Editor’s note: this is a larger issue. I thought about breaking it up into two reviews, but then I thought about not breaking it up into two reviews, and the last thought won. Enjoy this somewhat long review.
This issue begins with giving us a glimpse of the Hulk! I’m sure most have heard of the Hulk, but for those that don’t, I’ll describe him for you. Other people familiar with him will all agree with my description: he is a giant, muscular, grey man.
We’re then out in the desert where we see a giant penis-shaped G-Bomb. Miles away is a concrete bunker which houses the genius scientists, Bruce Banner, who created the bomb. Some guy named Igor is like, “Hey, it’s gonna be dangerous to blow this thing up,” but Bruce is like, “stfu bitch.” General “Thunderbolt” Ross, whose name must always be displayed as General “Thunderbolt” Ross, screams at Igor and Bruce and is telling them to blow the thing up, but Bruce, who was just advocating for blowing it up, tells General “Thunderbolt” Ross that he wants to make sure he takes every precaution. General “Thunderbolt” Ross then screams at him and calls him a milksop. That’s a word that really needs a comeback. You milksop, you. Then his daughter, Betty, tells him to calm down, because Bruce is totally dreamy, and he tells her to keep out of it, because “This is man talk!” Ah, the 60’s. She then uses Bruce as a means of telling the reader who he is as a character. Because we hadn’t picked up yet that he’s a screaming fuck wad.
Bruce says it’s time for the countdown, and General “Thunderbolt” Ross says, “It’s ding-dong well about time!” I really need 60’s lingo to return. Then Igor tells Bruce he wants to know his secrets, but Bruce refuses to tell him but then explains exactly where all of the secrets are located in case he wishes to find them. Igor explains that nobody has checked Bruce’s work for errors, and Bruce, the pompous asshole, says “I don’t make errors, Igor!” One of the most brilliant scientists in the world doesn’t believe in peer reviews. I guess if you don’t think you have any peers then there’s no point, eh? So they start the final countdown, and then Bruce sees a car driving through the test site. If you weren’t aware, getting past guards at government installations is super easy, barely an inconvenience. Bruce tells Igor to stop the countdown, so he can save the person driving the car. He gets there just in time to throw the kid into a ditch. Unfortunately, Igor is kind of a prick, so he fires the bomb anyway. Bruce is bombarded with “mysterious gamma rays!” Of course, the bombardment of such radiation causes him to die.
No, I’m kidding. He’s fine. He just slept it off. Typically that amount of radiation would literally just cause all of the molecules in his body to separate, making him basically dissolve right in front of our eyes. Maybe those clothes are made of lead or something. Either way, after a couple hours of sleep, he’s back to normal. Come to find out Rick Jones was the teenager in the car, and he just picked up the insanely-highly-radiated body of Bruce Banner and brought him back to the bunker. Rick is also fine. After an undetermined amount of time, the sun starts to go down, and the two of them are hanging out in their room together, and Bruce starts to feel strange for some unknown reason. Then Rick says the radio is only putting out static, and Bruce tells him it’s not a radio but a Geiger counter! It’s counting a lot of Geigers, and suddenly Bruce transforms into the Hulk! The very first thing the big, grey monster does is bitch slap Rick across the room.
The Hulk then breaks through the wall. No wall is safe in the land of Marvel comics. He then smashes a Jeep. No car is safe in the land of Marvel comics. Hulk escapes and then, being one of the strongest beings in the world, hides from the puny men with guns who are hunting him. Back at the bunker, everyone just takes to calling him the Hulk. Nicknames spread fast there. General “Thunderbolt” Ross wonders what happened to that milksop, Bruce Banner and his teenage friend, Rick Jones. We then see Rick is following the Hulk. Then Hulk’s skin inexplicably turns normal color for one panel.
Hulk sneakily goes back to Bruce’s office where he finds that treacherous Igor rifling through his stuff, looking for the secrets that Bruce told him where to find. Hulk throws him around the room a bit; it’s really fun to see. Fuck Igor. He knocks something over that definitely looks like some kind of CLEAR bottle, and taped to the bottom of it is something with the front page reading “Top Secret Report on Gamma Ray Bomb.” Rick thinks something with such a title might be important. Then the Hulk sees a picture of Bruce Banner in Bruce’s home. A framed picture. Bruce keeps a framed picture of his own face in his house. Hulk realizes that’s his alter ego and gets pissed off, because he doesn’t want to be associated with such a milksop. In his anger, he fucking backhands Rick again. Luckily, this all took like 12 hours to happen, so the sun comes up, and Hulk reverts back to Bruce Banner. That’s right! All those that are familiar with the Hulk know that the transformation is much like being a werewolf. Sun goes down: Hulk time. Sun comes up: Banner time. I’m guessing he doesn’t get a lot of sleep.
