Appearing in "Vicious Circle"
- Half-Life (Tony Masterson)
- Leader (Samuel Sterns)
- United States Army
- Phil (Only appearance)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Vicious Circle"
Driving through the state of Texas, the Hulk, Clay Quartermain, and Rick Jones finds themselves lost in an unseasonal blizzard near the Fort Worth Airport. Their search for the government gamma bombs are starting to make the Hulk feel stir crazy and he decides to get out for some fresh air. Rick and Clay agree that the Hulk should do that, since they have no other choice in the matter. Meanwhile, the airport has picked up an incoming plane and orders it to turn back as the storm is causing a hazardous condition. The plane in question is the Blackbird jet owned by the X-Men. Aboard the ship are Wolverine, Rogue, Havok, Dazzler, Psylocke, and Longshot. Wolverine tells air traffic control that they have bigger concerns than the weather and demand to land immediately. The rest of the X-Men are concerned with finding their missing leader, Storm, as well as the premonition that the X-Men are destined to die in the city of Dallas. Longshot, however, remains optimistic, believing that his luck powers will help the team pull through this mission. Wolverine suddenly has to make evasive maneuvers as the Hulk leaps past their plane but this doesn't stop him from smashing into a commercial airliner that was also in the air. Picking up their mayday, Wolverine orders Rogue to rip off the burning engine and help the plane land. When Rogue complies, she unknowingly tosses the engine down on the Hulk. Once on the ground, Wolverine examines the damage to the commercial airliner and picks up the Hulk's scent, but finds that it is somehow different.
Meanwhile, the strange weather patterns are being observed by the Leader from his secret laboratory. His minion Half-Life asks if they are going to use this opportunity to steal a gamma bomb. The Leader does and contacts his pawn, General Hamilton to learn the location of the bombs. Back in Texas, the Hulk has found a truck full of frozen beef to eat when he is confronted by soldiers and attacked. The Hulk tosses the truck at them to send the troops scattering, but the truck's fuel tank explodes catching a nearby forest on fire. Nearby are the X-Men and Wolverine orders his teammates to help evacuate the area while he goes to hunt for the person responsible.
Although Wolverine tries to follow the Hulk's scent, the gamma-spawned monster gets the drop on him. Wolverine still manages to react quickly enough to draw first blood. Although Wolverine has managed to cut the Hulk, his rapid healing manages to seal the cuts. Wolverine realizes that he lashed out impulsively and apologizes while sheathing his claws. Wolverine explains that while he would love to fight the Hulk, he has other pressing concerns and turns to walk away. The Hulk will have none of that and, spoiling for a fight, and attacks. Wolverine tries to keep himself cool and collected, but the Hulk's attack is relentless enough to cause the feral mutant to lose his control and go into a berserker rage. Wolverine impales Hulk through the stomach, but this only causes the Hulk to black out for a short period of time as he gets back up to resume the fight. Not far away, Clay and Rick try to find the Hulk. As they drive, Clay pulls out a photo of Bruce Banner and his wife Betty during happier times.
They come across Wolverine and the Hulk beating on each other and Clay breaks up the fight with a rocket launcher. Clay scolds both men: The Hulk for causing a fight that delays their search for the gamma bombs, and Wolverine for acting like an animal. Wolverine realizes that he screwed up, but the Hulk doesn't care. After slamming Wolverine into the snow, the Hulk grabs up the van carrying his friends and leaps away. As they take off, Rick asks Clay if Betty has been thinking about Bruce since she took off. Looking at the photo again, Clay hopes that if she is smart she hasn't.
However, elsewhere Betty has been staring into the same snowglobe that she is holding in the photo that Rick and Clay are now looking at it. Caught in a deep despair over the state of her marriage, Betty tosses the snowglobe across the room, shattering it, and breaks down into tears.
Appearing in "The Savage Bull Doth Bear the Yoke!"
- Dianne Bellamy (Last appearance)
- Sam Henderson (Only appearance)
- Martha Henderson (Only appearance)
- June Quartermain (First appearance)
- Henrietta Quartermain (First appearance)
- Jinete Quartermain (First appearance)
Synopsis for "The Savage Bull Doth Bear the Yoke!"
A pair of farmers in Kansas are searching their field for two missing cows. One of them is convinced that they were abducted by UFOs. When they come across the mutilated carcass of one of the cows, it leaves them wandering just how whatever killed the cows moved them around. Not far away, the Hulk, Rick Jones and Clay Quartermain have pulled over their commandeered SHIELD battle van so Quartermain can use a pay phone. He puts in a call to reporter Dianne Bellamy to tip her off about the gamma bombs and to bring it up during a SHIELD press conference scheduled for the following morning. The Hulk decides to go wandering off in the fields and comes across the Man-Bull feeding on one of the missing cows. The Man-Bull has devolved to only a rudimentary speech skills. The Hulk is uninterested in having any of the cow offered to him and tells the beast-man to get lost. Frightened the Man-Bull flees the area. Hulk then returns to his allies so they can continue on their way.
