Appearing in "The Whale"
- Steve Rogers (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Betty Ross (Mentioned)
- Hulk (Bruce Banner) (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- Hell (Invoked)
- Redeemer Armor
- Gravity Guns
- The Thunderbolt (First appearance)
Synopsis for "The Whale"
The Red Hulk is leaping across Aspen Colorado when he is suddenly attacked by an Air Force ship. Struck by a missile and sent crashing to the ground, Thaddeus recognizes the air command craft as the one he had commissioned prior to his departure from the military, the Thunderbolt. The Red Hulk leaps up onto the vessel to get a closer look as to who is commanding the ship. The commanding officer emerges onto the ship, and attacks the Red Hulk with various weapons designed to take down a Hulk. This man is General Reggie Fortean. A former soldier under the command of Thaddeus Ross, Fortean is ignoring the orders about the Red Hulk being under the supervision of Commander Rogers and the Avengers. He wants to destroy the Red Hulk to avenge the death of Thaddeus Ross, unaware that the Red Hulk is the very man he is trying to avenge. With the Red Hulk incapacitated, Fortean vows that he will kill the Red Hulk and kicks him off the side of the plane. As he falls to the ground, the Red Hulk thinks back to how he groomed Reggie Fortean when he was a young man in the military.
Returning to Gamma Base, the Red Hulk asks the LMDs running the facility to pull up whatever information they have on General Fortean. He is also examined by a LMD named Annie who has been charged with looking after the Red Hulk's health. She notes that Ross hasn't been able to change back to human form since he absorbed energy in order to save the world from Scorched Earth. However, the energy has dissipated enough to allow Ross to now return to human form. Even though Annie is a LMD, Ross asks her to turn around while he changes into some fresh clothing, because he is old fashioned. By this point, Chuck tells them that the information on Fortean. Going down to the briefing room, Ross learns that Fortean was promoted to fill the gap following his "death". He is then shown footage of a meeting between Reggie and his superior officer regarding the Red Hulk. The military brass were not interested in having someone becoming obsessed over a Hulk like Reggie's predecessor was. Even though he had his funding cut back, Reggie managed to convince government officials to give him funding to build the Thunderbolt so he can actively hunt the Red Hulk.
Knowing that Reggie is going to show his hand soon, Ross prepares to confront his pursuer. Before leaving, he tells Annie that he cannot tell Reggie who he really is because any connection between Thaddeus Ross and the Red Hulk would ruin his military career. He tracks down Fortean and his squad in the desert and attacks them. Reggie has come prepared, wearing a suit of modified Redeemer Armor. The Red Hulk separates Reggie from his squad. Ross warns him about the danger of having an obsession, but Reggie won't listen to him. The Red Hulk easily disarms the Redeemer Armor and then tries to reveal his true identity to Reggie. However, the damage done to the suit have cut off Fortean's auto feeds. Re-established his ability to communicate long enough to reveal that he managed to implant nanites into the Red Hulk's body. He warns them that these nanites can defend themselves against his immune system and that if he were to ever turn back to human form, they will fry his brain. Trapped in his Hulk form, Ross can now be easily tracked by the military. Reggie explains that he wants to destroy the Red Hulk while he is in his monstrous form. He then ejects from the damaged Redeemer Armor, warning him that his life will be ended soon.
By this time, Gamma Base manages to re-establish contact with the Red Hulk, who tells them that he cannot return to base because his pursuers can now track him.
Special POINT ONE issue. START READING with this Point One issue. For years, General Thunderbolt Ross chased the Hulk across the planet, hoping to capture and defeat the Jade Giant. Now, Ross himself is a gamma-irradiated force of nature and a new enemy emerges to fill the general’s army boots. His name is Fortean. His mission: to enact vengeance on the beast that took the life of Thunderbolt Ross. Little does he know that the beast and the man are one and the same! Prepare for the birth of the next great Hulk villain!
- General Fortean believes that Thaddeus Ross was killed, as seen in Fall of the Hulks: Gamma #1. However, this was a Life Model Decoy as revealed in Hulk (Vol. 2) #23.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters: