- It's too much for me! I've got the most powerful thing in the world under my control, and I don't know what to do with it! But one thing I do know... I don't dare go to sleep again, unless he's locked up back in his dungeon!
- -- Rick Jones
Appearing in "Banished to Outer Space"
Races and Species:
- US Missile
Synopsis for "Banished to Outer Space"
While the Hulk spends the night time hours locked inside of his alter ego Bruce Banner's fortified cave, Rick Jones is summoned to the office of General "Thunderbolt" Ross. Ross tells Rick that they need to test fly an experimental rocket ship and that only the Hulk has a chance of withstanding the titanic g-forces. Knowing that Jones is closely connected to the Hulk, he punctuates his request with the knowledge that the Hulk will be contributing to the country's national security.
Rick feels that he owes it to his country to do what he can, though he regrets that the cost of such patriotism is the betrayal of the Hulk. Rick releases the Hulk from the sanctuary cave, and the Hulk begins chasing him. He lures the Hulk to the launchpad of the rocket ship and begins scaling the gangplank. He tricks the Hulk into entering the capsule, and General Ross launches it into outer space. As he returns to the army base, Rick overhears Ross celebrating the fact that they are now rid of the Hulk forever. It was all a trick. Frustrated beyond measure, Rick begins randomly activating knobs and switches on the rocket's control panel.
In outer space, the rocket passes through a radiation storm, and the Hulk is bathed in a massive dose of powerful celestial energy. The power surge arcs back downward towards Earth, striking Rick Jones. Rick appears to be fine but cannot explain the sudden surge of energy. As night turns to day, the space capsule detaches from the fuselage of the ship and plummets back towards Earth. Rick races out to the impact sight, fearful that the crash may have killed Bruce Banner. It is not Banner who emerges from the ship, however, but the incredible Hulk. Rick doesn't understand how Banner is still the Hulk even though it is now daytime. The Hulk begins chasing Rick Jones, seeking to avenge himself against Rick's betrayal. Rick runs and, in a desperate bid to save his own life, orders the Hulk to stop. Miraculously, the Hulk obeys his commands. Rick now realizes that the energy surge he felt back at the desert base somehow created a connection between himself and the Hulk. He orders the Hulk to bring him back to his cabin and watch over him so he can get some sleep.
While Rick is asleep however, he loses his control over the Hulk. The Hulk breaks through the wall of the cabin and goes on a rampage in a nearby town. Rick catches up to him and orders him to take him to the sanctuary cave. There, Rick instructs the Hulk to enter the steel cell and secures the door behind him. Tired, Rick slumps to the floor on the other side of the door. He refuses to fall asleep however, lest the Hulk go berserk and break free.
Appearing in "The Origin of the Hulk!"
Races and Species:
- Gamma Bomb (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "The Origin of the Hulk!"
While Rick Jones keeps vigil over the Hulk, his mind drifts back to the events that changed both of their lives forever.
On a dare, Rick trespassed onto the desert base in the middle of a top secret military test involving Doctor Bruce Banner's Gamma Bomb. Seeing Jones riding across the blast area in his jeep, Bruce Banner abandoned the safety of the bunker and tossed him into a ditch just as the bomb exploded. The intense wave of gamma radiation altered Banner's chemistry, transforming him into a muscle-bound hulk whenever night fell. By day, the Hulk transformed back into the form of Robert Bruce Banner.
Appearing in "The Ringmaster!"
- Circus of Crime (first silver age appearance)
Races and Species:
- Ringmaster's Hat (First appearance)
Synopsis for "The Ringmaster!"
FBI agents investigate a series of mysterious robberies in the town of Plainville. They discover the residents of the town frozen in place like statues. One of the agents finds a fallen poster advertisement for the circus.
Meanwhile, the criminal thief known as the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime move from town to town performing their act beneath the Big Top. The Ringmaster's hat is equipped with a special device that hypnotizes patrons, rendering them physically inert, enabling the Circus of Crime the chance to rob them while they remain immobile.
Rick Jones, tired of constantly watching over the Hulk decides to take a little time for himself. He goes to the circus and becomes one of dozens of people held beneath the Ringmaster's hypnotic gaze. Though he is unable to move, Rick still has temporary command of his faculties - as well as mental control over the Hulk. He broadcasts a telepathic cry for help, hoping that the Hulk will somehow hear his command before he is rendered completely powerless. The plan works, and the Hulk homes in on the source of the voice inside his mind.
The Hulk bursts through the Big Top tent and the Circus of Crime begin attacking him. The Human Cannonball launches himself at the Hulk, but the green behemoth sends him high into the sky with a single punch. The Ringmaster orders one of his cronies to blast the Hulk with a fire hose, claiming that "nothing that lives can withstand its pressure." This stuns the Hulk, making him collapse into the water and become motionless as he waits in vain for further commands from Rick. Believing that the Hulk was knocked unconscious, the Ringmaster's crony wraps him up in a net. The Hulk is loaded onto a caravan, and the Ringmaster decides to make him part of his next act.
The following day, the Ringmaster prepares to unveil the Hulk at their next performance. However, the FBI agents and a recovered Rick Jones track the Circus down, allowing the Hulk to break free and capture the Ringmaster. The Ringmaster's hat falls to the ground, and he is no longer able to hypnotize people.
Suddenly, soldiers led by General Ross storm the Big-Top and train their guns on the Hulk. Rick Jones climbs atop the Hulk's shoulders as the Hulk leaps out of the top of the tent to freedom. Ross shakes his fist in anger, swearing that one day he will capture the Hulk.
- "Banished to Outer Space" showcases the Hulk's superhuman-leaping ability for the first time.
- "The Origin of the Hulk" recaps events that took place in Incredible Hulk #1.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- Rick Jones - Rick Jones drives toward the gamma bomb.
- In issue #1-2, Bruce Banner could only transform into the Hulk at night. Beginning with this issue, he is shown transforming during the daytime as well. In time, it will be revealed that intense emotional stimuli triggers the transformation.
- After being exposed to a second dose of radiation, the Hulk's intellect gradually decreases. His behavior in this issue is more primal than in previous issues and he acts solely on anger and instinct. This is considered an unofficial first appearance of the Mindless Hulk, (Hulk Without Bruce Banners influence).
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