AVENGERS #3 (1964)

This is almost the first “Hulk vs. Everybody” comic. 

The Avengers hunt him down, after having fought him in issue #1 (albeit he was under Loki’s thrall), and try to take him down so he can’t hurt anyone else.  This is a good example of there being a reason for the team to exist: So the heroes can band together and accomplish things they wouldn’t do alone. It’s also interesting that as early as 1964 it was obvious that all the world’s heroes would be needed to take down Hulk, and yet World War Hulk wouldn’t happen until the next century. The next century. That’s right. These same characters are still generating jobs and wealth and providing entertainment across two centuries. They predate cell-phones and the internet and diet coke. What other franchises have lasted that long? Fuck you, Harry Potter.

Anyway, like I said, this is ALMOST an “everyone versus Hulk” story. But everyone else is too busy to help with Hulk. 

Reed is playing with fire. Sue has a fashion show to get to. Spider-Man is too busy with street-level criminals. Despite Professor X’s connection with the FBI, The X-Men are too busy training to get involved.

Some of these excuses are…Not good.  Most of them, in fact.

Anyway, World War Hulk averted.

The Avengers find Hulk and fight him, but he escapes on a train and does a Wiley Coyote to Giant-Man.

So Hulk is missing again, and Namor finds him.

They fight, of course.

And then team up.

Then they realize they are kindred spirits and fight the Avengers.  And Hulk lifts Thor’s hammer.

I’m assuming that’s an inking error in the top right panel, switching their hands as they were intended to be drawn by Kirby, but it’s a pretty serious error.

Also, in this issue, Bruce refers to himself as “Bob Banner.”  Here’s a cool story about how that happened.   It’s an error, but it will happen AGAIN in the very next issue.

This issue was great–so great, it got a full-page house ad back in Avengers #2.

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