Banished to Outer Space
We begin our adventure by watching the Hulk beating on the cement wall of his self-made prison that he made last issue. Well, Bruce Banner made it, so I guess it’s not really self-made. Other-self-made. There we go. He’s in his other-self-made prison, beating off… I mean beating on the wall. Rick is outside, leaning on the equipment that holds the door in place. There are no windows in this other-self-made dungeon, so I’m not really sure how Hulk turns back into Bruce, since it’s been shown time and time again that his transformation correlates with direct sunlight. Except in this magical cave, I guess. Anyway… instead of sleeping, Rick is just leaning on some equipment, and it’s not like he’s needed. He says there are still a few hours until day break. Maybe he’s just a real bro like that. Then the book has to recap the past couple of hours where Bruce asks Rick to let him out when day breaks, and Rick asks, “What if something happens to me?!” and Bruce says, “It’s a chance I have to take!” Or you could just build a fucking timer and let Rick get some God damned sleep, you monster.
Of course, after I type all of that out, Rick decides to head to Bruce’s cottage for some sleep. I guess I jumped the gun there, but whey did he wait until the middle of the night? Whatever his reason, I’m sure it’s a bad one. He heads towards Bruce’s cottage, and there are some soldiers that ask, “Are you Rick Jones?” Here’s a tip: if any kind of law enforcement or military ever asks, “Are you” and then uses your name, always answer, “Nope!” Because they’re absolutely never asking in order to hand you candy. Rick, however, says, “Yeah! What’s it to you, Napoleon?” That Rick. What a fucking savage. The soldier, whose name is obviously not Napoleon, tells him they’ve been surveilling the area all day, and then grabs Rick, because he says General “Thunderbolt” Ross gave them orders to do just that.
We then see General “Thunderbolt” Ross in a “staff meeting.” It’s like midnight, so I don’t know if it’s just a super long meeting or if he randomly decided he should get everyone together in the middle of the night. He tells his colleagues, “And remember, when the boy is brought in, we begin plan ‘H’! We’ll force him to bring the Hulk to us!” Plan H. You clever son of a bitch. Just then, Rick shows up. How fortuitous! General “Thunderbolt” Ross decides to use his superior intelligence to trick Rick into giving up the Hulk. At first, Rick tells General “Thunderbolt” Ross that there’s no fucking way he’s giving up his pal. Unfortunately, General “Thunderbolt” Ross is just too smart, because he tells him this:
Out there, on the launching pad, is America’s newest, most important missile! It must be tested! But there isn’t a man living who could stand the force of its g-pull — except the Hulk!
We want the Hulk to ride that rocket, in the interests of national security! No one else can do it! Now what do you say?
So that’s it. That’s his fucking story. He’s telling Rick that the Hulk needs to ride a fucking missile. That’s the clever story he came up with. Of course, Rick doesn’t fall for the stupidest fucking story ever. I’m just kidding. Pretty much everyone in this book is a moron. Rick thinks, “If it’s something that our country needs, how can I refuse? I-I’ve gotta bring the Hulk here — if I can!” What a fucking idiot.
Rick decides to head to the cave to get the Hulk. General “Thunderbolt” Ross doesn’t send a single person to follow him. Rick gets there and starts releasing the door, and the Hulk finishes the job by breaking the “mighty shaft which holds the concrete door in place.” Hulk is pretty pissed off. Like, really mad. He sees Rick and says, “You! Boy! You locked me in cell! You pay for that now!” Rick then runs away, and the Hulk fails to catch him. Rick says, “Lucky for me that the Hulk can’t move too fast!” So it seems he’s really, really slow. It’s a good thing the Hulk can’t move across large areas really quickly. Like jumping far. That would be crazy, because if he could do that, there’s no way Rick would get away.
As the Hulk slowly chases him, he makes his way to the Army base and just starts punching trucks for some reason. Rick takes the missile elevator, and the Hulk grabs onto the bottom of it. He doesn’t climb up it or anything, just hangs on for the ride. When the elevator reaches the top, the Hulk continues to just hang on while Rick lays his coat in the doorway of the missile. Yeah, the missile has a doorway. For people to get inside and ride on it. That’s what missiles are for. Rick then hides, and finally the Hulk decides he’s done counting and proclaims “Ready or not, here I come!” and then starts wandering around, looking for Rick. He falls for the bait and climbs right into the missile. The door closes behind him, and instead of punching it, he just kind of looks back like Rick betrayed him. Like, “I’m not mad; I’m just disappointed.” The missile launches and heads directly to outer space! I’m starting to think this missile is actually a rocket, but I’m not a general or a scientist, so what do I know? Nothing! That’s what! Anyway… General “Thunderbolt” Ross exclaims “We’ve done it! It worked! It’s the end of the Hulk! He’ll never return alive to menace earth again!”