That morning at the Henderson farm, the Man-Bull is caught by Mister Henderson as he is raiding their fridge for food. When Henderson fires his shotgun at the monster in his kitchen, it has no effect on the creature. Angered, the Man-Bull charges at Henderson and his family. Not far away, Clay Quartermain and his allies pay a visit to the farm owned by Clay's brother Alan. Although Alan's wife June is happy to see Clay and his friends, Alan is less than happy to see his brother, although June tells her husband to play nice. Soon, Clay is shown Alan's high tech computer set up that assists with his farming. Clay asks his brother if he can use this equipment to hack into SHIELD's databases and learn the location of the gamma bombs they are searching for.
In Washington, D.C., SHIELD is preparing to begin their press conference. As Agent Trump prepares to mount the stage with Sam LaRoquette and Craig Saunders, they bump into the passing Leader who takes control of their minds upon contact. No sooner has the press conference started has Dianne Bellamy and the press junket begin demanding answers about the secret gamma bombs. The Leader listens to all of this from afar and grins as sinister smile.
Back in Kansas, Alan Quartermain refuses to use his computers to hack into a government database. Clay tries to convince his brother that there are lives at stake, but he still refuses. Bruce Banner then tries to explain the situation and Alan finally recognizes him, and is furious that his brother would bring the man who turns into the Hulk to his family home. Just then, June begins screaming for Allan to come back to the house. The men all rush back into the kitchen and June tells them how some creature attacked the Henderson family this morning. As she explains the creature's description, Banner remembers how the Hulk encountered the Man-Bull the night before. Allan demands that something needs to be done, and Clay offers to have the Hulk stop the creature in exchange for using his computers. When Bruce balks at this, Clay angrily points out that they cannot stay a step ahead of SHIELD forever and that the need to do something. Allan finally gives in and agrees to help if they stop the Man-Bull, unaware that the subject of their conversation is hiding on the farm.
That evening, Bruce begins his nightly transformation into the Hulk, rousing the Man-Bull's attention and making the creature break cover. The Hulk is not too happy to being used to hunt another monster but after smacking Clay for pushing Banner around, he agrees to look for the monster. As the Hulk leaps away, the Man-Bull breaks his cover and approached the Quartermain family and Rick. The Hulk comes back and he fights it out with the Man-Bull. The Hulk pounds on the Man-Bull who eventually gives up and demands to be killed, as it used to be a man once and does not want to live as a savage. By this point, the locals have all come to kill the monster. Seeing how sad and pathetic the Man-Bull is, the Hulk orders them to stand down, pointing out that the Man-Bull is just a pathetic and frightened creature. Wondering what they should do to punish the creature, the Hulk tells them the best punishment for the Man-Bull is letting him live.
Appearing in "No Human Fears"
- Half Life (Tony Masterson) (Death)
- The Leader (Samuel Sterns)
- Fiona Webster (Only appearance; dies)
- Barbara Masterson (Mentioned)
- June Quartermain
- Henrietta Quartermain
- Jinete Quartermain
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "No Human Fears"
Walking home from work at night, Fiona Webber is consumed with thoughts about how fed up she is with her job. Her thoughts are interrupted when she is confronted by Half-Life. Confusing Fiona for his dead wife, Half-Life embraces her, draining her energy until she is dead.
Meanwhile, the Leader is recording a message to his foe the Hulk, explaining his master plan, boasting over how, by the time the Hulk hears it, his master plan will have already happened and the Hulk will be too late to stop it. He explains that he sent Half-Life to carry out a bunch of murders that will seem random but all play into his scheme. He soon begins working on new weapons in which to use to distract the Hulk while he procures a gamma bomb. He then outfitted Half-Life with a suit of armor with a mounted camera so that the undead creature is more durable in battle. He explains that during the process which transferred Rick Jone's gamma radiation to himself, restoring his power, it created a constant mental link between him and Rick Jones. Although Jones is immune to the Leader's mental powers, the Leader knows everything the Hulk and his allies have been up to. Now the next part of his plan can begin to unfold...
