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The Incredible Hulk #24

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  • The Ol Two-Hulk
    They did it. The Hulkbusters had defeated the Hulk. What was more, it appeared that he was finally dead. Everyone except for Flux was on the ground due to
    Message 1 of 64 , May 2, 2003
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      They did it. The Hulkbusters had defeated the Hulk. What was more,
      it appeared that he was finally dead. Everyone except for Flux was
      on the ground due to his final assault. Everyone except for Flux was
      cheering the death of a gray-skinned monster.

      Flux rushed over to where the behemoth laid, still and silent. He
      couldn't find a pulse, but in a being like the Hulk, it would be near-
      impossible for one to find a pulse anyway. Flux began to sweat. It
      wasn't so much the fact that his mission was to bring the Hulk in
      alive so much as the fact that he wanted him alive.

      LaRoquette chuckled. "Finally!"

      "No," Flux replied as he lied his ear down on Hulk's mouth. "He's
      breathing. He's still alive."

      "Not for long!" A Mandroid aimed its arm at the man-monster. Flux
      leapt over and broke the robotic arm-missile launcher.

      "Our job is to bring him in to Gamma Base, not kill him." Flux then
      went back to the Hulk and drug him to one of the overturned jeeps.
      He then turned the jeep back over, upside-up. Taking one more
      inquisitive look at the Hulk, Flux put him in the back of the jeep...



      Caught in the heart of a gamma bomb explosion, Dr. Robert Bruce
      Banner now finds himself transformed into Earth's Mightiest Mortal.
      Seven feet, 1,000 pounds of unfettered fury: The Incredible Hulk!

      The Incredible Hulk #24

      "The Return
      Part Two"
      May, 2003
      By Joel Mccrory

      [Hours Later]
      Doctor Leonard Samson finally had the bandana over his eyes removed.
      They told him that he wouldn't be allowed to know the location of the
      new Gamma Base, or tell anyone, including his West Coast Avengers
      teammates, (1) of its existence. It seemed odd, absolutely nothing
      like the Gamma Base of old, but he understood that they considered
      him a security risk. He was willing to let them take extreme
      precautions, if it meant he could see Bruce Banner and the Hulk
      again. Ever since he last saw the Hulk, (2) he was wondering what
      his current mental state could possibly be... and how close to
      breaking he was now...

      Now, he knew. In front of him he saw the thin form of Bruce Banner,
      held tight by kinetic bonds. His arms were stuck in the air in them,
      and it used his own strength against him: not even the Hulk could
      possibly escape it.

      Samson looked to his right and saw the source of the cigar-smoke he
      had been smelling. General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, presumed
      dead. "Does Betty know?"

      Ross's eyes looked very tired, in Samson's opinion. "Know that we
      have the Hulk or know that I'm alive?"

      Samson looked back at Bruce for a moment before returning his gaze to
      Ross. "Both."

      Ross snorted. "She knows I'm alive. (3) She also undoubtedly knows
      that something is up, since the guards have been ordered not to allow
      her out of her room. The same for Janis."

      "Janis?"

      "Jones. Rick Jones's great-granddaughter from an alternate future.
      Or some such nonsense. (4)"

      "That Janis is here?" Samson walked closer to Bruce's unconscious
      body. "Bruce?"

      "Samson?" Bruce whispered without moving. "Here to... pick a fight?"

      "Odd," Samson remarked, "His tone of voice sounds exactly like his
      gray persona!"

      "Maybe 'cause... that's who I am, ya stupid head-shrinker..."
      Bruce's teeth began to clatter. "No one's ever gonna... put me
      away..."

      "What? Has something happened? What happened, Hulk? What's changed
      your relationship with Bruce so radically?" Samson tried to look him
      in the eye, but his eyes were clamped shut as hard as they could.

      "I... won't lose... can't lose..."

      "Who are you losing to?"

      "Who... do ya think?"

      "I'll be back," Ross said as he quickly left the room.

      "No!" Hulk began to cry out, in a scratchy voice. He lifted his
      head for a brief moment before it dropped again.

      "Hulk?" Samson whispered. "Bruce?"

      Silence for a few brief moments. Then, barely audible to Samson,
      Bruce whispered, "I'm here..."

      "What's going on, Bruce?"

      "He's back."

      [The main control room of Gamma Base]

      The room had been completely repaired (5) within two days. The extra
      security precautions had been completed in a week. It was now
      impossible for anything short of Galactus to break in.

      Ross walked in and pressed a series of buttons on one of the
      consoles. "Sir... uhh, what are you doing?"

