Episode 10: Bruce Banner Kidnapped (Incredible Hulk #1) -- May 1962
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the kidnapping of the famous scientist Bruce Banner by the Soviets. He claims he was kidnapped by a super-powered Russian called “The Gargoyle”. How many more super-powered individuals are out there, and are the Soviets ahead of us? Also, Banner claims he was able to reverse the Gargoyle’s super powers. Could he do the same for Ben Grimm?
In this issue:
World famous scientist Bruce Banner has invented a new weapon for the military, the gamma bomb. After telling a fellow scientist “I don’t make errors”, Banner makes a big one by allowing the test to proceed while a teenager drives onto the testing area. Banner springs into action, telling his fellow scientist Igor to stop the countdown as he races to save the teenager. This turns out to be Banner’s second ever error, as Igor is a secret Russian spy who decides to let the countdown continue.
Banner is able to get the teenager, Rick Jones, to safety, although he is not so fortunate. The gamma bomb detonates, and Banner is “bathed in the full force of the mysterious gamma rays” of the gamma bomb. He awakens in a field hospital with Jones, shocked that he was not killed by the blast. As the sun sets, however, Banner is transformed into a huge, angry, and superhumanly strong monster - the Hulk!
The Hulk escapes the military base, and the army scrambles to capture him. Led by perennially angry General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, the army eventually track down the Hulk, but only find Banner and Jones. It turns out that Banner turns into the Hulk at night but transforms back to Banner in the morning. The Hulk remains at large, kinda.
Later, a Russian scientist with “super intelligence” who is known as “The Gargoyle” due his very large head and other deformities decides to kidnap the Hulk to demonstrate his might. He somehow kidnaps the Hulk and Jones, and brings them back to the USSR. While imprisoned, the Hulk turns back into Banner. The Gargoyle is shocked to find out that the Hulk and Banner are one and the same. In a strange twist, the Gargoyle begs Banner to turn him back into an ordinary man. Banner obliges, using radiation to cure the Gargoyle. No longer deformed or super smart, the Gargoyle helps Banner and Jones escape the USSR. He also decides to blow up the Russian testing facility where he worked, killing himself in the process.
Assumed before the next episode:
Banner’s kidnaping is big news. When he returns, he is honest with what happened, apart from the role of his alter ego, the Hulk. News of the Hulk attacking the military base leaks out, although details are limited.
This episode takes place:
After rumours emerge of the Hulk, and news of Banner’s kidnapping and return are made public.