In Kansas, the Hulk waits impatiently as Clay Quartermain's brother, Allan, hacks into SHIELD'S databases so they can learn the location of the gamma bombs that the government has constructed based on Bruce Banner's design. After some time hacking into the database, Allan discovers their location at a military base in Yuma, Arizona. At that moment, Half-Life attacks Allan's wife June and her screams bring out the Hulk. Although the Hulk is much stronger than Half-Life, the undead creature is more durable thanks to the titanium armor provided to him by the Leader. Half-Life then latches himself onto the Hulk and begins draining his energies. While in Washington, Agent Trump is still reeling after a disastrous press conference. He, Sam LaRoquette, and Craig Saunders are confronted by SHIELD director Nick Fury who demands to know what's going on. When Fury learns that LaRoquette and Saunders are identified as civilian consultants, Nick Fury fires them immediately, leaving the two to ponder their next move.
Back in Kansas, the Hulk's battle with Half-Life rages on. Already weakened by Half-Life, the Hulk is helped by Rick Jones, who knocks the undead gamma-creature off the Hulk. Allan Quartermain then convinces the Hulk to resume the attack by playing into his pride. As the fight continues the Leader then uses his resources to track down and kidnap Betty Banner, who is still crying over the state of her marriage. Back at the battle, it's not going well as Half-Life has absorbed most of the Hulk's energies, leaving him emaciated. Half-Life has been restored to something resembling a living human, although his skin is still green. Thinking that he can resume his normal life, the Hulk calls doubt into it pointing out that eventually, Half-Life will need to steal more energy and that will be his problem. Not liking this, Half-Life rejects this life and releases all the energy he absorbed. restoring the Hulk back to normal, and leaving Half-Life nothing more than a lifeless skeleton.
The following morning, Bruce Banner and his allies push on. After saying goodbye to Allan Quartermain and his family, they get back into their battle van, switch on its holographic disguise and take off. The Leader meanwhile is still boasting over his coming victory certain that his plans will go unimpeded and the Hulk will die. Finishing his recording he checks on his three test subjects: Sam LaRoquette, Craig Saunders and Betty Banner. When he does a lifeform scan, he is surprised when the computer detects four lifeforms. The Leader suddenly realises that Betty Banner is pregnant and is most amused by this most recent turn of events.
Appearing in "Beyond Redemption"
- Hulkbusters (Only in flashback)
- Gamma Bomb
- Leaders Robots
Synopsis for "Beyond Redemption"
Betty Banner is running through the wilderness after escaping the clutches of the Leader. She has three of his robots chasing after her. Her flight puts her right in the path of the stolen SHIELD battle van being driven by her husband Bruce, Rick Jones and Clay Quartermain. They slam on the breaks and Bruce jumps out to go to his wife. However, before he can get her, she is snatched by one of the robots. It's at this point that the sun begins to set and the Hulk's personality begins coming to the fore. Banner leaps at the robot, but is easily knocked aside while Rick and Clay scramble to mobilize the battle van's weapon systems. Before they can act, the three robots then take off with Betty in their clutches. Furious, Banner gets back into the van and angrily demands that Quartermain go after them. They follow the robots to a construction site of the Carter Estates. There they try to incapacitate the robots but the weapons have no effect on the robots. They respond by knocking down the battle van. It's at this point that the sun completely sets and Bruce Banner begins to transform into the Hulk.
Meanwhile, in the Leader's laboratory, the gamma-spawned genius probes the minds of his other two prisoners. First, the mind of Craig Saunders, who was obsessed with explosives from a very young age. From popping caps as a child to creating explosives in high school, Saunders eventually went to work for the military as a demolitions expert. this career came to an abrupt end on the day that he tried to stop an airplane passenger from smuggling a bomb onto a plane in his briefcase. Shooting the man, Saunder accidentally set off the timer and with five seconds until the explosion he attempted to toss the explosive a safe distance away. Unfortunately, he tossed it into the path of a young mother and her child who were killed in the blast. Disgraced, Craig was discharged from the military and signed up with the Hulkbusters in an attempt to redeem himself. However, his attempts to stop the Hulk ended with failure and he was seriously injured as a result.
Back at the Carter Estates, Clay and Rick Jones continue to try to stop the robots, but their weapons still have no effect. The Hulk, however, comes ripping out of the ground and managed to rip one of the robots apart limb from limb. The other robots react to this by tossing away Betty, injuring her in the process. This makes the Hulk more furious than ever and he leaps at the robots. Although he lashes into them, he is not strong enough to fight two at a time and they eventually overpower the Hulk and begin smashing him with the construction equipment laying around.