      General Ross ignored the question and finished the sequence. As he
      had been instructed to do. "That's the experimental teleportation
      unit, sir--"

      In the center of the room, a thin form, with an odd shaped head,
      teleported in. He was green and his clothes appeared to be some odd,
      orange-and-black, armor. The top of his head had two large masses,
      his brain evidently disproportionately large.

      Everyone in the room aimed their guns at him, except General Ross.
      Ross stared blankly. The stranger smiled and released mental bolts
      that instantly knocked out everyone in the room except for Ross and
      himself.

      "Send for my humanoids. I'll be back in 15.5342001439 minutes."

      Ross replied, "Yes, Leader..."

      [Two Minutes Later]

      Emil Blonsky sat as he had sat for weeks now. He had been waiting.
      Now the wait was over.

      The Leader had the guards open the secondary adamantium-walled room
      and walked in. "It's time, Emil."

      The microchip implanted inside Emil Blonsky's head recognized the
      voice and activated the program. Finally, the Abomination awoke!

      "Well, it's about time."

      [Meanwhile]

      Ross watched the humanoids that he had brought destroy all lines of
      communication to anywhere outside the base. He felt no remorse or
      joy. He felt nothing.

      The humanoids spread out, covering the entire base. The humanoids
      outnumbered humans on the base by at least three-to-one.

      Not even the Hulk himself stood a chance this time.

      [The Gamma Study Lab]

      Here were the machines that would fill the Abomination with enough
      power to kill the Hulk with ease. The Leader would've just brought
      his own machines, but the kind of teleportation used could have
      resulted in the machines exploding, causing the equivalent of a
      miniature gamma bomb. Better to be safe.

      The Leader pressed the button and the Abomination was filled with
      gamma radiation. Enough to kill a Hulk. Enough to kill two Hulks.
      Enough to kill an entire army of Hulks.

      They were finally ready to confront the good Doctor Banner.

      [The Hulk Room]

      Samson knocked on the wall. It was thick. At least titanium,
      probably a lower-level secondary adamantium. He returned to his
      patient. "And you say that he just suddenly returned?"

      "It was... more like... he's been there, but only slowly getting
      louder... louder... until last night, when he nearly broke free..."

      "And--" Samson bit his tongue as something large slammed down on the
      back of his head. Bruce looked up and saw the Abomination smiling,
      behind him a humanoid and the Leader.

      The humanoid released Bruce from the kinetic bonds. Bruce hit the
      ground head first. Abomination and the humanoid then put Samson in
      the kinetic bonds. Bruce stood up, making eye contact with the
      Leader.

      "So... Omnibus with surgery or are you actually the Leader?"

      "Look at who I have with me. Which do you think is the case?"

      "Nice to see... I didn't kill you..." (6) Bruce laughed weakly.

      "No, I was able to survive. As was General Ross, as you can see. Of
      course, it was I who brought his soul back, after I finally perfected
      the process."

      "So... you're controlling him still?"

      "Of course. Why wouldn't I want to control the leader of such a
      place as Gamma Base?"

      "What..." Bruce wobbled for a moment, "Do you want... this time?"

      "Oh, it's fairly simple, really," Leader smiled. "I promised the
      Hulk who fancies himself as being civilized that I would kill him.
      You're going to transform into him so that I can."

      Bruce wiped the sweat from his forehead. "It's not... that simple..."

      "I really have no reason to kill you, or that gray buffoon, or even
      the insipid savage monstrosity, at this point. All I want is to kill
      the one who nearly killed me and almost wrecked all my plans."

      "It's not... that simple... I can't just... become him..."

      "Well," Leader pulled out a gun, "If it's motivation that you
      need..."

      ...smash puny...

      "No! Don't! You mustn't!" Bruce hollered and ran towards the
      Leader. The humanoid pushed him into the wall.

      ...puny humans...

      "If this is what it takes for me to finally be vindicated, then so be
      it." Leader took aim and shot him first in one leg, and then the
      other.

      ...and the madder...

      Bruce cried out in pain as he collapsed. "You don't know what you're-
      -"

      ...Hulk is strongest...

      "By the way, Doctor, these are adamantium-tipped. I built the gun
      myself, and, as you can feel, it is able to send the bullet
      completely through you with ease."

      ...the stronger Hulk gets...

      "Swiss cheese," Abomination laughed under his breath.

      ...strongest one there is...

      Leader then shot Bruce once in each arm. "Have I motivated you
      enough yet?"

      ...does what Hulk wants...

      "Very well, then," Leader took aim and shot Bruce in the chest.
      Bruce tried to scream but could only gurgle up blood and convulse.

      ...no one stops...

      "I do hope this works." Leader then tapped the gun on Bruce's
      forehead and squeezed the trigger.

      ...Hulk...

      "Let's give him a few minutes." Leader and his humanoid left the
      room. "If I'm not back before he comes, feel free to soften him up."

      ...Hulk...

      "My pleasure," Abomination grinned. He looked at the unconscious and
      bound Samson. "Finally, after all these years and humiliating
      defeats, I finally get to give you jerk-offs what you deserve!"

      ...Hulk...

      "How's it feel now, Samson?" Abomination punched Samson in the
      stomach and he awoke coughing up blood. "How's that feel--"

      ...Hulk...

      He paused as he thought he heard something. Something he hadn't
      heard in awhile. He glanced back to the corpse of Doctor Robert
      Bruce Banner...

      "Hulk smash!"

      [To Be Concluded]

      FOOTNOTES:
      1. Yes, Samson is currently a WCA reservist! If you haven't yet,
      check out the Alternate Marvel Universe's flagship title, WCA, right
      now!
      2. During Devil's Night! See AMU's West Coast Avengers #18!
      3. Ever since "Room Full Of Mirrors," AMU's Incredible Hulk #18-21!
      4. See Future Imperfect #1-2, Incredible Hulk #443-445, and AMU's
      The Incredible Hulk #5-6, 17-21, and Annual #1! Or just take General
      Ross's word for it!
      5. To see the damage, check out AMU's Incredible Hulk #18-21!
      6. See The Incredible Hulk #400!
    • None
      Pyron found himself in Chicago, wherein he was met with an offer by a rich old man. An offer to lead a brand new team of super-heroes, to be the public face
      Message 64 of 64 , Apr 21, 2004
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        Pyron found himself in Chicago, wherein he was met with an offer by
        a rich old man. An offer to lead a brand new team of super-heroes,
        to be the public face of his uber-secret organization. The team
        currently consists of Pyron, the Tracker, P'Shaw, the new Masher,
        and Ion, the man formerly known as Flux, and now Half Life, who is
        being forced to help them against his will…

        The Order #31
        "Serum"

        [Chicago]

        The agent of the Order stared at his reflection in the windows as he
        walked through the alleyways. He had become a creature of ice,
        somehow.

        "Forgot, I'll be needing you," a voice from behind him rang out. As
        he turned, a tunnel of ice sucked him in. He screamed for a moment
        before his body shattered into a thousand icy pieces, which
        evaporated into steam and was reabsorbed into the tunnel.

        The tunnel reverted to the form of Hal Gordon, who was now taller
        and bigger than before, now looking like a bodybuilder. He patted
        his belly, feeling satisfied after the equivalent of a meal.

        "Not bad," Hal grinned, "I think I'm going to enjoy this."

        [Los Angeles]

        Masher grew to twenty feet tall to match his robot opponent. Ion
        pounced at the other twenty foot tall robot, knocking it on its back
        with his momentum. Masher traded blows with the robot, quickly
        crushing its chest and deactivating it.

        "Darn," Gremlin sighed, "what I get for going with cheaper metals."

        "Now, then," Masher said as he picked Gremlin up by the neck, "What
        did you do to our agent?"

        "He was one of yours?" Gremlin smiled before kicking upward,
        spinning himself around and striking Masher's oversized arm.

        Masher, surprised rather than injured, dropped him. He expected the
        pint-sized criminal to probably be pretty hurt from such a fall.
        Instead, the Gremlin landed on his feet and smashed into Ion,
        stunning him.

        "When did this guy get power?"

        Gremlin threw a punch into Ion's face and Ion fell over. Masher
        shrunk down to utilize a greater speed which came with a smaller
        size to deal with him. After returning to normal height, Masher
        found the Gremlin to be even more of a pain to catch. Gremlin
        bounced around at the last second before the Masher would have
        grabbed him.

        This continued for several minutes until the Gremlin finally jumped
        into the Masher's face, knocking his helmet off. Masher hit the
        ground and passed out.

        Gremlin laughed as he looked down at the two pathetic heroes,
        defeated by his own physical power. Then he started to feel a bit
        queasy and weak in the legs and pressed a button. Smaller robots
        emerged from beneath the ground and picked the two unconscious men
        up.

        Gremlin grabbed the Masher's helmet and followed the robots back to
        his base.

        [The Nucleus]

        "Has Ion or Masher reported in yet?" Pyron inquired.

        "Nope, not yet," the Tracker replied. "You want me to go check up
        on them?"

        "No, I need to make sure you stay conscious to continue our psychic
        link and Half Life's security systems."

