X-Men: First Class (2nd series) #5

Issue Date: 
January 2008
Story Title: 
<BR>Smash<BR> The Talking Board

(1st story)
Jeff Parker (writer), Roger Cruz (artist) Val Staples (colorist), Blambot’s Nate Piekos (letterer), Eric Nguyen (cover), Brad Johansen (production) Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

(2nd story)
Jeff "Panorama" Parker (story), Colleen "Creepy" Coover (art)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)

As a favor to Xavier’s FBI friend, Fred Duncan, the X-Men are assisting the army in looking for the Hulk in Colorado. They soon find the green giant or more to the point – he finds them. With the Hulk quickly annoyed, the youngsters can barely hold their own. They are joined by Rick Jones, who explains to them why the Hulk exists and that he is trying to mind his own business while the army wants him as a weapon. His version is corroborated by Xavier, who calms the Hulk enough for him to turn to Bruce Banner again. Seeing this, the X-Men decide that they have never found the Hulk.

(2nd story)
Marvel Girl is giving the boys a scare when they are using a Ouija board, only to have Xavier play a trick on all five of them.

Full Summary: 

1st story:

The five X-Men walk through a forest landscape.

Hup-two-three-four… give it up-two-three-four! Bobby chants. Is he ever going to stop that, Jean asks annoyed. They are out here to help the army, after all, Warren points out, reminding them that they’ve failed to catch some big monster guy, so X’s government pal Agent Duncan asked if he can help the cause. Which naturally means them, Hank adds.

Jean remarks that the professor usually has good intel, but they’ve been on it all day and haven’t seen anything rowdier than a doe. Normally this “Hulk” thing stays around the desert. It’s unlikely he’s come this far north. Still, there are worse places to do a search in than the Colorado wilderness.

Looking up, Hank sees a giant shadow moving towards them. Perhaps they’ve been looking down too much, he ventures.

The Hulk lands before them. Immediately, he smashes a rock with the splinters flying towards the X-Men, angrily announcing that he left the desert to get away from Ross and his army. They couldn’t kill him. So the cowards are sending those punks for them now! When you destroy military bases, people tend to frown on that, Cyclops retorts as he fires an optic blast to deflect the rock fragments. Beast jumps at him, but the Hulk doesn’t even flinch.

Angel tosses a rock at the Hulk’s head from above, betting he will feel this. Bet again, the Hulk suggests, throwing a much larger rock back.

Iceman lets loose with an ice barrage at the Hulk, freezing him. While Bobby congratulates himself, Jean shouts at him to get back. A moment later, the Hulk, more furious than before, bursts free from his icy cage. Man, they are doing awful, Warren mutters, protecting himself with his wings from the ice.

Calmly, Cyclops touches his visor and fires point blank at the green giant who goes down hard. Slowly, he stands up and smirks. Not bad… That deserves applause. The Hulk claps and the shockwave sends the X-Men off their feet. Jean slowly gets up. Copying the Hulk’s previous smirk and gestures, she admits not bad… Oh, come on now, the Hulk mocks in disbelief. A little girl is all they have left? Yep, Jean retorts undeterred. Just one little girl. Suddenly, the Hulk notices he is floating helplessly in the air as Jean sends him away.

At a certain secret army base in Colorado, General Ross shouts that he wants that freak contained to the southwest. Don’t they have some ding-dong egghead tracing him? Another official asks Xavier if his team had any luck. Xavier concentrates and mentally reaches the team. Have they found the Hulk?

Yep, Warren replies. They beat him. He’s gone for good. Can they come home now? Warren is being facetious, Hank admits.

At the army base, Ross demands an update whereas Xavier realizes this isn’t as straightforward a mission as they were told. They may be changing the mission. He’s having trouble focusing in this war room. Military aides and officers keep interrupting him.

Speaking of interruptions, Scott worries, as he hears a booming noise coming closer… Their subject is back. The Hulk snarls and Cyclops sends another optic blast into his direction. He’s starting to get on his nerves with that, the Hulk threatens. He slams the ground hard and a rift opens beneath the X-Men. Angel grabs Cyclops and Marvel Girl, Iceman saves himself on an iceslide and Beast has his acrobatics to fall back on.

Incredible, Xavier finds, as he tries to control the Hulk. He waves off the army people trying to interrupts him, but finds he cannot concentrate in this room and the Hulk’s rage makes it too hard. He must find a different room. His thought form disappears.

He thought Xavier was going to solve this, Bobby remarks disappointed. Hank tells them to be careful. They’re being approached from the other side as well. If there’re two of them, I quit, Marvel Girl protests.

A young man on a motorbike drives between them and the Hulk and orders them to stop the attack. The Hulk isn’t hurting anybody! Worried for the boy’s health Hank jumps in the Hulk’s face, with Scott following. Hulk grabs Beast and tosses him into the air, while telling Jones to get away. All he does is catch X-Men, Angel mutters as he flies after Beast.

