A Marvelous Tale Told in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
The Terror of the Toad Men!
July 1st, 1962
Several miles outside of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Deputy Burgos stifled a yawn as tried to recline in his patrol car. He had been parked behind the billboard since that afternoon, in a vain attempt to catch holiday speeders as they drove through town, and the stress of the patrol seats were starting to wear on him.
Sipping coffee that had long since lost whatever flavor it may have had, he wondered for a moment if the chief would get mad at him if he just took off as he placed the cup on the dashboard.
The noise startled him as he looked around. Peering off into the night, he saw nothing but the endless stretches of desert and cacti around him.
This time whatever was coming was now getting closer. Looking at his cup, he noticed the murky brown liquid had no stared to shake and ripple as the car began to rock from the tremors.
"What the hell is going on?" he wondered as he reached for his radio. Just as he fingers wrapped around the receiver, the very earth around him seemed to roll like the ocean as something massive landed on the over side of the billboard.
Yelping as his coffee flew off the dashboard and onto his lap, Burgos dashed out of the car with his pistol drawn. Peering around sign, he almost fainted at what he saw.
She was huge. Standing well over eight feet and clad in the tiniest remnants of clothing, she was standing in a massive hole that suddenly formed under her bare feet.
Breathing deeply, and sounding a train engine while doing that, the strange being slowly turned around.
By now Burgos could see that yes, whatever this being was, she was most defiantly female, judging by the twin bare breasts that Burgos would take the image of to his grave.
The woman growling brought him out of his delirium. Struggling to sound official and not faint, he raised his pistol at the woman.
"Halt!" he tried to shout, although it came more of a croak.
The beast slowly turned around and glared at him. Growling like a tank, she casually swatted him aside.
Burgos flew through the air and hit the rear windshield of his patrol car. Gasping in pain as he felt his shoulder crack against the glass, he fell prone to the ground as the beast roared.
Hearing the sound of timbers breaking, he managed to look over the car to see the monster swatting the billboard down like it was made of matchsticks. Ducking back down, he cringed as the board crashed against his car, crushing the roof.
"Stupid human" he heard a deep growling voice spit before he saw the beast take to the air, seemingly flying through the night sky with no effort on her part.
A cold pang of fear went through his mind as he realized something. Ignoring the pain, ignoring the twisted metal and broken glass, he reached into the wrecked remains of his car and grabbed hold of his radio.
"She heading for town!" was the only thought racing through his mind as he began to speak into the speaker.
Truth or Consequences
Sheriff Goodman idly skimmed his hand of cards as the radio that sat on his desk flared to life. Cursing the interruption, he grabbed the microphone as he began to flip dials as he slipped the headphones on.
"Carl, did you slip anything into the coffee?" he asked after listening to Deputy's frantic warning before calmly looking over the coffee pot.
"Yes, I'm sure the big naked lady was horrifying, heading here you say? Well, that would be a welcome sight, I'm sure…now Carl, you know we can't just evacuate the city because of some half dressed hootchie mama" he smirked as he suddenly heard something hit down the street. "What the hell?" he wondered as he left the radio on as he walked outside.
Standing in a deep crater that was once Main Street, was the exact same thing that Deputy Burgos had warned him about. "Oh my God" he muttered as the beast roared to the full moon high overhead before she made her way out of the crater.
Rushing back inside, Goodman switched the radio to a different channel as he franticly began to issue orders. "Calling all cars, calling all cars, we have a emergency in town! Contact the army, the Fantastic Four, hell, send in Santa Claus! We've got a damn monster tearing up the main strip!"
The creature slowly rose of the crumbled blacktop remains and bedrock as she stared at the new surroundings. Snorting with annoyance, she stepped out of the rubble and cast eye over the street. She rose out of the self-made crater and began to walk down the middle of the street. The townspeople, already nervous thanks in part to the explosion and their new visitor, silently milled about as if in a dream as the Hulk stomped her way through the city streets, leaving massive footprints in her wake.
"Good God, it's the Hulk!" a passerby screamed, sitting off a change reaction. Several officers swarmed her, their billyclubs at the ready. The Hulk glowered at them.
"Hold her!" one of the closer officers shouted as nearly half a dozen of them leapt upon her. The Hulk, without breaking pace, simply shrugged them off and continued to walk.
"Hold her? How?" one luckless patrolman asked before he was flung from her back and crashed into a heap with his fellow officers.
As the crowd began to panic, a lone figure darted through the confusion. Racing past the crowds and deftly avoiding being crushed by the frightened mob, no one paid any attention to the stranger, as they were all more concerned with their own safety.
"Hulk!" he shouted above the raging din, which managed to make the gray skinned behemoth pause faster than any effort by the police.
Rick Jones wiped away the sweat that had been collecting on his forehead when he raced up towards the creature that had been dubbed the Hulk. "Home Hulk, let's go home" he said gently, as if speaking to a dog.
The Hulk, after casting one more glance around the town, nodded in silent agreement and followed Rick out of the town.
The next day
"This is bad." General Ross grunted as he tossed down the local paper. A crude drawing graced the front paper, with the caption: 'Monster Terrorizes City-Officials Baffled!"
"And this is just local. Being seen by a few idiot teens and some drunken hobos is one thing, strolling through a downtown area is something else."
Betty Ross, daughter of the General and also the creature known as the Hulk, sighed as she looked over a another newspaper. "They even have reports in most of the west coast papers as well." Looking up at her father, Betty rolled the paper up until it was a tight ball in her fist. "What can I do? No matter how far I drive or run, I always get seen by someone, and you can't put me in a cell on the base without raising some serious questions."
"True, and my superiors are starting to wonder if we shouldn't investigate." Ross sighed as he ran his hand through his snow-white hair.
