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The Incredible Hulk #25

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    Flux grabbed the humanoid from behind and threw it down the long hall. That should at least buy me a little time, he thought to himself as he entered the
    Message 1 of 64 , Jun 6, 2003
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      Flux grabbed the humanoid from behind and threw it down the long
      hall. That should at least buy me a little time, he thought to
      himself as he entered the Hulk's room. Stepping inside the doorway
      he saw Samson hooked up to the kinetic bonds and a giant hole in one
      of the walls.

      "That... That's impossible... These walls are... are secondary
      adamantium... three inches thick!"

      Samson, blood trickling out of his mouth, grinned. "As far as he's
      concerned... there's no such thing... as impossible..."

      Flux let him down and asked, "Him who?"

      "Who... do you think?" Samson leaned on Flux and spit out blood.

      "The Hulk? But... I've fought him before, and there's no way--"
      Samson laughed.

      "Then you've never fought him... when he was like this..."

      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 #25
      "The Return
      Part Three"
      June, 2003
      By Joel Mccrory

      "I'm practically getting misty-eyed here!" Abomination laughed as he
      slammed Hulk into the floor, making a two-inch dent in it. "I've
      missed you while you were gone. All those other Hulks... they just
      don't compare!" He then kicked Hulk in the gut and back-handed him

      Hulk growled, "Stupid Big-Ears! You make fun of Hulk, but Hulk will
      prove that he is the strongest one there is!"

      Hulk charged. The Abomination side-stepped him and punched him in
      the face. "I've been waiting so long for this. Don't die too
      quickly, please."

      "Bah!" Hulk slammed his hand down to the floor, causing an
      earthquake-like shockwave that nearly collapsed the building and
      knocked the Abomination off his feet. "Nothing can beat Hulk! Not
      puny Banner, not fake Hulk, and especially not Big-Ears!"

      As Abomination stood up, Hulk sent both his arms down on
      Abomination's shoulders, knocking him back down. