- 'Live my life.' It's been so long, I don't even know who Bruce Banner is anymore. All I know is...I am not the Hulk.
- -- Bruce Banner
Appearing in "Hulk No More!"
Synopsis for "Hulk No More!"
This story continues from Incredible Hulk #600...
After being stripped of his ability to transform into the Hulk, Bruce Banner spends time in his old secret lab hidden in a cave in the New Mexico desert. There he reflects on the fact that he still dreams about the Hulk and finds it hard to believe that his alter ego is actually dead. Bruce Banner is not the only one who finds the news hard to believe. When Ms. Marvel of the Dark Avengers informs Norman Osborn of this news, he finds it hard to believe also. After getting the report, Osborn asks Ares what he thinks about this recent development. The two recount the many reports that Banner had been cured in the past, only for those stories to be recanted. However, he wants to learn the truth about this recent rumor and sends Ares out to investigate. When Ares tells Norman that he cannot promise that Banner won't die, Osborn tells him they'll deal with that when the moment comes.
Back in Banner's secret cave, Bruce hears something moving around in the darkness. Bruce calls out for whoever it is to show himself. As it turns out, it's A-Bomb who now has the full mind of Rick Jones when in his monsters form. Rick shows off a newfound ability, to camouflage himself. Jones asks Bruce why he has come here if he has been cured of being the Hulk. Banner asks A-Bomb why he has come, and Rick explains that he wants to go after the Red Hulk. However, Bruce doesn't see much of a point since he should be thanking the Red Hulk for curing him of ever becoming the Hulk again.
Suddenly, Bruce is ambushed by Ares, who has come to learn the truth of the Hulk. A-Bomb pulls the god of war off of Banner. Ares easily knocks A-Bomb aside, who then uses his camouflage technique to seemingly disappear. When Ares demands that Banner bring forth the Hulk, Bruce tires to explain that this is a waste of time. Ares then goes in for a killing blow, but is ambushed by A-Bomb. Although he has the element of surprise, A-Bomb is quickly subdued. Ares then threatens to decapitate A-Bomb if Banner doesn't bring out the Hulk. Quick thinking, Bruce throws a rock at the back of Ares' head. This ruins his aim, and he misses decapitating A-Bomb with his ax. Furious, Ares leaps at Banner, but the scientist moves out of the way. Landing inside the old Hulk containment room, Ares is then trapped inside. Banner then suggests they get out of there before Ares can get free.
The following morning, Ares has returned to New York City to report back to Norman Osborn. Although Ares wants to hunt down and kill Banner, Osborn points out that knowledge is power and the fact that Bruce isn't the Hulk anymore they have won the battle. That night, Bruce and A-Bomb are at a bus station. After remarking on their strange role reversal, Bruce tells Rick he doesn't need protection and for him to live his life. The pair hug and after Banner departs on a bus, A-Bomb leaps away.
DARK REIGN SPECIAL from the superstar team of Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness and Tom Palmer! After the shocking ending of INCREDIBLE HULK 600 where <>, Norman Osborn wants the truth. He sends ARES, The God of War to find it…even if it means killing anybody who stands in their way. If you're a HULK fan -- this is one issue you can't miss!
- Norman Osborn mentions the many times Bruce Banner had seemingly been cured only to become the Hulk again. He specifically mentions a time that Banner and the Hulk were separated. These past cures were:
- The first such cure actually allowed Banner to control his transformations and maintain his normal mind in the Hulk's form. That happened in Incredible Hulk #123 and lasted until the following issue.
- The first time Banner and the Hulk were separated in Incredible Hulk #130-131.
- Banner was briefly cured again by Doc Samson in Incredible Hulk #141. This cure only lasted one issue as Banner intentionally turned himself into the Hulk again.
- Repeat exposures to gamma radiation caused Bruce Banner to once more be able to control the Hulk in Incredible Hulk #272 and lasting until Incredible Hulk #296.
- Banner was separated from the Hulk a second time from Incredible Hulk #315 until Incredible Hulk #323.
- Doc Samson merged all the Hulk's psyches to create what appeared to be a version of the Hulk with Banner's mind. This transformation lasted from Incredible Hulk #377-425.
- Banner and the Hulk were separated a third time in Onslaught Marvel Universe #1 but were forced back together in Heroes Reborn: The Return #4.
- Rick mentions how he used to have to lock the Hulk in this cave back in the early days. This happened in Incredible Hulk #3.
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