"Well, why not just lock her up someplace other than the base?" Rick suddenly spoke up
Betty thoughtfully paused at the idea. "Hmm, he might have a point daddy, but where could I go?"
Ross left his chair and quickly scanned a nearby map. "Here" he said, thumping his thumb against the brightly colored design. "There's a lake a few miles north. Stern was saying something about there being a series of caves undernenth the lakebed."
"Why would he say that?" Rick wondered.
"Because we weren't quite sure where we were going to test the gamma bomb. Marks pushed for a above ground test." Ross thought; anger swelling as he thought back to those weeks wasted in argument.
"Then I think we had better get a move on and go out there. The sun won't stay out forever you know." Betty said as she tried to sound cheerful. The sullen looks of both Rick and her father managed to kill whatever was left of her spirits as they left the room.
Meanwhile, on the out reaches of the solar system…
In the cold deaths of outer space, past any forms of civilization, a singular thing occurred. A patch of space began to shimmer in the lightless abyss. A shimmer that suddenly ripped itself open and wave after wave of metallic craft began to appear. The ships were long and almost flat, giving the impression of dulled spears cast adrift in the void.
Ship after ship appeared in the cold endless depths. The ships crews, had human eyes been able to see the new arrivals to their system, were a short and rather squat race. Standing not much higher than an average man's waist, their skin was mostly a dull orange hue. Their flesh was stretched and raised in various bumps, giving them an appearance not unlike a common toad.
"Sir, the fleet has just exited the hyperway" a particularly short creature spoke to a larger looking one seated in a chair.
"Excellent. Tell me Lower, what does our intelligence have on this backwater system?"
"Very little sir. We know the Skrulls tried to attempt to conquer the third planet from the sun, but it seems that their invasion force was repelled."
"Serves those green skinned fools right." The commander chortled. "What else?"
"Monitoring their primitive radio waves has shown us little. They seem capable of interplanetary flight, but not in a way that will be of use to us."
"In other words, just other floating ball of dirt, eh?" the commander asked, sending a ripple of laughter through the bridge.
"Yes sir, but our mind rays have shown us that there are some beings that do possess both the mental and physical attributes that we could use."
This sent the commander into a silent mood. "Hmm, a planet like that having beings of power? If they hadn't defeated the Skrulls I would have said that whoever wrote that report was either drunk or mad." Standing up, the commander pressed a button on his chair and issued a command throughout the fleet.
"Now hear this, now hear this. Send a small party to the third planet and retrieve any one of a mental or physical stature that would aid us in our plans."
Seconds later, a small ship broke away from the main fleet. The voice of its captain and the captain's image were soon seen and heard in the fleet commander's ship.
"Sir, the Vasktoric is ready sir."
"Very good captain. Use the jump marks those fools the Skrulls used to find your way. Make sure to use the mental detectors, but under no circumstances are you to engage the natives. If they can vanquish the might of the Skrulls, then I doubt we could ever hope to stand up to their might, regardless of how primitive their society may be."
"Understood sir. We will return successful or not at all."
While back on Earth
Betty rubbed the back of her neck as she parked the jeep near a large outcropping of rock. They had driven most of the morning, past rocky outcroppings and sagebrush, until the sun was now beginning its slow slide into the afternoon.
"It's hopeless Rick, we aren't going to find anything powerful enough to hold that monster!" She sighed as she scanned the horizon. The sun cast a golden hue over the water of the lake, but Betty ignored it as Rick slipped out of his seat and walked around.
"I don't know Miss Ross, the map said the cave was right up here, and there it is" he pointed towards the aforementioned cave. "Maybe it will do the trick?"
"I don't know, Rick, I don't know"
Making their way towards the cave (after taking all the necessary gear with them) the pair began their spelunking. Going down the twisted paths and finding their light growing faint, Betty reached down with one hand and grabbed her flashlight as she heard Rick stumble off in the darkness. "Rick, stay with me, don't go wondering off by yourself!" she whispered, her voice echoing off of the stonewalls.
Walking down the damp earth, Betty ran her hand over the wet stones growing from the ground. Flicking her light on, she almost dropped it when she heard Rick gasp.
"Miss Ross, check this out!" she heard Rick shout. Covering her ears as the echo made her head ring, Betty followed the sound of his voice through the cave until she turned around a corner when the sound of something humming drew her attention. Seeing a light not too far away, she flicked her own off as she heard the sound of something else clicking in the dark.
The sound of a pistol
"Hold it right there Ms. Ross." Came the voice in the dark. Feeling the hard metal nose poking into her back, Betty walked slowly into the light.
She gasped as she blinked her eyes into focus. The area was well light, and covered wall to wall with machines of every sort. "Up against the wall with your friend" ordered the now familiar voice.
"Dr. Stern?" Betty asked, shocked at the sight of the thin scientist wielding a pistol.
Stern sighed as she stood over next to Rick. "I never thought your old man would stoop so low as to send his own daughter to spy on me" he grumbled as he placed the gun back in his pocket.
"Spying on you? What do you mean?" Betty said carefully.
"My lab, where I could finally carry out my own research!" Stern shouted as he slammed his hands on a nearby table. "I could finally be free of that idiot Marks and your meddling father and finally do some serious research, but you father…your father never did like me, did he? Always demanding to know what I was doing, why I needed more money. Fools like him will always hold back the true purpose of science!" He raged.
"Dr. Stern, we didn't know you had anything here. We were just looking for some caves, that's all!" Betty pleaded.
Stern looked her over. Betty could feel his eyes going right through her, as he stood motionless. "Very well, but I might as well show you what my dream is, before your father has me transferred to another hellhole."
Walking over to a strange contraption, Stern flicked on a few switches as the machine came to life. The device (which as near as Betty could tell was simply a long metal bar placed against a concrete slab) hummed, and the bar began to move back with a hydraulic hiss, taking the slab with it.
