- I take a vacation and everything hits the fan.
- -- Hulk
Appearing in "Down and Out in... Las Vegas"
- Betty Banner (Only in flashback)
- Rick Jones (Only in flashback)
- Clay Quartermain (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Down and Out in... Las Vegas"
The Hulk has reverted back to Bruce Banner for the first time in three months. Bruce is woken up by the sound of someone banging on the door of the Hulk's apartment. With no memories of what happened, Banner is disorientated and confused. Trying to get out of bed, Banner trips over the Hulk's massive purple robe. He lands in front of a message left for the Hulk, leaving him to wonder who Mr. Fixit is and why the need to call someone named Marlo. The men outside hear Bruce's tumble and thinking it is his alter-ego begin opening fire. Bruce quickly scrambles under the bed for cover. The men who enter the room are from the Maggia who are trying to get a foothold in Las Vegas but have been impeded by the Hulk on the behalf of his enforcer the mobster named Michael Berengetti. One of the hit men is about to look under the bed when one of his allies points out that Mr. Fixit couldn't possibly fit under the bed, earning Bruce a reprieve. After the men leave, Banner decides to call this Marlo woman to try and figure out what's going on.
The woman in question is Marlo Chandler, the Hulk's girlfriend, who at that moment is working at Sweat Recreational Rehab running an aerobics class. Her mind is focused on Mr. Fixit and why he has been ignoring her attempts to contact him that she doesn't realize that she has run her class late until a co-worker points it out. She then calls and end to the class and heads home. While at a nearby casino, a man once kicked out of the Coliseum for shooting a slot machine is trying his luck again here. Although he thinks he might be in luck this time, he is packing heat and willing to shoot up a slot machine. However, as he pulls the arm on the slot machine a strange man in a flowered shirt and bandanna stands close by. The man apparently hits the jackpot and begins picking up all the coins from the machine, cheering his good fortune. But, this is all in the man's mind as nobody else sees his fortune in winnings and assume that he has gone crazy.
At that moment, Michael Berengetti gets news on the failed hit on Mr. Fixit while out for dinner with his wife. Deciding that this needs to be dealt with right away, Berengetti orders his car be pulled around front. As the driver starts the engine he sets off a car bomb. Rushing outside to find out what the commotion is about, Michael realizes that someone is trying to off him as well. He manages to pull his wife to safety just moments before the restaurant explodes as well. Meanwhile, Marlo Chandler gets a call from Bruce Banner, who introduces himself as "Bruce Bancroft" a "close friend" of Mr. Fixit. Marlo quizes him on the color of the Joe Fixit's skin as well as the location of a rather intimate birthmark. When Banner is able to answer both of these questions correctly (not without some embarrassment), she is convinced that he is a "friend". When she agrees to meet him, Bruce tries to get dressed but all the clothing is far too big for him. He takes the Hulk's private elevator down to the casino lobby. He is quickly spotted by security who finds a normal looking man, in oversized clothes, and no shoes, emerging from Joe Fixit's private elevator. Banner manages to slip past security and runs into Marlo outside. When she asks why he is wearing such large clothing he tells her he'll explain it later and they take off in Marlo's car.
Elsewhere in the city, the stranger approaches an elderly couple who have been married so long they hardly acknowledge each other. Through some feat, this man make the elderly couple appear as though they are in their prime of their lives and they begin to passionately kiss. While at a police station, Michael Berengetti and his wife are being questioned by police about the attempt on his life. Berengetti refuses to talk, choosing to deal with the situation on his own. With the casino no longer safe, Michael and his wife decide to head out to a hotel outside of town. Meanwhile, Marlo and Bruce arrive at her apartment and she asks him what his connection to Joe Fixit is. Bruce tells her that he is the Hulk's "half-brother", which Marlo finds hard to believe. Bruce then learns that he is in Las Vegas and is shocked when he reads a week old newspaper how there are still unanswered questions regarding the gamma bomb blast in Middletown. Marlo leaves Bruce to catch up on his "memory gaps" while she goes out to shop for some food for them to eat, she tells Bruce that she expects answers when she gets back. Bruce continues to read and wonders what happened to his wife Betty and his friends Rick Jones and Clay Quartermain. He is horrified when he discovers that 5000 people were killed in the Middletown blast. Fearing that he might change into the Hulk while in a distressed state, he rushes to the bathroom and downs a bunch sleeping pills in order to stave off possible transformation.
Not far away, Marlo begins to question her wisdom in bringing this strange man into her home, but can't help but do so in order to learn what happened to Joe. At that moment, Berengetti and his wife and stopping by Marlo's apartment to hide out. The pair sit on the couch and discuss their next moves unaware that Bruce Banner is sleeping in the other room. Suddenly, the Maggia hitmen come crashing into the apartment to finish off their job. However, their arrival coincided with sundown and when Bruce transforms into the Hulk, "Mr. Fixit" is there to save his boss. Fixit makes short work of the hitmen, but when he tries to kill one of them, Michael orders him to stop. He then begins demanding answers at to where Joe has been this whole time. The two exchange harsh words, but the Hulk tells his boss that he is going to get rid of the hitmen then they are all leaving. As the Hulk leaps from Marlo's apartment with the hitmen in hand, he is observed by the strange man in the flowered shirt. This man decides that he is going to bring light and happiness into the life of the Hulk.
- Bruce Banner has been trapped inside the Hulk following the gamma bomb explosion in Incredible Hulk #345. As explained in Incredible Hulk #351-352, the Hulk was able to banish Banner seemingly for good thanks to the magic of Gorsham. The effects of the spell wore off last issue.
- One scene in this story takes place at the Sands Casino. Since the Sands was closed in 1996 this should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- Berengetti says that Fixit has been missing since his fight with Spider-Man. He is referring to the events of Web of Spider-Man #44 and Incredible Hulk #349. He later was hired by Doctor Doom to battle the Thing in Fantastic Four #320 and Incredible Hulk #350 and then forced to assist the Avengers during the Evolutionary War in Avengers Annual #17. The Hulk finally returned to Vegas in Incredible Hulk #351 but was sleeping off all of these battles.
- The mystery man in this story is identified as Glorian next issue.
- This issue is reprinted in the trade paperback Incredible Hulk Visionaries: Peter David Volume 3
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