Incredible Hulk 5
"Beauty and the Beast!"
January, 1963

Script: STAN LEE
Art: JACK KIRBY
Inking: DICK AYERS
Lettering: ART SIMEK

On the splash page, Tyrannus stands before his subjects, and the lives of Betty Ross and The Incredible Hulk will soon his path!

At the home of General "Thunderbolt" Ross, top-secret films are being shown, and among those viewing them are: Betty Ross, Rick Jones, and Bruce Banner. The general tells them how the green goliath has managed to escape their neuron-magnet by using his super-human strength, and smashing the device! A tele-photo lens captures an image of the Hulk lifting up the side of an entire building! (Holy Hold-Up, Batman!) Another piece of film shows the green goliath catching and surviving an explosive shell! It is General Ross' job to stop the Hulk, but he can't do it by military means alone! He needs the scientific help of the top scientist on staff... Bruce Banner! Although he can't make any promises, the scientist promises that he and his teenage assistant will think of something! The general can't see why Banner would want Jones as an assistant, and Betty points out to her father that the defense department has given Bruce the right to choose any assistance he needs.

General Ross knows how his daughter feels about Banner, but he doesn't entirely trust the man. Betty knows that Bruce works on top-secret weapons planning... and he is only answerable to the commander-in-chief. The general is a military man who follows orders, but the scientist bothers him. Betty is afraid that her father might learn that she is in love with Bruce. Both are unaware that many miles beneath the surface, they are being watched by Tyrannus. He sees the girl as the tool to conquer the atomic weapons of the Earth. After centuries of being a prisoner underground, it is time for him to strike! He must first sip from the fountain of youth! The water which has eluded Ponce De Leon had been found many centuries before by Tyrannus. Although he had been banished to the center of the Earth by Merlin, he has been kept his youth all this time -- while plotting his revenge on mankind! The wizard was unaware that he would find a race of creatures who would obey him! With their science and desire to serve him, Tyrannus has the mightiest weapons ever dreamed of!

Only the threat of atomic weapons have kept him at bay, but Betty Ross will help him overcome even that! The following day... Bruce and Rick visit the General's home... with Rick amused by the thought that the scientist has been asked to capture himself! Bruce hopes that his secret will remain so, and regrets that mankind may never trust the Hulk. The teenager admits that even he trembles when he sees the green goliath! Inside, they are introduced to Mr. Tyrannus, who will be shown some nearby caves by Betty. Rick sees that Bruce is disturbed, and the scientist has a hunch that the man is not to be trusted. The girl is pleased that Bruce is jealous and hopes that this will make him think of her as a woman. Minutes pass... and both Bruce and Rick have followed the trail left by the two. The scientist wonders why an archeologist would need a local to show him caves, and why didn't he have any equipment? A giant boulder prevents the two from following further... and they both see the tracks continuing beyond it! The scientist and his assistant soon rush back to the lab...

On the other side of the boulder, Betty Ross has learned of the true nature of Mr. Tyrannus, who presses a switch on his vehicle, which reveals the image of her father onscreen. The turn of another switch shows their images to General Ross, who sees his own daughter a prisoner! The terms for her safety is that there will be no resistance when his legions attack the surface world! As they travel deeper into the earth, the Hulk and Rick arrive at the cave's entrance... with the rock gone! The green goliath knows that Tyrannus has Betty and he tells Rick to leave... but the teenager insists on going, too! They see him loading Betty into another vehicle, and as it makes its way downwards... the Hulk and Rick are going along for the ride!

Once the machine has arrived, the green goliath begins to smash it, as if it were cardboard! Tyrannus activates the valves which release volcanic gases! Both the Hulk and Rick are unable to see -- to breathe -- and soon, they are unconscious. Both awaken to find themselves in a cell, with the Hulk hardly able to move! Tyrannus sees that the green goliath is as helpless as a babe, and intends that his new slave serve him!