Past the slab was a small room with what looked like a vaguely humanoid shaped pink thing propped up against the wall. "This was meant to be my ticket to fame. I started working on this one after that G-bomb snafu." Looking at Betty, Stern blushed somewhat. "Sorry, no offense intended."
"None taken Doctor." Betty quickly said as she stared at the chamber. "Dr. Stern, how strong is that chamber?"
"This? Well, it can withstand a small artillery shell with no problem. I've been using it to stress test my robot." Stern said with pride. "Of course, there is still that problem with the programming, but perhaps if you could convince your father?" he asked hopefully.
Betty stared into the chamber. It was large enough to accommodate her at both sizes, the making looked strong enough to withstand her…
"Dr. Stern, I know this may sound strange, but would it be possible" she began to say as the very walls around them started to shake.
"What's going on?" Rick shouted as all the machines started to spark.
"I don't know!" Stern shouted back as the rumbling increased. "It can't be a earthquake, we aren't close enough to any fault lines!" he shouted as he was suddenly lifted off his feet by invisible hands and stuck to the wall.
"Dr. Stern!" Betty shouted as the rumbling increased. Trying to move, Betty quickly found herself stuck to the ground.
Then all at once the rumbling stopped.
Part 2-Prisoners of the Toad Men!
Near the entrance of the cave, Rick stared in wide-eyed horror as several hideous creatures stormed in. They were all carrying strange devices in their hands and grunting in what he assumed was some kind of language.
"The sensors said a being of great intellect and a being of great strength where both here, yet all I see are two weak males and a worthless female." The lead one croaked.
"Yes, but the captain said return with them, so let's just bag and get back to the ship." Another one suggested, although Rick had no idea what they were actually saying.
Rick felt his limbs grow heavier as the toad-like creatures stomped towards them. The lead one reached into its belt and pulled out three silver disks. Tossing one towards Betty, Dr. Stern, and himself, Rick wondered the purpose was as the disks expanded and quickly swarmed over them. Panicking, Rick tried to move as the strange substance covered his head, but he found his body would not respond. A peaceful feeling enveloped him as he tried to move, but he found his mind drifting off to slepp…
"Hurry, the captain wants us back onboard before this primitive creatures can alert any aid." The lead one ordered as the three silver cocoons were dragged off. "And be careful with them. If they are damaged, they'll have back on the galley before we can blink."
Some time later
Betty opened her eyes. Judging from the slick metallic walls and curved surfaces, she was no longer in Stern's lab. Looking down and seeing that whatever the silvery substance was, it was no longer binding her, she moved around her room. A slight knocking behind her made her jump as she turned around.
Before her was Rick, and behind him was Dr. Stern. Rick's mouth was moving frantically, but she couldn't hear him. Stern seemed to be asleep in the corner.
Suddenly, an image appeared over the three of them. It was the grinning visage of the same creature that had kidnapped them. "Hello" it spoke in a vaguely accented English. "I am Captain Torrack, and you are our prisoners. You will work for us and the greater good of our empire, or you will die. You" the voice seemed to focus on Stern (who was wide awake by now), "have been selected to work with our scientists. You will work, and your genius will be rewarded." Turning his attention to Betty, the creature spoke. "Our scans show us that you have a large amount of gamma radiation in your cells, and the potential for strength is high. You will serve in out army."
Turning his attention to Rick, the creature spat more than talked. "Our scans show us that you lack both the mental and physical skills that we require. We have no use for you." As Torrack finished, the cell around Rick seemed to shrink down as the floor below him opened up and Betty stared in terror as Rick was sucked out of the ship and plummeting towards the Earth.
"Rick!" she screamed as she felt the rage boiling up behind her eyes.
"Calm yourself female. The Earthling is alive. He was simply placed in his safety cell. It will cushion his fall and slow his descent. Of course, if he tries to stop us when we pillage your planet, then he will die in our assault." Torrack seemed to find a great deal of humor in what he said, judging by the strange croaking noises he was making.
The wall between her and Stern suddenly grew darker. Betty was unable to see the scientist but her attention was drawn to something else.
Looking down at the hole in the floor, Betty gasped as she saw the moon below them. "We're already past the dark side, making it night!" she worried as the all too familiar sensation began to start.
A dark cloud settled over her eyes as she tried to stop it. She clawed at the walls and screamed as she felt her conscious mind fading away. "No! Not here, not now!" she half screamed/half pleaded as she heard the sounds of her clothes starting to rip. She felt like she was drowning as she could feel her bare feet on the smooth floor of the ship.
Just before she totally lost herself, Betty thought she heard a woman's laughter coming from somewhere.
For a few brief seconds, the room was silent, save for the sounds of tearing cloth. Betty, slouched over near the wall, made no noise as her dress was quickly changed in a barely held together batch of rags. Her skin grew lighter until it was a pale gray as muscles grew and developed.
The figure that was once Betty stood up. Brushing the now oily black hair out of her eyes, the Hulk looked around the cell. "Where am I?" she growled.
While elsewhere on the ship
"Captain, we're just had a massive influx of radiation coming from the earthling female's cell." A lower ranking crewman reported.
"Hmm, perhaps she brought a weapon that out scans didn't register. Send a quad of guards to her cell, just in case." Torrack ordered as he went back to his work.
The guards moved with a speed that didn't seem capable for their bodies. Moving past the male's cell, they stopped as they heard a deep pounding coming from the female's cell.
"Lower, this cells were meant to be soundproof and indestructible, correct?" the leader of the guards asked.
"Yes sir, their builders assured us of that."
"Then why am I seeing dents in the door?" the leader asked, as there were now several large and quite noticeable fist shape dents in the door.
Before they could ponder this question anymore, the cause of the dents suddenly became quite clear as a massive fist tore its way through the metal.
"By Jocon's flame, what is that?' the leader shrieked as a hideous face snarled back at him.
"Toad men!" it bellowed with rage as it tore the rest of the door away. "Hulk smash puny toad men!"
"Fire you fools, fire!" the leader screamed as he saw his men drop their weapons and run in a blind panic.
"I crush you, with your own guns!" the Hulk grinned as she picked up a discarded rifle. Gripping one end, she squeezed the midsection as she pointed the other end at one guard who was too frozen with fear to move. Her anger grew as nothing happened.
"You, make this work!" she ordered as she picked the guard up by his neck and squeezed slightly. "But no tricks!" she warned.
"Alright, alright!" he pleaded as he was hoisted off of his webbed feet. "That's out gravity rifle. It makes the targets too heavy to move. It won't work because you were holding it the wrong way, and also, it's power cell must have been damaged when it was dropped." He said quickly, hoping to appease the monstrous creature that literally held his life in its hands.
The Hulk snorted with annoyance when she listened to the guard's babbling. "Worthless, like everything else. What other weapons do you have?"
"Why do you want to know that?" the guard asked, his bulbous eyes wide with fear.
"Because I am sick of running and hiding. I'm going to be the one who calls the shots from here on out, got it?" she grinned, although the guard noticed a lack of humor in the smile.
Stomping her way down the hall (and leaving her footprints imbedded in the alien metal), the Hulk whistled when she turned a corner and saw a row of cannons. "These blow the human's weapons out of the water!" she exclaimed as she tossed her captive over her shoulder. "With these, the Hulk can finally become the hunter, instead of the hunted!"
The guard, taking this reprieve to be a sign from above, ran as fast his webbed feet could carry him as the sound of his fellows reached his ears. "It's in here!" he yelled as large gray monster behind was distracted. It was perfect; they would blast that monster into the void before it could even turn…
Except that before the order to fire could even be given, the Hulk turned around and charged. Yanking a pistol out of one of the guard's hands, she turned the gun and them and squeezed the trigger. The pistol jerked in her hands as a multi-hued color beam shot out and scattered the guards like tenpins. Laughing, the Hulk fired the pistol again, causing the guards to fall the floor.
"You fool, why did you let that creature take your gravity gun?" the leader spat as the Hulk simply stepped over them and made her way deeper into the ship.
Stern looked around his cell. Aside from a slight banging noise he heard a few minutes (he thought it was a few minutes. His watch had stopped working when he was brought on board) ago, he had been left alone. Feeling the pistol in his pocket, he walked around the cell while thinking aloud.
"Aliens! I can't believe it, it's like something out of Buck Rogers!" he mumbled as he paced back and forth. "All this technology…" he suddenly went silent as he contemplated a wild idea. "If I could just get my hands on it, then I could, no, that's insane! Yet I could finally perform serious research" he trailed off as the ship suddenly started to dive downwards.
Back on Earth
Rick tried to clear the cobwebs out of his head as he stumbled along the road. The container, or whatever it was, had dropped him back in New Mexico and not too far from the base.
The sun overhead told him that they hadn't been gone too long, but the heat was slowly getting to him. "Got to get to the base, go to warn everyone" he rambled as he stumbled along his way.
Back in the Base
General Ross chewed his cigar as he looked over the radar report. The various screens around him made various noises, all of them bad. Men rushed to and fro around the radar room as more reports were coming in. A unidentified flying object had been sighted near their position, and it was coming in fast.
"What the blazes are you just standing around for?" Ross shouted, as he looked his men in the eye. "Have we identified this thing yet?"
"Sir, our jets have it in visual range!" a nervous looking solider at one of the radar stations shouted, sending the room into silence.
The men crowded in silence around as the reports came in. "This is Blue Squadron, we have the UFO in sight. I, hell, I've never seen anything like it!"
Ross pounded his fist into his hand hard enough to hurt himself. "That tears it. Order the jets back. We're using the missiles!"
The men all acted as one. Issuing orders to the planes, orders to the other men, the whole place was unified in their goal.
A warning klaxon sounded across the desert as the missile silos opened and their terrible cargo was slowly moved into position.
The alien ship, now visible to the naked eye, loomed over the base as it hurtled through the air.
Ross, staring at the strange vessel through binoculars said only one word as he saw it fly through the sky.
The missiles rocketed out the silos towards their target. Smoke and fire obscured the launch pad as they zeroed in on the alien ship. Streaking through the air like metallic arrows, the missiles hit their target with a deadly accuracy and delivered their lethal payload. The craft buckled under the assault as it went into a tailspin. The men on the ground cheered as they saw an end to the threat, but Ross silently chewed on his cigar.
While back on the ship
The Hulk cursed as the ship was rocketed with explosions. "Stupid humans!" she swore as she suddenly lightheaded. "What's going on?" she moaned as she dropped her pistol. "Blasted army, there must be a weapon here that can help me!" she thought as she tried to work the controls of the strange guns.
The combination of the alien words on the control panel and the daylight streaming through the window had a starling effect on the Hulk. "So tired, can't think…" she slurred as she slowly slumped over the controls. Her hair slowly shortened back as it lightened. Her body shrank, like someone letting the air out of a balloon. Falling to the floor, she was out like a light as the ship crashed.
Deep inside the ship
Torrack fumed as he realized what was going on. "This primitives are more cunning than we thought," he reluctantly admitted to himself as his crew busied themselves with the preparations for a crash landing. Files were deleted, logs burned, any type of writing or anything to tell of their travels was destroyed. "Take the communicator and any weapons that still work." He ordered. "We must tunnel our way out first before we make contact with the fleet". He nodded with grim satisfaction as he and his crew strapped themselves in preparation for the impact. "We won't give those lower creatures the satisfaction of a easy victory!"
The ship hit the desert floor with an impact that easily rivaled that of the Gamma bomb. The ship's strange metal was perhaps the only thing saving from being completely destroyed the moment it slammed into the hard rock and earth.
Within seconds, helicopters were around the crash site, and minutes after that, a multitude of tanks, trucks, and jeeps had formed a circle around the ship. General Ross marched around the massive crater that now surrounded the alien craft. "Secure this area. No one gets in or out, understand?" he issued orders into a radio. "I want a iron cordon placed around this thing ASAP. This could damn well be the biggest thing in our history, and I don't want any screw ups!"
As the men prepared to surround the ship, a loud hiss coming from the front of the vessel made everyone stop in their tracks. A door opened with a loud hiss and fell to the ground as a figure stumbled out into the daylight.
"Look out, it's armed!" one of the closer soldiers panicked as the figure (who's features were hidden by a strange glowing light from inside the ship) waved what looked like a gun at the men. Several of them opened fire, the bullets kicking up dirt around the figure's feet.
"Stop shooting!" the figure screamed as it ran into the open air.
"Dr. Stern?" General Ross asked as the man's features became more recognizable in daylight. "Hold your fire!" he ordered to the men.
"Aliens, giants toads, the moon!" Stern babbled as he fell to the ground in relief. Seeing the threat removed, the soldiers moved in towards the ship as Stern was led off.
"I want him placed in a cell. Something about this doesn't seem right." General Ross muttered as Stern was placed in the back of a truck.
"Sir, we have someone else!" a solider cried out as two more men appeared from within the ship carrying a limp female form between them.
"Good Lord, it's Betty!" Ross ran past the armed men and rushed to his daughter's side. "Get her to the medic, now!" he ordered. As she was placed in the back of a waiting jeep, Ross cast a gaze upwards towards the sun, which had already begun its descent. "Heaven help us," he silently prayed as he saw the jeep race off towards the base.
While right below the earth
Torrack cursed for the umpteenth time as he spat the dirt out of his mouth. "Cursed land, have they no water on this hunk of dirt?" he muttered as his men cleared the way ahead using their magnetic rifles.
"Sir, we are nearing the surface, what are your orders?" came a voice from the front.
"Signal the fleet. They may take my rank for this, but I will damned if I am going to let this indignity go on any further!" Torrack ordered as a large canister was fitted over the end of a rifle.
The lowest ranking member of the party then took the rifle and carefully shoved it up through the dirt and rock. Squeezing his eyes shut, he turned his head as he fired the rifle. The canister blasted out through the dirt and up into the sky. Exploding in a multitude of light, it sent a signal that was easily visible from space.
"What in the blazed was that?" Ross wondered, as he had to shield his eyes from the intense light. Looking around, he saw that none of the men there had even reacted to it. "You there" he asked, grabbing the nearest man in uniform, "What was that light?"
"Light sir? What are you talking about?" the man asked confused.
"Never mind" General Ross muttered as he got back in his jeep. It would be night soon, and he knew what would be happening back at the infirmary where his daughter was…
Part 3- Dr. Stern: Wanted for Treason?
Back at the base
"But I'm telling you, I didn't build that!" Stern shouted for the hundredth as he banged his fists on the cell bars.
"Right, just how you weren't skimming money from the top just to build your own lab." Dr. Marks smirked as he looked over a set of blueprints. "This is really high tech, so maybe you couldn't have built it after all." Marks giggled at his joke as he lit his pipe.
"Marks, I swear to God, if you've touched anything down there…" Sterns threatened, but Marks simply stood up from his seat and inched in close to the bars.
"Is that a threat Dr. Stern? Because from my perspective, you aren't exactly in a position to do a damn thing." He smirk grew bigger as he scoped up the diagrams and made his way out.
"Marks! When I get out of here, I will make you pay!" Stern shouted as he tossed his dinner tray at the retreating figure.
General Ross nervously paced outside the small room in the base hospital. The medics had wanted to examine Betty here, so he had relented. The tests showed nothing save for a few fractures and a couple of bumps. The medics had insisted on letting her stay the night, but he was quick to take her home. At least, that's what he said to the nurse.
Taking her down to the lowest level, he shoved his daughter into a small lead lined room used to store equipment. The door was solid steel, and he knew the walls were made from the finest concrete, so there was at least a chance of her other half not escaping. He had also insisted she be heavily sedated, just in case.
As he leaned back against the cold wall, he saw the sun starting to sink through a small window near the end of the corridor….
Betty groggily opened her eyes. "Where am I? The last thing I remember, I was on that spaceship" she recalled as she slowly stood up. The dizziness in her head started to fade as she grasped the doorknob before her after stumbling around in the dark. Yanking on it, she quickly discovered that she was locked in. "Hello? Is there anyone there?" she shouted, but she could tell no one could hear her.
The dizziness suddenly came back as she gripped the doorknob. Gripping harder, she cracked it, and then tore it off the door without much effort. "Oh God, not again!" she cried as she stumbled back.
A black fog seized her brain as she crashed into a shelf filled with linen of various sizes. "Please, not now, not now!" she begged as she felt her hospital gown gave under her swelling frame. "I can't stop it" she thought as she felt the room spin. With a strangled cry, she toppled over, as the sounds of shredding cloth were the last things she heard.
The figure on the floor stood up. "Where am I?" it grumbled. The Hulk stood up in the dark, the last few moments that she remembered running through her head. "Ross…" she said, tightening her hand into a fist.
General Ross, meanwhile, upon hearing the trashing coming from within the room, made his way up and out of the hospital as fast as he could. "I have to warn my men, but how can I report about the Hulk without giving away Betty's secret?" he thought as he stumbled out into the hall.
