The Incredible Hulk #6
- The Incredible Hulk #6
"Reunions Part Two (Of Two)"
By Joel Mccrory
[A New York Sewer...]
"Hello, newcomer! My name is Emil, and thiss our home." The man in the trenchcoat had green, almost melted looking skin. He had once been a spy for an enemy of the United States, and a good one at that. Then Emil Blonsky encountered the lab of Bruce Banner. Emil watched as Bruce attempted suicide with a gamma ray machine. Instead, the military, looking for Emil, grabbed him. As soon as they left, Emil looked over the machine and foolishly turned it on. It turned him into the creature known as the Abomination.
Life went straight downhill from there. He could never return to his wife, who thought him dead, in his current form. Though Emil was often smarter and started out stronger, the man who made him a freak, the Hulk, always beat Emil, once even dumping toxic waste on him, making him even more hideous looking. With nowhere else to go, Emil took to the sewers, dreaming of revenge and returning to his wife.
The newcomer hadnt been found, but instead found them. He had only spoke once so far, saying, "Where is Emil Blonsky?" The cheerful sewer dwellers quickly showed him to the Abomination.
"So, whats your name?"
"Flux." The new man was wearing camouflage pants and a white wifebeater. His blond buzzcut suggested that he was the military type that Emil, during his spy days, laughed at for their utter stupidity. He could hide from hundreds of them at a time, and often did, before his transformation. Emil found taking the serious, freckled, long face serious extremely difficult, and Flux could tell.
"Youll be coming with me, Blonsky." Emil began to laugh.
"What, youre gonna force me, all by yourself?" The laughter continued.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I will."
"How are you gonna take me?!"
"Like this!" Suddenly, large bumps appeared on his skin, his arms stretched down to his legs, and his hands grew to twice his heads size. All his muscles enlarged. The thing that struck Emil the hardest was the fact that his hair and skin had turned green, a sign of gamma-induced mutation, like his had been.
As Emil wondered about all this, Flux sent him flying up out of the sewer. All the other sewer-dwellers ran as fast and hard as they could. Not to escape, but instead to help their friend against his new foe. They couldnt help. All they could do was get hurt by Flux.
"Stop!" Emil saw his friends suffering from above, and gave up. "Ill go."
"Of course you will. You never had a choice."
"Lets just go."
An old gray van shot through the street like a bullet, screeching to a halt before Emil. Flux leapt out of the sewer and said, "Theres our ride."
[Freehold, a city hidden underneath a Canadian ice field...]
"Uhh?" Bruce had suddenly woke up.
"Welcome back, Bruce. Not as big as the last time we saw you, huh?"
"Not... exactly." The last thing Bruce recalled was something that looked like the Hulk attacking him. Then he thought he had caught a glimpse of Prometheus, but that was probably just a part of some dream or something.
Bruce looked up and saw Prometheus. Pro, as Bruce used to call him, had short black hair and white skin. He looked relatively normal, except for the fact that it looked like he had his face to the wrong end of a flamethrower.
He was a member of the Pantheon, and, like all other Pantheon members, was a descendant of Agamemnon. Bruce knew all this because at one time he led the Pantheon, filling in for Agamemnon, who was killed the same day that Bruce was fired from the Pantheon by its own members. Bruce also knew that if Prometheus was here, the rest of the Pantheon wasnt far behind.
"Where... where are we?"
"The Leaders city?"
"The city that was the Leaders. You dont happen to know what happened to him, do you?"
"Yeah... I kinda killed him.(1)"
"Oh, yeah! Thats right! I forgot, and that was while you still worked for Agamemnon, too!"
"You remembered. Whats your point?"
"Honestly? Paris had me memorize a whole conversation to have with you, but I aint really into that. Basically, it boils down to the fact that nobody here is exactly in love with ya. If you left this building, either a crowdd kill you, or youd turn into the Hulk and kill them. You dont want that, right?"
"No. So Im stuck here?"
"Basically. See, our problem is, we need guys like you, with brains and power. Yeah, we managed to clone you, but we dont have the resources to do it again. Even if we could, we could still just end up with a brainless beast like the first one is."
