Marvel | Back To Tales To Astonish | December 1964 | Volume 1 | USA | 104 Owned
1st Leader

Basic Information
December 1964
Comic Age
Cover Price
Issue Facts
  • 1st APPEARANCE of The "LEADER" (Samuel Sterns)
Issue Credits
Interior Artist
Cover Artist
Crossover/Story Arcs
Arcs :
Stories May contain spoliers
 1) GIANT-MAN versus The Wonderful WASP! 2) Enter...The CHAMELEON! 

Working in his lab, Henry Pym has found a way to speed up the growth of plants, however his experiment soon gets out of control and the plant grows rapidly causing it to spread about the city. Shrinking down to ant-size, as Giant-Man he manages to stop the plants further growth by destroying it's tap root. However the plant still continues to grow (unknown to Pym), and when two-bit crook Second-Story Sammy makes an escape from a botched robbery, he ends up landing on one of the plants leaves and sliding into Pym's lab. There Sammy spies Pym's continued work on his experiment which causes an explosion that knocks him out.
1st APPEARANCE "LEADER" (Samuel Sterns)
the army is about to execute the Hulk. While this is about to happen, the mysterious Leader hires the Chameleon to travel to New Mexico to find out what has happened to the spy he hired to steal the robot from the missile base. While in New York, Rick Jones hears of the Hulk's fate and is given permission from Captain America to go to his friend's rescue. Both the Chameleon (in disguise) and Rick Jones end up flying to New Mexico on the same plane.

While in New Mexico, Betty worries that perhaps Bruce ran into the Hulk while out in the desert, no knowing that the Hulk is really Bruce Banner himself. The Hulk, meanwhile, is attempting to break free of his bonds, bringing him near to the point where his level of excitement would cause him to revert back into Bruce Banner. Rick Jones arrives on the base and tries to get near the Hulk but fails each time.

The Chameleon fares better however, disguising himself as Thunderbolt Ross and asking the Hulk to aid him. When the Hulk refuses, the Chameleon, using General Ross' brass, sends the other soldiers away so they can talk more. While his back is turned, the Hulk's constant strain causes him to change back into Banner. He manages to escape the bonds that were made to hold someone of the Hulk's size. The fleeing Banner is found by Rick Jones, who secrets him away long enough to change his clothing.

Banner then reports to Ross who is reprimanding his soldiers for allowing the Hulk to escape. Talbot attempts to question Banner who rebuffs any demands for answers. Walking out of the room, Banner is knocked out and tied up by the Chameleon who disguises himself as Banner in order to steal the plans and a prototype for a grenade-type gamma bomb.

The Chameleon is interrupted by Betty Ross, who realizes that she is talking to an impostor. As the Chameleon is trying to capture the girl, Bruce Banner (who is locked in the closet) turns into the Hulk and smashes through the wall to save Betty. The Chameleon holds the Hulk at bay by threatening him with the Gamma grenade until the Hulk is scared off by an approaching military patrol.

The Chameleon then tries to get rid of Betty by shooting her off into a rocket speed-velocity test sled, but the Hulk manages to stop it and save Betty and chase after the Chameleon.

Knocking away an army of soldiers, the Hulk dives on the Gamma grenade, which the Chameleon attempted to use to destroy the Hulk. The resulting explosion is shielded by the Hulk's body. The gamma radiation causes the Hulk to revert back into Bruce Banner who escapes in the smoke.

Later, during a board of inquiry, due to Betty's testimony Banner is cleared of any suspected involvement, but Ross explains that he will find out what sort of connection (if any) there is between Banner and the Hulk. Elsewhere, the Leader decides that it's time that he himself get involved in finding the government secrets he seeks..
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Comic Cover for Tales To Astonish (#62)
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