Appearing in "Destination: Nightmare!"
- Captain Axis (Otto Kronsteig) (First and only known appearance) (First appearance)
- 🢐 The Shaper of Worlds 🢒 (First appearance)
- 🢐 Ant-Man (Hank Pym) 🢒 (Television Interview)
- United States Amry
- Doctor Doom (See chronology) (Only in flashback)
- Jim Wilson (Illusion or holographic simulation)
- Jarella (Illusion or holographic simulation)
- Chameleon (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Moto (A planet created by the Shaper of Worlds.)
- New Mexico
- Latveria (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Destination: Nightmare!"
Bruce Banner is shrinking smaller and smaller and passing through into the Microverse, smashing into tiny planets and finding himself trapped on gigantic worlds until he finally stabilizes his size changing and finds himself in what appears to be New York City, and it's been turned into a complete war zone. To his surprise, he is strafed by a Nazi fighter plane. Not sure of what's going on but aware of his vulnerability, Banner allows himself to transform into the Hulk so that the brute can deal with the incoming Nazi fighter, smashing it out of the sky with a blown out truck.
The Hulk is next attacked by an army of Nazi soldiers and a Panzer Tank. The Hulk easily smashes them and when one of the soldiers dies, he changes into a strange creature not looking anything remotely human. The Hulk begins to recognize his surroundings and is confused as he dimly recalls shrinking to try and get to Jarella's world.
While back on Earth, news about the Hulk's disappearance, either by death at the hands of the Chameleon or shrinking down to the Microverse, hits the media and word eventually gets to Project: Greenskin where Betty Ross is so filled with grief she is in tears, blaming herself for not being by Bruce's side, she seeks comfort from Glenn Talbot.
While back in this Microworld, the Hulk witnesses a US fighter plane crash and rescues its pilot before the plane explodes. When the Hulk and the soldier are found by some of the soldier's comrades, they make a truce with the Hulk. They explain that they are being controlled by a being known as the Shaper of Worlds, who has the power to make peoples dreams come true and that they are forced to be the Shaper's pawns in this perverted fantasy where the Nazi's have invaded America. Thinking that the Shaper can help him find Jarella's world, the Hulk is told that the Shaper doesn't do anything until the fantasy is over, and so the Hulk agrees to join the US soldiers cause and end the illusion.
Sure enough, the Hulk's involvement tips the scales in the US Soldiers favors, and word eventually gets to Otto Kronsteig, a former Nazi scientist who was banished to the Microverse by Dr. Doom and is currently the subject whom the Shaper is shaping fantasies from. When Otto begins to doubt the Shaper's promises, the Shaper appears to him and reminds Otto that while he has the power to turn fantasy into reality, he is devoid of imagination and as such seeks out other beings to make these fantasies manifest, and that the only way the Hulk can win this battle is through Otto's doubting mind. The Shaper of Worlds tells Otto that his imagination is enough to defeat the Hulk.
This apparently proves to be correct as the Hulk leads the soldiers smashing through the final battlements when suddenly he is attacked by Otto, who has re-imagined himself as a super-powered being known as Captain Axis. However, the more that Captain Axis fights the Hulk, the angrier he makes the Green Goliath, and Hulks growing strength causes Kronsteig's confidence waivers. This causes the entire illusion to collapse on itself and the Hulk turns his back on the weakling Otto.
The Shaper then appears to the Hulk, furious at him for ruining the illusion and decides to manifest the Hulk's fantasies into reality. However, when the Shaper creates illusions of his friends on Earth and Jarella, the Hulk lashes out, knowing that they are not the real thing and renouncing the gifts the Shaper offers him. Unable to appease the stubborn Hulk, the Shaper of Worlds sends the Hulk back on his way, resuming his reduction in size. Having become exhausted after this most recent bout the Shaper decides to leave this microworld and its beings behind to reflect on everything that it has encountered.
The awesome entity called - the Shaper of Worlds! And, wouldja believe - Captain Axis!
- All references stating that this story takes place in the year 1971 should be considered a topical reference relative to the date of publication per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- This story states that Otto Kronsteig was a member of the Nazis during World War II. However, without any means of artificially prolonging his life, this cannot be possible per the rules of the Sliding Timescale. As Marvel has not provided an official explanation it cannot be determined if this statement should be considered a factual reference or not.
- That said, Otto, assisted Doctor Doom in constructing the shrink ray that doom used against the Fantastic Four back in Fantastic Four #10. The flashback involving the shrink ray occurred between the events of Fantastic Four #5 and 6.
Events occur behind the scenes in this story that affect the chronology of the following characters.
- 🢐 Page 11, Pane 2-4 🢒 - Doctor Doom and Otto develop his shrink ray.
- 🢐 Page 11, Panel 5 🢒 - Doctor Doom banishes Otto to the Microverse.
- Artie Simek is not credited as letterer for this issue. Reference cited from Olshevsky's Marvel Comic Index: 8-A "Tales to Astonish: Incredible Hulk".
- As seen on page one, this issue is Story#945-Z.
- This issue contains a letters page Green Skin's Grab Bag. Letters are published from Robert A. Gillis, David McDonnell, Shirley A. Gorman, and T.J..
- "Thunderbolt" Ross is shown to have a copy of King Kull in his library. This Robert E. Howard literary character was under the auspices of Marvel Comics and Hulk artist John Severin was also the artist for Kull.