Classification: Terrestrial technology

Creator: Bruce Banner

User/Possessors: Unidentified spy

First Appearance: Tales to Astonish I#60/2 (October, 1964)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: "The most indestructible machine on Earth" (as per Bruce Banner), it was designed to withstand atomic explosions, and was virtually immune to harm.

The robot was basically an exoskeleton battle-suit that enhanced the operator's strength to unspecified superhuman levels, which enabled it to destroy a military tank, and to face the Hulk in hand-to-hand combat (see comments); however, despite its raw power, the robot moved in a slow and clumsy manner.

The interior of the robot was accessible to an operator via a hatch door located on its back--however, an unauthorized operator found himself trapped inside when the door was fused shut by an explosion. Within its indestructible casing, surrounding cushioning protected the operator from injury.

Although only equipped with a pair of pincer claws at the ends of its arms, the robot was seemingly able to perform delicate handwork ( evidenced by the trapped spy being able to build a missile).

(Tales to Astonish I#60/2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Bruce Banner began building his robot in a lab at General Thaddeus Ross' military base; but because of Banner's many disappearances while transforming into the Hulk, Ross began to suspect that his robot was a failure.

(Tales to Astonish I#60/2) - When Ross moved up the testing date for the robot to 8:00 AM the next morning, Banner had to feverishly work through the night to complete it in order to meet Ross' timetable.

   As Banner was finally completing work on the robot, he heard a noise outside the lab, so he went out to the hallway to investigate; he discovered a spy snooping outside the door, so he ran after him. But in the excitement of the chase, Banner once more transformed into the Hulk--being unaware of what was transpiring (see comments), the Hulk leaped away into the desert.

   Meanwhile, following the "disappearance" of Banner, the spy backtracked and returned to the lab; as dawn was breaking, he overpowered an unsuspecting watchman, climbed into the robot, and activated it.

   At 8:00 AM, the spy piloted the robot to the isolated area where the scheduled test was to be conducted--Ross and his men mistakenly believed that it was Banner operating the robot. After walking (seemingly) unharmed through an explosion, the robot was fired upon by a drone tank and was not damaged, so the spy decided to smash the tank to test the robot's strength. However, the spy discovered that the explosion had fused the robot's hatch door shut, and he was unable to exit (see comments).

   As the spy wandered about in the armor, he ran into the Hulk and took several powerful blows from the jade giant without any damage. The spy counterattacked and knocked the Hulk down a hill, just as the Hulk began to revert to Banner. After his transformation was completed, Banner was found by General Ross, and it was learned that a spy had stolen the robot. Banner offered to build a second robot to defeat the first, but Ross refused, determined that he would beat the spy-controlled robot himself.

(Tales to Astonish I#61/2) - Still trapped within the robot, the spy wandered in the desert and accidentally discovered the secret cave laboratory which had been used by Banner; utilizing materials found in the lab, he began to construct a crude missile to destroy the military base.

   Meanwhile, back at his military base lab, Banner built an electronic scanner and picked up the trail of the stolen robot.

   After completing his work on the missile, the spy set it up on a cliff near the base. When he saw a helicopter carrying Major Glenn Talbot and Betty Ross landing below, he dropped a boulder on them. But having located the robot and seeing the danger, Banner once more transformed into the Hulk, intercepted the falling boulder in midair, and shattered it, thus saving Talbot and Betty from certain death.

   The Hulk attacked his slower moving metallic adversary again, but still could not harm him. Their clash led them into a cave, where the Hulk managed to knock the robot down a bottomless pit, sending the spy to his apparent death (see comments).

   The Hulk then destroyed the missile before it could strike the military base.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

The Hulk fought the robot in his early days, before he became as strong as he would later be--he'd probably be able to pound it to scrap if he faced it today.

I'd estimate the robot to be about eight feet tall, and captions in both issues mentioned that it weighed ten tons (...however, with that much weight pressing down on the relatively small surface area of its feet, you'd think it would sink into the ground).

When the spy learned the access hatch was fused shut and he was trapped, he wasn't at all concerned--"I have all the room I need inside here! The robot can get me food...water...whatever I need..."--so presumably it had an air-filtration system, along with a smaller hatch through which he could've taken sustenance (...and I hope another hatch to get rid of what happens after eating and drinking!).

The term "robot" implies to me that it could operate independently--assuming the spy eventually died (if not from the fall, then from dehydration or starvation), maybe the indestructible robot is on auto-pilot and roaming around in Subterranea.

Hulk trivia: In previous stories (Incredible Hulk I#4-6), Banner used his gamma ray projector to transform himself into his green-skinned alter ego. But beginning with these two stories, it was established that stressful situations caused Banner's transformation, and he didn't change back to normal until he either calmed down or wore himself out physically. Furthermore, Banner and the Hulk now had different personalities, and each was now only vaguely aware of what the other had done. --Ron Fredricks

Profile by Prime Eternal. Expansion by Ron Fredricks.

Bruce Banner's Robot should not be confused with:

unidentified spy

Having a knowledge of some unspecified branch of science, he was an espionage agent secretly working for the Leader (Sam Sterns).

After commandeering Bruce Banner's robot, he found himself trapped within it when an explosion fused the access hatch shut.

He later battled and seemingly defeated the Hulk.

While wandering in the desert, he discovered Banner's secret cave laboratory, where he built a missile to destroy a nearby military base.

But his plan was ruined when he once more faced the Hulk in mortal combat, and he apparently met his death when he was knocked into a bottomless pit

(Comment: The three images are all we ever got to see of the spy when he wasn't inside the robot. And the spy's connection to the Leader was revealed in Tales to Astonish I#62/2)

--Tales to Astonish I#60/2 (Tales to Astonish I#60/2, 61/2

images: (without ads)
Hulk Magazine#10, Gallery of Villains, p4 (Main Image - robot (front view))
Tales to Astonish I#61/2, p1, pan1 (unidentified spy in robot challenges Hulk)
Tales to Astonish I#60/2, p6, pan2 (unidentified spy in robot (right profile view), smashing drone tank)
Tales to Astonish I#61/2, p7, pan3 (unidentified spy in robot gets knocked into bottomless pit by Hulk)
Tales to Astonish I#60/2, p6, pan4 (unidentified spy discovers he's trapped because hatch door of robot is fused shut (rear view))
Tales to Astonish I#60/2, p2, pan8 (unidentified spy)
Tales to Astonish I#60/2, p4, pan5 (in hallway, unidentified spy flees; Bruce Banner (background))
Tales to Astonish I#60/2, p5, pan2 (unidentified spy climbs into robot's access hatch; bound watchman (foreground))
Tales to Astonish I#61/2, p2, pan3 (unidentified spy in robot begins to construct missile)

Tales to Astonish I#60/2 (October, 1964) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (pencils), George Roussos (inks), Sam Rosen (letters)
Tales to Astonish I#61/2 (November, 1964) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (pencils), George Roussos (inks), Sam Rosen (letters)
Hulk Magazine#10, Gallery of Villains (August, 1978) - David Kraft (writer/editor), Ron Wilson (pencils), Bob McLeod (inks), Janice Cohen (colors), Jim Novak (letters)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First Posted: 10/04/2005
Last Updated: 01/01/2022

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