Back at the Leader's lair, the Leader now probes the mind of Samu LaRoquette: In the poor neighborhood where he grew up, Sam had hours of fun playing in an old refrigerator with the door removed. As a young adult, he became an adventurer, enjoying deep sea diving, rock climbing, and exploring jungles. He eventually settled in as a college professor where he gave seminars about his adventures. It was here that he met Carolyn Parmenter, a student in one of his classes. The two eventually began a romance despite the warnings from the dean about inappropriate relationships. They had a wonderful relationship that ended when the dean discovered it. During the disciplinary hearing, Sam knocked out his professor and was fired from his job. His relationship with Carolyne ended shortly thereafter. LaRoquette then began working for Argo Industries where he was constantly at odds with his employers. He got fired from his job after he lost two of his men on an expedition and punched out his boss. He too joined up with the Hulkbusters for a chance of redemption. It seemed like things were getting better when the job reunited him with Carolyn, but she died shortly thereafter on their first training mission.
Meanwhile, the Hulk recovers from the onslaught unleashed on him by the Leader's robots and resumes his fight back. Ultimately, he destroys them. With Betty now safe, the Hulk tells them they need to get going. When Rick questions why the Hulk is being callow toward his wife, the Hulk reminds him that it's Bruce Banner that has feelings for Betty, not him. However, Rick isn't buying this attitude, and the Hulk puts his gruffness into question when he tells Jones to cover Betty up. Back at the Leader's lab, his transformation of Samuel and Craig is complete. He has transformed LaRoquette into the stone covered Rock, and Craig as the armored warrior known as Redeemer. The Leader boasts about how his latest creations will assist him in stealing the gamma bombs that he seeks.
Appearing in "Pyrrhic Victory"
- Gorsham (First appearance) (Shadow only)
- Booly (First appearance) (Shadow only)
- United States Army
- General Andrew J. Classon (Only appearance)
- Lt. Wizbowski
- Doc Samson (Mentioned)
- Rom (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Pyrrhic Victory"
The military base where gamma bombs are being stored in Yuma, Arizona is suddenly attacked by the Leader's minions Rock and Redeemer. While Redeemer forces himself through the front gate with guns blazing, Rock is sent over top of the base to rain down on them with his malleable rock form.
Not far away, Bruce Banner cradles the sleeping body of his wife in his arms, finally reunited after so much time apart. However, he wonders about how much of a coincidence that she ended up crossing paths with them as they were searching for the gamma bombs. Elsewhere, Clay Quartermain and Rick Jones are seeing a movie so that Bruce and Betty can have some privacy in their stolen SHIELD battle van. They soon begin talking about their plans to inform the world about the gamma bombs that the United States have been stockpiling. Clay explains that the best way to reveal them to the world and pressure the government into disarming the weapons is by stealing one. Unknown to Clay, Rock and Redeemer are currently blasting their way through the soldiers at the Yuma military base to do the very same thing.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Betty are talking about her running away and Bruce learns that she left him a note before she disappeared. She tells him the gist of it, saying that she couldn't live in a marriage with him that is filled with constant dangers and the Hulk. She explains that she is afraid of the fact that her husband cannot express his feelings unless it's through the Hulk. Bruce corrects her, telling her that it's not the fear of expressing emotion, but the fear of them getting out of control. Bruce tells her that he loves her, but that's not enough because the Hulk will always stand between them. Betty has decided that the only thing they can do now is to wait until sunset and confront the Hulk himself. When Bruce warns her that the Hulk is unpredictable, she tells him he always know. She then warns Bruce that if he chooses to walk away from this that she will be out of his life for good. Back at the battle van, Rick and Clay return to discover that Betty and Bruce are nowhere to be found. Noticing that it is almost sundown the two begin searching for the couple before Bruce can change into the Hulk.
While at the Leader's secret hideout, the gamma-spawned genius gloats over his success of his creations, Rock and Redeemer. While the Leader continues his schemes, he is unaware that his actions are being observed by two individuals who are also planning an end to the Hulk. At that moment, sunset has completed itself and Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk. Hearing that Rick and Clay are coming, Betty plays into the Hulk's pride to convince the creature into taking them someplace private so they can talk. While the couple are leaping away, Rock and Redeemer have finally broken into the holding facility where the gamma bombs are being kept. The Hulk takes Betty to a nearby mountain top to talk. Betty tells him that what she wants is for him, the Hulk, to accept her. Explaining that she has come to terms with the fact that there is a Hulk and will no longer fight it. The Hulk wants nothing to do with the conversation, and Betty pleads with him to let a little of Bruce Banner out to talk. When he is about to take off, she finally caves and admits that she is pregnant with Bruce Banner's child. She then begins to break down, but her words finally get through to the Hulk, who picks Betty up and cradles her in his arms.
