Several years ago, Bruce Banner gained seemingly permanent control over his alter ego, the Incredible Hulk. As such, he was awarded amnesty and a full presidential pardon for his past actions. Although he was regarded as a hero and offered membership in the Avengers, Bruce Banner instead devoted himself to his true passion – science.
To this end, he began developing the Northwind Observatory in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York. He hired Stark Industries to supervise the construction with architect and engineer Scott Lang serving as foreman. The power core of the observatory was a massive unit that ran off of gamma radiation. Stark had purchased the patent for the power core from a defunct research laboratory known as Soulstar. What Stark didn't realize; however, when he bought the patent was that Soulstar's technology accidentally revived the living dynamo known as Zzzax.
When the core was installed at the partially built Northwind Observatory, the power charge revived Zzzax once again. The creature began attacking the construction crew, and Banner was forced to change into the Hulk to fight him. Unable to stop him with brute strength, Banner used his intellect to create a circuit that scattered Zzzax's atoms and returned him to outer space.
The remainder of the observatory's construction continued without incident, and Banner used it to further his scientific research, assisted by the Recordasphere, a floating globe which had artificial intelligence. One of Banner's most notable achievements at Northwind was the creation of the Gammascope. The Gammascope was a large telescopic energy siphon that abstracted gamma ray particles from outer space. It was his hope that controlled gamma radiation could be used to heal the sick. He tested the process on a terminally ill dog named Sirius, and the process appeared to work. The only lasting side effect was that it turned Sirius' fur green. Soon after however, the Gammascope's long term effects became apparent. Sirius developed enhanced strength and uncontrollable ferocity and his owner, Joyce Douglas, had to put him down.
Before Banner learned of this; however, an aging gangster named Max Hammer blackmailed Banner into using the Gammascope on himself. He hired the mercenary Boomerang to kidnap Banner's lab assistant, Kate Waynesboro, and hold her hostage until the procedure was completed. Banner used the Gammascope, and Hammer was seemingly cured of the crippling cancer that was killing him.
Banner transformed into the Hulk and left the observatory to rescue Kate, but he was waylaid when the cosmic entity known as the Beyonder abducted him to participate in his Secret Wars. During the weeks that the Hulk was missing, Max Hammer assumed control of Northwind Observatory. Astounded by Banner's "miracle cure", he began arbitrarily using the Gammascope on anyone who wished to be cured of their illness. Hammer's patients didn't mind that the process turned them green. They were simply grateful to be healthy.
When the Hulk eventually returned, he learned about the Gammascope's long term effects and flew into a rage. The advanced stages of the process took hold of Max Hammer and he transformed him into a savage monster. The battle between the two destroyed a large section of the observatory including the Gammascope.
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