Issue: Incredible Hulk #6
Name: The Metal Master!
Published: March 1963
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Inker: Dick Ayers
Letterer: Artie Simek
The Good: Hulk, Rick Jones, Betty Ross
The Bad: Metal Master
The Undecided: Thunderbolt Ross
The army’s testing out a space probe that Dr. Banner helped develop but Banner’s stuck as the Hulk with the soldiers between him and his hideout. Fortunately, the Metal Master shows up and distracts the army, but as Hulk turns back into Banner, he sees the alien melt the probe. We also see that the gamma ray device may be starting to malfunction since it doesn’t seem to have transformed him all the way back into the doctor.
In any case, the Metal Master shows off his abilities to command any metal and while a General Ross throws missiles, and soldiers at him, he just brushes them aside with ease. So Banner uses his ray to turn back into Hulk but it only works partway, his head is still ‘puny’ Banner – things are getting worse. But he throws on a mask and heads out to take on the Metal Master.
When they fight to a standstill, the Master starts suggesting they should team up…Hulk is confused and the the alien strikes and knocks out Hulk. He takes off on an around the world spree of metal twisting while General Ross captures Hulk. Things don’t look too good.
In desperation, Rick heads into town with a bright idea…create a Teen Brigade to try to help stop the Metal Master. As things swing into full force, Hulk breaks out of the cell Ross threw him in but being so long as the Hulk took its toll. He turns back into Banner and is extremely weak. But the doctor’s best asset is his brain and he uses it to come up with a plan and Rick sends the Teen Brigade to collect what he needs.
With the materials and brains, Banner builds a gun for Hulk to use then turns back to Hulk for perhaps the last time. He brandishes his new gun and the Metal Master is unable to melt or destroy it. Hulk tosses it aside and beats up the Metal Master forcing him to fix all the trouble he caused around the world. And as the Metal Master flies off into space, Hulk gets a pardon and has trouble transforming back into Banner – that ray is having some real problems. As we see the doctor for the last time, he’s talking with Betty Ross and she suspects there’s something connecting Banner and the Hulk.
What did I learn:
- They finally settled on the Gamma Ray device to turn Banner into Hulk but that also became a big weakness in the stories.
- Betty Ross is pretty smart.
- This apparently is the last issue of Hulk as a stand-alone character for a while.
This issue starts out pretty interesting because it’s the first we see that the Hulk cares to avoid harming the military personnel. We also see him express that it’s harder to switch back into Doctor Banner after being Hulk for a long time. With this and the problems the Gamma Ray device has been having it’s probably good that this is the last time Banner will be using it for a while.