Appearing in "Closing Curtain"
- Hulk (Bruce Banner) (Apparent death)
- Middletown people:
- United States Army
Races and Species:
- Gamma Bomb
- SHIELD ID
Synopsis for "Closing Curtain"
The town of Middleton, Arizona is slowly dying now that the major industries have closed up shop. Father Jason McCall tries to encourage his flock to keep the faith. However, he is a man with secrets of his own, as after service he gets a phone call from the local vicar about accounting irregularities for his church. While lawyer Diane Davids is woken up to start her work day. She is suffering an utter lack of motivation as she is sick of representing the people of Middletown. In another part of town, Jess Harrison is ordered by her parents to stop seeing Louis Lambert, as they believe him to be nothing more than a hoodlum. As Jess storms out of the house, her mother asks her father if there is anything interesting in the newspaper. He tells her that there isn't remarking that it must have been a slow news day. Little do they know that the Leader has stopped the press regarding his theft of a gamma bomb from reaching the town, the first part of his attempts to black out the news from this small, unassuming American town.
Meanwhile, on board a stolen SHIELD battle van, Rick Jones and Clay Quartermain are told that Betty is pregnant with Bruce Banner's baby. While Bruce and Rick are happy with the new, Clay can't help but notice that something about the news is bothering Betty. Their attention changes when Clay picks up a radio report about the theft of gamma bombs from the very facility they were planning on attacking themselves. Back in Middletown, an encyclopedia salesman named Burt Horowitz is passing through town. He stops to asks some men burying strange devices on the side of the road what they are working on. However, the men don't know what it is they are buying and assume they are time capsules. As Horowitz continues onward, he is surprised to find that his radio has cut out, as it was working a moment earlier. At that moment, Clay Quartermain uses his SHIELD credentials to get onto the facility, as his defection is not widly known. They are shown the damage done and Bruce is horrified by the sheer number of gamma bombs created by the military. They are then shown footage of Rock and Redeemer's rampage through the facility. Bruce instantly recognizes them as his former Hulkbusters, LaRoquette and Saunders.
At that very moment, Rock and Redeemer are practicing the use of their new powers by testing them out on a Hulk robot. After the robot is trashed, they both ask the Leader when they will be fighting the real thing. The Leader tells them soon and promises to restore them back to normal after the Hulk has been killed. Unknown to Rock and Redeemer though is that the Leader is lying to them. By this time, Bruce and his allies are leaving the decimated military base wondering what their next move will be when suddenly the Leader's recording beings to play over the battle van's com-systems. He warns them that his plan is to detonate a gamma bomb in Middletown at 10 PM that evening. Not willing to accept this as a bluff, Bruce tells Clay to floor it.
Back in Middletown, Jess tells Louis how her parents have forbidden her from seeing him. He tells her that they should just run off together instead and she agrees to go with him. Elsewhere, Burt Horowitz gets a door slammed in his face trying to sell encyclopedias, Diane Davids gets thrown in jail for contempt of court, while Father McCall prays for forgiveness for embezzling money from his church. Soon, Bruce Banner and his allies race into town. When they burst in on the mayor of town to warn him of the gamma bomb, the Leader's has already set into motion events so that anything they say is instantly discredited. They are then ordered to leave town. Along the way, the sun begins to set and Bruce turns into the Hulk. After carrying Rick, Clay and Betty to safety, the Hulk then returns to town to search for the gamma bomb. Clay attempts to warn people, but any attempt is dismissed as hysteria and a prank thanks to fake newscasts created by the Leader. Clay swallows his pride and decides that it might be time to call in SHIELD for help.
The Hulk eventually ends up checking a local warehouse for the bomb. Instead, he finds a recording left by the Leader explaining his entire plan. Suddenly, the Hulk is attacked by Rock and Redeemer. However, despite their enhanced powers, the Hulk's brutality is too much for them and both men are incapacitated. The Leader then appears with the gamma bomb and appears to grow to massive size and overpowers the Hulk. Realizing that this is just the Leader's mental powers, the Hulk claps his hands as hard as he can, the resulting sonic boom deafens the Leader enough to break his concentration. Before the Hulk can fully recover, Rock beats him to the punch and impales him with a jagged piece of his namesake. Satisfied that he has defeated the Hulk, the Leader then teleports away with Rock and Redeemer, leaving 2 hours to go until the bomb detonates. As the Hulk inches toward the bomb to try and disarm it, outside of city limits SHIELD agents arrive on the scene with Nick Fury in tow.
Before they can do anything, and before the Hulk can disarm, the Leader activates his buried forcefield generators that seals Middletown in an impenetrible dome. Then, the Leader detonates the bomb early, annihilating the entire town in a massive gamma blast, but keeping the devestation and radiation contained within the force field.
