- I'll show you! I'll show you what happens when you mess with the Hulk!
Appearing in "Inconstant Moon"
- Hulk (Rick Jones)
- Betty Banner
- Clay Quartermain
- Ramon Morales
- Hulkbuster Vehicles
Synopsis for "Inconstant Moon"
Following his battle with the Nevermind, Rick Jones -- in his Hulk form -- has fled Gamma Base and now rages in the night. When the Hulkbusters begin mobilizing to chase after the Hulk, Bruce Banner offers to expose himself to gamma rays and become the Hulk again so that he can help capture his successor. His wife Betty is shocked by this suggestion and tells him that it is an insane idea. Bruce quickly agrees with her, saying that it is indeed a bad idea. They then turn their attentions to the body of Thaddeus Ross, who sacrificed his life to stop the Nevermind. Clay Quartermain decides to call a local morgue in order to deal with the body, fearing reprisals from his handlers at S.H.I.E.L.D. Clay then sends off the Hulkbusters to hunt down the new Hulk, although Armand is disturbed with LaRoquette's obsession with destroying the creature. Quartermain then puts in a call to a local morgue and after some debate, they agree to pick up the body from Gamma Base. The man in charge of the morgue tells his driver to bring their newest employee, Sterns. The driver is upset by this, because Sterns acts strangely. Overhearing this while sweeping, Sterns begins to grin a sinister smile.
At that moment, the Hulkbusters are searching for the Hulk in one-man fighter craft. They all check in with Gamma Base and report no sightings yet. At the monitor is Banner, who is once more being pressed by his wife to take some time away from Hulk-hunting so they can have some time alone. When Bruce brings up the idea of willingly transforming himself into the Hulk again, Betty is shocked when she learns that Bruce has done this to himself in the past. Betty is upset to hear that the man who claims that his life as the Hulk was such a nightmare would willingly inflict the transformation upon himself, regardless of the circumstances. Before they can argue about this anymore, the Hulkbusters radio in as they are engaged by the Hulk. The gamma-spawned monster attaches himself to Hideko's ship who uses some fancy flying to shake the Hulk off. In a panic, Bruce accidentally lets slip that this Hulk is really Rick Jones, tipping off LaRoquette.
When the morgue technicians arrive at Gamma Base, Bruce returns his attention to his wife who is still mourning the loss of her father. When Bruce tries to console Betty, she angrily tells him to stay away from her. His assurances that things will get better between them are met with skepticism. Seeing the Hulk on a monitor, the man named Sterns believes that it has the power he needs. However, he is soon told by his co-worker to get moving. Sterns complies, but when they get into the ambulance with the cadaver, Sterns bludgeons his co-worker to death with a wrench. With his co-worker dead, Sterns starts up the ambulance and drives off.
Meanwhile, in town, Betty Ross' old flame, Ramon, is at the local police station looking for Betty. When he shows her picture, the desk sergeant tells him that she is recently married, Bruce Banner. When the officer asks Ramon who he is to this woman, Ramon says that he is her husband. Back in the middle of the desert, the Hulk continues his battle with his pursuers. During the clash, the Hulk jumps up and rips his hand through LaRoquette's ship and crushes his ankle. The Hulk is then shot loose by Craig and sent crashing to the ground. Refusing to let his colleagues kill the Hulk, Armand tries to incapacitate the Hulk with an electrified net. The Hulk quickly whips the net into Saunder's ship and then allowing the Hulk to hit it as hard as can, sending it flying towards a butte. Saunders manages to bail out, but he is too low to the ground for his parachute to be effective and lands hard. As the Hulk leaps away, Armande convinces LaRoquette to give up the fight and return to base.
Meanwhile, Bruce Banner has sneaked off to his secret lab in the desert. Having convinced himself that he needs to become the Hulk again in order to reign in Rick Jones, he uses a Gamma Ray Projector to bombard himself with gamma rays once more. The radiation causes him to transform into the gray Hulk once again. Not wishing to be silenced again, the Hulk smashes the device. Seeing his salvation being destroyed, the man known as Sterns protests the destruction of the device. The Hulk grabs the intruder and demands to know who he is and what he is doing. The man reveals that he is actually the Leader and that he has come to restore his lost powers, promising that if the Hulk helps resetore them, he will assist in curing Rick Jones of the Hulk's curse as well.
- Bruce mentions how there was a time he willingly transformed himself into the Hulk. He is referring to the period where Banner changed back-and-forth between his human and Hulk forms using the Gamma Ray Projector. Banner used this from Incredible Hulk #2-6, Fantastic Four #12, and Avengers #3. He stopped using it thereafter because his transformations soon began to be triggered by his pulse rate.
- Ramon states that he is Betty's husband. However, this statement is never explored beyond this point. Presumably, this might just be his possessive attitude rather than Betty having literally married Ramon.
- How the Leader lost his powers are explained next issue.
- Betty expresses shock when she "learns" that Bruce willingly transformed himself into the Hulk. However, Betty already knew this, in fact it was most recently mentioned by Rick Jones in Incredible Hulk #325. However, she knew about these earlier transformations and even used the Gamma Ray Projector in more recent times as seen in Incredible Hulk #267-269.
- This is the first issue of Peter David's long run on this title, which would end in 1998 with Incredible Hulk #467.
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