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Incredible Hulk 135
"Descent Into The Time-Storm!"






SAM ROSEN Letterer

On the cover, the green-skinned goliath is feeling the weight of the years on his back, as Kang The Conqueror subjects him to the fury of the time-storm.

It is the 41st Century, and the Earth now shows signs of an unending war -- but on this faded world, there is one who dares to raise his voice in victory --! Kang The Conqueror has found the way to defeat Earth's Mightiest Heroes... and enslave the 20th Century! Soon all of time will belong to...him!

Since his first battle with the Avengers, they have been his nemesis -- his defeat! But soon, they will cease to exist! The tempovision screen is engaged and Kang stares at the instrument of his vengeance! He sees the World War One Flying Ace known as -- The Phantom Eagle! The tempovision screen is deactivated, and the time-traveler's course is clear... it will be as if they never existed!!

He sees the irony in choosing the Phantom Eagle --- a pilot whose brief career was during the First World War -- and who perished before the Avengers was formed! From his lone outpost --- located on the fringes of the warlike world -- the gleaming spheroid begins to soar --- ! It crashes through the sound barrier --- the heat barrier --- the time barrier --- as it hurls faster than the speed of light, into the relative-time stream --- and heads for a specific year -- a specific hour -- a specific moment in time ---! But as the spheroid gets near to its destination --- Disaster!!

The spheroid flails like a child's lost balloon --- like a fragile bubble from a pipe --- the chronosphere finds itself battered about by the cosmic forces of a ... Time-Storm! The very period where Kang seeks to materialize is blanketed, and this is the one eventuality he was not prepared for! He must return to the 41st Century --- before his craft is torn asunder! He will return --- but with a new plan! Soon, the Twentieth Century will belong to -- Kang The Conqueror! In the year 1971 --- the Hulk is pleased to find himself where there are no cities... no soldiers... no puny humans! NOTHING!

Kang will not accept defeat, while the Hulk is pleased to be alone. If his spheroid cannot endure the time-storm... Kang must find someone or something which can! If the puny humans don't leave the Hulk alone --- Hulk will SMASH them! Kang turns to Ravonna, whose spirit is in the limbo between life and death, and only in conquest can he find release! The Twentieth Century must be his! But how? The Hulk is not worried, for there is no one --- for many miles! The HULK!! Kang realizes that if anyone could survive the time storm -- it would be him!

His futuristic science enables Kang to locate the Hulk --- and bring him to the future -- where he shall unknowingly be the cause for the Avengers' downfall! The emerald man-brute sees that the mountains -- the trees -- the blue sky -- have all disappeared! He is pulled -- through some sort of funnel -- lights which he cannot see --- but feels instead! The Hulk demands to know who is behind it -- and he gets his wish! The Conqueror is grateful that his "ally's" strength is more formidable than his vocabulary!

All the Hulk wants is to return home, and all Kang wants is for him to do his bidding! Upon hearing Kang's nom du guerre, he knows that this is another puny human who wants to use him -- to fight other puny humans! As the green goliath grips Kang's tunic, the time traveler tells him that he can arrange it so that the Hulk will destroy Bruce Banner -- forever! Hearing the name of the one he hates the most, the Hulk releases his grip on the time traveler. Kang directs the brute's attention to the panoramic screen, where images of bi-planes from World War I are seen...

The scene shifts to where an enormous weapon has been built by the Boche! The land is at war, and the massive cannon's range is far beyond those of the enemy -- and may very well alter the course of the war! Out of the sky, an aircraft swoops down -- and the pilot is the Phantom Eagle! His craft may be considered primitive -- but it is quite advanced for its time and place -- since the pilot is seated in a small plane -- which is attached to a larger, unpiloted one beneath! The airship speeds downward -- towards the muzzle of the great cannon --- but at the last moment, the smaller plane detaches itself from the larger -- and heads upwards in a desperate climb --

