Appearing in "Still Life"

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  • cars and planes and a road roller

Synopsis for "Still Life"

The Grey Gargoyle is visited by Doctor Doom, one of the prime movers in a super-villain conspiracy to eliminate their foes by pairing them against villains they are unaccustomed to fighting. Seeing the Gargoyle's powers first hand, Doctor Doom believes that he will be suitable for their plans. Doom explains to the Gargoyle that the Hulk is considered a wild card in the game that they are playing and that he must be temporarily taken out of the picture and if he is turned into stone, he can be kept under watch, preventing him from siding with the heroes and hopefully conscripted into their Acts of Vengeance conspiracy. Reverting to his civilian guise of Paul Duval, the Gray Gargoyle takes a flight to Nevada in his search for the Hulk. He thinks about the money he will make and how it will benefit his artwork. Suddenly, his gamma ray detector begins going off, alerting him that the Hulk is somewhere in the vicinity. His device gets the attention of the airline security officer sitting next to him. The forces Duval to explain what he is carrying and what he plans to use it for. While the security officer looks at his device, Paul uses his powers to turn the man into stone.

Not fall away, the Hulk is leaping through the sky near Paul Duval's plane when suddenly the sun begins to rise. This causes his reversion into Bruce Banner which could potentially be fatal while he's still high in the air. The Hulk resists the transformation as best he can when he suddenly hits the ground. Coming out of the carter is a sore, but otherwise alive, Bruce Banner. As luck would have it, the Hulk landed him not far away from the house he is now renting and heads back home. Meanwhile, Paul Duval's plane lands and he disembarks from the aircraft. It's not until he has rented a car and begun his hunt for the Hulk do the airplane staff find the petrified security official.

The following morning, Bruce is working his janitorial job at the Yucca Flats Nuclear Research Center. There he is once again approached by Doctor Philip Sterns, who asks if Bruce can go over at some of his equations. Bruce gives himself up again by finding the errors in the equations. Catching himself, he tries to brush off his knowledge again, but the display confirms to Philip that he is really Bruce Banner. However, instead of ratting Bruce out, Sterns explains that he is a great admirer of his work and if Bruce agrees to help Philip along on his own work, he will help Bruce find a cure for his transformations into the Hulk. When Sterns explains that he won't blackmail Bruce into going into this agreement convinces Bruce that Philips actually wants to help and the two agree to work together. At lunch the two spend time together talking about their theories on how the gamma radiation realigned his own DNA. This causes Bruce to be concerned about children, but Sterns tells him to focus on himself instead of children, unaware that Bruce is thinking about his own child.

All the while, Paul Duval has been tracking Bruce Banner all day, finally setting up a trap for him outside of the Yucca Flats facility. When Bruce comes driving by, Duval places a flasher on the top of his car and pretends to be a police officer stopping Bruce for speeding. This allows Duval to easily get close enough to Banner and change him into stone. With Bruce his at his mercy, Duval tosses him into the back seat and drives off. However, as the sun begins to set, Bruce still changes into the Hulk and much to Duval's horror is slowly regaining his ability to move, even though he is turned into stone. Turning himself into the Gray Gargoyle, Duval stops at a nearby construction site and grabs a jackhammer. Hoping he can smash the Hulk to pieces before he can regain his mobility, the Gargoyle tries to pummel the Hulk, but he is too quick.

During the fight, the Gargoyle attempts to find different ways to crush the Hulk, but none of them work. The Hulk proves far too invulnerable and debuffs all the attacks. Learning that Duval changes people into stone with his hand, the Hulk quickly disarms him -- literally -- by twisting the Gray Gargoyle's arm around backwards and breaking his fingers. He then sends the villain off to find a way to fix his arms before the hour elapses and the Gargoyle changes back to human form.


Continuity Notes

  • This story is part of the Acts of Vengeance event that took place in practically every Marvel title at the time of its publication. Doctor Doom's concerns over the Hulk's status were unfounded as the Prime Movers of the Acts of Vengeance conspiracy later managed to convince the Hulk to attack Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #328.
  • Philip Sterns explains that he is an "admirer" of his works is an understatement. Sterns is actually obsessed with surpassing Bruce Banner's achievements as revealed in Incredible Hulk #366.
  • Bruce Banner's concerns for how gamma radiation will affect children is because as far as he is knows his wife Betty Banner is pregnant with his child. Bruce learned that Betty was pregnant in Incredible Hulk #342, although thanks to the machinations of the Hulk they have been separated since Incredible Hulk #345. Unknown to Bruce at this time, Betty had a miscarriage in Incredible Hulk #361.

Publication Notes

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