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Tales to Astonish #85: Review

Nov 1966
Stan Lee, John Buscema

Story Name:

The Missile And The Monster

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tales to Astonish #85 Review by (June 5, 2024)
First Hulk's issue by John Buscema. There's a cameo of the Hulk in the Submariner's story.

Reviews by Peter Silvestro: Hulk fights the cops! Hulk fights a giant robot! Hulk fights a missile! Hulk turns into Bruce Banner at the worst possible time! Action-packed issue is a lot of fun. Julio singled out John Buscema in his comments but it’s not his best work: Hulk lacks muscle definition and looks overweight rather than muscular, not a good look, especially on the cover. 

And here’s Namor in another useless chapter in his saga! Subby’s story is mere padding, the deletion of which would not affect the bigger story. A second control device is revealed! Namor wanders around before finding it and crushing it! The only important part of the tale concerns Hulk, who already has half the book centered on him, and the finish of the bad guy, who would have been forgotten had he merely gotten away. Nice art means this is still an enjoyable read but unnecessary.

Additonal Comments by Peter Silvestro: Hulk story: The Secret Empire next battles Beast in AMAZING ADVENTURES #11 and 15 before making their debut against Cap in CAPTAIN AMERICA #169-175. Cape Canaveral was known as Cape Kennedy from December 1963 to 1973, briefly honoring the late President.

Subby story: Part six of eight parts. The real first appearance of the Hulk in a Sub-Mariner comic. Final appearance of the Secret Empire’s Number One aside from a WHAT IF? cameo many years later (for the record, volume 1, #44). Hydra was shut down by SHIELD in STRANGE TALES #141 but returned in #150.

The letters page includes one by a Marty Nelson who may be the underground cartoonist of that name. 


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #85 Synopsis by Julio Molina-Muscara
Rick Jones arrives in Manhattan, and finds the Hulk, helping him to hide.

Meanwhile, Thunderbolt Ross orders to test the Orion missile.

The car drove by Rick secretly had a robot in the trunk. That robot is awaken and somehow modifies the trajectory of the Orion missile, targetting to strike New York city. 

Hulk smashes the robot and leaps to reach the powerful weapon. But the strain turns Hulk into Bruce Banner!

“—And One Shall Die!” Synopsis by Peter Silvestro 3/5

Writer: Stan Lee. Pencils: Gene Colan. Inks: Bill Everett. Colors: ? Letters: Art Simek.

Synopsis: Believing he has finally destroyed Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, Warlord Krang takes off in his sky-cruiser without looking back, intending to marry Lady Dorma. However, Namor survived that final attack but must remain in the sea to regain his full strength….

Revivified, Namor returns to land. Discovering the radio transceiver given him by Number One of the Secret Empire, Namor smashes it, just as that villain was trying to resume contact with him. Back at his base in Park Tower, Number One is desperate to regain control over Namor as the only way he can gain what he has aways wanted, fame and recognition as the man who killed the Hulk. His scanner shows that Hulk is heading towards him so he activates the Vibra-Discs implanted in Namor’s ears to buzz his brain, forcing him to return to the bad guy’s base….

And so, Namor feels pain in his head; he climbs to the top of a roller coaster at a park in New Jersey to clear his head but it doesn’t work. A train is rushing toward him. He considers standing still and letting it be destroyed by crashing into him but at the last minute he leaps away, seeing it would accomplish nothing to kill or maim surface people. He wonders if this makes him weak, as Krang contends, but shrugs and returns to the New York side of the river. Intense concentration leads him to discover the discs in his ears and he smashes them. Number One realizes Subby is no longer under his power and Hulk is climbing the outside of the building toward his apartment. The baddie arms a time bomb and sets it by the window then dashes out of the room to safety—but the end of his robe is caught in the door as it swings shut and locks. The armored mesh of the robe prevents it from tearing so the villain is trapped. The bomb detonates, destroying the apartment. Hulk, unharmed, leaps away. Police investigate and discover Number One’s body, burned beyond recognition….

Epilogue 1: A mysterious Hydra Agent crosses the Secret Empire off a list with A.I.M. while plotting the return of Hydra….

Epilogue 2: Krang decides to wait to return to Atlantis until word of Namor’s death becomes known around the world. In the meantime, he plans to wreak some havoc among the humans….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

John Buscema
John Tartaglione
Bill Everett (Cover Penciler)
Bill Everett (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Ray Holloway.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Betty Ross
Betty Ross

(Elizabeth Ross)
Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)

(Bruce Banner)
Thunderbolt Ross
Thunderbolt Ross

(Thaddeus Ross)

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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