- So it is true! The Hulk is dead! It is Bruce Banner alone whom I must face
- -- Leader
Appearing in "Alone in a Crowd!"
- An upscale hotel
- Paris VII Restaurant
- Central Park
Synopsis for "Alone in a Crowd!"
Since his public pardon, Bruce Banner has taken up lodging in an upscale hotel. The hallway outside his room is swarmed by reporters, which comes as a surprise when Banner tries to leave. The Hulk decides to entertain their questions for a time, but soon grows more and more frustrated by the bombardment of questions and photos and loses his temper. Catching himself mid-tantrum, Bruce calls the press back to answer the rest of their questions. With the bombardment over, Bruce returns to his room and reverts back to human form. The entire ordeal leaves him exhausted and he wonders when he will be left alone so he can go back to living his life. However, Rick Jones is reveling in the Hulk's newfound fame as he goes through the mountain of fan mail that has come in. When Bruce asks if there is a letter from Betty, Rick tells him that there is nothing from the woman he loved. Rick is just happy that the Hulk is here to stay. Bereet asks Banner if that's true, or if he will leave his other self-submerged. Bruce isn't sure as he hasn't had much time to think about it. Deciding he needs to get out for a quiet evening, Bruce worries he'll just get swarmed by the press again. Bereet offers him a solution: by smuggling Bruce out from within her Spatial Distorter they can easily get past any reporters.
Sure enough, the gambit plays off, with Bruce safely contained in the device, Bereet is able to get past the remaining reporters and get a cab. Back upstairs, Rick goes back to reading the Hulk's fan mail. Among the items is a message from the Avengers, offering him to return to their ranks, and a letter from the Defenders. This leaves Rick to wonder if the Hulk will go back to either team. He also finds the one thing that Bruce was hoping for: a postcard from Betty. The message is brief and has no return address. Finding this to be less than ideal to give to Bruce, Rick decides to keep its discovery to himself. Outside of the room, the Leader's agent Jackdaw is flying outside. She pours a pink powder onto the balcony to the hotel room. The powder takes on a life of its own, forming into the Leader's Humanoids. With her mission accomplished, Jackdaw returns to her master.
At that moment, Bruce and Bereet have arrived at a fancy restaurant for dinner. Upon their arrival, Banner tells the waiter that he wants absolute privacy. However, the waiter disobeys Banner, and not only calls the press but also has the kitchen staff serve up food that has been dyed green. Banner gets upset that his privacy has been interrupted yet again and transforms into the Hulk. He then frightens away the intruding reporters and smashes out of a wall to get away. Bereet catches up to Bruce on the street and the pair take a stroll through Central Park.
It is there that the pair have a brief romantic moment before returning to the hotel. Once they enter the room they find Rick under siege by the Leader's humanoids. As the Humanoids swarm the Hulk, a number of the androids capture Rick and Bereet who are then transported to the Leader's space station Omnivac. The Leader's face then appears as a holographic projection over one of the Humanoids. The Hulk's old foe then explains his plans: With the mind of Bruce Banner in full control of the Hulk, he intends to prove himself the superior as Banner cannot generate the mindless rage of his savage counterpart. With his challenge to rescue Rick and Bereet issued, the Leader's holographic projection disappears and the Humoids crumble to dust, leaving the Hulk to contemplate his next move.
- Bruce Banner now has control of the Hulk and its transformations since a series of bombardments of gamma radiation between Incredible Hulk #269-272. He retains this ability until Incredible Hulk #296.
- Mention is made of the Hulk's association with the Avengers and the Defenders. The Hulk was a founding member of both teams as seen in Avengers #1 and Marvel Feature #1 respectively. The Hulk quit the Avengers in Avengers #2 because his teammates couldn't trust him. Although the Defenders are a "non-team" he has fought alongside them consistently since their inception.
- Rick also mentions how the Hulk's cousin, She-Hulk is a member of the Avengers. At the time of this story, She-Hulk had recently joined the team in Avengers #221.
- The Leader mentions Jackdaw's previous failure, that happened in Incredible Hulk #275.
- Bereet mentions her techno-art films about the Hulk, these were chronicled in Rampaging Hulk #1-9. Per Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #2, these events happened on Earth-7711.
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