Appearing in "Whys and Wherefores"
- Nick Fury Seen in Flashback
- Diane Davids
- Burt Horowitz
- Jess Harrison
- Louis Lembert
- Father Jason McCall
- Alan Quartermain (Last appearance)
- June Quartermain (Last appearance)
- Henrietta Quartermain (Last appearance)
- Jinete Quartermain (Last appearance)
- General Mark Hamilton
- J. Jonah Jameson
- Peter Parker
- Mary Jane Parker
- Hulk (Only in flashback)
- Thaddeus Ross (Only in flashback)
- Captain America (Only in flashback)
- Thor (Only in flashback)
- Captain Marvel (Only in flashback)
- Oliver North (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Whys and Wherefores"
Clay Quartermain, Rick Jones and Betty Banner find themselves before the a United States Senate Committee following the explosion of a gamma bomb in Middletown, Arizona. Clay is the first one to stand before the committee and he explains how he went AWOL from SHIELD in order to locate and destroy the gamma bombs that he learned were created by the United States government. Accompanying him on this mission where Rick Jones and Bruce Banner, the latter also known as the Hulk and is also believed to have died. He explains that is why he blew up Gamma Base. When the committee asks if he was under orders from Nick Fury himself, his lawyer tells them that he cannot disclose that information thanks to a non-disclosure agreement. This causes Clay to think back to a moment prior to the destruction of Gamma Base where he had the Hulk contained. The Hulk berated Quartermain on his orders to kill the Hulk and Banner, pointing out that there is nothing different about Quartermain and the Hulk. He thinks about how he called Nick Fury for advice after the fact. Fury wanted to know nothing about what Clay was planning but told him that Quartermain should do exactly what he would do. With his recollection over, Clay decides to answer the question anyway and tells the committee that Fury did not know his plans.
In another room, Rick and Betty Banner are waiting for their turn to stand before the committee. Rick asks Betty how she is feeling since she has just recently revealed that she was pregnant. Betty tearfully tells Rick that she is thinking of aborting the baby. Not knowing what to say, Rick hugs Betty while she cries. Back inside the committee meeting, the councilmen ask Clay why he decided to help Banner. Quartermain explains that Banner helped him regain his humanity, look beyond "acceptable losses" and see the human impact of his activities as an agent of SHIELD. He said that in helping out Bruce Banner he began to remember whom he is supposed to be fighting for. As the outside world listens in via nationwide broadcast, Clay explains that he was the horror created by one gamma bomb when it created the Hulk, he did not want to see that horror get repeated. The committe ask Clay if he was considering entering politics as what he said sounded very much like a campaign speech. While Quartermain is bashful at this idea, the public begins calling for Clay Quartermain to run for President of the United States.
Meanwhile, in the ruins of Middletown, a hazmat crew is going through the rubble. They are shocked when they see a man pull himself out of the rubble. It is the town's priest, Father Jason McCall, who is now green skinned and glowing with gamma radiation. While in New York City, the senate committee is being watched closely by J. Jonah Jameson and the staff of the Daily Bugle. When talk about Clay Quartermain running for President begin making the news rotation, Bugle photographer Peter Parker questions who would vote for him. At that very moment, an on-the-street interview with Peter's wife Mary Jane is conducted and gives her support for Quartermain.
The committee then calls upon Betty Banner to testify before them. They first ask Betty about her relationship with Bruce Banner. She explains that she fell in love with him when he was first hired to develop the gamma bomb for the military. Although she had left him many times over the years she found herself drawn back to him because she did not want the life that her father wanted for her: an arranged marriage with a military man and having children and becoming a frumpy housewife. She explains that she and the Hulk had recently come to an understanding about her relationship with Bruce. However, this was all cut short when the Hulk was caught in the gamma bomb explosion in Middletown. Betty recalls how when the blast went off the force field around the city contained the blast as well as the gamma radiation. She cursed herself and Clay and Rick for trying to try and stop the Leader on their own instead of going immediately to SHIELD for help. When they finally got past the barrier and began exploring the ruins of the town, Betty recalls how they came across a man with green skin who survived the blast. When Betty begins to break down in tears, they call a recess.
News coming out of Middletown is that most of the population were killed however military officials have stated that there were a number of survivors. However, he assures the public that there will be no new Hulks created from the blast and that those who did survive will likely die of radiation poisoning. Rick, Betty, and Clay watch this news report and wonder what will happen next. They are then joined by Nick Fury who asks to speak to Clay in private. Fury explains to Clay that his popularity is so high that it would be political suicide for anyone who might attempt to persecute him. Happy to hear that he won't be punished for what happened, Clay asks what will happen to him next. Fury grabs Quartermain by the ear and tells Fury that he is going to keep him where he can maintain a close watch.
