Appearing in "A Booth in the Midwest"
- Jackie McGee
- A-Bomb (Rick Jones) (Qlippoth; death)
- Alpha Flight
- 🢐 Bruce Banner 🢒 (Remerged with Hulk) (Main story and recap)
- God (Yahweh) (Referenced)
- Geburah (Referenced)
- Seraphim (Referenced)
- Archangels (Referenced)
- Khamael (Referenced)
- Archangels (Referenced)
- Jackie's father (Qlippoth; death)
- The Leader (Sam Sterns) (Mentioned)
- Absorbing Man's father (Mentioned)
- Golachab (Referenced)
- Satan (Referenced)
- Titania (Mary MacPherran) (Mentioned)
- U.S. Hulk Operations
- Betty Ross-Banner
- Marie Severin (Drawing)
Races and Species:
- Earth (Main story and recap)
- Hell (Below-Place)
- Hell (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "A Booth in the Midwest"
The One Below All is awake, and through the power of hate summons an horde of monsters to kill everybody in his kingdom. Hulk launches himself against them, but he's weaker than usual, much of his Gamma energy now residing with Bruce, trapped and in possession of Brian Banner. As the Green Goliath tries to overcome the enemy, the corpse of Rick Jones turns into the A-Bomb, supporting his long time friend. Meanwhile, Eugene Judd is explaining to the Absorbing Man that Gamma is a creature of two worlds: science and magic. One side is predictable, the other erratic.
The magical side is the one that created the Sasquatches, the A-Bombs. When the bomb in Los Diablos exploded during Bruce's experiment, it opened something: a portal to a world full of demonic creatures, ruled by one. The One Below All. Using that portal, he started to communicate with the world above, manifesting through Gamma people. This bit is something Carl Creel understands really well. He also understands what he needs to do to escape the place: climbing where Brian Banner is, he tricks the man into believing he will try to defeat him, only to reabsorb the Gamma energy that was in Bruce.
Creel sends the energy back to the Hulk, who was fighting alone after A-Bomb died. Empowered by his full stock of Gamma radiations, the Hulk started to pulverize the enemy and Jackie, afraid for all this time that the Hulk might die, rejoices. Hulk approaches his father, and Brian starts telling him that he knows: he is the son of the One Below All, and should let Bruce go. But Hulk tells him he never understood nothing about him: Hulk is just Hulk. After blowing away Brian, who falls down from the cliff, the One Below All is dispersed, and Hulk finally has some time to speak with his oldest acquaintance: Bruce Banner.
Naked, lying on the ground, Bruce tells Hulk to finally leave him die in this place. But Hulk wants to tell Bruce the truth: even if Banner never liked him, and tried to hide him away for what he could do, the Immortal Hulk has always been with Bruce. To protect him. Because Hulk loves Bruce Banner, he always did and always will. Someone has to. After hearing this, Bruce reconciles with the Immortal Hulk, who tells him is finally time to go to their real home.
Meanwhile something, who watched everything that occurred Below, is asking: what is the Hulk? Man or monster? The controlled rage which judges and destroys evil, or the unleashed rage that revels in breaking it all? What will Bruce Banner be? But then the mysterious being asks himself: "Who Am I?". In due time, it promises, it will speak with Bruce again.
Los Diablos, New Mexico. Above
Walter Langkowski wakes up in Los Diablos: he was in a desert, trying to find his comrades, when he notices they are back, and Puck stands in front of him, together with Carl Creel. While Puck asks the Absorbing Man if he would like to join Gamma Flight, Jackie discusses what just happened, and tells Walter she needs time alone to think about what she will write, if she'll write anything at all. But most importantly, there is something she would like to know: where is the Hulk now? A thing that Agent Burbank, watching from afar, also wants to understand.
In the night, a telephone call brings awake Betty Ross: she answers, a little bit disturbed by the fact it is midnight, almost. Who would call at a time like that? But then a crying voice talks to her, telling her he needs to come home. It is Bruce, calling from a payphone. Betty, astounded, asks him from where he's calling...
• The One Below All is in control, and Bruce Banner belongs to him. Hell is ascendant.
• But there are two people Hell isn’t strong enough to hold. One is a man named Eugene Judd…
• …the other is the IMMORTAL HULK.