Appearing in "Before the Fall"
Synopsis for "Before the Fall"
This story is continued from Fantastic Four #320
The Thing and the Hulk have been duking it out in New York City. The Thing has just vanquished the Hulk, whom he is unaware is the Hulk, when he comes face to face with the green skinned, less intelligent Hulk. The Thing, who has been wanting to brawl with the Hulk for quite some time, fights the green Hulk believing him to be the real one.
The diversion allows the real Hulk to collect himself. Dr. Doom explains to the real Hulk that the green Hulk is actually a robot of unknown origin, which he salvaged after the Eternals defeated it. Dr. Doom apologizes for having miscalculated that, in his current incarnation, the weaker Hulk would never be able to increase his strength to the level needed to fight the Thing before the Thing would defeat him. This only galvanizes the Hulk, who wants to try again.
By this time, the Thing has discovered the green Hulk's true nature and has ripped it apart. The real Hulk changes his strategy on his second go-round with the Thing. He uses guerilla-style tactics, hiding and attacking then escaping to hide again. The Thing while stronger than the Hulk doesn't have the endurance or the speed to keep up. The Hulk uses this pattern to eventually wear the Thing down. The Thing only discovers who his enemy really is just before the Hulk delivers the knock-out punch.
Dr. Doom, impressed with the Hulk's performance, bids farewell with the promise to call on the Hulk for assistance when he retakes Latveria. The Hulk decides to check in on the Avengers Mansion before returning to Vegas only to discover that it's gone. He meets up with the Beast, who explains that the Avengers are being called on for some major emergency. The Beast blackmails the Hulk into helping him in exchange for not telling the Avengers that the Hulk is still alive.
This story is continued in Avengers Annual #17...
THIS IS IT (again)!
- Hulk VS Thing, and only one will walk away.
- Plus, COSMIC HULK and DOCTOR DOOM!
- The Thing, like the rest of the world, believes that the Hulk was killed in a gamma bomb explosion in Incredible Hulk #345. He doesn't recognize the Hulk in his gray form.
- Doctor Doom mentions that this Hulk robot was the product of the Eternals. this was the case in Eternals #14–15 and that he recovered it an repaired it. This is not entirely accurate. While Doom repaired and used the Hulk robot in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #5, the robot seen here is not the original, but a duplicate. As revealed in Fall of the Hulks: Alpha #1, the Eternals later recovered the Hulk robot. It was later duplicated by the Intelligencia. It is the duplicate that is being used here, not the original.
- The depiction of the twin towers at the site of the World Trade Center in this story should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. The twin towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Since 2016 the Timescale has pushed forward so that the Modern Age no longer begins any earlier than the year 2002 and continues to push forward every four years.
- The Hulk mentions how he was a founding member of the Avengers, that occurred in Avengers #1, the Hulk quit the team in the following issue because his teammates did not trust him.
- The Hulk notes that the site of Avengers Mansion is a disaster zone. Avengers Mansion was destroyed in Avengers #277 and the Avengers had since relocated to Hydrobase. A new headquarters is later built on the site on Avengers #329.
- There has been a long standing feud between the Thing and the Hulk and they have clashed many times. As of this story these previous times are: Fantastic Four #12, Fantastic Four #25–26, Incredible Hulk #122, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #5, Fantastic Four #112, Incredible Hulk #153, Marvel Feature #11, Giant-Size Super-Stars #1, Fantastic Four #166–167, Rampaging Hulk (Vol. 2) #5, Marvel Two-In-One #46, Marvel Two-In-One Annual #5, Marvel Fanfare #21, Marvel Graphic Novel: The Big Change #1, and Fantastic Four #320.
The flashback where Doctor Doom recovers and repairs the Hulk robot affects the chronology of the following characters:
- No letters page is printed this issue.