"Klaatu! The Behemoth From Beyond Space!"
Written by Roy Thomas.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Sal Buscema.
Lettering by Jean Izzo.
They say talent borrows and genius steals. In which case Roy Thomas must be up there with Einstein, as he commits Larceny on a scale I think anyone would have to call Grand. He steals the story's title from the 1958 movie It! The Terror From Beyond Space, the name of its monster of the month from the protagonist in The Day The Earth Stood Still, and the plot from Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
And lo and behold it is indeed a thing of genius as the Hulk comes up against the gigantic Klaatu a space monster the size of the Empire State Building, and Xeron an interplanetary harpoonist out to kill the thing but having to settle instead for capturing the Hulk as his latest crew-member.
I love this tale. It's like some strange dream gone mad, with gigantic monsters hiding in skyscrapers, and aliens travelling across the universe in sailing ships and rowing boats.
Gasp as we see Klaatu, a foe so huge and powerful that even the mighty Hulk himself can do nothing more than mildly annoy it.
Thrill to see the Hulk helpless against superior alien technology.
Shudder to see the return of the dreaded Abomination, radiation-spawned menace.
I think that, like Roy Thomas, I may have been watching too many 1950s sci-fi flicks.
But, on the Abomination front, even if we only get a brief glimpse, it's great to see him. For a villain who's supposed to be one of the Hulk's arch-enemies, it's amazing how long it's taken him to make what's only his second ever appearance in the strip.