Appearing in "Countdown Madman"
Synopsis for "Countdown Madman"
With little over an hour before the poison in his system kills him, the Hulk has wasted away while contemplating the Leader's offer to reveal the location of his wife Betty Banner in exchange for destroying the Madman. When it appears that the Hulk has died, the Leader, Jailbait and Hotshot leave the room. However, the Hulk who has been faking it to bide time as he doesn't fully trust the Leader. Utilizing the mind of Bruce Banner, the Hulk accesses the Leader's computer database. He then tries to look up the information about Betty himself. Trying to figure out the Leader's password, he tries to remember his foe's real name and realizes it's Sterns. It's just then that the Leader, Hotshot and Jailbait return to find that the hulk was playing possum. The Hulk has made the connection between the Leader and Philip Sterns at the Yucca Flats nuclear plant and demands answers, threatening to snap the Leader's neck. When it becomes clear that the Hulk has nothing to lose, the Leader relents and tells him what he knows. The Leader explains that Philip Sterns was forced into poisoning Bruce Banner by the Madman, a lunatic shapeshifter who exposed himself to massive amounts of gamma radiation. The Leader also reveals that Philip is actually his brother. He also explains that his brother went to the same school as Bruce and was jealous of Bruce's later success in the field of gamma radiation. Wanting to save his brother from the Madman, the Leader reveals that Betty Banner is in Connecticut. This convinces the Hulk that the Leader was on the level and he agrees to help.
The Hulks is then teleported to the apartment of Philip Sterns. Forcing himself inside he finds no sign of the man who poisoned him and begins trashing the apartment. His rampage reveals a secret passageway that goes below the apartment building. Going down the stairs, the Hulk finds a massive underground facility. There he is confronted by the Madman who tells the Hulk his time is about up. Madman then changes his form into a massive muscular creature, ripping away his costume and revealing his red skin and misshapen one-eyed head. As the final minutes count down, the Madman pounds of the Hulk as his body continues to waste away. Suddenly, Madman changes into Philip Sterns, who explains that trying to surpass Banner's fame he exposed himself a great deal of gamma radiation causing his split personality and causing his transformation into Madman. As Sterns tries to reveal the location of the antidote, Madman fights for dominance. In order to force the matter, the Hulk pricks him with the same poison that he was.
When Madman grabs for the antidote, he and the Hulk and struggle for the cure. When the Hulk pulls it free he tries to inject himself with it, but finds that even in his weakened state his skin is still too strong to pierce. The Hulk takes the ultimate risk and forces a transformation back into Bruce Banner. With seconds left, Banner injects himself with the antidote curing himself. Madman then begs the Banner to give him the rest, trying to play on Banner's humanity. Instead, Bruce puts the antidote just out of Madman's reach and leaves the lunatic to his fate.
- When the Hulk recounts how the Leader has helped him whenever he needs. He recounts the time the Leader saved his life when there was a bullet lodged in his brain, as seen in Tales to Astonish #73.
- Although left to die here, Madman manages to cure himself as he explains when he resurfaced in Incredible Hulk #407.
The flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- This issue is reprinted in the trade paperback Incredible Hulk Visionaries: Peter David Volume 5
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