He points out to the Hulk that the effects of the gas will soon wear off, but with the girl as his prisoner, the green goliath must do as he says. The tyrannoids help the Hulk don some armor and give him an asbestos shield! The green goliath is to enage in a match against Tyrannus' fire-breathing warrior! The shield helps to protect the Hulk from the flames, then the green goliath uses a stun-gun on the robot, but to no avail! The robot deflects the blows with his fast-moving arms, then springs a punch on the Hulk!

As the green goliath leaps at the robot, a battering ram sends the Hulk back! A steel cable soon wraps around the bestial brute, but then it is the Hulk's turn! As he advances upon his mechanized enemy, all is forgotten, save the brutal desire for battle! The part of him which is still Bruce Banner has almost left - and for a brief second, white-hot rage fill him, and an inhuman engine of destruction now stands in his place! The robot is smashed and the Hulk begins to lift the stands...

Tyrannus threatens to shoot Betty, and the Hulk relents. The paralyzer ray is turned on the green goliath! The villain has forgotten all about Rick, and the youngster must think of a way to save the Hulk or else they're all doomed! The bestial brute is put to work... Towing a giant statue... damming a flood... and driving metal posts into the ground with his fists. Tyrannus no longer finds the Hulk's labors amusing and orders his demise!

Once he has left, a steel-helmeted figure arrives, with orders to bring Betty Ross! As she is dragged along the hallways screaming, the armored figure congratulates her on making it look real! Beneath the armor is Rick Jones, who wonders if she was expecting Chubby Checker?? They head for the Hulk's cell, where Betty shows him that she's okay! They see Tyrannus' legions charging down the hall, then pass the startled duo for the Hulk! The green goliath begins to wade into the Tyrannoids! He laughs as they run like whipped dogs! Rick knows that it isn't over yet, and Betty knows that Tyrannus will never let them escape!

The Hulk knows that Tyrannus had better start worrying about himself! With the bestial brute free, Tyrannus seeks to rally his troops! The green goliath prepares to lower the boom on Tyrannus by toppling the pillars! Doing so will keep the tyrant from reaching the surface world again! BARRROOOM! Minutes have passed, and three figures make their way to the sub-surface escape capsule which rests on the other side of the pillars! Betty is already aboard and Rick admits that even he wondered if the Hulk could have pulled off a stunt like that! The green goliath knows that there is very little he can't do -- and the teenager better not forget it! Betty is in a state of shock and doesn't remember anything which happened underground! The Hulk knows that this means that she'll still hate him, and fear him when they reach the surface! He doesn't care because he doesn't need her! Let the girl fear him! Let the whole world fear him! Maybe they have good reason to... because they are only puny humans but HE'S -- THE HULK!

Tyrannus has been a favorite of mine since the '70s, when Roger Stern made him turn out to be behind the scenes in the "They Who Wield Power" Saga which ran through the pages of many Marvel comics.

Interesting that General Ross and the army see the Hulk rampaging in purple underwear, but fail to connect this salient fact to the purple wardrobe of Bruce Banner.

In the Silver Age, Tyrannus used the River of Lethe to compel the X-Men to attack his rival, the Mole Man! By the end of the story, both he and the Mole Man were amnesiacs.

In the pages of Fantastic Four #127 - #128, the Mole Man told the Thing that he was the first to regain his memory, then kept the amnesiac Tyrannus as his personal slave. The tyrant's memory was restored to him by Kala, Queen of the Netherworld, and her kindness was repaid when Tyrannus betrayed her!

In The Man Called Nova #5, it seemed that Tyrannus battled the human rocket, but as was revealed in the pages of The Incredible Hulk by Roger Stern, the elderly "Des" used part of the Eternal Flame to gain control of one of his Tyrannoids, transforming it into an exact copy of Tyrannus' true form. Unfortunately for him, the new form was too slow and dull-witted for his schemes to succeed against Nova.

In the 1990s, Tyrannus was one of the villains to appear in the Sega Genesis Incredible Hulk game.

This story was one of the ones adapted in 1966 for the Marvel Superheroes cartoon shows.

This story was reprinted in Marvel Collectors' Item Classics #6.

This Review Is Dedicated To Hoy Murphy

Steve Chung
"Beauty And The Beast!"