"General, Sir!" a MP shouted as he dashed towards him. "Sir, we need you back at HQ!" the younger man panted as he fought to catch his breath.
"What's wrong solider?"
"I can't explain sir, you just have to see for yourself!"
Part 4- The Hulk Runs Amuck!
Ross was dumbstruck as he watched the TV set. The rest of his command staff was rushing around; trying to determine if what was being seen was real or a fake.
The speaker on screen was a hideous orange skinned thing. It's bulbous yellow eyes moved separately as it spoke in a deep tone. "People of Earth, I am your new master!" the thing said in a fairly decent Midwestern-American accent. "Even as I speak, out fleet is encircling your planet. We will take what we want of your riches, and any attempts to stop us will be meet with the most severe consequences! Look out to your moon" it said, prompting several people to do just that, "and notice the strange glow about it!"
Ross paled as he saw a bright yellow band around the moon, but he tried to blink that away as the alien on the set had started talking again.
"That is our ultimate weapon, and something to ensure that you do nothing foolish against us. For you see" it continued, obviously enjoying spelling out the tiniest detail in its plan, "that beam will draw your moon closer to the surface of your planet. Every one of your hours, minutes, even days, will be filled with global upheaval while we take want we want!" the alien laughed as the picture went blank.
The room was silent almost a full second before the phones started ringing. "Get me the President!" Ross ordered as he grabbed the nearest receiver. "We will not be invaded by any alien force! We will fight them no matter what!" he shouted as he barked orders into the phone.
Back at the hospital
The Hulk felt around the darkened room. Finding the door (but not the ruined doorknob), the Hulk decided on the clearest course of action:
Make an exit
Finding the nearest wall, she punched the concrete and lead barrier with all her might. The wall gave way like wet cardboard as it exploded outward, tearing up the ground around it.
Stepping out into the cool nigh air, the Hulk stomped her way towards the center of the base. "He's here, I know it!" she fumed as she walked around the perimeter with the goal of the base HQ (and General Ross) was still in her brutish mind.
She had made it almost halfway to the center when the sound of an approaching vehicle made her stop. "More humans" she growled as she spied a set of railroad tracks leading off into the desert. The iron tracks gave her an idea as she heard the men shouting behind her.
"Holy Hannah, it's the Hulk!" Private Shores exclaimed as he slammed on the jeep's brakes.
His two companions, Lt. Goodman and Lt. Abernathy, had different ideas. "Hit the gas, we'll ram her!" Goodman ordered as he drew his service pistol.
"Hell, they'll make us generals for this!" Abernathy grinned as he already took aim with his own gun and opened fire. The bullet bounced harmlessly off of her back as she ignored them and focused on something at her feet.
"Wait, those are the supply train tracks!" Shores remembered as he heard a metallic scream of protest as the Hulk turned around to face them…with a jagged chunk of what was once half of the rail in her oversized hand.
The world seemed to go silent as Shores saw the Hulk rush towards them with the rail in her hand. Gripping the twisted metal like a lance, he wasn't sure if he screamed as he saw the rail go into the engine, or when the Hulk used their momentum to flip them end over end into the dust and dirt, but he knew he did when Goodman's limp body landed on top of him.
At the private quarters of General Ross
Returning home, Ross wiped his brow as he answered his private line. Reports from the west coast had been bad, news from Washington even worse. Tides had started to go wild, and reports of rioting were coming in from every corner of the country.
Talking to the Pentagon, he failed to notice a dark shape approaching his back door.
"Ross!" The Hulk roared as she ripped away the back door and flung it aside. "You won't escape!" she threatened as she stomped her way through the house. She plowed through walls and destroyed furniture as she made her way to her enemy. Knocking down the last wall, she saw General Ross simply standing there, his hands clasped behind him.
"Betty, why are you doing this?" he asked simply
"Not Betty, the Hulk!" the Hulk roared.
"Alright then, Hulk, why are you doing this?" Ross asked again, his posture unchanged.
"Why not? You humans hound me, hurt me, try to kill me, why shouldn't I strike back?" the Hulk answered, her anger growing at Ross's refusal to budge.
"Valid points, but if you left us alone, we would leave you alone." Ross countered, leaving a confused look on the Hulk's face.
But before the Hulk offer a rebuttal, the sound of rolling tanks filled the air. "Hulk, this is the United States Army, we know you're in there!" came a distorted voice over a megaphone. "Surrender!"
"You tricked me!" the Hulk snarled as she grabbed Ross in one hand and held him in front of her.
"Wait!" came a tired, yet familiar voice.
Rick Jones stumbled in through the ruined remains of the backdoor, his face covered in a fine layer of dirt. "Don't do it Hulk!"
"You! Why do you always interfere?" the Hulk tossed Ross away as she focused her attention (and anger) on Rick. "Maybe I should just get rid of you first!" she threatened.
"Don't do it Hulk. You've hurt enough people already. Don't become a murder" Ross begged.
"Shut up" she growled as lights from the spotlight shone in her eyes.
"The General is clear, take it down!" came the order, as wave after wave of men dog piled the Hulk, burying her under a mass of flesh.
Part 5- the end of the Hulk?
For the briefest of seconds, Ross thought his men might have stopped the Hulk. That hope was shattered when she erupted in the midst of them like a titian parting the sea. "Hulk smash puny humans!" she roared as she swung her fists with no concern to who or what she hit. Puny fell like tenpins as she waded through them.
"Bring in the artillery!" a panicking solider shouted as tanks began to roll into position.
"Belay that Order!" Ross shouted as Rick darted in the Hulk's path.
Saying something that Ross was unable to hear over the nosy din, he stared in amazement, as the Hulk turned away and leapt off into the night.
"Permission to engage enemy sir?" one of the men asked.
"Permission denied, we have bigger enemies to worry about." He shot back as he straitened his uniform. " I have someone to see."
