Hero of the Day
Appearing in "Hero"
- Kang the Conqueror (Only appearance; statue and voice)
- Kang's soldier
- Various denizens of the future
Races and Species:
- Earth-8386 (First appearance)
- Futuristic war machines
Synopsis for "Hero"
In the 41st Century a blond-haired warrior has been selected to be the "Hero of the Day". Walking across the wartorn wasteland of his world, the Hero follows the instructions piped into his headset telling him to destroy his enemies. Unfortunately, the Hero walks right into the sights of an enemy who blasts him with a gamma-powered weapon. With the Hero of the Day seemingly slain, his killer is then named the new Hero. However, the Hero of the Day is not killed in the blast, instead, a freak coincidence sends him hurtling through the time stream.
In the present day, Bruce Banner observes space with his gamma scope with the aid of his Recordasphere in his attempts to better understand where the radiation comes from. Suddenly an explosion of gamma rays comes out of the device, knocking Banner from his observation chair. He saves himself from injury by transforming into the Hulk. The Hero of the Day suddenly materializes in his lab and starts shooting wildly. The Hulk easily subdues the Hero, who passes out as soon as his helmet is removed, cutting him off from his instructions to kill and destroy his enemies.
When the Hero wakes up later, Bruce Banner (now back in human form) tries to talk sense into the mystery man. The Hero knocks him aside and rushes back to the gamma-scope where Banner foolishly left the Hero's helmet and gamma-weapon. Recovering his equipment, the Hero tries to shoot Bruce, but the blast triggers the gamma-scope and sends both the Hero and Bruce back to the 41st Century. There, the Hero is disturbed to see that he has been replaced with another. However, this shock is quickly ended when the pair are attacked by an army of opposing soldiers.
Bruce changes into the Hulk again and tries to reason with his would-be attackers, trying to get them to understand that they are merely hearing a recording ordering them to kill. The Hulk is forced to fight them anyway and the Hero, seeing that the Hulk is helping against mutual threats helps. Even so, the Hero is still intent on following his mission parameters, despite Banner's attempts to make him understand that this war is senseless. Suddenly, bombers appear overhead and drop bombs containing a paralyzing fluid on the Hulk. Incapacitated, Banner is helpless to stop his attackers from abducting him and taking him to a nearby city.
There he discovers a massive statue of Kang the Conquerer which is transmitting the orders to kill and maim. They strap the Hulk to a massive spinning device, but the Hulk breaks free. Before the soldiers can attack him again, the Hero arrives telling them to attack the real enemy. Shooting the statue, it topples over and shatters showing a transmitter inside, proving the Hulk's claims. However, the other warriors refuse to accept the truth and shoot the Hero dead. This saddens the Hulk, who cradles the dead body of the future man wondering what good can come out of a never ending war. Before the others can do anything or even think about Banner's question, the Hulk and the body of the former Hero of the Day are sent hurtling back through the timestream.
The Hulk makes the longest leap of his life-- into the future, where he lands on a planet that is populated by a race dedicated to eternal conflict. In a place where the only way of life is death, Green Skin can only become a "Soldier."
- 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.
- Per the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #3 the 41st Century was given the designation Earth-8386.
- World War Hulk: Gamma Files #1 states that the Kang that ruled over this reality was slain by the Council of Kangs, who put the statue in his place sometime prior to this story. The scheme of the Council of Kangs was chronicled in Avengers #267–269.
- The Hulk recalls how the Avengers told him that Kang had recently met his demise. At the time of this story, Kang was thought to have perished in Avengers #143 during his attempt to conquer the modern age by conquering the 19th Century. As later explained in Fantastic Four Annual #25 and Avengers: Forever #9 whenever Kang seemingly died, his mind was actually transferred into a clone body in his native 40th Century.
- This issue's story was an unauthorized adaptation of Harlan Ellison's short story "Soldier from Tomorrow." Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter was not aware of the plagiarism until Roger Stern told him the day the issue hit the stands, since Harlan Ellison called in protest. By statute, Ellison's damages would have been in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he settled for the same money as Bill Mantlo was paid to "write" the script, an acknowledgement, plus a lifetime subscription to everything Marvel ever published. In order to save face, Marvel published a letter in issue #289 claiming they always intended to credit Ellison, but a last-minute mix-up caused Ellison's credit to be omitted.