Next, Rick Jones is called to the stand to testify and after cracking wise, he tells the senators that this committee doesn't frighten him given that battles with aliens and robots and being trapped in the Negative Zone are the norm for him. Rick recounts how his carelessness on the day of the gamma bomb test was responsible for Bruce Banner getting caught in the blast and being turned into the Hulk. Rick then goes on to explain that he has remained by the Hulk's side because of the guilt he felt for cursing Bruce to this fate. Rick remained by his side until the Hulk's apparent death in Middletown and that there is nothing left of him. By this time, Betty is at the hospital waiting to get her abortion. Hearing Rick's words from the radio causes her to change her mind and she decides to keep her baby. Rick continues his testimony, explaining that they searched for the Hulk in the remains of Middletown. In the center of town, they found what looked to be the ashes of the Hulk's atomized body. No sooner had they found it was it blown away in the winds.
After he is finished his testimony, Rick goes looking for Betty after he heard that she went to the hospital. Finding her, he is relieved to hear that she didn't go through with her abortion. Betty decided that this child was the only part of Bruce Banner that is left in the world. The committee finishes their investigation and decrees that following what reporters are calling "Gammagate" that all gamma bombs created by the US government will be destroyed. Meanwhile, the survivors of Middletown are being shipped out of town, five all told. The Leader uses his mental powers to subdue the military drivers of the truck taking the survivors out. The Leader gloats over how he suceeded in his plans to create a new race of gamma-irradiated beings and how they will help him foster his new world order.
Appearing in "Crapshoot"
- Marlo Chandler (First appearance)
- Michael Berengetti (First appearance)
- Suzi Berengetti (First appearance)
- Mona (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Crapshoot"
At the Colosseum Casino in Las Vegas Nevada, a compulsive gambler enters and spends his last silver dollar on a slot machine he has been playing for quite some time. Hoping for a jackpot, the man loses the game and his temper. Pulling a gun he shoots the slot machine sending coins scattering all over the floor. As people scramble to grab the ill-gotten winnings, the man with the gun threatens to shoot another patron if people keep picking up the money. The commotion attracts the attention of the casino's owner, mobster Michael Berengetti. As security surrounds the man and tries to diffuse the situation, Berengetti realizes that things are quickly getting out of control. He warns the man if he doesn't stand down and surrender to the authorities he will have to summon his enforcer, a man known as Mr. Fixit. The mere mention of Mr. Fixit's name is enough to frighten the man enough to drop his gun and surrender. When the police come for the man, Berengetti tells the officers that he never wants to see this man in his casino again.
Returning to his office, Berengetti finds a man named Harry who has come on behalf of his boss, a mobster by the name of Anthony Gold. Michael is unimpressed by this intruder, and even less amused to learn that Gold is coming in from Chicago to take a stake of Las Vegas. Knowing that Gold deals in drugs and tells Harry that he wants nothing to do with that sort of business and orders him out of his office. Michael is then joined by his wife Suzi, who tells him that Mr. Fixit is starting to get grumpy and they decide that perhaps some female attention will put him in better spirits. Suzi calls her friend Mona at her apartment and the two arrange a blind date for Mr. Fixit and Mona's roommate Marlo Chandler. Due to Marlo's larger physique, she finds the idea of dating a man who meets her stature, especially someone as mysterious as Mr. Fixit, to be incredibly enticing and agrees to go on a date with him.
Later that evening, Harry reports back to his boss Anthony Gold, who decides that more extreme measures need to be taken with Michael Berengetti. At that moment, Marlo Chandler is arriving at the Colosseum for her date while Michael and his wife are leaving to hit up the town. The Berengetti's soon find their limo surrounded by cars driven by Gold's minions and they force them to follow a specific route. Suspecting trouble, Berengetti activates a warning beacon built into his walking stick. Back at the Colosseum, Marlo Chandler is instantly shocked at the sight of Mr. Fixit, who tells her to wait for him while he answers the summons from his boss. Meanwhile, Berengetti is taken to a burned out hotel where Anthony Gold plans to set up shop. There, Anthony once again makes his offer to Berengetti, but the rival mobster still isn't interested.
The pair come to blows, but when Berengetti begins gaining the upper hand, Gold's men pull a gun on him and his wife. Before they can be executed, Mr. Fixit arrives, smashing in through the roof. Unknown to all, apparently, Fixit is actually the Hulk. As Fixit moves towards the men attacking his boss they begin to open fire on the Hulk. Their bullets only succeed in ruining the Hulk's tailor made suit. The Hulk makes short work of Gold's men while Gold tries to flee the scene. The Hulk manages to catch him, but Berengetti tells him not to kill Anthony, much to the Hulk's dismay. Instead, he knocks Gold out and leaps off to continue his date. The following morning Marlo Chandler practically floats out of the Colosseum after such a satisfying evening with Mr. Fixit. From his room, the Hulk stands in defiance of the rising sun. He is satisfied that Gorsham's claims that he will remain the Hulk indefinitely turned out to be true. However, he suddenly finds that the sunlight begins to burn his skin and the Hulk suspects that Banner might be responsible. The Hulk then lashes out, angry that even here, where he has it all and a life that suits him, that the Bruce Banner continues to interfere with his life.