"So you lied?"
"Hey, I do that sometimes."
"Who alls here?"
"Just me, a new guy, your clone, and a friend o yours we found in one of our safehouses. Paris and the rest are all either at our new headquarters or out on the field. But no, I get stuck here, trainin the rookies. When your clone broke out, Paris had a suspicion that he might run into you, and he had me follow just in case."
"This friend of mine... who is it?"
"You know, the one you dropped off at one of our safehouses? The one who calls herself Janis?"
"I... dont recall taking a Janis to a safehouse, but for there was a while there that... I just dont remember anything from."
"Wanna see her? See if that jogs yer memory? When we found her, she had a nasty temperature, but shes recovered completely from that. Now she just keeps yakkin bout needing to talk to you."
"Yes, Id like to see her."
"Janis?!? Whatre you doing in this time?!(2)"
"Who are y-? Wait, I remember now-Gramps scanned me a picture of you in that form. But I thought Id gotten to where you dont transform?"
"Sorry, youre a tad late... I recently regained that ability... along with... a less friendly Hulk."
"But you can still turn into the Hulk, right? Hes still just as powerful as he was when he killed the Maestro, right?"
"Yes... and he can increase his strength faster as well as being more durable, but-"
"You must come to my time again, and have him kill our new dictator!"
"As we rebuilt Dystopia, new leaders emerged, but some flarkin took over sections of the city and fought each other, an we ended up with another dictator!"
"Nobody I know?"
"No. He wont be born for two decades."
"Im sorry, but... you should try the Avengers. Theyre equipped for that kind of stuff."
"You refuse to help us?!"
"Im sorry, but the Hulk... hes uncontrollable now."
"Fine! If you cant flarkin help... then Ill find someone who can!" Rick Jones red-mohawked granddaughter grabbed her energy pole and stormed out of the room.
"Pro, if she leaves Freehold, youll give her a ride out, right?"
"Of course, Doc."
"Where would she go?"
"I dont know. I wish I did, but I dont."
[Minutes later, on the surface above Freehold...]
Prometheus, Bruce, and Janis stood in the snow. Parkas for all had been provided by the Pantheon. No one took note of the three leaving Freehold in their parkas.
"Whyre we standing out here, Pro?"
"Were waiting. Big supply shipment is coming in, in about five minutes. If it isnt, Ill have to report it in to headquarters."
"And when will they be coming along to pick me up?"
"Wh... what do you... mean by that?"
"When will the others be coming?"
"Dont play dumb. You know, Paris, Atalanta, Hector, Ajax, Ulysses-"
"Ulysses is still missing."
"He left to try to find Delphi."
"Oh. Delphi left?"
"Right around the time you... did.(3)"
"You know... you can always turn into the Hulk and leave, right?"
"As for the transforming, please do. But leave? He aint goin nowhere."
"Dan! Didnt see ya come out here." The man standing behind Prometheus was about 59", with a shaved black head, a mallet, and navy blue pants. Bruce thought his face resembled that of someone he had seen on television several years ago, called the Notorious BIG. He couldnt tell for certain if the mans great mass could mostly be attributed to muscle or not, but Bruce could estimate that he must have weighed at least 800 pounds if it was indeed muscle. The thing that astonished Bruce, however, was the fact that this man was wearing only pants yet wasnt freezing.
"So, thiss your new guy?"
"Yeah. Havent given him a new name yet, but-"
"-An if you ever do, youll keep calling me Dan, if you know whats good for you!"
"A mallet? Run out of those energy weapons?"
"Thiss from before I joined the Pantheon. The guy who used to own it couldnt use it anymore after he fought me, so I took it off his hands. Plus, its adamantium."
"How nice. So howd you find him?"
"Paris has operatives scouting all over the world, but this guy Paris found himself. He was in the U.S., writing stories about the Avengers for a web site. Paris wrote there too, under the pen name Lord Po-"
"Just so you know, I had been retired from the assassination business for a year when Paris found me. When nobody can stop you, that kinda thing gets dull."
"Well, its nice to meet you."