The Army bursts in along with Betty who’s so happy to see Bruce again. Two soldiers grab Igor, one proclaiming, “Look, Captain! It’s Igor, the spy we’ve been searching for!” Oh. He’s a spy. I wonder when this happened, because like 18 hours ago he was hanging out with everyone. I’ll be honest, I kind of figured it ever since I found out his name is Igor. Anyway… some soldiers talk about gorillas and bears, and then Bruce starts crying in front of Betty, totally succumbing to his milksop moniker, but she blames it on illness, and Rick says he’s just tired. Betty leaves, and… I guess the Army did too, because they’re just gone. Rick is like, “Whew! Glad that’s over,” and Bruce is like, “Nah, man. This is just the beginning…” Then he makes some sort of terrifying face. Then it looks like he dies peacefully.
That’s basically the end of that story (which means I’ll end the tired Chipotle jokes), and we see Igor lying in bed in his jail cell, pumping up his own self worth. He then shows that he has a “sub-miniature transistor short wave sending set” pasted onto his thumbnail, which allows him to communicate to his Russian cohorts “behind the iron curtain.” How fortuitous! Then they have to send a message to the Gargoyle. Does every-fucking-body need a “the” in their name? I’m surprised it’s not The Doctor Doom. So nobody wants to go tell the news to the Gargoyle. He’s apparently very violent and terrifying. Sounds a lot like my boss. An unfortunate soul goes and delivers the message by sliding a note under his door then scampering away, and Gargoyle talks about how he gets off on their fear of him. The note tells him someone is nearly as powerful as him, so he vows to capture him as a symbol of his might. Everyone already fears him, so this really comes down to insecurities, which.. I mean… look at that fucking face….
As you can see, he’s very ugly. Almost nightmare fuel. But here’s the thing: the term “gargoyle” is actually used for carvings on (typically) Gothic buildings. This is something most people are aware of. What most people aren’t aware of is that a gargoyle is only considered a gargoyle, if it has a spout which pushes water away from the building. If it does not have a spout, it is considered a grotesque. Unless he’s making a dick joke, his name shouldn’t be the Gargoyle. It should be the Grotesque. Anyway… he rides on a missile to America, which gets shot down, but he survives and also lands almost exactly where he needed to land at almost the exact moment that Bruce turns into the Hulk. How fortuitous!
Hulk decides he wants some poonani, so he begins his walk to Betty’s house. Rick is like, “Calm your dick, man!” but it’s of no use. Hulk needs what Hulk needs. We then go to the house of General “Thunderbolt” Ross and his lovely daughter, Betty, who is day dreaming about Bruce Banner, the man she’s spent an entire 15-20 minutes around. She decides she needs some fresh air to calm her fanny flutters and wanders outside where the Hulk shows up. Women of the 60’s are horrifically weak and emotionally unstable, so she faints. Then the Grotesque… I’m sorry… then the Gargoyle shows up with a gun, and Hulk calls him a bitch, telling him bullets can’t harm him. Grot… Gargoyle was prepared though! He shoots the Hulk, claiming “The instant it strikes you, it saps your will– making you my slave!” So he has bullets that make people his slave. Then the Gargoyle shoots Rick with a slave pellet, because he believes “in taking no chances.” The man who believes he’s as powerful as the Hulk and believes in taking no chances decides his best option is to leave the puny human alive. Why kill a good slave, I guess?
Betty wakes up, and her dad is convinced that he needs to murder the Hulk. Then the Gargoyle uses his slave pellets on a truck driver to drive him where he wants to go. You’d think someone so feared would just kill a dude and steal his truck, but maybe he just doesn’t like driving. The guy takes him to the dock where Gargoyle slaves up a couple rowers to take him to a submarine where he launches alllll the way into space for some reason. Hulk turns back to Banner, making it seem as though direct sunlight is the source of the were-Hulk powers. I’m guessing if Bruce walks into a windowless basement, he just turns into the Hulk? Pretty strange. They all land “on communist soil” only for all to exit with no Hulk! It’s dark in soviet Russia.
Gargoyle quickly susses out that Bruce is the Hulk. Finally, a scientist that can use some reasoning. He locks Banner in a basement (don’t worry; it has a window), and then shit gets super weird. Gargoyle recognizes Bruce Banner as America’s foremost atomic scientist and thus….. he starts crying. He pours his cold, dead heart out to Bruce, asking him, “Why would you want to be a monster?” He professes all of his insecurities, and Bruce says not to worry, because he can cure him! With radiation! Radiation is really the answer to solving all of the world’s problems. The down side to this is that Gargoyle’s brain will suffer, and he’ll lose all of his intelligence. Why does Bruce know all this? What kind of sick testing has he been doing on people? Anyway… Bruce, it appears, just walks into Gargoyle’s laboratory and builds the exact device needed in like 2.5 minutes. He turns the Gargoyle into a sexy dude who’s totally dumb now. He’s finally achieved his dream of not looking absolutely hideous! He lets Rick and Bruce fly home in a rocket, and now that he’s finally achieved his life-long dream, he voluntarily kills himself by blowing up the communist base. I told you he was dumb now. Thus ends the Gargoyle. And his spout.
Lastly, I leave you with Hulk mocking Betty for fainting: