Appearing in "Homecoming"
- Betty Banner (Dream)
Synopsis for "Homecoming"
This story continues from Heroes Reborn: The Return #4...
The Hulk and Bruce Banner have been merged back together knocking the gamma-spawned brute unconscious as his body crashed at the site of the first gamma bomb test. As the Hulk's badly damaged body sleeps, his body begins to spread a massive amount of radiation, causing green flames to start burning in a widening perimeter around his body. Deep in his mind, Bruce Banner dreams....
Bruce Banner wakes up in his childhood bedroom to the sound of his father calling him down to breakfast. Seeing his father at the kitchen table, Bruce refuses to accept this as reality, knowing that it is all a dream and that his father is dead. His father tells Bruce that he is also dead, but Bruce isn't buying it. When he opens the door outside, he sees a massive suburban sprawl and asks his father where he is. His father informs him that he is in Hell. Brian Banner explains that this is what has been waiting for him, both Cloot, and Mephisto warned him of this during their prior encounters. Brian goes on to say that he has been looking forward to this since his death and that Bruce and the Hulk are finished.
Not willing to accept this, Bruce goes outside and tries to get directions to transportation out of this suburban nightmare. He is surprised to see the Leader cooking at a barbecue who also tells Banner that he is dead. Bruce doesn't buy this given the Leader's propensity for lying...
In the waking world, the Hulk begins to stir, but not far away from him are the atomized bones of the Maestro, which are soaking up the massive amounts of gamma radiation that the Hulk's body is giving off, and still Banner dreams...
In the dream, Bruce Banner's attention is drawn to the Maestro who is raking leaves off a lawn. He tells Banner that death doesn't have any real meaning to beings like themselves. The Maestro explains that while they may be dead now, they always come back time and time again. The Maestro explains that the reason why the Hulk is regularly drawn back to the original site of the Gamma Bomb is because his consciousness has drawn him here and that the whole time he has been drawing the access gamma radiation from the Hulk's body in order to reform his body. When Bruce tries to refute this, the Maestro tells him to say that to Marlo Jones....
In the waking world, a helicopter is drawn to the radioactive fire that is burning in the desert, and still the Hulk dreams...
In the dream, Bruce's conversation with the Maestro is interrupted by his father who races toward him to mete out punishment to his son for skipping breakfast. He tries to run Bruce down with a car but misses. But the Leader and Maestro hop in with Brian and they swing around to try again...
Back in the waking world, a flame leaps up and damages the helicopter, forcing the pilot to bail out as it crashes. He lands in the middle of the radioactive fire where he is sure to die. However, the Hulk wakes up and gets to his feet, fully healed after his ordeal and carries the man to safety...
In the dream world, Bruce decides to not give into fear and finds his inner strength. Tossing the car aside, he swats away the Maestro and the Leader. He then confronts his father and begins strangling Brian Banner to death. Suddenly, there is a bright light in the sky and Bruce sees it as his wife Betty, and leaps up to greet here, unaware that the Maestro is also leaping toward her as well...
... This is actually another helicopter arriving on the scene, and as the Hulk reverts back to Bruce Banner, he turns the injured chopper pilot to his colleagues and then wanders off into the desert. As dawn begins to rise and the fires go out, nobody is around to see the emeciated body of the Maestro crawl out of the creater and watch as the sun begins to rise.
- Bruce Banner and the Hulk have just recently been merged again in Heroes Reborn: The Return #4 since their forced separation in Onslaught Marvel Universe #1.
- The Hulk is passed out on the very site where he was born, as seen in Incredible Hulk #1. This is also the same site where the Maestro was atomized in Hulk: Future Imperfect #2 after being sent back in time by the Hulk.
- The narration of the story mentions some of the Hulk's past identities.
- His time as Joe Fixit a Vegas enforcer which lasted from Incredible Hulk #347–362.
- His time with the Pantheon which lasted from Incredible Hulk #379–426.
- It also refers to him as a "destroyer of dreams" in reference to his breif bout of insanity and being separated from Banner that took place from Incredible Hulk #427 to present.
- Brian Banner mentions how the Hulk was warned about his eternal fate by both Cloot (aka Satannish) and Mephisto. These warnings came in Incredible Hulk #359 and 418 respectively.
- Bruce Banner thinks the Leader is dead after his seeming demise in Incredible Hulk #400. However, he seems to have forgotten that he has seen the leader since in Savage Hulk #1. The Leader also points out that Marlo Chandler cheated. Marlo was murdered in Incredible Hulk #398, but Rick Jones managed to resurrect her thanks to the Leader's help in Incredible Hulk #400.