TALES TO ASTONISH #90-91:
Emil Blonsky has led a tragic and convoluted live every since the spy mission he undertook in the Spring of 1967 to steal secrets from General Ross's missile base to sell behind the "Bamboo Curtain." First he tried three separate attempts at sabotage, then he tried to abduct the General's daughter, Betty. In disguise of one of Ross's soldiers, under the pretense of searching for the saboteur, he ducks into a lab in order to take pictures of Bruce Banner's gamma ray machine. Unexpectedly, Banner himself enters the lab, and turns the machine on. He steps in front of it and is just about to fire it when the real soldiers enter and take him into custody.
After they have gone, Blonsky steps out from his place of concealment, positions himself where Banner had been and, noticing the foot control on the floor, activates the apparatus... "and then, the incredible occurs once more!" He changes into a green, scaly monster but, unlike Banner, retains his own intelligence. Because he was subjected to a more intense dosage of gamma rays than Banner had received, under controlled circumstances, he emerged from the machine stronger than the Hulk.
As soon as Betty Ross sees him she dubs him an "abomination" and the name sticks. He gets into a violent altercation with the Hulk and beats him to death... or nearly to death in any case. Not knowing whether or not he can survive a missile attack, the newly-dubbed Abomination flees the scene, taking Betty Ross with him. The base medical doctor is unable to help, but Rick Jones suggests that attaching gamma electrodes to the Hulks chest may revive him. It does, but the Hulk has no interest in helping General Ross, until he finds out that Betty is in danger. At that point, due to the sincerity of Rick Jones' plea, the Hulk changes back to Bruce Banner.
Banner whips up a device which will not only draw the Abomination back to them, but will also drain him of his gamma radiation. The plan works, up until the point Banner loses control, becomes the Hulk and smashes the equipment. At this point, the Abomination and the Hulk are equally strong, but the Hulk is much more savage, more brutal, and handily beats the Abomination in their second match. Then an alien called the Stranger arrives and take the Abomination away with him.
"He who is called the Abomination is truly evil," the Stranger declares. "That, coupled with his Hulkish power, should make him the hireling I seek. Thus, I shall bring him to me--for he will not be missed upon the Earth! Mankind--farewell! The Stranger has other interests-- in other worlds! As the Abomination hurtles to my side, I leave you--as I found you--free to seek your own destiny!"
SILVER SURFER #12:
"The hour is midnight! the time is now! the place, near Stonehenge where those who practice the dark and ancient arts of witchcraft now summon forth the nameless ones..."
The Abomination finds himself summoned back to Earth by a coven of witches. He relates the events of Tales to Astonish #90-91, then goes on to add that the Stranger has kept him prisoner all these months, forgotten, while he went other galaxies. (This information actually jibes with what we know of the Stranger's activities as revealed in Avengers #47 and Silver Surfer #5.) Now that the Abomination is back on Earth, he plans to use his powers to take control of it. He leaps away, not even knowing that the unconscious form of the Silver Surfer was there all along. As a matter of fact, it was to kill the Silver Surfer (whom the leader of the coven had come across quite by accident) that the Abomination was summoned to kill.
When the Surfer wakes up, the head Warlock tries to send him against the Abomination, but the Surfer refuses. Soon after, however, after seeing the devastation the Abomination has wrought, the Surfer decides to stop him anyway. They fight for five pages (as rendered by Big John Buscema) ending with the Surfer's victory. The Surfer returns the unconscious form of the Abomination to the witches and bids them to reverse their spell. Although I love this story, it actually raises more questions than it answers, such as how could these posers have summoned the Abomination from another galaxy (or another solar system at least)?
Makes you wonder whether someone was "helping" them for some reason.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Although I love this story, it actually raises more questions than it answers, such as how could these posers have summoned the Abomination from another galaxy (or another solar system at least)?
Actually, I have a theory about that (although you probably guessed that).
If you were to consult Avengers #47, Magneto (who had been captured by the Stranger twice by that point) says, "The Stranger has lost interest in us--since he acquired the creature called the Abomination!" That's neither here nor there (just a little bit of continuity) but, "meanwhile, measureless miles away, on the spinning sphere we call Earth," a scientist named Dane Whitman is sending magnetic rays out into space as a means of communication. [Whitman is the nephew of the deceased villainous Black Knight, but he has not yet become the heroic Black Knight.] Magneto is able to piggyback on those magnetic waves and transport himself and the Toad back to Earth. It is my theory that Dane Whitman later continued those experiments and the witches' spell, in true comic book fashion, similarly "piggybacked" on those magnetic waves to, somehow, transport the Abomination back to Earth as well.
