Appearing in The Morning After
- Several gang members (Only appearance)
- Ricky Myers (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
Synopsis for The Morning After
Under the cover of darkness, Bruce Banner arrives in St. Louis as a fugitive of the law. As he enters the St. Louis Hotel, he is mocked by some local gangsters for his purple pants, but he pays them no mind. Inside, the desk clerk is watching a news report about Ricky Myers, a boy from Chicago that was said to have been killed during one of the Hulk's most recent rampages. Bruce pays for a room for two nights as he retires for the night turns on the same news report. As he listens to the vox pop interviews from people on the street he begins to unpack his bags. Inside are means of disguising his appearance and books on yoga and other stress-reducing techniques. Turning off his portable television, Bruce pulls out his laptop and connects to the internet. He then tries to contact someone named Mr. Blue. Mr. Blue responds that they are "doing the wash" and asks that Bruce call them later. Bruce then sets up a metronome and meditates while focusing on its rhythmic clicking. His mind focuses on the image of his late wife, Betty Ross, appearing before him in a bikini. The thoughts of his wife and her beauty causes Bruce Banner to smile.
Later, Bruce goes out to use the communal shower and happens upon an altercation with a boy named Jerome and his mother. She is not impressed that he has been selling drugs to earn money, saying that they are not poor enough to resort to such means of getting by. As her son runs out of the apartment and down the hall, she tosses his drug money onto the floor. She turns to Bruce and tells him that her son made top honors in school, but now is being lured into a life of crime by the unsavory characters who roam the streets of this neighborhood. She wonders out loud how she can protect her son from the "sharks" that live on the street.
As Bruce bathes he turns on his television again and catches another report on the death of Ricky Myers. When the report shows a photo of him and suggests that he could be wearing a beard now, Bruce decides to not only shave his face, but his head as well. Back in his room, Bruce gets in touch with Mr. Blue again. Mr. Blue states that their "Aunt June" is sick and they have to leave their present location. Bruce tells Mr. Blue that he will wait for them to contact him again.
Suddenly, he hears sirens outside and looks out the window to see police cars rushing by. That evening, Bruce is woken up by Jerome breaking into his room and trying to steal his laptop computer and wallet. Bruce tells the boy to return his property, and Jerome asks how he plans on doing it. Bruce tells him that he is going to try asking, quipping that he doesn't want to mess with the resident "gang banger". After confirming that Banner is not a copy, Jerome points out that he looks like a chump for having a shaved head, especially since he is a caucasian who is in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, the connotations of such an appearance could mean big trouble. This causes Bruce to smile, and surprisingly, the pair form a bond. Bruce tries to find out why the boy is getting into the gangster life style, and the boy explains that it is the neighborhood. Suddenly, police sirens begin to whine again, and Jerome takes it as his cue to leave. Seeing Bruce tense up himself, the youth realizes that Banner is in some kind of trouble of his own and hands back the laptop, thinking that Bruce will need it more than he will.
The following morning, Bruce is in contact with Mr. Blue once again. When Bruce asks about the weather, Mr. Blue reports that it is clue and will be for the immediate future and that they will advise him on what to do soon. Later that day, Bruce is reading a newspaper in the park where he sees Jerome being coerced into making a drug delivery. Barely keeping his emotions in check, Bruce approaches the gangsters to confront them but when they notice him approaching decides against it. He catches up to Jerome later and tries to convince him that the life path he is on will end in blood, his blood, and there is a way out. However, Jerome doesn't think there is and walks away. That evening, Bruce is chatting with Mr. Blue, who advises him that things are quiet and to stay in his current location and keep a low profile. He is interrupted by Jerome who comes to show Bruce his gun, and explains that he is in too deep with the gang to get out of it. Bruce then goes on to explain when he was a young man he too made the wrong decisions and have been paying for them ever since. He warns the boy that after a certain point your sins catch up with you and you can't go back and you can never move forward.
This hits home with the boy who leaves out the window without saying another word, leaving his gun behind. Alone in his room, Bruce turns on his metronome to meditate but decides to stop it instead. Bruce then goes out into the street where he finds the gang that has been coercing Jerome in the middle of a drug deal in an alleyway. When the leader tells Bruce to keep on walking he does at first, but then he begins to think about Betty, the metronome, and Jerome with a gun and doubles back. He approaches the gang and when they ask him what he is looking at, he tells them four gangsters about to make a career change. When they threaten to beat up Banner, he tells them to make it quick as his eye begin to glow green.
Later that evening, Banner is on the side of the highway trying to thumb a ride. He is picked up by a truck driver who notices the bandage over Bruce's eye. He smiles and tells the driver that he should see the other guy. Back in St. Louis, the members of the gang is still wrapped up in metal, courtesey of the Hulk.
- Unknown to Bruce Banner at this time "Mr. Blue" is really his former wife Betty Ross, as revealed in Incredible Hulk Vol 2 #62.
- The cover of this issue pays homage to Incredible Hulk Special #1.
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- Images from Incredible Hulk Vol 2 34
- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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