|Originalality & Continuty:|
|Characters & Development:|
Book Information:Cover Date: Sep 1964
Characters & Groups
- The Human Top
- Supporting Cast
- Betty Ross
- General "Thunderbolt" Ross
- New Mexico
Having just finished reading Tales To Astonish #59 I find myself asking, who is more the star of this tale, Giant-Man or Hulk. You see, up until this Issue, Giant-Man with his side-kick (I almost hate calling wasp a side-kick) have been the featured hero’s of the series. As of late often with a Wasp side story following the main tale, but as this issue so wonderfully announces, starting with the next issue, the Hulk gets a feature in Tales To Astonish, along side Giant-Man.
You see, the hulk proved to have a popular fan base, after the cancelling of his own title just six issues into it, and in fact, at this point, the Hulk would have been a featured Guest in as many comic’s as he had in his own title that ended over a year before this issue. Even not counting Fantastic Four #12 (as it came out before Hulks series was cancelled) , we have Avengers #1 though #3, Fantastic Four #25 & #26 (likely the biggest Hulk Story so far, and one of the first real cross over events of comics. then Avengers #5 before vanishing for a couple months to appear in Spider-Man #14. Why bring all this up? other then to say that Hulk has been all over the place, and in big stories. Is that each of them (while not his title) he played a central role, more then that of any antagonist in those comic book’s; in fact in character development, he sometimes has more then the star’s of the book’s themselves.
In this case, I feel he is as much the star as Giant-Man and Wasp; and in fact has more character development, this story is more about the Hulk ( and even his supporting cast) then our regular hero’s at this point (even more so then some of the stories listed above). The following month, he would see his own feature again, but for now, he is a guest star that steals the stage from our regular hero.
This issue, and in particularly the Hulk and Bruce Banner, felt off to me. I doubt this has been an uncommon complaint of mine, as no one does the hulk quite as well as Jack Kirby, but this Bruce Banner seemed even a little more off. but once I get passed that disappointment early in the issue, and my general issue with how I feel Giant-Man often ends up being much bigger then his 12 foot Max that was established. can get onto more positive comments.
the use of 3 dimension and motion, seems to be quite well done in several panels to me, giving the world around our characters a feeling of depth. While this issue has several great examples of this, the panel that leaps out at me the most is the one with the cars evacuating the town after Giant-Man’s warnings of the Hulk’s pending arrival.
Originality & Continuity
This issue felt, mostly like a rehash of a few stories involving the Hulk thus far. From the first time the Fantastic Four faced off against him, to when the Avengers tracked him down out west. from people not knowing to leave him alone, to there being some other threat as well, this tale was all too familiar. Yet, it does not feel overdone, and original in it’s own way. This could be as they are just trying to set the Hulk up for his new feature, or just the nature of how Giant-Man and The Wasp do it differently, I do not know.
The Continuity of this issue, does fall in sharp contrast to the development. In the form of a Retcon that I believe first happened here… But before I get into that, the events directly referenced in this book, from Amazing Spider-Man #14 to Tales To Astonish #55 was done well, and this story is consistent in many ways.
Characters & Development
the Hulk does have some character development in this issue. No its not the first time he risks himself to save another, or anything to do with his personality, but instead how his transformation works. As opposed to the original who changed at night, and the later who changed via a Ray Gun, or at random; this is the first time I recall seeing it established that his transformation is tied to his physiology. To Quote Bruce Banner
“No! I mustn’t get excited! I mustn’t let my blood pressure rise! When it does, I can’t control myself! I –Begin to change — into — the Hulk!!”
It is this statement, this retcon that I feel changes the hulk, and makes him a real viable character for the remainder of his days. Changing at will via a Ray Gun, while that is convenient for him to be a hero, it does not make the Hulk unique. changing at night could have worked for the long run, but would have been easy to predict, and deal with. but changing when his blood boil’s, when he gets to excited? that… makes the hulk what we know and love today. But that is not all.. we also have the hulk speaking about his strength.
“You don’t know the Hulk! The angrier I get, the stronger I get!…”
This is something that I feel is just as key to the hulk character; a link between his anger and his strength, something that will also play a part in the stories to come.
But it is easy to look back, at all this; knowing what we end up with 50 years later, and see it as a good development, but was it good for this story, and true to the character at the time? I think so, Yes.. the Hulk’s transformation was volatile in the early issues, due to attempts to cure himself, he ended up changing himself. Then though forcing himself to be the hulk when a need arises, he further changed himself more. There is no reason to feel that we could have ended up with the Hulk form triggered and functioning as it is described here. and it plays and reads quite well.
The story was quite well written, and flowed well, while building the hulk; and reestablishing his world a month in advance of his return. But here we are near the end and I spent almost the entire review talking about the Hulk, and not Giant-Man and the wasp; but then, I guess that shows who I felt really stared in this tale. As a Giant-Man fan, this story was good, but not a must read. but for a fan of the Hulk, this story was incredible.
Wait there is more, and this time it’s not a Wasp solo tail; or a tale from her lips. but instead “A Giant-Man Bonus Special Feature” where it says “Lets learn about Hank and Jan” I feel that this may have been in part, due to the fact that this issue was minor for our two stars; but then it could have just been the lack of a real story to follow the main tale. Done in the fashion of many extra’ s we have seen so far, this bit is a great way for a new reader to learn a bit of how our hero’s work and who they are, or existing readers to get a refresher.
despite its title, though – it really only focuses on Giant-Man, and hint’s at the wasp. But it does give this issue and story something a little extra.