Here are the final two issues – and here’s the thing – they save some of the best for last! This series was certainly just getting going – man, I wish they kept this going – because the next issue was one of my favorites! Anyways, let’s finish this up…
Issue 5 has one of the most classic battles in the Comic Book Universe! The Fantastic Four against the Hulk. Now, I am currently in pursuit of collecting The Defenders back issues as well as Hulk guest appearances – and the FF has quite a few including #12, 25, 26, 112, 166, 167, 320 – there’s probably more but that’s I can remember off the top of my head. This issue starts off with the FF ready to head out to look for the Hulk. As they are readying the Fantastic-Car they squabble only the way the FF can – then we join Bruce who has stopped for lunch at a Diner in Colorado. Bruce, with his suave self, actually has a waitress hitting on him. He tells her his name is Bruce “Bixby” 🙂
As Bruce finishes his meal the waitress gives him her phone number – as he considers asking her to get some dinner – the Fantastic Four show up. They drop the car and people begin to gather around and admire the team – all but Grim who feels as though the people are looking at him like he is a monster. Mr. Fantastic tells the people in the town that he they are looking for the Hulk. Bruce begins to run. As he starts to run the transformation takes place and the Hulk is released. But the Hulk is not one for running – in fact, he heads right back to town to confront the FF. The Human Torch takes the initiative and tries out his new trick – chains of fire – don’t ask me how he made chains of flames, but he did. The Hulk cracks open a fire hydrant and takes care of that. Next, the Invisible Woman tosses force fields at the Hulk, making him stumble. But as he’s falling he catches the Human Torch’s arm and throws him. Mr. Fantastic catches Johnny and as Sue cuts off the Hulk’s air supply with a force field around his head Reed comes over with an Encephalo-Band – which should allow Bruce to take over Hulk’s mind – but as Reed begins to wrap himself around the Hulk. The Hulk doesn’t take too kindly to that and tries to tie Reed into a knot. Out of no where an invisible Thing comes over to knock some sense into the Hulk.
Meanwhile back at Gamma Base Major Reeves is getting tired of Ross and Talbot not giving him the respect he deserves. He starts planning on making his position at Gamma Base a little more permanent. So, the Thing continues to beat on the Hulk with the aid of the Invisible Woman – but Hulk throws a car at her and distracts her concentration. Suddenly the Thing is visible again and that’s where the fun really begins.
As the fight continues the Hulk and the Thing begin to argue – and the Hulk tells him that he should know what its like to have people think he is a monster. Hulk jumps off saying he wants to find a place where he won’t be feared and hated. The Thing wishes him luck. Then Reed and Grim talk over how the Hulk must feel with everyone always hounding him like he’s a monster.
I loved this issue – it was in the classic style of Marvel’s early days where the Hulk would meet the FF. Issue gets an A
Issue #6 – the final issue – I will tell up front, wasn’t it my favorite. After a few really promising issues we have the Hulk meeting up with a Native American tribe and a member of the tribe who can transform into a Puma/Man – appropriately named “Puma”. Hulk runs into Puma and the chief of the tribe – as Puma and the Hulk start to fight – the chief stops them and says that he can help the Hulk get rid of his anger. The Hulk returns to the tribe’s home and he goes on sort of a spirit walk. He meets up with Betty and Jarella, Jim Wilson and Rick Jones. They tell the Hulk that he is loved. The Hulk reverts back to Banner in reality – which is not good – because Major Reeves has a sniper shoot Banner in the head. Talbot and Ross are stunned that Reeves would attack Banner but Reeves is please with how he took care of a situation that Ross never seemed to be able to.
But Banner is not dead – hew begins to convulse and transform into… seriously? You need me to tell you? What are you even doing on this blog? Anyways, still in the spirit walk the Hulk tells Bruce that he needs him – especially since Bruce was dead. The army shows up to take Banner’s body back to the base – except that there is no body – just a pissed off Hulk. Reeves and Ross have the quote of the series when they say REEVES – “But You’re – you’re – he’s…” ROSS – “A force of nature!”
The army tries to shoot but the Hulk just turns and takes off saying – “Hulk sorry – but Hulk can’t stay…”. The series ends with a shot of Hulk tearing up a mountain and Ross addressing Talbot saying “We’re back in business!”
A good ending to a good series, Rating this a B-