After the highly emotional story told in the debut it's difficult to find the second issue of the original The Incredible Hulk series all that compelling. In one of the most common cliches in comics, our "hero" (protagonist) repulses an attempted invasion of the planet by aliens, in this case weird looking little man-things who are dubbed the "Toad Men" (later to be called by the slightly more scientifiky name of "Tribbites").
The battle against alien invaders must have been the go-to story for Stan and Jack as they'd had the Fantastic Four do the same thing against the infamous Skrulls in the second issue of their comic. But whereas the Skrulls became a persistent threat in the Marvel Universe and one of its core alien species, the Toad Men were mostly forgotten, and properly so.
The most memorable thing about issue two is the delightful artwork, a blend of Jack Kirby's bravura penciling and Steve Ditko's atmospheric inking. The duo didn't work together that much, each having too much on his plate getting the Marvel Universe up and running, but when they did work together it was special. The Hulk is the one series at Marvel which both of its artistic fathers contributed important work to during their tenures and each has a significant fan base for his work. In the hands of these two giants, the Hulk looked the most like Boris Karloff's classic Frankenstein Creature (one of his clear inspirations) than he ever did.
The story is a pretty simple one, the Toad Men come to Earth and seeking to nullify threats kidnap Bruce Banner and Rick Jones.
The Toad Men escape into tunnels beneath the crashed ship while Bruce Banner is arrested and blamed for threatening the world. The Toad King then makes an announcement to the whole world telling what will happen when their armada appears in the sky.
Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk escapes his cell, battles the troops of Thunderbolt Ross, and uses his invention, the Gamma Ray Gun which is able somehow to magnetically repel the entire Toad Man fleet. Bruce Banner is cleared, but the Hulk still exists in a lonely exile in his self-imposed prison in the desert.
The story for all the great art and some really powerful emotional set pieces, is just a little too goofy. As hair-brained as the FF's solution to the Skrull problem was (convincing the Skrull leadership that Earth men were too dangerous for attack) it seems downright prosaic compared to the nigh Big Red Cheese-likesolution in this story. It's just not the right tone for a Marvel story and I can understand why the Toad Men were ignored for so long after their initial appearance here.
In fact I don't think they resurface on one time late in the Hulk's second run and not really a memorable appearance until some fake Toad Men pop up in She-Hulk in which she is shown on the cover reading this very issue of The Incredible Hulk.
And you know this will be Hulkinued next week.