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Quote1 Knowing when to fight and when to walk away is more smarts than you'll ever have. Quote2

Appearing in "Vicious Circle"

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Synopsis for "Vicious Circle"

Driving through the state of Texas, the Hulk, Clay Quartermain, and Rick Jones finds themselves lost in an unseasonal blizzard near the Fort Worth Airport. Their search for the government gamma bombs are starting to make the Hulk feel stir crazy and he decides to get out for some fresh air. Rick and Clay agree that the Hulk should do that, since they have no other choice in the matter. Meanwhile, the airport has picked up an incoming plane and orders it to turn back as the storm is causing a hazardous condition. The plane in question is the Blackbird jet owned by the X-Men. Aboard the ship are Wolverine, Rogue, Havok, Dazzler, Psylocke, and Longshot. Wolverine tells air traffic control that they have bigger concerns than the weather and demand to land immediately. The rest of the X-Men are concerned with finding their missing leader, Storm, as well as the premonition that the X-Men are destined to die in the city of Dallas. Longshot, however, remains optimistic, believing that his luck powers will help the team pull through this mission. Wolverine suddenly has to make evasive maneuvers as the Hulk leaps past their plane but this doesn't stop him from smashing into a commercial airliner that was also in the air. Picking up their mayday, Wolverine orders Rogue to rip off the burning engine and help the plane land. When Rogue complies, she unknowingly tosses the engine down on the Hulk. Once on the ground, Wolverine examines the damage to the commercial airliner and picks up the Hulk's scent, but finds that it is somehow different.

Meanwhile, the strange weather patterns are being observed by the Leader from his secret laboratory. His minion Half-Life asks if they are going to use this opportunity to steal a gamma bomb. The Leader does and contacts his pawn, General Hamilton to learn the location of the bombs. Back in Texas, the Hulk has found a truck full of frozen beef to eat when he is confronted by soldiers and attacked. The Hulk tosses the truck at them to send the troops scattering, but the truck's fuel tank explodes catching a nearby forest on fire. Nearby are the X-Men and Wolverine orders his teammates to help evacuate the area while he goes to hunt for the person responsible.

Although Wolverine tries to follow the Hulk's scent, the gamma-spawned monster gets the drop on him. Wolverine still manages to react quickly enough to draw first blood. Although Wolverine has managed to cut the Hulk, his rapid healing manages to seal the cuts. Wolverine realizes that he lashed out impulsively and apologizes while sheathing his claws. Wolverine explains that while he would love to fight the Hulk, he has other pressing concerns and turns to walk away. The Hulk will have none of that and, spoiling for a fight, attacks. Wolverine tries to keep himself cool and collected, but the Hulk's attack is relentless enough to cause the feral mutant to lose his control and go into a berserker rage. Wolverine impales Hulk through the stomach, but this only causes the Hulk to black out for a short period of time as he gets back up to resume the fight. Not far away, Clay and Rick try to find the Hulk. As they drive, Clay pulls out a photo of Bruce Banner and his wife Betty during happier times.

They come across Wolverine and the Hulk beating on each other and Clay breaks up the fight with a rocket launcher. Clay scolds both men: The Hulk for causing a fight that delays their search for the gamma bombs, and Wolverine for acting like an animal. Wolverine realizes that he screwed up, but the Hulk doesn't care. After slamming Wolverine into the snow, the Hulk grabs up the van carrying his friends and leaps away. As they take off, Rick asks Clay if Betty has been thinking about Bruce since she took off. Looking at the photo again, Clay hopes that if she is smart she hasn't.

However, elsewhere Betty has been staring into the same snowglobe that she is holding in the photo that Rick and Clay are now looking at it. Caught in a deep despair over the state of her marriage, Betty tosses the snowglobe across the room, shattering it, and breaks down into tears.


Continuity Notes[]

  • The X-Men appear here between the events of Uncanny X-Men #224225. They are flying to Dallas, Texas to stop the Adversary from destroying the universe, as seen during the Fall of the Mutants event. They mention a few facts that relate to this storyline:
    • It's mentioned that their leader Storm is missing. She went on a quest to find and stop the Adversary on her own since Uncanny X-Men #220. At the time of this story, Storm and Forge have been made prisoners of the Adversary since Uncanny X-Men #224.
    • "The X-Men Will Die in Dallas" is a prophecy told by the mutant precog known as Destiny. She made this prediction in Uncanny X-Men #224 as well.
  • The reason why Betty is in tears in this story is because she has just discovered that she is pregnant with Bruce Banner's child, which is revealed in Incredible Hulk #342. She eventually has a miscarriage as revealed in Incredible Hulk #360.

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