Incredible Hulk Falls in to Unincredible Superheroics
Last issue it seemed like the first Incredible Hulk series had jumped the shark in it's first year - and this issue confirms it. It features two stories where The Hulk takes on unremarkable stock supervillains.
The first story 'Beauty and the Beast' has a subterranean, would-be world conqueror, and his underground army (no, not the Mole Man - it must be getting really crowded down there with all these underground armies) enslaving the Hulk. Predictably, Hulk escapes and runs amok eventually bringing down the roof on these adversaries.
The second story, 'The Hordes of General Fang', has Gen. Ross finally deploying the Iceberg Missile - it stops the Hulk for all of a couple panels - quite the letdown after building it up for three stories. On the other side of the planet Communist General Fang leads an army into peaceful Llhasa (clearly the PRC's encroachment into Tibet and India was much on Stan Lee's mind in 1963, because he also sicced Thor on 'em too). Banner decides to change into the Hulk, but instead of charging off into battle as Hulk normally would, he decides to go to his library and grab a book on folklore - then leaves with Rick Jones in tow. On arrival, he puts the book to use - dressing as the abominable snowman (where he found a Hulk sized costume, we'll never know). Then he spends the rest of the time pummeling commies, eventually just dropping the Abominable Snowman pretext altogether.
In addition to the dull superheroics here - Banner is now changing into the Hulk as regular as Batman dons his Bat suit - there's a lot of other things to dislike here. Hulk is now leaping farther than ever - jumping across vast sea distances like from Formosa to Mainland China in one leap, and is able to change direction in midair leaps - essentially, he's flying, we're just supposed to pretend he's leaping. There's also Hulk breath - a gale force equivalent to "the blast of a dozen wind-tunnels", and the wind Hulk's leap causes - just leaping past treetops is enough to bend them far enough that they snap back causing hurricane force winds.
Beyond the power-creep, there's also a lot of silly solutions to problems like - Hulk fights army, happens to see a geyser nearby, plugs geyser, happens to know that the water runs under the road, road erupts from the pressure with "cyclonic fury". And in another bit of convenience, in the first story, as soon as they rescue Betty and make good their escape, in the second to last panel, Rick suddenly announces: "Betty's in a state of shock Hulk! She doesn't remember anything that happened down there! It's some kind of amnesia!" Of course it is.
Hulk isn't even consistent with previous issues here, either. He talks and acts like The Thing. Even though it's supposed to be Bruce Banner's brain now in control of the Hulk body, as soon as he changes into The Hulk, he acts like an arrogant jerk with a giant chip on his shoulder, and talks in broken English - no explanation is given for this. If he's Banner, it's proper English, if it's Hulk it's all slang and "Shut up, you puny fool! Stay outta my hair while I look for somethin'!" and "Didja see the way those other crumbs took off..." and "Shuddup, stupid! I got eyes, ain't I?! We're gettin' outta here fast, and no one's gonna stop us!"