While back at the burned out casino, Anthony Gold recovers from the love tap he got from the Hulk. Not willing to give up staking a claim in Las Vegas, he has decided to call in super-powered help by hiring the Absorbing Man to deal with Mr. Fixit.
Appearing in "Job Security"
- Titania (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
Synopsis for "Job Security"
Although he has found a way to prevent his reversions to Bruce Banner during the daytime hours, the Hulk discovers that sunlight now starts to burn him. When the Colosseum's cook comes with his morning breakfast he takes out his frustrations on the man. Meanwhile, rival mobster Anthony Gold has hired the Absorbing Man to get revenge against Michael Berengetti for blocking his attempts to set up operations in Las Vegas. Asking the Absorbing Man if he is up for the job, the super-villain shows that he is by absorbing the properties of a nearby fire hydrant. Seeing this display of power makes Gold wonder why the Absorbing Man hires himself out when he could be his own boss.
This causes the Absorbing Man to think back to his last defeat at the hands of Thor which left him banished to another dimension. While trying to survive in this realm, Creel killed a creature and tried to cook it when, suddenly, the creature came back to life and sprinted away. Realizing that time flows differently in this realm, the Absorbing Man decided to wait for time to roll back the moment of his arrival. When the dimensional portal opened, the Absorbing Man leaped through, escaping at the same time his past self was being banished to this world. Since his return to Earth, the Absorbing Man decided to abandon his desire for revenge and try to live the life he and Titania wanted for each other before her apparent death. He tells Gold that his reasons for being for-hire is none of his business. Anthony Gold tells the Absorbing Man that Mr. Fixit can be found at the Colosseum Casino.
Back at the Colosseum, Michael Berengetti learns that Mr. Fixit is in a foul mood and decides to see what's up. Talking in the darkened room, Berengetti reminds the Hulk how he found him in Yucca Flats and hired him on as his enforcer in exchange for everything he could want out of Las Vegas. The Hulk admits that the mobster was true to his word and hasn't betrayed him, at least not yet. Berengetti tells the Hulk that he doesn't plan on it and tells him that if there is anything that is bothering him they can talk about it. Michael later gets another phone call from Anthony Gold and hangs up on him. Gold believes that Michael is going to regret that decision very soon. While at her apartment, Marlo Chandler tells her friend Mona about her date with Joe Fixit. However, Mona wants all the dirty details, but Marlo is candid about their encounter. She does, however, mention that Mr. Fixit has some strange skin tone that she can't really identify.
Meanwhile, at the casino, the Absorbing Man turns himself into concrete and begins running amok on the main floor. When regular security proves to be ineffective, the Hulk is called in to help. The Hulk is reluctant to get into a fight during the day for fear he might change back into Bruce Banner and be promptly killed. By this time, the Absorbing Man has made short work of Berengetti's men and is about to confront the mobster when Mr. Fixit finally arrives. Even though he is mostly covered in clothing, the sun is still burning the Hulk's skin and affecting his strength. Not recognizing the Hulk for who he is, the Absorbing Man piles into him. Their fight takes them outside where Creel manages to fight off the Hulk and more of Berengetti's men. Deciding to take the fight elsewhere, the Hulk leaps off with the Absorbing Man following not far behind. Fixit lures him to Hoover Dam, but the Absorbing Man still manages to get the drop on him. He pummels into Fixit until he realises that he's actually facing the Hulk and tries to absorb his powers. This works against Creel as he also absorbs the Hulk's weakness to sunlight, giving the Hulk a change to turn the tables. As they continue to pound on each other, they end up falling into one of the dynamos inside the dam.
As Marlo tries to call Joe Fixit to make another date, the Hulk now has to face the Absorbing Man after he has adopted the properties of electricity. The Hulk tricks his foe to toss his electrified ball-and-chain into some nearby water shorting himself out. The Absorbing Man then changes into concrete to dull the pain. Furious at the idea of having his cover compromised, the Hulk smashes the Absorbing Man into pieces and then tosses the remains into the water in the hopes of remaining anyonymous for as long as possible.
The gray Hulk's out to get the Leader and neither Man-Bull, Halflife, nor the Hulkbusters can stop him! The confrontation ends explosively as the drab-skinned demolisher is blown into a new world: Las Vegas?! Villains perish and rise in the culmination of Peter David's first Hulk arc! Featuring the earth-pounding menace of the Absorbing Man! Guest-starring Wolverine and Nick Fury!
Reprints: Incredible Hulk #340-348
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