“If I Kill You.. I Die!”
Written by Roy Thomas.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Herb Trimpe.
Lettering by Sam Rosen.
You don’t know what a splitting headache is till you’re Bruce Banner. Determined yet again to cure himself of being the Hulk, Banner goes to visit old colleague Raoul Stoddard who just happens to have a secret cave at the end of a secret tunnel, which just so happens to contain a secret machine that can just so happen to be able to cure the Hulk.
The trouble is, when it’s used, it doesn’t cure him at all, it simply splits Banner and the Hulk into two separate people, with the Hulk determined to kill Bruce Banner.
It’s another corking tale that feels almost like some metaphysical fever as all logic’s defied and Stoddard has a complete personality change halfway through, suddenly turning into a raving madman for no reason other than it’s good for dramatic tension. The whole tale stretches credulity pretty much to its breaking point, with Stoddard’s secret tunnel, cave and machine - not to mention his sudden change from good guy to homicidal nut job - but this is the Hulk and all such objections are cast aside by the vaguely surreal horror of it all as the Hulk squares up to Banner and then sets about smashing his way through the United States, on a mission to kill his former alter ego.
Given its unlikely twists and turns, and the fact that what happens must be Bruce Banner’s worst nightmare, you wouldn’t be surprised if the good doctor woke at the end of the tale only to discover it had all been a dream.
But no, it’s not. At the end of the issue it’s all still real and we’re gonna have to wait a whole month to see how it ends.