The others in the meantime have come up with another plan. Iceman has created an iceslide behind the Hulk, Jean telekinetically pushes him and the slide propels him into the air.

Rick Jones angrily tells them now he’s never going to calm down. Why don’t they just give up and hightail it back to Thunderbolt Ross before they get hurt? What is he talking about? Jean wonders.

Rick explains that the Hulk is sick of the army always coming after him. If everybody stopped provoking him, things would be fine. Cyclops remarks that he looks like a menace at large to him, even if he does have a teenage sidekick for some reason. While Angel and Beast return Rick explains that the Hulk is not a menace. He saved Rick’s life. Is he a military weapon gone wrong? Jean asks.

Rick relates how he got through to the army test ground on a dare. He didn’t know they were going to set off a gamma bomb. Br… he corrects himself, this guy pushed him out of the way and caught all the radiation instead of Rick. Now he’s the monster they are hunting. It’s his fault there is a Hulk.

That moment the Hulk is back, slamming the ground with all his strength. Jean and Iceman barely manage to shield the others from the flying debris. Cyclops pushes Ricks aside and blasts some debris as well.

The Hulk is totally out of control now and Rick shouts at them that they have to leave. There’s no reasoning with him now. Hulk stomps, making them lose their balance and grabs Jean and Scott, intent on crushing them.

Beast and Rick try to hold him back when suddenly he stands there frozen. Xavier has control of him now that he can concentrate. He finds the Hulk’s mind as incredible as his might. Really? He doesn’t strike him as a big thinker, Bobby mutters.

Now that he is calm, another part of his personality is asserting himself. Who are they talking to? Rick asks. Before their eyes the Hulk is turning to … Dr. Bruce Banner! Hank shouts. How does he know some nuclear physicist? Rick asks. He has a set of obscure scientist trading cards, Bobby quips.

Cyclops introduces them and explains they thought they were looking for a threat to national security. That’s what they found, Banner replies glumly. The Hulk is maybe the greatest technological disaster ever created. And he happens to be Banner. He’s trying to find a way to control the change, before the army does it for him.

Xavier’s astral form makes itself visible to Banner and Rick. He’s a mutant then, isn’t he, Hank asks. Not a mutant, but a form of mutation, the professor concedes. If he’s thinking about recruiting the Hulk into the X-Men, stop thinking about it, Warren warns Hank. The mansion would be leveled in no time. But the professor could control the Hulk, keep it suppressed, Hank pleads.

Banner thanks him for the offer but his transformations are becoming more erratic. He’s not sure how he’s going to end up. Rick interrupts, calling Xavier mister big-floating-head-guy. They outnumber him and Banner, they can run them in. But did they notice that he Hulk wasn’t tearing through a populated area? He’s hiding out here in the country, trying to be left alone. The change seems to come now when Doc feels threatened. They’re just trying to stay away from threats.

Well, said, Xavier commends him. He knows something about this kind of persecution well. They have nothing to fear from the X-Men. Observing the officers there confirms Rick’s suspicions – they want the Hulk’s power for themselves. As a weapon and the X-Men have a stance on that.

Right, they’ll head back, Cyclops announces as Xavier disappears. What stance? Banner asks. The search turned up nothing, Cyclops tells him with a smile. They’re not even sure there really is a Hulk, Jean adds. Cool pants, yo, Bobby concludes as they take their leave.

2nd story:

The four male X-Men sit in the den around an Ouija Board Warren has brought. Hank scoffs at the superstitious nonsense while Warren assures him it worked at his aunt’s house. They talked to a ghost that haunted the place. There’s bound to be some ghosts here, Bobby remarks nervously. The mansion is pretty old. What do they do? Scott asks eagerly. Warren instructs them to lightly touch the planchette and ask it something.

An amused Jean secretly observes the boys from the staircase.

Warren begins: are there any sprits in this house? The planchette moves out of their hands and points to “yes.”

Jean grins and the boys collectively gasp. Hank mutters something about a draft from the fire place.

Did anyone feel that cold chill run through them? Warren asks. That was him, Bobby apologizes

Now the planchette moves although nobody’s touching it. I died here 100 years ago it spells. I watch you as you sleep. Are you a friendly ghost? Bobby asks nervously. The planchette points to “no.”

What do you want? Bobby asks while all the boys look decidedly nervous. Jean decides to break it up and confess.

I want five young souls , the burning image of a devil suddenly screams at them. And upstairs Xavier smiles to himself.

Characters Involved: 

1st story:

Professor Xavier

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)

Bruce Banner / Hulk

Rick Jones

Army officials

2nd story:

Professor Xavier

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)

Story Notes: 
Issue Information: 

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