Once again, the Hulk gets launched into space, and no matter what time it is, he will see the sun, which changes him back into Bruce Banner. Bruce is super confused, because he expected to be in his self-made dungeon, but he’s inside of a rocket-called-missile instead. Of course, because this was earth in the 60’s, he’s going to hit some powerful cosmic rays. I’m glad all those rays have since disappeared, because I’m already tired of everyone flying through them. Let’s hope this is the last time. (Editor’s note: it’s not.)
We then see Rick beating himself up over how easily he was tricked by the stupidest cover story of all time. We then see a great moment in comics: the first time General “Thunderbolt” Ross is just called General Ross, so I can finally stop calling him General “Thunderbolt” Ross every time. Whew! Rick finally realizes the level in which he was tricked and decides to fix his fuck up. Since he wants to bring the Hulk back home, he’s going to have to somehow get access to the missile control panel. Now, this is the missile control panel on an Army base, holding the Hulk — currently considered the world’s largest threat. So how in the hell is Rick going to get access to something so important?! Well, he just walks right up to it, and nobody is around.
Now, if you thought that was unbelievable, boy have I got great news for you. At the exact moment that Rick touches the controls, “the unbelievable amount of radiation which the ship has absorbed causes a shock to travel the many, many miles back to earth — an electric shock which will link the Hulk and Rick Jones more closely together than ever before!” I don’t even know how to explain the level of ridiculousness in that statement. Anyway… that happens, I guess. I can’t wait to see how the Hulk and Rick are linked through this event. Rick, of course, knows exactly how to use the missile control panel and pulls a lever, which means “the rocket package drops away from the missile and the capsule plummets back to earth!” I guess “drops” is a strange word to use here, because the rocket-called-missile is outside of the gravitational pull of the earth, so I don’t know how it would just decide to “fall” down to earth. Maybe the ejection of the capsule was enough force to get it back to earth’s pull.
Bruce’s capsule lands right outside of the Army base. How fortuitous! Nobody on the Army base notices or cares though. It’s free to just land on its own without anyone other than Rick being there. Alas, it crashes into earth, but it’s day time, because that whole ordeal with the launching of the rocket-called-missile took 6 hours. Or it’s one of those times when night time only lasts like an hour. Either way, it’s day time, and the capsule crashed, and Rick is worried Bruce is dead, but the Hulk emerges instead! And man oh man is the Hulk PISSED. Rick wonders how the Hulk can be around in the daylight and also wonders why the Hulk is glowing. The Hulk responds by throwing space wreckage at him. As we all know, Rick is a ridiculously fast runner, so he easily sprints away from the danger. Unfortunately, Rick also gets tired, so he starts climbing a giant rock formation. Because climbing rock formations isn’t tiring.
The Hulk has zero problems following him and is about to rip his limbs off, but Rick screams, “Stop!” He looks up, and the Hulk has, indeed, stopped. Rick quickly figures out that the Hulk follows his commands! He has him raise his arm and sit down and then bow to him. Then Rick climbs on his shoulders and lets Hulk carry him down the rock formation. Rick starts getting giddy at the idea of being “master of the mightiest creature on earth.” He does exactly what you’d expect: he goes home and goes to sleep. He does tell Hulk not to move though. No commands like, “Sit down and watch some tv” or “Lie down and rest for a while.” Nope. He tells a mother fucker to just stand in the corner all night.
Unfortunately, Rick awakens to hear the Hulk destroying a nearby town. Rick figures out he can’t control the Hulk while he’s sleeping. Like 10 minutes prior the Hulk was gonna end Rick’s existence, but when Rick went to sleep, Hulk must have forgotten that he wanted to kill the shit out of the one person in the entire world that can control him, and instead went to destroy some unimportant town. Rick runs to said town and tells Hulk, “Get out of here! Fast!” The Hulk gathers the “awe-stricken lad” and leaps into the air. But it’s not a normal leap. No, no. It is “a leap the like of which has never before been seen by mortal man! A leap which carries him over the top of the tallest building! A leap propelled by the most powerful muscles of any living thing on earth!” Wow. That’s one hell of a leap. That would have come in handy when he was trying to murder Quick Rick.