Back at the stockade
Dr. Sterns stared at General Ross. "So, my understanding is that you request my aid?" he asked as Ross turned six shades of purple.
"Yes, you blasted egghead! We need your help. We were wrong to lock you up!" he shouted as a guard hurriedly opened the cell door.
"Well, I'm glad at least someone on this base has a IQ that's in the double digits." Stern shot back as the glowering form of Dr. Marks.
"Can the attitude Stern. You think you can stop this?" Ross barked.
"I think so, but it might take a while." He replied as his handcuffs were removed. "I would need access to a lab with decent equipment, and I couldn't be bothered." He shot a snide look at Marks.
"You can have whatever you want, as long as you get me some results!" Ross shot back as he saw the moon looming even larger in the sky.
The next day
The blazing hot sun was first thing Betty felt as she opened her eyes. "Where am I now?" she wondered aloud as she stoop up. Moving carefully (mainly because the hot sands were killing her feet and to try and hide her nakedness) she almost fainted when she saw the moon still in the sky.
The change almost started as she stared at it, but it seemed to stop as she lay on the desert floor gasping for air.
"What's going on?" she gasped as she felt her muscles starting to swell then stopping.
"Betty!" she heard someone cry as she struggled to rise to her feet. Looking over her shoulder, she almost wept as she saw Rick stumbling over the rocks and cacti.
"Rick…stay away!" she gasped as she rose to her knees. Her skin was already growing pale as her muscles started to grow hard under her skin. The few pitiful scraps of cloth that had somehow manage to stay on her frame fluttered away as she stood up. Running her hand through her darkened hair, Betty stared a Rick with a confused look on her face. "Wait, what's going on?" she asked as the pain suddenly stopped. Looking down, she stared at her hands as if she had never seen them before. They were pale, and there was a hint of gray around the skin. Her muscles were well developed, but not to the extent of the Hulk (although Betty wouldn't know that). Her hair had turned black though, but not much longer than it was normally.
"Betty?" Rick asked as he slowly approached, unsure of who would answer his question.
"Rick…I'm, I'm ok!" Betty wondered as she ran her fingers over her bicep. "I'm not the Hulk, but what happened?"
"I don't know, but you have to help! The Toad Men are going to crash the moon into the Earth!" he wheezed as he fell to the ground.
"Hmm" Betty hummed as she continued to admire her new form. "I think I could get use to this" she said aloud as she lifted a large boulder with no effort.
"Betty, we need to get back to the base!" Rick almost shouted, surprised at the force of his voice.
Betty dropped the rock and stared down at him, a look of intense fury on her face. The look vanished in an instant, but Betty still stared down at him. "Why? There's nothing I can do against that" she jerked a thumb in the direction of the moon.
Rick stared up at her. The last few hours were quite evident in his eyes as he slowly stood up. "I have been dropped out of a spaceship. I have been running after you for longer than I care to admit, and at the moment, the whole planet is going to be destroyed unless someone does something!" Rick shouted.
Betty looked won at Rick, and then shrugged her shoulders. "Alright, I'll give it my best shot" she said as she bent down and slung Rick over her broad shoulders. "Try not to move too much. I can be back at the base fast this way," She said as she took in a jog. Rick, who under normal circumstances would not have minded being carried by a naked woman, simply took that time to pass out.
Back at the base
"No, no, NO!" Dr. Marks shouted at the top of his lungs as he stood defiantly in front his lab.
"For God's sake Marks, let me through!" Stern shouted as two MP's nervously gripped their rifles behind him.
"No, I won't let you come into my lab and steal my ideas!" Marks started to sound hysterical as he backed up against the door. "I found the work, I continued Banner's research, and it should me who saves the world!"
"Guards, can't you just shot him?" Stern questioned the MP's. Before they could answer, the door behind Marks suddenly opened and the scientist fell backwards with a yelp. A brief scuffle was heard before the sound of a body hitting the floor.
Bringing their rifles up to firing positions, the guards moved in as the lights suddenly cam on in the lab. They both stopped at the sight before them
A woman, wearing only a white lab coat, stared back at them. "Hello Dr. Stern" she said in a deep voice. Dr. Marks was nowhere to be seen. She smiled as adjusted the coat, which already looked like it was painted on, and
"Wait!" Stern said suddenly as he stepped between the guards and the woman. "I just remembered Dr. Marks's assistant…Jennifer, right?" Stern rushed, hoping the guards wouldn't notice his lie.
"Right, I was hired recently." The woman replied.
"We weren't told about any assistants" one of the guards said before Stern slipped by and into the lab.
"Must have been Marks fault, you can inform the General about his mistake later." Stern spoke before shutting the door behind him. Turning his attention to 'Jennifer', Stern gave a small smile as he stepped over Marks's unconscious body (which had been propped up behind the door). "Miss Ross, I presume?"
"How did you know?" she asked, shocked.
"Please, it wasn't that hard to figure out, but that will have to wait until later." He gestured to the moon, which was now quite closer than ever. "Marks said he was working on something in here, and if my theory about those aliens is right, then we just might have the only thing that can stop them."
"What would Dr. Marks have?" Betty asked as she noticed how tight the lab coat was getting.
"For starters he has the biggest generators on the base, so he must be working that requires enormous power." He gestured to the large structures surrounding the building. "Also, I caught a glimpse of one of his blueprints when he showed up to mock me in my cell" he gestured to a set of blueprints left scattered about on a table. "He must have been working on this for months" he whistled as he picked up one set. "Factored in with what little I saw of the aliens as well as what we know of their technology, well, the answer just presents itself."
"How?" Betty asked, as her eyes seemed to be crossing and uncrossing themselves.
