Appearing in "Hulk vs. Banner!, The Monster Is Dead... Long Live The Monster!"
Synopsis for "Hulk vs. Banner!, The Monster Is Dead... Long Live The Monster!"
The Hulk has returned to Latveria demanding to know what Doctor Doom had done to Bruce Banner that drove him insane. Doom notes that the Hulk is more radioactive than usual, and the Hulk responds by telling him that Banner is dead. Doom finds this rather amusing and asks what happened.
Grabbing Banner by the head, the Hulk holds his other half in front of the gamma bomb that has just been set off. Time begins to slow down as the bomb goes off. He watches as Banner screams in pain and reminds himself that this is not his fault, it's Banner's. Even with his body being incinerated, Bruce continues to struggle against the Hulk, regardless of how futile it is. As Banner's body begins to liquify and burn away, the Hulk closes his eyes so he doesn't have to see it. When he finally brings himself to speak, the Hulk says he is sorry, but by then it is too late, Banner's gone.
Not far away, the blast is watched at sea by Amanda von Doom and her assistant Mister Gor. Although Gor wants to fool around on the rubber raft, Amanda is concerned about the Hulk and insists that they get on some radiation suits and check to see if the Hulk is okay. Once on the island, they are confronted by the animals mutated by Bruce Banner. They demand to know what happened and insist that they restore the island. Amanda tells them that they just survived a gamma bomb blast and warns them to let her assistant go or she will open fire on them. When the animals refuse to stand down, Amanda calls for her robots to save her, but learns that they are being attacked by animals as well.
Suddenly, the Hulk arrives and when the gamma mutates demand to know what happened to Banner he shows them by dropping the ashen remains of his other half on the ground. The creatures blame the humans for what happened and when Amanda asks the Hulk to help, he says that he was only helping them destroy Banner. With Banner dead, he has no reason to stay and leaps away. The Hulk then leaps to von Doom's ship where he smashes his way inside and steals a pair of pants before leaping off again.
The Hulk once again demands to know what Doctor Doom had done to Bruce Banner. Doom refuses to provide answers so the Hulk begins getting violent. When he rips out a piece of machinery from the wall, Doom fires a blast at him, incapacitating the Hulk. Doom insists that he did exactly as the Hulk had asked, and if Banner went mad that was no fault of his. The Hulk recovers and demands to know the truth, resuming his attack on Doom. Defending himself, Doom suggests that perhaps this what Banner truly was without the Hulk, a petty and cruel man that was every bit his father. He theorizes that he used the Hulk as an outlet for his anger all these years as a scapegoat. Satisfied by the outcome of the battle, Doom ejects the Hulk from his castle, telling the man-monster not to return lest Doom do worse than cut his head open again and experiment on what is left of his brain.
Back on the island, the Bannermen agree to let Amanda and Gor live if they promise to restore the island. As they head back to their ship, the Hulk returns and joins the animal men in mourning the loss of Bruce Banner, kneeling with them around the pile of ash that is Banner's last earthly remains. Meanwhile elsewhere, the Red She-Hulk senses that something happened to Bruce Banner and is certain she knows who is responsible. Back on the island, a group of Doombots clandestinely arrive on shore. Back aboard the Mad Squad's ship, Amanda is informed that the Hulk is still on the island. After a rough day she leaves Gor so she can drink and play strip arm wrestling with the Bannermen.
Back on the island, the Hulk kneels over the ashes of Banner in the pouring rain. He cannot believe that Bruce is dead and gone. For a moment he believes that he can still hear the voice of Bruce Banner inside his head, and that voice is screaming. As the Hulk walks away, his reflections in the puddle show the image of Bruce Banner screaming to be let free...
• We Dare Not Reveal More! We Wouldn’t Want To Spoil What Is Sure To Be One Of The Most Exciting Comics Of The Year!
- Doctor Doom suggests that Bruce Banner is very much like his father. Bruce came from an abusive family home, as first revealed in Incredible Hulk #312.
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