Appearing in "Birth of a Monster"
- Rick Jones (Only appearance)
- Thunderbolt Ross (Only appearance)
- Betty Ross (Only appearance)
- US Air Force
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Birth of a Monster"
In the middle of a secret facility, the Hulk is in the midst of a battle with soldiers who are still loyal to the ideals of the USSR. Not far away, Rick Jones demands that Yuri Topolov come through on his promise to get him and the Hulk out of there. Suddenly, Topolov is fatally shot and dies....
Days earlier, in New Mexico, the final preparation on a new weapon called the Gamma Bomb is currently underway. General Thaddeus Ross demands that there be no further delays on the weapon, actually a laser that utilizes gamma rays. The head of the project is scientist Bruce Banner, he and his assistant Betty Ross (the General's daughter) try to impress the General that they cannot rush the test because they are unsure that the gamma rays will be stable. However, fellow scientist Igor Raminsky, assures them that the laser won't be a threat to the entire state like Banner fears. He suggests that they only run a level three test protocol which will only delay them an additional day. Secretly, Raminsky is trying to delay the test indefinitely.
Later that day, Raminsky is at a diner in a nearby town where he overhears a group of youths daring Rick Jones to go onto the test site on a dare. Rick isn't entirely on board because this isn't one of their usual pranks and points out that they won't be dealing with the local cops, but the military. After dismissing the prank as too dangerous, Rick and his girlfriend Del depart. Seeing this as an opportunity to further delay the gamma laser test, Raminsky suddenly changes shape into a younger man. He then approaches Rick and his girlfriend and tells them that he knows a way onto the test site without being seen. When they ask this "youth" how he can know this, Raminsky tells them that his parents are stationed on the base. This is enough to convince Rick and his friends to give it a try. They are soon on the site of the gamma laser test. Raminsky explains that the weapon is to be used to blast weapons out of the sky. When Rick wonders if this is to be used on alien invasion, Raminsky is secretly impressed that Rick can be so intuitive but verbally tells them that it is meant for terrestrial threats.
With all of this out of the way, Rick then hops on his motorcycle and ride toward the test site. Back at mission control, General Ross is furious that Raminsky hasn't shown up for the test, but with fifteen minutes on the countdown, he refuses to delay the test any further. They are soon joined by Raminsky, who agrees that they should proceed with the test. As time counts down, Banner looks out onto the test site with binoculars and spots Rick Jones arriving on the site. He calls for the test to stop, but General Ross refuses to do so. Bruce then goes to the intercom system and tries to convince Rick to leave the site. However, Rick refuses to leave, wanting to watch the test up close. When General Ross refuses to stop the test to clear the boy, Banner rushes off to try and get Rick out of there. Betty pleads with her father to stop the test, but again, he refuses to stop it. With minutes to spare, Bruce Banner arrives on the scene, and tries to convince Rick to leave. Suddenly, the gamma weapon begins to charge up and realizing that Ross is going through with the test anyway rushes to push Rick into a protective trench. He gets the boy to safety, but Banner himself is bombarded by a massive dose of gamma rays.
Banner is still screaming when he is brought into the medical lab for examination. Miraculously, Banner is apparently unharmed but is placed in quarantine. So is Rick Jones, who General Ross wants to bring up on charges of sabotage. That evening, while Bruce and Rick are formally acquainting themselves, Banner suddenly feels like his whole body is on fire. Needing fresh air, he manages to crush the locked door to get outside. Rushing outside, Rick witnesses as Bruce Banner suddenly transforms into a massive gray skinned monstrosity. When Rick tries to talk to the man-monster he is swatted aside. When a military jeep arrives on the scene, this hulking monster smashes the vehicle and storms off with Rick Jones following behind. The monster spends the night tromping around, the creature who eventually becomes known as the Hulk makes its way back to Bruce Banner's cabin at sunrise. Much to Rick's surprise at daybreak, the Hulk reverts back to human form. Confused and disorientated, Bruce is quickly informed by Rick what happened that night. Moments later, General Ross and his soldiers arrive at Banner's cabin and demand answers as to what happened. Rick manages to convince Ross and his soldiers that they were attacked by the Hulk. Unsatisfied with these answers, Ross still decides to accept them for now as he goes out to continue searching for the monster that terrorized his base.
No sooner are they gone are Rick and Bruce confronted by Igor Raminsky. To their surprise, Raminsky reveals himself to be an member of the Skrulls, a race of aliens who have been trying to prime the planet Earth for invasion. His intended mission was to saborage the gamma bomb project before his invasion fleet arrived. Taking Bruce and Rick prisoner, the Skrull takes them aboard his ship, which takes them to their earthly benefactors in Northern Russia. However, as soon as they pass over into the night Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk once again. The gamma-spawned monster fights off the Skrulls and members of the Russian army. Spotting a strange mishapn man watching, Rick chases him into a secret room. Introducing himself as the Gargoyle, the deformed man explains how he has developed a device that will reverse Banner's transformation into the Hulk. He uses the weapon, and the Hulk reverts back into Bruce Banner and both he and Rick are taken prisoner.
Later, they are visited by the Gargoyle in their cell, upon learning that he was noted Soviet scintist Yuri Topolov, they discover that he was mutated by gamma rays during experiments conducted in the Cold War. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Topolov was all but abandoned by the newly formed government following the dissolution of the USSR. He was forced to side with a rogue cell of soldiers in an alliance with the Skrulls in the hopes of finding a cure for his condition. He begs Banner for help, and Bruce agrees to do what he can to try and cure the Gargoyle. They sneak into the lab where Bruce makes the final adjustments to a gamma ray device that restores Yuri back to his human form. However, before they can escape they are discovered by the soldiers. Outgunned, Topolov has no choice but to blast Banner with a gamma ray weapon, turning him back into the Hulk. While the brute deals with the soldiers, Rick demands that Yuri get them out. However, Topolov is fatally shot by one of the soldiers. Before he can die, he gives Rick a control module for one of the ships. Soon, both he and the Hulk manage to escape while Yuri detonates the secret facility in a massive gamma explosion.
As they cross over to the daylight side of the planet, the Hulk changes back to Bruce Banner. As they head back to the Untied States, Banner tells Rick that after curing Topolov, he is certain that there is a cure out there for him as well and will not rest until he finds it.
Appearing in "Hulk: Threat or Menace?"
Synopsis for "Hulk: Threat or Menace?"
A humor story written and drawn by Fred Hembeck.
- It's the Hulk's origin - as you've never seen it before! John Byrne reinvents the earliest days of the gamma-spawned goliath for a new generation! If you think you know the whole story, think again!
Birth of a Monster
- This story was intended to be a retcon of the origin of the Hulk, replacing the version of the story originally told in Incredible Hulk #1 as part of John Byrne's "Chapter One" stroylines that started with Spider-Man: Chapter One. However, due to lack of popularity of these titles they are no longer considered replacements of the original canonical stories from Earth-616 and instead have been delegated to the alternate reality of Earth-9992.
- This story makes mention of a previous Skrull invasion, the narrative tells readers to the "Lost Heroes" limited series that was due out. This was a plug for John Byrne's series Marvel: The Lost Generation, which -- unlike this story -- is considered part of Earth-616 canon. Presumably, a similar series of events took place on Earth-9992 as they did on Earth-616 with respect to the events of that series.
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