"Somewhere in space, a figure lands upon a fearful, far-off planet, a figure we have met before, in other tails--at other times--the dreaded, deadly Abomination!"
"I'm back! Back! BACK!" he exclaims. "It was the doing of the Silver Surfer! He made the witches send me back!" Now outside his cell, he spies on the stranger observing the far reaches of the universe. When the Stanger leaves, he neglects to turn off his machinery, which continues to scan. The Abomination accidentally brushes the teleportation switch when the screen was trained on Asgard, immediately transporting Thor to the spot. The Abomination pretends to be an innocent victim and shows Thor the cells of the Stranger's other prisoners. Thor frees them, thus setting off an alarm which draws the Stranger. After a three-page skirmish, Thor beats a strategic retreat. In order to better reconnoiter, he transforms into Don Blake. He then learns that the Abomination and all of the other prisoners are the dregs of the galaxy and rightfully imprisoned. Seeing the Stranger as a potential threat to Asgard, Thor reverses time until the moment he arrived. then he defeats the Abomination and returns to Asgard.
This is a kind of lightweight story in which nothing really happens because of the "reset" button. All it really does is confirm that the Abomination is, in fact, back in the Stranger's custody. (Silver Surfer #12 left him on Earth without showing the witches actually returning him.)
The Pequod Andromeda is a solar-powered star-schooner whose photonic engines catch light rays (using much the same technology as Kanjar Ro). The captain is Ahab Cybor, the chief harpooner is Starbuck Xeron, and they seek the great space beast Moby Dick Klaatu, who maimed the captain years before. But Cybor is more grievously wounded than his literary counterpart, as his entire right side was "burned beyond recognition of humanity" when he was a harpooner himself and Klaatu destroyed his pursuit ship, leaving his to float with one side facing starward until he was rescued. Now is cybernetic half controls the Andromeda.
At one point, the crew discovered the Abomination "battling an armored creature fare larger than himself on a nameless asteroid." (No mention is made of how or why the Abomination was on that "nameless asteroid" in the first place; the last we saw him he was imprisoned on the Stranger's home planet.) After vanquishing the beast, the Abomination was brought aboard with the intention of making him an oarsman, but he challenged the first mate to a death-duel and became first mate himself. Then, one day, the Andromeda chased Klaatu to the Abomination's home planet, Earth, where the Hulk was captured, again with the intention of being made an oarsman.
The Hulk attacked the Abomination at first sight, but eventually became used to life aboard the Andromeda. His strength makes him useful, he is not chained and he is not mocked by the rest of the crew. Then, while alone on deck, the Abomination attacks him from behind, knocking him overboard. He is rescued by Xeron, then all three are called before Captain Cybor who witnessed the attack captured on surveillance camera. Cybor forbids further fighting and the Hulk returns to the crew's quarters, where he falls asleep and reverts to Bruce Banner.
A telepathic alien confirms that the "puny pink skin" is actually their erstwhile crewmate, and he is allowed to assume the Hulk's duties. Almost immediately, the alarm sounds condition omega, indicating that Klaatu has surfaced from the Earth where it had been hiding. Two craft are sent in pursuit, one led by Xeron and one by Captain Cybor himself. The Abomination and Banner are both in Cybor's boat. Klaatu upsets the craft, and Cybor clings to the mortally wounded Kalaatu, riding it into the Sun. Meanwhile, the Abomination grabs Banner from behind, but he turns into the Hulk.
A vicious battle ensues, but they are both caught in Earth's gravity. The abomination is exhausted, and the Hulk gets in one last punch, sending the Abomination toward the planet below at an even faster rate. Below, an man and his daughter mistake the Hulk and the Abomination for two shooting stars. The little girl fancies they look like men, "two men who fell off a star--and fell so far--they can't ever get back again."
Here's where it starts to get interesting.
From the Abomination's point of view, he hits the ground first, looks up, sees the Hulk falling. "There he is! There's the Hulk! And he's landing not too far away! Then our battles not over! I can still beat him! He may have knocked me out--but he's got another think comin' if he believes that will out an end to Mr. Personality of 1970!" At this point, Marvel is still maintaining the illusion that their universe occurs in real time. But when the Abomination fell from space in Hulk #137 the year was 1970.