Rick decides to take the Hulk to his dungeon. Yeah, Hulk had broken the thing that holds the door, but Rick says, “Lucky I was able to replace this shattered steel ramrod!” I don’t know when he would have had time to achieve that, but I guess he had the Hulk do it. He has the Hulk go into the dungeon, and finally Rick can get some sleep. So he sits outside of the door and stays awake. Once we know that Rick will never sleep again, it’s time to spend the next 4 pages going over the Hulk’s origin story again. It’s really fun to read that for a third time.
We’re then taken to another story. The book is fucking done with Rick and his problems. Instead, we go to the town of Plainville, so we’re either in Connecticut or Maine. Two guys are wandering through the streets where nobody is moving. This is the third town they’ve encountered like this. Finally they find a poster for a circus and figure out that must be the source of the problem, because circuses are fucking weird.
We’re then introduced to the Ringmaster, because everyone has to have a “the” in their name. He hypnotizes everyone and then puts them to sleep where they cannot move or speak, but their eyes are still open, and I guess the sleeping lasts for, like, ever. And it’s definitely sleep, because he says, “They are all asleep.” He’s pretty exact in his words. His peeps then go run around and rob them of all their valuables. I feel like it would make more sense to tell the hypnotized people to get their valuables and bring them back, but maybe he doesn’t have that power.
We then go back to Rick who is excited that he was able to stay awake all night, even though he fixed the Hulk dungeon. He tells Hulk, again, to just stand in the fucking corner while he goes and visits his Aunt Polly. As is the way with aunts on this earth, she’s about 100 years old. She wonders where Rick has been all this time, and he just tells her he’s been busy. Then they go to see a circus. This should be fun!
It ends up not being fun at all, actually. Rick and a bunch of other people end up hypnotized. It’s funny, because the Ringmaster said he put them to sleep before, but when Rick goes to sleep he can’t control the Hulk. Luckily for Rick, he’s not asleep! In fact, he can now talk to the Hulk via telepathy, so the Hulk jumps to where he is. Some circus folk see the Hulk and decide to attack him via getting shot from a cannon. So the human cannonball fires towards the Hulk, but the Hulk break dances real hard, and that sends the guy flying upward! The Ringmaster then has the best idea! He tells a man to hit him with a hose. Because bombs and shit don’t stop the Hulk, but a stream of water is definitely going to. And… it fucking works. It knocks the Hulk down, and then they put a net on him and some chains. Then we find out it’s actually because Rick is just not giving him any commands. Which makes total sense. Why give him commands when you can just stand with your eyes open for all eternity?
It then says, “As Rick Jones remains in a hypnotized state, neither conscious nor yet asleep, the Ringmaster’s men carry the motionless Hulk to one of their circus wagons.” Maybe the Ringmaster just uses the word “sleep” to mean the state that he’s in now, because otherwise that would be long-winded. Anyway… the caravan of freaks continues their journey but are quickly met by the F.B.I. And Rick Jones. The F.B.I. snapped Rick out of his spell and brought him with them. We all know the F.B.I. loves to bring teenagers with them on arrests. Rick then says, “Where’s the Hulk?!” completely forgetting they have a telepathic bond. The Hulk hears Rick’s voice and jumps into more break dancing. Literally. Because his chains shatter, and then he just starts flipping the fuck out and punches a fucking elephant right in the stomach!
In all the confusion, the Ringmaster jumps into a chariot and rides away at full speed. Hulk grabs a tall pole, which he then uses to catch the Ringmaster! So… I don’t know if those horses were just running in circles? I mean… the pole Hulk uses is like 100 feet tall. So I guess two horses pulling a chariot at top speed can travel around 100 feet in the time it takes for the Hulk to yank down a giant pole. Those are some slow horses.
The Army then shows up, because the Army is just everywhere, except when the Hulk wants to get to Bruce’s lab, of course. Rick climbs onto Hulk’s back, and Hulk jumps away. General Ross screams “You won’t escape me forever — do you hear me, Hulk!” And Rick and Hulk leap off into the sunset.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with Hulk breakdancing: