Appearing in "Adaptive Audience"
Synopsis for "Adaptive Audience"
At a bus station, Bruce Banner is waiting for his departure bus and decides to go to the washroom while he waits. On his way back out, he witnesses men in armor filling the terminal with gas. They are surprised to see that Banner, their intended target, was not knocked out by the gas. However, one of these operatives is able to gas him before he can turn into the Hulk. Banner wakes up in a cell and is escorted by armed guards to meet their employer. They walk past and optics laboratory scientists are working hard to enhance one of their clients with retinal implants. Eventually, Bruce Banner is brought before Devlin DeAngelo, an arms dealer who provides weapons to super-villains. He explains that he has learned about how General Ross blames Bruce for the death of his daughter Betty. DeAngelo makes Banner an offer: If he can repair the recently acquired Super-Adaptoid, Devlin will use his resources to find out who was responsible for the death of Banner's wife.
With no real choice on the matter, Bruce Banner agrees to work on repairing the Super-Adaptoid. After some examination, Bruce manages to remove the programming disc from the Adaptoid's body and alters the programming so that the Adaptoid can access all the abilities it has copied over the years. Once he has completed his job, he asks Delvin DeAngelo about the identity of his wife's killer. DeAngelo explains he was lying and can't help him at all, then warns Banner to get back to work or he will have him killed. Banner pretends to do so, but begins changing the Super-Adaptoids programming. As DeAngelo begins trying to broker a sale of the Super-Adaptoid, Banner is placed back in his cell. He later breaks out of his cell and sneaks out of the facility. However, the Super-Adaptoid reactivates and tracks Banner down. Trying to get away from the android, Banner transforms into the Hulk.
The gamma-spawned brute then fights it out against the android that can mimic the powers of some of the most powerful of the Avengers. The Hulk and the Super-Adaptoid trade blows until the programming that Banner changed takes into account. The Super-Adaptoid suddenly leaves and flies back to DeAngelo's facility where it begins trashing the operation. Meanwhile, Bruce Banner stops at a diner where he is joined by Mynard Tibolt, the man known as the Ringmaster. Seeing that his old foe is without his hat, Banner mistakenly believes that he is no threat. However, this was the man that DeAngelo's men were experimenting on. With his new hypnotic optical implants, Maynard manages to enthrall Bruce Banner, telling him he knows all about the death of his wife, and who the killer really is.
- Bruce's wife Betty Ross died in Incredible Hulk #466, the Abomination is identified as being responsible in in Incredible Hulk #473-474. Betty is eventually brought back to life, as seen in Incredible Hulk Vol 2 #62.
- Mention is made of the battle that left the Super-Adaptoid inert. This happened in Heroes for Hire #7.
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