Four "Hulkbuster" choppers and a "catch plane" converge on the location, and the Abomination is mistaken for the Hulk. The choppers drop gas and the catch-plane drops a titanium cage, but is is General Ross who gets the surprise when he opens the cage to reveal, not the Hulk but the Abomination. Then Thunderbolt Ross gets an idea. He explains to the Abomination that his daughter Betty just got married and left on her honeymoon thinking Hulk is dead. If the Abomination agrees to capture the Hulk for him, Ross will cure him and let him go. The Abomination agrees, but freaks out when he sees a 1972 calendar hanging on the wall.
"Hey, wait a minute! What're you trying to pull? This thing says it's 1972! But... but it's not! It's 1970! The Hulk knocked me down out of space in 1970, and--and, if it's 1972, I've been out cold for over two years!" Thinking on his feet, Ross explains that the base is so large that long-term operational goals have to be planned two years in advance. The Abomination buys it, and is soon flown in a transport plane to the Hulk's location. The Hulk is no longer particularly interested in fighting the Abomination, but the Abomination attacks and they fight for four pages. Then the Hulk mentions something about "after Hulk knocked you out of space last time."
"What do you mean, 'after last time...'?" the Abomination wants to know.
"Huh? Hulk means what he says! Hulk beat you long time ago!"
At this point, the Abomination pretty much loses it. "A-ha! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha haaaa! 'Nothing can hurt the Abomination,' I said! Not even falling out of space! It may put me in a coma--but when I wake up, I don't even know about it! How wonderful to be a freak! I can lose whole sections of my life! Isn't that funny, Hulk? Isn't that just hilarious?! Ha ha Ha Ha Haaaa!" The Abomination's maniacal laughter is freaking the Hulk out, so he knocks the Abomination out and leaps off to find Betty at Niagara Falls.
Issue #167 was my first issue of The Incredible Hulk; #168 was the first time I ever acquired two consecutive issues of a given title; and #171 was the first time I ever missed an issue. It would be some years before I filled that gap. Fortunately, I had the Power Records comic-book-and-record set. I listened to that like crazy. Some of the voicework is done by Peter Fernandez and other recognizable voices from the cast of the Speed Racer cartoon. To this day, although it is a somewhat abridged version (to fit the confines of two sides of a 45 rpm record), I still "hear" it in my mind's ear when I read #171. My mom never got rid of my comics, but she did get rid of practically everything else: G.I. Joe, Hot Wheels, Johnny West... and all my 45s. (I kept the Power Records single with my other 45s rather than in the sleeve of the replica comic.) Years later, I found the 45 by itself at a flea market. These days, of course, it's available online.
The Abomination and the Rhino were both last seen in in Hulk #159. Bruce Banner and the unconscious Rhino returned from Counter-Earth in a shuttle which was brought down by a missile. It was, in fact, this missile (which only grazed the shuttle] which woke the Abomination from his two-year-long coma. The Abomination and the Rhino must have met in the desert at some point after that, formed an uneasy alliance, and have apparently been hanging out together ever since. As the story opens, it has recently been discovered that most of the base's personnel are missing. In fact, they have been captured by the Abomination and the Rhino.
Meanwhile, Bruce Banner stowed away about a transport, sneaked into the base and fell asleep in an emergency bunker. As he investigates the apparently-deserted base, he is grabbed from behind by the Abomination and the transformation occurs. Hulk is not in the mood to fight (for a change) and wanders off. The Abomination has set a gamma bomb to go off, in an attempt to revenge himself on both General Ross and the Hulk. also on the base are the Hulk's friend Jim Wilson and his girlfriend Talia, who have just driven cross country from New Jersey. General Ross gives Jim instructions on how to defuse the bomb while the Hulk, again, fights the Abomination and the Rhino. Losing interest in the fight, the Hulk turns and walks away, leaving the two villains to crash into each other.
"There's an old saying about an immovable object meeting an irresistable force. Witness such a meeting, and its result: BADADABOOM!" (I spent the next several years trying to track down that "old saying.") Anyway, this is the last we see of the Abomination (or the rhino, for that matter) for some time.
