Episode 37: Diplomatic immunity for the Hulk? Not yet, but crazier things have happened. (Incredible Hulk #5) -- January 1963

  
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In this episode:

Mike and Ed discuss the return of Bruce Banner. Why will no one tell us where he has been? And now that he’s back, is being tasked by the President to find the Hulk the best use of this super-genius’ time? Also, the Hulk appears to be advancing American interests in China. Is he working for the US military like Thor, and if so, is this public display of “stopping the Hulk” just a show for plausible deniability?

In this issue:

In the first story, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross tasks Bruce Banner with finding the Hulk. Meanwhile, Tyrannus, a man from ancient Roman times who has discovered the fountain of youth and lives far below the Earth’s surface with an army of enslaved creatures and monsters, spies on Betty Ross and determines that she will be able to help him take over the world. And so Tyrannus ends up kidnapping Betty and, once back underground, uses her to blackmail her father Thunderbolt Ross into not attacking him when he attacks the surface world. At the same time, Bruce turns into the Hulk and goes underground with Rick Jones to investigate Tyrannus. They end up being taken prisoner by Tyrannus, who has incredible machines at his disposal, and the Hulk is thrown into the gladiatorial ring and forced to fight. The Hulk smashes free of this forced labour, but is captured again. He then escapes, along with Betty and Rick. No word on whether Tyrannus survived this odd encounter.

In the second story, Bruce Banner decides to involve himself in international affairs by flying to the tiny nation of Llhasa (likely a stand-in for Tibet) as the Hulk, leaping out of an airplane in mid flight, and then taking on the Chinese army. At some point, the Hulk dresses up like the Abominable Snowman, although it is not clear why. In any event, the Hulk battles the Chinese army and defeats them.

Assumed before the next episode:

Everyone is wondering if the Hulk is a menace or basically a US military contractor. And debating the utility of a super powered monster involving himself in foreign affairs.

This episode takes place:

After the world has learned that Hulk has involved himself in international affairs.