- He's scared. And he ain't the only one either.... Not with what you've let loose in here. We all are.
Appearing in "Snake Eyes: Part 1"
- Angela Lipscombe (First appearance)
- General Thaddeus Ross (Chronological Flashback)
- Betty Ross (Chronological Flashback)
- Rick Jones (Only in flashback)
- Doc Samson (Illusion)
Races and Species:
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- Gamma Bomb (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Snake Eyes: Part 1"
Bruce Banner is getting sick, at first he thought he had caught the flu, but after the onset of hand tremors and a fainting spell, Bruce has decided to cross the country and try to get some help after reading an article in the American Journal of Science. Having almost reached his destination, Bruce's mind is filled with recent tragedies and trying to keep the Hulk at bay, a version of the Hulk more hellish than previously seen. Needing fresh air, Banner asks the driver to pull over and goes decides to go the rest of the way walking in the rain. His mind drifts back to the past: from his abusive upbringing to the gamma bomb accident that transformed him into the Hulk.
Eventually, Bruce reaches the Institute of Neuromuscular Psychiatry, owned by Doctor Angela Lipscombe. When Bruce knocks on her door she asks who it is an he announces himself and asks if she remembers him. Angela then opens the door and slaps Bruce across the face. She remembers alright. As he tries to control his rage to prevent turning into the Hulk, she demands to know what has brought him crawling to her doorstep after all this time. He tells her that he is throwing himself at her mercy, but she is not interested in whatever he is looking for and threatens to call the police. She then dares Bruce to turn into the Hulk and do whatever he wants. She continues berating him all the way into her kitchen, but suddenly stops when she sees that he is crying and suddenly her anger breaks and she asks what's wrong. He tells her that he is dying. After emotions have cooled down, Bruce tells her that he is dying of a degenerative brain disease that there is no known cure. Although he is very certain he has all the symptoms, as the leading expert in her field, Bruce has sought out Angela for a second opinion. Hearing all this, Angela apologizes for how she reacted to him before. However, Bruce doesn't feel that she needs to. He recounts how the two of them met in university and how awkward and reserved Bruce Banner ended up dating Angela Lipscombe the most attractive girl in her class. However, as Angela was getting research grants, Bruce was turned down everywhere and soon he grew jealous of her and eventually stood her up and never called again.
The two get to talking about their post-university careers, Bruce is impressed with her work in psychology. When she asks what happened to his gamma particle research, he tells her it didn't work out so well. He explains how he was eventually hired by the military to produce a gamma bomb and recounts the events that led to the accident that created the Hulk. However, this time around, he recalls how there were a number of secretive and shady military types hanging around the project during the day of the test. He finishes his story by telling how he saved Rick Jones' life and caught the full dose of the gamma bomb itself, turning him into the Hulk and cursing him for the rest of his life. Bruce finds it difficult to sleep that night and the next morning, Angela starts a battery of tests on him to find out what is wrong with his brain. Her tests come back confirming what Bruce already feared. When she suggests alternatives, Bruce lets her in on his greatest fear: while this disease is terminal, the Hulk will not let him die. When Banner's mind is completely gone, all that will be left is the unrestrained fury of the Hulk. When Bruce suggests leaving, Angela reminds him that the Hulk is just a representation of his multiple personality disorder and thinks that they can control the Hulk and eliminate him before he becomes a problem.
That night, Bruce Banner has a fitful sleep and wakes when he has a nightmare that he turned into the Hulk and attacked Angela. In this nightmare, Bruce turned into a more horrific version of the Hulk with sharp talons and fangs. Just barely holding back the Hulk for real, Bruce realizes that he has no choices left. The next day, he allows himself to be hooked into a device that will send Bruce deep into his psyche to confront his various personalities. Bruce soon finds himself inside his mind, which looks very much like the Crossroads dimension. There he finds his Savage Hulk persona and tries to reason with the brute. Not wishing to talk to Banner, the Hulk gets angry and leaps away. Bruce then sees his Professor Hulk and Joe Fixit, the Professor is bound to the Crossroads signpost with chains and his mouth is covered, which Joe's hands are merely tied together by rope which is also tied to the tree.
Fixit explains to Banner that they are inside his mind and all his personas are here, especially one very angry one that has been taking over and getting stronger every time Bruce thinks about his abusive childhood or his death wife. With this monstrous persona approaching them, Bruce tries to free the Professor, but he doesn't have the strength. Fixit tells Bruce that only he can free the Professor and urges Bruce to untie him. Bruce refuses to do so, and tries in veing to break the chains holding the Professor tightly to the tree. Time quickly runs out as they are soon approached by the massive demonic form of Bruce Banner's overwhelming guilt.
- Banner must undertake a journey into his own psyche in an attempt to reunite the various fractured shards of his personality! And in this case, that means facing different versions of the Hulk... including new incarnations you've never seen before!
- There are numerous mentions to the fact that Bruce's wife, Betty Ross, had just recently died. She died of radiation poisoning in Incredible Hulk #466. She will be eventually resurrected, as seen in Incredible Hulk Vol 2 #62.
- Bruce Banner recounts his abusive childhood, which was first explored in Incredible Hulk #312 as well as the gamma bomb test that created the Hulk from Incredible Hulk #1.
- In the flashbacks of the gamma bomb test, Betty Ross is depicted as wearing a lab coat as though she was part of the gamma bomb project. This was the case in a retelling of the Hulk's origin in Incredible Hulk Annual #1999 as part of the Chapter One initiative. It was an abortive attempt to retcon some of the more dated aspects of Earth-616 history. In that story, Betty was part of the gamma bomb project and worked alongside Bruce Banner as opposed to just being the general's daughter. This retcon has since been abandoned and has been consigned to the alternate reality of Earth-9992. Modern readers should ignore any suggestion that Betty worked on the gamma bomb.
- Bruce Banner states that he has Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Since this story has been published there have been advances in treating the illness and with the advent of and innovations in stem cell research could potentially lead to a cure. As such any references to what disease Bruce is suffering from should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- The inside of Bruce Banner's mind resembles the Crossroads dimension a place that the Hulk was once banished to between Incredible Hulk #300-#313.
- The two previously seen Hulk personas are:
- The Savage Hulk who has more or less been the consistantly seen Hulk persona since Incredible Hulk #2.
- Joe Fixit the gray Hulk who was first seen in Incredible Hulk #1 but after years of hiatus resurfaced from Incredible Hulk #324 to Incredible Hulk #377.
- The Professor Hulk was a composite personality that was supposedly a merger of Bruce Banner, the Savage Hulk and Joe Fixit that was created in Incredible Hulk #377 and remained in dominance until Onslaught Marvel Universe #1.
There are various flashbacks in this story that affect the continuity of the following characters (in chronological order): Page 14 and Panel 1 of Page 15: Bruce Banner's early courtship with Angela Lipscombe
Page 15 Panel 2 to Page 16 Panel 4: Bruce Banner dates Angela, eventually they break up.
Page 6, Panel 3: Bruce Banner begins working at the Los Diablos Missle testing site.
Page 17, Panel 5 to Page 18, Panel 3: Bruce notices some of the shady military types that are interested in his gamma bomb project.
Page 6, Pannel 4: Los Diablos staff watches the gamma bomb go off
- This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.
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- Images from Incredible Hulk Vol 2 12
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