The larger plane -- and its deadly cargo -- do their job!! VAA-SHOOM! The Hulk wonders what this has to do with him, and Kang tells him that he knows how Banner has kept him a prisoner! (Holy McGoohan, Batman!) He tells the emerald man-brute that if the Phantom Eagle is destroyed -- so will Banner! It is almost too much for the Hulk to figure out, and the Conqueror tells him to trust him and smash the pilot -- after all, what does he have to lose? The Hulk agrees, and tells Kang that if he's been lied to, he'll smash him, too! Kang agrees and tells him to be seated. The green goliath doesn't know why he must sit like a puny human, and tells Kang that he could just jump there! The Conqueror tells him that it's beyond the reach of one of his mighty leaps! A button is pressed, and the Hulk begins to fade... He is traveling back into time... beyond the voice of Kang!

The emerald man-brute plunges into the midst of the time-storm -- which lingers like a cloud over 1917 -- and which will always be there since 1917 will always be 1917. Even though Kang was unable to reach it, the Hulk dives through, and Kang knows that the French grandfather of Bruce Banner -- was fighting in the trenches in 1917. If the cannon is not destroyed, the ancestor of Bruce Banner will die beneath the fearsome barrage! The Hulk raises an emerald fist -- and Kang knows that if the soldier dies -- there will never be a Robert Bruce Banner -- or a gamma-irradiated Hulk! Nor will Earth's Mightiest Heroes band together to fight the green goliath -- and form the group called The Avengers! And since no single hero could have withstood the power of Kang in 1964 -- the Twentieth Century will belong to the Conqueror!! He senses that the Hulk has broken through the time-storm --

The emerald man-brute has emerged in the period where two sides of mankind, who differ only in the colors of their uniforms, fight in the madness which would be known as World War One!!

The German tank commander sees the monster in their midst, and figures that the Allies have sent it! He orders his men to destroy it before they can send their tanks against them! Even though he doesn't know exactly where he is, the Hulk grabs hold of the German tank, even as the artillery shells fail to make a dent... BRAKKA THOW!

It is like any other place to him, for men are shooting at him -- BOKKA-BOKKA! Everywhere he goes, he must fight -- in order to live! His emerald hands presses the tank into so much shrapnel... SHROOM!

If he must fight -- then he will fight -- until the men learn to leave him alone!! He knows that there is a task he must do -- if only Hulk could remember what it is! In the future, Kang smirks as he knows that the brainless behemoth is on the brink of total non-existence! Miles away behind the front at a small hidden airfield -- Curly tells his boss that he's not too crazy about the Tom Swift technology! The over-sized slingshot and the plane-on-top-of-a-plane! It may look spectacular, but it'll never get off the ground! The Phantom Eagle reminds him that a couple of guys named Orville and Wilbur heard that argument before.

He knows that they must pull a "David and Goliath!" The cannon which the French spies have learned about may change the course of the war -- if the Germans launch an offensive by next Spring! Curly wonders if the Phantom Eagle is determined to win the war by himself, and even though Karl Kauffman, he can't fly agains the Kaiser, not while his parents are in Germany! The Phantom Eagle, however, is a horsefly of a different color! Curly watches in disbelief as the skilled pilot takes off! The Hulk sees the big gun that Kang told him about -- and tries to remember what else there was to do. He hears the plane approaching, and knows that he must smash it -- now!

The Phantom Eagle has bluffed his way through and figures that the Germans didn't think a single pilot would dare -- but he sees something green heading towards him! A flying MAN -- some kind of green GIANT -- and he's heading straight for HIM! Kang praises the Hulk, for he has made the Phantom Eagle swerve to avoid his oncoming form, and is forced to jettison his bomb-plane prematurely -- ending the one chance of destroying the great cannon -- and saving the life of Bruce Banner's ancestor! BUH-ROOM! The Conqueror watches as the Hulk continues to leap -- and attack the small plane -- as he is trapped in the alternate reality where Kang has sent him -- until the instant when Banner's grandfather is killed -- and he will cease to be! The German gunners fire their weapons, oblivious to the voice of the triumphant Kang, who could care less who wins the war now!