"A gamma gun" Stern said matter-of-factly as he reached out and gripped a lever sticking out of the wall. Pulling it down, they were rewarded with the sound of a deep rumbling as the floor spilt open and what looked like a miniature howitzer cannon was raised up. The ceiling spilt open as the cannon continued its ascent. "Like the gamma bomb, only this fires a beam of intense gamma radiation at the target. Since the aliens are using what is basically a modified magnet to push our moon around, I believe with a modifications to this gun we can reverse the polarity, not only pushing the moon back, but scattering the ships back as well." He spoke as he made the needed adjustments on the control board. Slamming it shut, he manned the controls as the giant gun started to hum.
"Dr. Stern, what about the gamma rays?" Betty asked as she dragged Dr. Marks to the safety of the lead lined office and dumped him near the slumbering form of Rick Jones.
"Hmm, that's a point" Stern thought as Betty raced back over to him as the floor under his feet rose up, reveling that he was on a hydraulic lift.
Leaping up the platform, Betty shoved him aside as she gripped the controls. "It's like firing a gun, right?" she shouted the humming increased.
"More or less. If I read the notes right, just hit the engage button when the power meter hits maximum!" he shouted as he hopped off the platform and raced to the office.
Betty stared down at the controls. The blinking lights and strange noises were increasing as she saw the moon hurtling towards her. She saw her hair fall down past her eyes as she felt her body growing under the lab coat. As rips started to appear around her shoulders, the meter read maximum. "Here goes nothing" she thought as she smacked the what she hoped was the right button.
A searing blast of energy shot out of the gamma gun towards the moon, bathing it in the green glow of the gamma rays. The moon hung silently for what seemed an eternity, but slowly, ever so slowly, the moon began to move back into the heavens. Sweat was pouring off of Betty's brow as she kept her hand on the button, but she her hand on the button. "Just a little longer" she gasped through clenched teeth as she felt the power of the Hulk trying to force itself out.
In outer space
The fleet was in a panic as their powerful magnetic rays were turned against them. Ship after ship went sailing off into the void of outer space as the fleet's navigation. In the lead ship, the leader of the race dubbed 'Toad men' sat silently as the reports came in.
"Sire, the humans have reversed our magnetic rays!"
"Sire, Torrack and his men report a complete failure of the mission and request and emergency evacuation"
"Sire, Torrack's life tracking device has just flat lined, as well as his men"
"Sire, our directional control has been destroyed by the electromagnetic pulse used by the humans, all attempts at piloting the ships are useless!"
The leader, a particularity ugly specimen, drummed his webbed fingers on his seat as more bad news came. Slowly and deliberately he continued as the ship lurched back and forth in space.
"Send out a message to the fleet once proper power is restored." He croaked. "Now and forever this planet, no, this SYSTEM, is to be considered off limits! We shall never return to this wretched collection of worlds ever again!"
Back on Earth, later that night
Dr. Stern's lab
Betty smiled at Dr. Stern as she stepped into the chamber. "Doctor, I just want to thank you" she began before Stern waved his hand.
"Don't mention it. If it hadn't been you, I would never had have seen the inside of an extraterrestrial ship." He replied as he shoved the door shut and twirled the lock, securing it into place. "I'll send Mr. Jones in the morning to let you out!" he shouted as the door was shut, cutting off Betty's reply.
Inside the chamber, Betty shucked the borrowed lab coat off as she felt the familiar stirrings of the transformation taking place. "The earth has been saved" she thought as the room started to swim around her, "but how long can this cell keep the Hulk prisoner?"
Whew, what a ride. Yes, thus ends another issue of Sensational Comics. On with the fan-mail:
that it's sensational may sound a bit redundant but it is Kudos, Lonebeatle.
dude! Glad to see the continuation of your savage saga and I wasn't
disappointed at all with what you did on this first chapter, really
well written Cambot.
Thanks man, thanks
From the Queen of the Dungeon:
think you did a really good job. I like your characterization. :) Take care,
This is a pretty interesting start.
Thanks for the kind words Milady.
Great start on the story! My only criticism is that the Keep it up! ZERO
TF's are way too short. Develop that and yer story will be a solid A!
Keep it up!
Thanks Zero. I suppose I could make the TF scenes longer, but I admit I do run out time sometimes.
think you need to gget you of my head! ;) I knew going in that you DF
would be covering the She-Hulk in the 60's era, but I didn't expect
you to mirror the first issue so exactly. I had once planned to do a
whole series of sequences based on the same idea-substituting Betty
for Bruce. It's neat to see someone else take that idea and run with
it. And then on top of that you tied it back to the Savage Series as
Thanks for the kind words. How did you like this issue?
Cambot: Tell me... you can say it... You've got some telepathic link to Mr. Stan Lee... don't you? ;D It's the only way I can explain your writing style and brilliance. I must
say, Keep it up, it's a lot of reading and can't wait for more. M.K.
everytime I read your stories, the images of old style comic book panels and
covers dominates my mind. It's uncanny, your sense of timing and scenes is
you can say it...
You've got some telepathic link to Mr. Stan Lee...
don't you? ;D
It's the only way I can explain your writing style and brilliance. I must
Keep it up, it's a lot of reading and can't wait for more.
I wish I did M.K., I wish I did. Basically this is a way of seeing what would happen is someone else was exposed to the gamma bomb. What impact would this have the regular Marvel universe? Expect more changes in upcoming issues.
Speaking of that, next issue we'll see the Hulk take on the Circus of Crime!
This particular story was based on "The Terror of the Toad Men" which was published in The Incredible Hulk 2 in July 1962, and is credited to Stan Lee (script), Jack Kirby (pencils), and Steve Ditko (ink).
All characters are copyrighted by Marvel comics
Tales to Astonish 1-the Coming of Ant-Man!
Journey Into Mystery 3-See Lady Thor battle Loki!