        "Machine Man can do that function, as well."

        "The security, but not the psychic link-up. That's too valuable to
        risk just yet. After you get the nanites up and running to allow us
        to continue to link-up without you, then you can go jumping into
        battle blind."

        "You know, I'm not a pansy… and my armor isn't exactly --"

        "It would take Iron Man all of three seconds to knock you offline.
        Look, just do it," Pyron stepped inside his office and closed the
        door.

        "Iron Man? Pfft," Tracker snorted before walking on.

        Pyron sat down in his chair and watched as the flame around him went
        out and ashes fell all around him. He saw, for only the second time
        in several years, normal skin which belonged to him. Thanks to Atom
        Smasher, he could now switch between human and `thermal man' forms.

        [Toronto, Ontario, Canada]

        Men in red armor fell to their knees, their brains being knifed by
        psychic energies. Their special light guns, which they had been
        selling to local criminals to help contribute to the downfall of
        Canadian society, had no effect on their enemy, who was the cause of
        all their current pains.

        Psykos stood in the middle of the warehouse, confident in his
        abilities and lack of vulnerability. Telepathic energies surged
        outward from him in every direction, striking down all Sirius
        members who were there.

        "Bravo," Psykos heard someone say behind him. Someone he couldn't
        read.

        Psykos turned to see a heavy, pink-furred being in a bright business
        suit. "Are you the leader of this group, Sirius?"

        "Oh, no," P'Shaw answered, "If I were, you would already be dead."

        Psykos fired a beam of cosmic energy at P'Shaw, who easily leapt out
        of the way. "I'm not here for a fight, you know…"

        "Then what do you want?"

        "To offer you a place… in the Order."

        [Los Angeles]

        Masher woke up without his helmet. "What a weird dream," he
        muttered to himself, "a super-hero… heh…"

        Then he noticed that he couldn't move his arms or legs. He looked
        down and saw that he was tied to the chair and was in some sort of
        evil scientist's laboratory. "Oh crap," he groaned, "not a dream."

        He looked to his right and saw Ion gritting his teeth and flexing as
        though he were in great pain. Ion howled out, sweat pouring from
        the top down. "Don't look so disturbed," the Gremlin said as he
        came into view, "he's getting the same serum my minion you killed
        earlier received. Isn't metabolizing the way it normally would,
        though. Odd, that."

        "And here I thought it was just standard rabies," the Masher
        remarked, hoping to get some information from his foe.

        "No, it's much more powerful than that," Gremlin smiled, "I might
        just infect the water supply or something. I haven't really made
        any definite plans yet. The important thing is my other serum,
        which amplifies my own physical abilities, as you saw earlier."

        "Yeah, so you've got your own super soldier serum," Masher
        growled, "so why do you need mindless minions, too?"

        "Easier to control, moron."

        Ion screamed out as his super-powered anti-bodies did battle with
        the artificially-produced serum. Without any muscle control, Ion's
        body broke free of its bonds and collapsed onto the ground, shaking
        and foaming at the mouth.

        Gremlin fled to his desk, where he pulled out a serum which he
        quickly downed. "Ah," he smiled.

        Masher saw his helmet on a counter close to the Gremlin. He must
        have assumed that it was merely a pretty decoration that might sell
        for a few hundred dollars rather than an immense power source in
        itself.

        Ion rose to his feet, panting and the sweat still raining down from
        his face. "You're done," he declared, "I won."

        "You can't win," Gremlin growled, "you don't have the --"

        Ion plowed past the Gremlin, scooping up the Masher helmet as he
        clothes-lined the Gremlin. Gremlin fell on his back but quickly
        scuttled away. Ion threw the helmet like a horse shoe, clinking on
        Masher's head. A bolt of energy discharged, breaking through the
        ground and the ceiling. Masher broke free as he increased his
        height to twelve feet, the top of his head sticking out the hole in
        the ceiling.

        "I can tell that the tide of battle is beginning to change," Gremlin
        snarled before pressing a button on the wall. He jumped into a
        chute.

        Masher and Ion ran to the chute only to find that it was now just
        several feet of hard metal. "Is it just me," Masher asked, "or did
        that seem too easy?"

        Ion sighed, "too easy. Run."

        Masher reverted to normal size and followed Ion, who still ached all
        over and barely had any control over his body just yet, out of the
        building. Moments later, said building exploded.

        Ion fell over from the shockwave of the detonation, but Masher
        caught him before he hit the ground. `Tracker,' Masher
        telepathically spoke to the team's teleporter and telepath, `take us
        home. We're done here.'

        [The end?]
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