- You can't break a man who's already been broken.
- -- Bruce Banner
Appearing in "Part 6"
- Doc Samson
- Angela Lipscombe
- Savage Hulk (Hulk Persona)
- Joe Fixit (Hulk Persona)
- The Professor (Hulk Persona)
- Nick Fury
- Lucy Ryker
- General Ross
- Brian Banner (Only in flashback)
- Rebecca Banner (Only in flashback)
- Betty Ross (Only in flashback)
- Silver Surfer (Only in flashback)
- Thousands of various Hulk Personas
Synopsis for "Part 6"
The Hulk is prisoner of General John Ryker inside the notorious Area 51 military installation. With the Hulk subdued in a device specially constructed for him, General Ryker mocks the man-monster. He explains that the device the Hulk is hooked into relays the energy expended by the prisoner back at them 100 fold making breathing difficult, let alone escape. He then tells the gamma-spawned monster that they are going to learn every secret his body holds and if he resists he will die. This all came together thanks to taking advantage of Thaddeus Ross' anger toward the Hulk, and the Hulk's own compassion, which John calls weaknesses. When the Hulk asks Ryker what his weakness is, he responds by saying that the Hulk will never know. Ryker then explains that he is going to break the Hulk by flooding him with gamma rays and every awful memory Bruce Banner ever had and that the Hulk will be sobbing like a baby, just like on the day Betty Ross died. This angers the Hulk, but when he tries to lunge at Ryker the restraining device stops him cold with an energy feedback. Ryker apologizes in advance, telling the Hulk that this is going to hurt a lot.
Elsewhere in the facility, Doc Samson and Angela Lipscombe are being kept prisoner, but they are only under video surveillance, the room they are in isn't even locked. Samson explains that Ryker is a psychotic who wants Samson to try and escape, but he will not do so at the risk of the innocent lives that John has threatened to kill. Elsewhere, Private Benjamin Tibbets -- aka Flux -- is strapped into a similar device as the Hulk. He is observed by General Ryker who goes ove Doc Samson and Angela Lipscombe's psychological profile of the Private. Something Ryker can use to further manipulate the soldier to do his bidding. Soon the experiments on the Hulk begins. While he is being bombarded with gamma rays, General Ryker then mockingly recounts Bruce Banner's abusive and negative upbringing, his uncomfortable college years, and his marriage to and the death of Betty Ross. The Hulk fights back by telling Ryker he knows nothing about him, but he knows about him, pointing out that he knows about the Kennedy Assassination. Ryker scoffs at this, telling the Hulk that these those were lies on top of lies to create a conspiracy to protect people from the truth: Pro-Castro soldiers of fortune were responsible and the cover-up was to prevent another World War. He tells the Hulk that lies are useful because it is a form of control. He then bombards the Hulk with more memories, this time of how Ryker was apparently in control of the gamma bomb test the entire time.
Meanwhile in New York City, Nick Fury meets up with Hack who has contacted him because he hasn't heard from Banner before an appointed period of time. Hack passes along information to Fury about how the Hulk was going to Area 51 and thta Fury should come and rescue him if there is trouble. Back at Area 51, General Ryker visits the strange creature he has in a massive holding tank and tells it of his progress in finding a cure, once more telling it to wait patiently only a few more hours. Not far away, Banner is being continually bombarded by gamma rays and the pain is so intense, Bruce Banner retreats to the inside of his mind. There he discovers all the fragments of his personality have broken free and are now running amok. Joe Fixit asks Banner what's going on as he was supposed to keep everything under control. Banner is told to get things back to normal pronto, but it's too late as the reptillian Devil Hulk has also broken free along wit the others. Outside in the real world, General Ryker tells Banner to give up as he will be broken. Although he is raplidy switching forms, Banner tells Ryker that he cannot break that which is already broken. Inside the control room General Ross protests becauase things have gone too far and they're torturing Banner. However, Ryker hasn't yet begun to torture Bruce, and has his agent Johnson pipe in an image of Doc Samson and Angela Lipscombe together to further push the Hulk. Ryker mocks Bruce for going after another woman so soon after the death of his wife, but points out that she and Samson now have feelings for one another. Banner in turns pushes Joe Fixit to the fore, who puts up a front that he doesn't care.
Seeing this, he then shows Banner images of his mother which causes the Savage Hulk to take control as Banner gives in to his rage. With this tactic in hand, General Ryker goes to Flux and begins asking him about his mother. Back in the Hulk's holding cell, the brute has reverted back into Bruce Banner. He calls out to General Ross who is still watching from the control room. He asks if this is what Betty would have wanted and if she would be proud of her father for doing this to the man she loved and more importantly why he won't help. These words appear to strike a nerve with Thaddeus Ross, who can only stand and watch speechlessly.
- The Hulk's abusive childhood is rehashed here, this was first explored in Incredible Hulk #312.
- Likewise the Hulk's origins from Incredible Hulk #1 are recounted here.
- 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.
- This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.
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- Images from Incredible Hulk Vol 2 19
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