Classification: Terrestrial technology

Creator: Bruce Banner

User/Possessors: U.S. Air Force

First Appearance: Tales to Astonish I#81/2 (July, 1966)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: One of the greatest weapons in America's arsenal, the Orion missile was capable of delivering a destructive payload, and was also anti-missile proof -- no other missile could destroy it once it was in flight. It was said to have the power to level an entire city.

(Tales to Astonish I#81/2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the Orion missile was designed by Bruce Banner and built for the U.S. military.

(Tales to Astonish I#81/2 (fb)) - While the Hulk was rampaging through a missile base, General "Thunderbolt" Ross ordered the launch of the Orion Missile at the Hulk. The rocket was programmed to blow up within 100 feet in the range of the Hulk and hurl a ring of ionic energy towards him, which stunned the green goliath as he tried to leap away -- these events were filmed by an agent of the Secret Empire who was spying at the base.

(Tales to Astonish I#81/2) - The ruling council of the Secret Empire viewed the film from the spy and decided that their organization needed to obtain the Orion Missile, so they contacted their operative Boomerang (Fred Myers). Boomerang initiated a plot to kidnap Betty Ross and hold her hostage in exchange for the Orion Missile, but his scheme was subsequently foiled by the Hulk.

(Tales to Astonish I#83/2) - After General Ross had mistakenly thought the Hulk responsible for kidnapping his daughter, he mobilized all of his forces to hunt down the jade giant, leaving the missile base undefended, so Boomerang took the opportunity to attack the base in another attempt to get the missile.

(Tales to Astonish I#84/2 (fb)) - But Major Glenn Talbot held off Boomerang by threatening to push the missile's destruct button, which would blow up the entire installation and all the lives there, rather than let Boomerang take the missile. Out-maneuvered again, Boomerang gave up and left.

  The next day, the base was closed down as General Ross's military command transferred the Orion Missile to Cape Kennedy, Florida.

(Tales to Astonish I#85/2) - As a test, the Orion Missile was launched over the ocean, but a saboteur named Gorki employed technology to hijack it while it was in flight and set the missile on a course for New York City. The Hulk (who, by then, had made his way to New York, coincidentally enough) spotted the missile as it approached and dimly remembered it, then leapt aboard the missile...but just then, he started to transform back into Bruce Banner...

(Tales to Astonish I#86/2) - Banner removed an access panel and reprogammed the Orion missile to plunge harmlessly into the sea just before he transformed back into the Hulk and leapt away to safety.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Bill Everett.

It was revealed by Rick Jones in Tales to Astonish I#85 that Bruce Banner designed the Orion missile (I guess Banner is one of those Marvel scientists who knows something about everything -- gamma radiation, robotics, time travel, and even missile design), although that little detail seemed like it was added in at the last minute to give the story an easy resolution.

Maybe it was called the Orion missile in reference to the Greek myth of Orion the hunter, and because the missile used sophisticated targeting technology (i.e. a "smart bomb").

New and improved images by Ron Fredricks.

Profile by John Kaminski

The Orion Missile has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Tales to Astonish I#81/2, p2, pan2 (Secret Empire view film of missile flying towards Hulk)
Tales to Astonish I#83/2, p6, pan5 (missile on its carrier)
Tales to Astonish I#85/2, p4, pan1 (missile viewed from control site)

Tales to Astonish I#81-83 (July-September, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Bill Everett (inks)
Tales to Astonish I#84 (October, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Bill Everett, Jack Kirby & Gene Colan (pencils), Bill Everett, Dick Ayers, Paul Reinman & John Romita Sr. (inks)
Tales to Astonish I#85 (November, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), John Tartaglione (inks)
Tales to Astonish I#86 (December, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks)

First Posted: 07/23/2007
Last updated: 11/04/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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