He tries to tell the Hulk to stop -- where the enemy shells from below have struck him! The big bullets have stung the green goliath, and the Hulk does not like to be stung! The Germans watch as the flying creature dives for the cannon, believing that it was they who fired at him -- not the gunners, who believe that the brute will soon be destroyed! The cannon is ready to fire, and the green schweinhund will be its first victim! The Hulk dives towards the cannon, and the Germans order the cannon to fire... FROOOOM!

Kang shrieks for the brainless, blundering, brute to get out of the way of the immense shell! WHROM! It is too late -- and now, if the Hulk has survived the concussion -- he has! The green goliath still lives, and the conclusion to this battle -- to Kang's scheme -- is a foregone conclusion! The five-ton Hulk crashes into the great cannon -- causing the countless shells stored in the cavern to explode -- FTROOM! Kang watches as the emerald man-brute staggers out of the wreck -- leaving behind a vision to be buried in all of that debris --

Kang The Conqueror's vision of the total conquest of time itself! He is determined that the Hulk pay! The green goliath is to live out his entire life in the time period he is in -- and become the first being ever to die -- before he is born!! The Phantom Eagle wonders if it was a good idea to land -- especially since the green galoot did his mission for him -- and he has to see if he needs help! The Hulk tells the pilot to stay back or be smashed! He doesn't want or need any help -- just wants -- It is then that the green goliath feels strange! He begins to fade away! Kang senses that the Hulk is returning to his stronghold, and knows that he is like a vacuum ball -- kept underwater! The green goliath will only stay in 1917 only as long as he is held there! The Conqueror is determined to hold him there -- by the sheer power of his own will!!

Before the Phantom Eagle's eyes, he watches as the "green galoot" continues to fade, and in the future, Kang despairs as he has lost -- but now, something is happening to him --! In 1917, Karl Kauffman sees that the green gorilla is -- gone! He wonders if he'll ever know just who -- or what he was?? He is fortunate not to hear the agonizing scream of the once-conqueror, which echoes between the seconds, the decades, the centuries -- as he and the Hulk pass one another, somewhere/when in the corridors of time --! It ends -- and in limbo, the one who was once Kang the Conqueror drifts, his mind an empty page, in the span between millenia-- and in the present from where he had been taken, a transformation has taken place... and the sleeping from of the Hulk has reverted to that of... Bruce Banner...! In a world which had come and gone for half-a-century, a melancholy pilot wonders if he'll ever know... if he ever will truly know... but he never will...!

A wonderfully symbollic cover as the years etched in stone are being carried by the Hulk. For some reason, Kang's sleeves are blue rather than their usual color.

The Phantom Eagle first made his appearance in Marvel Super-Heroes #16, as well as appearing in an issue of The Invaders, and Ghost Rider.

Time travel is a staple of science fiction and comic books.

Television programs, such as Quantum Leap, The Time Tunnel, Star Trek, and Doctor Who had made use of the premise of time travel.

Roy's Theory of Relativity: Ever since Avengers #9 (1964) when Kang first invaded the 20th Century, his time-flow rate has gone forward at the same speed as ours -- so that just as seven years have passed for Kang, it's been seven years for us, too.

Ravonna, she who saved Kang's life when Baltag sought to shoot him from behind, is kept in suspended animation in hopes that she may be cured from the lethal shot she took in his stead.

When Kang and The Grandmaster played a game, with the Avengers and The Squadron Sinister as their pawns, the Conqueror chose the power of death to kill the Avengers over that of life for Ravonna. He was stopped by Dane Whitman, the Black Knight, who at the time was not a member of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Artist Herb Trimpe has an interest in aviation.

If Kang had succeeded, and Bruce Banner's grandfather had perished, this would have caused a time paradox. If the Hulk never existed, then who did Kang send back into time?

Another hero from World War One is the Union Jack.

Inker Sal Buscema would pencil the Hulk, beginning in the mid-70's, and would be inked by the liked of Joe Staton, Ernie Chan, Alfredo Alcala, and Joe Sinnott.

The lettering of Sam Rosen is so well done, that you can practically hear the sound effects.

Steve Chung
"Review Into The Time-Storm!"