In addition to Power Records, another product I bought around this time was the Aurora "Comic Scenes" model kits. Initially released in the '60s, they were rereleased in the '70s with little comic books. One page of each comic was a full-page panel, sans main figure, to be used as a backdrop for the model. The "cover" of the pamphlet (which also served as directions for building the model), was the same as the backdrop but with the character drawn in. The one for the Hulk kit was written by Len Wein and drawn by Herb Trimpe. It features a battle with Hydra and slots in nicely between #172 and #173. I don't know what happened to the original pamphlet that came with the kit, but I picked one up at a comic show several years ago, and I now keep it iside the cover of MMW Hulk v10.
In issue #171, the Abomination is colored grey without explanation. I guess he's going through some sort of grey/green transformation as the Hulk once did (and later did again).
Gamma Base was significantly damaged by the Hulk's battle with the Devastator back in #186, so much so that, by #194 they are still cleaning up the debris. While clearing field four, workers found the comatose body of the Abomination, whose body had been embedded beneath the field since his collision with the Rhino in #171. Under General Ross's orders, Doc Samson brings him to, but not before planting a "spy eye" camera inside his head. the camera produces a ticking sound, which the general tells the Abomination is a bomb in order to keep him in line.
In #195 the Hulk is running amok at Florida's Wonderland amusement park and the Abomination is sent to engage him. After an eight-page fight, Hulk hits the Abomination so hard that the camera is broken and the ticking stops. With no threat over his head, the Abomination convinces Hulk that he is his friend and the two go leaping off together. As #196 opens, neither has been seen for 48 hours. Suddenly they appear at the Kennedy Space Center demanding $100 million in uncut diamonds. They hold the base hostage until Betty Talbot broadcasts a message to the Hulk. when the Abomination smashes the TV monitor, Hulk realizes the Abomination is not his friend and turns on him.
The Abomination takes off in a rocket with the intention of flying it to South America, but the Hulk catches it and scales it in flight. In low Earth orbit, Hulk breaks into the command capsule but is kicked out and off by the Abomination. The rocket has been badly damaged by the Hulk's attack, however, and explodes. the Hulk falls back to Earth, and the Abomination...?
I have no way of knowing when I acquired the Power Records reprint nor the backissue of #159 but, because I missed #171, this is likely my first "live" issue featuring the Abomination since Marvel Super-Heroes #45-46, which were reprints.
The Abomination's first appearance fell in the period between the time my brother stopped buying comics and I began. (And I was a little slow to start buying Astonish, as I had little interest in either feature. Sorry, Hulk and Subby fans!) I had to fill in those issues from flea markets and the like over the years. So I got his origin story years after reading several subsequent stories, leaving his history a bit jumbled in my head. This thread certainly straightens everything out!
A peripheral observation is that, unlike Jeff, I didn't buy Marvel's reprint comics, like Marvel Tales, Marvel Triple Action, Marvel's Greatest Comics, etc., when I had the originals. (I did buy the monster reprints, since those stories came from the '50s, and I didn't have the originals.) And besides, I thought, what intrinsic value is there in reprints?
Well, quite a bit, as it turns out. Today if you want to fill in, say, an issue of Fear when it was reprint, you'll have to spend as much as you would for an original story (the reprint Fear turned into the all-new Adventures into Fear, starring Man-Thing), a problem exacerbated by the limited supply. Evidently a lot of other kids had the same attitude toward reprints I did, and the ones that were somehow saved aren't in the best condition. I happen to know this because I did have to fill in an issue of Fear (#9, I think) and had exactly those problems. And God help you if want to buy a Spider-Man Marvel Tales.
I also had some Power Records, I think the first set. They were full-size LPs, and consisted of Journey into Mystery #83, Avengers #4 and ... I don't remember the third one. The reprint comics included were badly off-register, but since I didn't have the originals, I filed them with my other Thor, Avengers and ... the one I don't remember. I bought a decent coy of Avengers #4 in Austin in the late '70s, but never did get a copy of JiM #83, or ... the one I don't remember.
I may or may not have those reprints. I certainly don't have the records. My mother also had a tendency to sell or give away things I didn't fiercely protect. And I didn't even have a record collection to file them with until college, when they were already gone.
"I don't remember the third one."
Fantastic Four #1.
I have all three... of the comics. I never had the records that went with them; I bought the comics back in the '80s, and they were still cheap then. I don't think they're "badly off register," though (other than that the story begins inside the front cover and that page is in black and white). At a glance, one might even think they are originals. I'm quite happy with mine.
RECORD REPRINT (note no price):
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