- I don't care how smart he might have been before... He has irreversible brain damage. He'll never be smart again.
- -- Unnamed doctor
Appearing in "Who Shot the Hulk #1"
- Brotherhood of the Shield agents (Impersonates S.H.I.E.L.D. agents)
- Melinda Leucenstern (Shadow only)
- Gamma Bomb (Recap)
Synopsis for "Who Shot the Hulk #1"
Doctor Aaron Carpenter, one of the world's greatest brain surgeons, has been taken by men who appear to be S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to perform brain surgery on Bruce Banner after he was shot in the head. When he discovers this he is shocked to discover who he will be operating him. He demands to know why other people doctors are taking blood and tissue samples. The two agents tell Carpenter that this is none of his concern and tells him to save Banner's life. Seeing Bruce Banner, he recalls how poorly he treated Bruce when they were in college, particularly because Banner's high grades brought up the grade curve. However, they were happy to learn that he was moving from med school to engineering and physics. Beginning the surgery, he regrets not being nicer to Banner when they were younger. He recalls how he learned about the gamma bomb accident when he went to a college university. Then when he heard reports about the Hulk rampaging through the American Southwest, nobody, not even Carpenter made the connection between Banner and the gamma-spawned brute and thus he did not feel guilty.
While up in the operating theater, the two agents watch, impressed by the work that Carpenter is doing. They are then greeted by the woman who shot Banner in the head. They recount how she was trained in shooting Banner in just the right away to incapacitate him, but not kill him, and also not trigger a transformation into the Hulk. While back down in the operating room, Doctor Carpenter continues to operate on Banner. He thinks about when the public at large learned that Bruce Banner was the Hulk. He thought about all the headlines he read since that moment and came to the conclusion that the Hulk was a danger to everyone and a manifestation of Banner's repressed anger. He now considers what he would have done had he knew what Banner would become. Would he have befriended Bruce? Crippled him? Killed him? He doesn't know if he could because of the oath he swore as a doctor. Upstairs the men watching the surgery observe that it is almost complete. They decide that it is time to drop their ruse as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, as the badges of the organization disgust them. With the bullets removed from Banner's brain the tell Doctor Carpenter to implant a device in Banner's brain. Aaron protests this, demanding to know what the device does. The men explain that it will allow them to control the Hulk's transformations by remote control.
Hearing this, Aaron protests even more, saying he refuses to be part of this, even if it is for S.H.I.E.L.D. That's when the men reveal that they aren't S.H.I.E.L.D, and warns them to complete the operation as it is in their best interest to do so. With the next move completely in his hands, Carpenter considers the idea of using his scalpel to kill Banner. However, before he can make up his mind, Banner shoots up his arm and grabs the scalpel. As it turns out, the anesthesiologist who was brought in to help pulled the sedatives, not willing to let Banner be used this way since he saved her life as a child during a battle against Zzzax. Suddenly, Banner turns into the Hulk, deflecting the Adamantium bullets fired by the guards despite being sedated, which was suggested to be a consequence of extreme rage fed by the agony resulting from this process. When the men in the observation theater unleash a toxic gas in the operating room, the Hulk smashes up into their room, effectively transposing a glass made of Negative Zone particles which should transport him to another dimension. Unprepared to face the Hulk, they teleport away. Seeing that the doctors below are choking on the gas, the Hulk smashes through the wall so they can get fresh air. The Hulk then leaps away, until the pain in his head causes him to black out and come crashing to the ground.
Two weeks later, Maria Hill and Phil Coulson have tracked down Banner to a hospital after he disappeared fourteen days ago. When the attending physician brings them in to see Bruce, they are horrified to see that he has irreversible brain damage that has destroyed his brilliant mind.
- ALL-NEW DIRECTION! THE EPIC “BANNER D.O.A.” BEGINS NOW!!!
- Following the shocking events of last month’s INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK finale, Bruce Banner lies at death’s door! If he survives, it WON’T be as the Bruce Banner we’ve known!
- How will the Hulk wreak vengeance on Banner’s assailant? How CAN he?
- Bruce Banner was shot in the head in Indestructible Hulk #20.
- Dr. Carpenter recounts the origin of the Hulk as it happened in Incredible Hulk #1.
- The Hulk's identity became public knowledge following the events of Tales to Astonish #77.
- The newspaper reports, and the young anesthesiologist's account of the Hulk's battle with Zzzax happened in Incredible Hulk #166.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
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