“The Terror of the Toad Men!”

First thing we see is the Hulk wading through a swamp at night. Except now he’s green instead of grey, which is very confusing. Maybe the gamma radiation sunk in a bit more. Then we see a cop shining his flashlight, stating “I thought I heard someone thru the underbrush!” His car is behind him, which leads me to believe that the Hulk was making such loud noises that the cop could hear him from the road. So yeah… the Hulk was just hanging out at night in the swamp in some brush, making super loud noises. I’m very concerned as to what was going on in there, but, luckily, when we see him, he does have his pants on. Anyway… the cop jumps in his car and shoots at the Hulk as he drives away. He speeds into town, using his loud speaker to tell everyone to get off the streets and lock their doors. Concrete walls are no match for Hulk, but locked doors on houses is his weakness.

“That’s a mighty big stick in your hand, Mr. Hulk.”

A woman tells her children to get indoors. Really, it’s pretty late, and they should be inside already anyway. Hulk shows up, and the police know who he is but somehow don’t know what he’s capable of, because they try to ram a truck into him. It doesn’t work. After watching him take the entire force of a truck colliding into him and not phasing him one bit, they decide the best plan of action is to try and hold him down. They’re not the brightest. Hulk starts whipping people with a light post before finally Rick Jones can burst onto the scene and lead him away. It would appear that everyone just allows this. They don’t follow him or question him or anything. They’re just like, “Cool. See you later!”

He just needs a Snickers.

Of course, they have to go over his back story again, which just goes to show that you could have put half the first comic into one page. Fast forward to “the present” where we see an unearthly spacecraft thundering into our solar system. Inside are some really ugly aliens. We’re 7 issues into this reading list, and we’re on our second set of aliens. Surely this won’t be a common theme. They use a beam of magnetic energy, called grapplers, that beam down to earth and are “focused on the most brilliant scientific brain on earth” according to their command. More proof that Reed Richards isn’t the smartest man on earth. We then see General “Thunderbolt” Ross calling Bruce a milksop and a goldbrick. I’ve never heard of a goldbrick, but it sounds like a compliment to me. Bruce takes Rick to a secluded cave. This isn’t going where you think it is. They’re doing scientific research.

This guy totally sops milk.

Once they dive into the cave, I wonder why the lack of indirect sunlight doesn’t turn Bruce into the Hulk like it did in outer space, but maybe there’s a beam of light that makes its way down into the depths of their dark cave. Somehow. Bruce has set up a room in the cave with a door of concrete that’s 10 feet thick that will be used to house him when he’s the Hulk, because “even the Hulk won’t be able to break out.” Then they are hurled backwards, unable to move! Something pins them to the floor! The Toad men show up and carry them out with magnetic ray guns. They’re loaded up into the ship and carted off to space where one of the Toad Men speaks English to Bruce, explaining how powerful his magnetic rays are and what kind of devastation he could cause on the earth, if Bruce denies his nefarious request! That request is for Bruce to explain how much science he knows. The idea of interviewing Bruce had never crossed his mind.

They look more like they’re drunk than rooted to the ground.

Then my favorite part happens! The leader realizes that Rick is fucking worthless and fires him out of the ship! But, you know… safely back to earth. He’s not a total monster. To counter this, he could have just not captured him, but what’s the fun in that? Anyway… he makes the gravest of mistakes: he flies to “the dark side of earth!” That means it’s time to fucking PARTY! Earth Hulk relies on time-based darkness, but Space Hulk relies on sun-positioning darkness. Bruce turns into Hulk right as two English-speaking Toad Men are walking to the chamber in which the Hulk is being held. He breaks through the wall, and the Toad Men are aghast. One fires at him at point-blank range and misses, so the Hulk takes the Toad Man’s gun from him and starts shooting up the place. Then he locks up some dudes and goes wandering about the ship. He sees super advanced weapons and gives serious thought to wiping out all of mankind.

“Whoa! At least wait until we get to the cave!”

General “Thunderbolt” Ross is screaming to shoot down any UFOs. There’s a countdown to fire “America’s mighty defense rockets” at the ship, and Rick, who landed safely and soundly right outside of the base, goes running, yelling that they have to stop or kill Bruce! They don’t give a shit and fire all the rockets anyway. The ship crash lands also right outside of the base, although it was just on another side of the planet, and out walks Bruce Banner! Although it certainly seems to be night time. General “Thunderbolt” Ross comes to the stupidest assumption that he was trying a sneak attack on his own country. Some of the Toad Men use their magnetic weapons to dig tunnels to escape before being seen. Soldiers surround the ship, but not a single one looks inside the strange tunnel right outside of it.

What about the guys Bruce threw in a holding cell? Did they just evaporate?

The aliens send a massive flair that flies out of the earth’s orbit and is bright enough for another ship, which seems to house the Toad King, to see it, but nobody else on earth sees it. It’s the signal to attack earth! Bruce is in a maximum security prison, but Rick is allowed to just stand outside the bars and chat with him. General “Thunderbolt” Ross goes home to Betty wondering why he jumped to the stupidest conclusion of all time, but then he gets a call about an alien invasion, to which he is SUPER shocked. Betty uses this opportunity to beg for her milksop to be let out of jail.

If only we had some kind of warning! Even from a milksop!

A whole fleet of ships is flying over the earth! They’re doing none of that magnetism stuff that they talked about before though. Just flying around, flexing on bitches. The Toad King uses his magnetism to jam every earth tv and radio receiver and project his face and give a speech in English. He uses this time to explain his entire plan to the world. He just blathers on and on and on and fucking on about his plan, too. Like… we get it, man: you’re gonna overthrow us. He finally tells them that they can stop all this from happening by just surrendering. Which may have been more poignant had he just rooted everyone in place, but instead, he moved the moon a little bit.

It looks like she’s tickling a little flying whale’s belly. “Gootchie gootchie gooo!”

General “Thunderbolt” Ross proclaims “NEVER!” and continues spewing about how they’ll find a way to save the day eventually. But then… although it was kind of like night before, it’s actually really real night now, so Bruce turns into the Hulk! He breaks through the wall of his maximum security prison, finds a railroad tie and uses it to plug a howitzer, which he picks up, and a bunch of dudes just hang onto it for some reason. He smashes a few things and then totally peeps on Betty. Super creepy. His urges get the best of him, and he pops on in for a chat. She screams for help, and General “Thunderbolt” Ross and an entire platoon are right outside of the house when it happens. How fortuitous! They try to break down the door, but… I don’t know… I think Hulk just chucks Betty at the door to fuck them all up.

Pretty sure that’s a woman’s body flying through the door.

General “Thunderbolt” Ross “orders a charging tank to smash thru the rear of the house” where everyone just kind of stares at each other. Rick shows up, telling everyone that he’s the Hulk’s friend, but the Hulk bitch slaps the shit out of Rick again, proclaiming he has no friends. Of course, everyone jumps on the Hulk, because why the fuck not? He shakes them off then picks up Betty. Physically, I mean; he doesn’t use some smooth lines on her. He takes her to his lab where he tells her he wants to kill everyone. Rick bursts in to save her, but Hulk says he’s gonna silence him forever! Rick just stands there like a fucking boss and explains that the earth needs the Hulk’s help, but then the sun comes up super fast, and Hulk takes a nap and turns back into Bruce. Night lasts like an hour in this place. Bruce wakes up, and Rick explains what happened, and then we see that Betty is “still” unconscious. We were never told she went unconscious, but we can presume it was before the whole were-Hulk transformation happened.

Rick is basically a honey badger.

Somehow a giant beast was able to just walk on over to his lab without an entire fucking Army finding him, so Bruce tucks Betty in on the couch and then leads Rick to a warehouse of sorts that has a gamma ray gun that he had invented. Bruce only invents things having to do with gamma rays. He then proclaims that there’s no way to know what the ray would do to fields of magnetic energy. Except there totally is, because gamma rays are a penetrating form of electromagnetic radiation, which the world’s most brilliant scientist who only invents things based on gamma radiation should know. He needs 60 seconds to fire his weapon, but the Army that failed to find a monstrous creature carrying the general’s daughter has somehow spotted Bruce and Rick running into the warehouse. The Army comes running in, but Rick, that sassy minx, shoots them with a fire hose. That gives Bruce just enough time to fire the gamma ray cannon, which somehow hits every single mother fucking alien ship. They were just completely lined up, waiting for that burst of gamma radiation. The gamma ray “strikes the aliens’ magnetic field head on, reversing the attraction of their rays, and sending the toad ships spinning across the void of space, helplessly out of control… forever!”

Note to future alien species: don’t attack in a straight line.

Yeah, no.. that’s not what would happen. The gamma ray burst would penetrate the magnetic shields (it’s penetrative, remember?) and then irradiate everyone inside, and then there’s no way of knowing what would happen after that, because we don’t know the biological makeup of the Toad Men. Anyway… General “Thunderbolt” Ross pardons Bruce Banner the milksop, since he saved the entire world.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with the Hulk bitch slapping Rick:

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    1. There is actually a reason behind it. Stan Lee wanted him to have grey skin, so he was not associated with any ethnicity. Unfortunately, the colorist had trouble with the ink during the first few issues, resulting in the grey coming out as green. Lee ended up liking the green even more, so he just decided to stick with it. As for the story, they do address it much later on, and it comes down to the fact that the continued exposure to gamma rays is what made his skin continue to evolve into green. That said, there’s a reveal much later on in regards to the grey Hulk: it’s actually another gamma personality named Joe Fixit.

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