"Itll be nice to beat you."
"Youve got quite a rep as the Hulk. I dont think you can take me. So come on, transform."
"Youd be surprised how strong he can become."
" He?! You are the Hulk!"
"I turn into the Hulk, but were not anything alike!"
"What, is he weaker?"
"Are you flarkin stupid? He could tear you to shreds!" Janis had seen all too well what the Hulk and his future self, the Maestro, was capable of.
Bruce and Dan stood silent, glaring each other in the eyes. Abruptly, Prometheus pants rang.
"Thats my phone. Sorry." He quickly pulled it out with all eyes on him. "Yeah? How long til-? And whos gonna be comin? Okay, yeah, hes still here."
Janis walked to Bruces side and whispered, "Shouldnt you transform now?!"
Despite the freezing cold, Bruce began to sweat.
Walking towards Prometheus, Bruce asked, "I think Ill be leaving now."
"Im sorry..." Prometheus looked down. "Its too late for that now. The othersll be here in minutes. Look, maybe theyll decide to keep you alive..."
Bruce couldnt hear the last sentence. His chests beating was too loud. "Pro... Janis... go... now!"
" Bout time we saw some action around here!"
"Whatre you, stupid?! We gotta get back inside Freehold!"
"Too late." Janis statement made Prometheus turn back around towards Bruce, but Bruce was gone. In his place stood the Hulk.
"Finally, Hulk is out again! And after Hulk smashes ugly-man and Banner, Hulk will never be locked away again!" The remainder of his shirt and parka, now just shreds anyway, fell to the icy ground. The shoe and sock scraps went off as soon as he jumped, straight up three miles into the air. Dan repositioned himself in preparation for his return.
Mallet ready for contact, Dan was prepared for a Hulk from above. What he wasnt anticipating was a blast of energy hitting his gut from Janis pole, throwing him off-balance.
Before he could regain his balance, he was buried by the landing Hulk.
"Hey, Janis!" Prometheus, now sweating like Bruce had been, screamed. "Im thinking you might wanna get yer green buddy to leap ya outta here!"
Janis agreed. "Hulk!"
The Hulk looked to her, after throwing Dans mallet out of sight.
"Wed better scram!"
"Hulk... knows red-hair... somehow..."
"Ill explain later, okay?"
"If red-hair tries to trick Hulk, Hulk will smash!"
"Thats nice, now lets go!" She jumped on his back, and he took off with a leap that only the Hulk could make.
Prometheus tried to help Dan pull himself out of the snow, but he was too tightly stuck. "Where... whered my mallet go?"
[Five minutes later...]
"What happened to Dan and wheres the good Doctor Bobby?"
"Paris... you cant expect us to beat the Hulk?!"
"Where was our Hulk?"
"Busy down in Freehold."
"Eating... eating beans."
[Five days later, Sunville, Florida...]
Bruce wasnt sure how long he had been travelling with Janis. He knew that they both smelled putrid, but Janis didnt seem to care and Bruce had adjusted to it long ago. Not by choice, but because he had to.
Besides, soon as he had returned home, he could shower all he wanted. All he had to do was walk through the door. He had waited until dark so that the neighbors wouldnt have anything new to gossip about yet.
Before, when Bruce had control over the Hulk, he went around this town wrapped all over like a mummy, claiming to be a burn victim. How will he explain his losing two feet of height, recovering from his burns, and losing almost half a ton of muscle? Later, Bruce decided. First, get home.
After standing in front of the door thinking for several minutes, he quickly turned the knob and swung the door open. Shouldnt Betty lock the doors, this late at night? Maybe someone had come over for a little visit, Bruce supposed.
"Honey, Im... home?!?"
In the living room, Bruce saw Betty in one chair, and her father, Thunderbolt Ross, in the other. Ross immediately pulled out his gun and aimed it at his son-in-laws head.
[ FOOTNOTES ]
1. The Incredible Hulk #400.
2. Janis is from approximately 100 years in the future. For more on her, see Future Imperfect #1-2 and The Incredible Hulk #443-444.
3. The Incredible Hulk #425.