - The Hulk confronts Igor.
- 🢐 Page 9, Panel 3-Page 11, Panel 3 🢒 - The Hulk attacks Igor, gets upset at a picture of Bruce. Sun begins to rise.
- 🢐 Page 11, Panel 4-7 🢒 - The Hulk reverts back to Banner.
- 🢐 Page 11, Panel 8-Page 14 🢒 - Bruce Banner convinces the military he had nothing to do with the Hulk, fears turning into the Hulk again.
- 🢐 Page 15-24 🢒 - Hulk's battle with the Gargoyle.
- 🢐 Page 2, Panel 4-Page 3, Panel 1 🢒 - Betty assures Bruce that her father is more bark than bite.
- 🢐 Page 11, Page 8-Page 14, Panel 2 🢒 - Betty finds Bruce after the Hulk's first rampage.
- 🢐 Page 19-21, Panel 6 🢒 - Betty encounters the Hulk, faints.
- 🢐 Page 2, Panel 4-Page 3, Panel 1 🢒 - Ross demands that Bruce set off the bomb.
- 🢐 Page 11, Panel 8-Page 12 🢒 - Ross confronts Banner after the first Hulk rampage.
- 🢐 Page 19-24 🢒 - Ross wonders what to do about the Hulk.
- 🢐 Page 3, Panel 6 🢒 - Rick Jones drives out to the gamma bomb.
- 🢐 Page 4, Panel 1-2 🢒 - Rick is pulled to safety by Bruce Banner.
- 🢐 Page 4, Panel 4-6 🢒 - Rick Jones and Bruce examined by doctors.
- 🢐 Page 5 🢒 - Bruce transforms into the Hulk for the first time.
- 🢐 Page 6, Panel 1-3 🢒 - Rick follows after the Hulk.
- 🢐 Page 7-8 🢒 - Rick follows the Hulk to Banner's cabin.
- 🢐 Page 9-Page 11, Panel 7 🢒 - Rick witnesses as the Hulk reverts back to human form.
- 🢐 Page 11, Panel 8-Page 14 🢒 - Rick is grilled by the military, Banner fears that the Hulk might return.
- 🢐 Page 15-24 🢒 - Rick is taken prisoner by the Gargoyle, witnesses the Hulk's battle.
- 🢐 Page 1-2, Panel 3 🢒 - Igor and Banner prepare the bomb.
- 🢐 Page 2, Panel 4-Page 3, Panel 1 🢒 - Igor is present when General Ross arrives.
- 🢐 Page 3, Panel 3-5 🢒 - Igor begs Banner to show him his notes to the gamma bomb.
- 🢐 Page 3, Panel 6-8 🢒 - As Banner drives off to pull Rick Jones to safety, Igor conspires to kill him with the bomb.
- 🢐 Page 4, Panel 3 🢒 - Igor pushes the button.
- 🢐 Page 9, Panel 1-2 🢒 - Igor tries to find Banner's notes, is confronted by the Hulk.
- 🢐 Page 9, Panel 3-24 🢒 - Igor is defeated by the Hulk. Arrested by the military, he contacts the Gargoyle.
- The tagline for this issue (wrapped in a question mark) is "Is he man or monster or... is he both?"
Links and References
- Review of this issue http://extremisreviews.com/2013/12/05/how-realism-sabotaged-the-original-incredible-hulk/