After a war which ended in a violent nuclear holocaust that wiped out all life on Earth, the Hulk, wanting to get away from the few remaining survivors, would return to the gamma cave in New Mexico, where he would seal himself in with a boulder.
Many years later, Banner would be freed from his imprisonment by a Recorder, who was sent to record the demise of humanity at the request of a number of races. Though Bruce at first assumed that they wanted to learn from humanity's mistakes, the Recorder then informed him that they just wanted to make sure that they were all dead. Though Bruce at first refused to believe that everyone was dead, asking if it was some kind of joke, he soon accepted it. He would then ask the Recorder if he was going to kill him as well to "be sure", the Recorder then asked Bruce if he wanted to die, to which Bruce then answered no. The Recorder then told him that he would change his mind.
The Recorder then left behind a vidbot, a small floating camera, which would record for him and would be retrieved by him once Bruce was dead. Bruce would then ask the Recorder if there was something he could do, to which the Recorder answered that if he should happen to address the vidbot, he should enunciate due to his species' former tendency to "mumble".
Bruce would spend the next several years wandering across the ruins of the old cities and remembering what he could of the world before, still in conflict with the Hulk, who, due to Bruce's presence, still wasn't alone. During one of Bruce's walks, he would be attacked by giant cockroaches, mutated by the nuclear fallout, and would transform into the Hulk in order to fight them.
When Bruce awakened later, he watched a video recording made by the vidbot of the cockroaches eating the Hulk alive and him healing afterwards.
Bruce would later come to think that the Recorder was right, he had changed his mind about dying. However, his attempted suicide by jumping of cliff would fail when he transformed into the Hulk.
Later, Bruce would fall asleep in an old cave, only to dream of a woman with the appearance of Betty Ross. In the dream, he became young again and they began to make love amongst a paradise. However, when she began to talk, saying that the two would eventually be "like gods", Bruce would awaken violently.
Suffering a painful heart attack, Bruce realized how much his punishment resembles that of Prometheus, the Last Titan; condemned to stay forever alive even while animals devoured him. As he died, the Hulk's persona arose in his mind. Banner would plead with the Hulk, begging him to simply let go of his conflicts, claiming that they were going to a paradise where all their dead friends were, where they would be happy. Hulk threw away this suggestion, thinking it was a trick, and because, in his eyes, friends had always betrayed him. Amidst a thunderous storm, Hulk proclaimed that all he wanted was to be left alone.
The next morning, the Hulk somberly sat outside the cave, musing in his inner monologue: "Banner is gone...got rid of him last night." As he remembered the confrontation, he realizes that if he were ever to change back to Banner, he would die also. The Hulk was glad at first, proclaiming he didn't need Banner, only for the truly tragic realization to come upon him: "Hulk strongest there is... Hulk only one there is... Hulk... feels... cold".
Powers and Abilities
- The Hulk's ability of always coming back to life was possibly integrated into his Earth-616 counterpart.
- In Incredible Hulks #622, the Hulk does in fact suffer the fate of Prometheus after his fight with Zeus.
- 1 appearance(s) of Bruce Banner (Earth-2081)
- 4 image(s) of Bruce Banner (Earth-2081)
- 2 quotation(s) by or about Bruce Banner (Earth-2081)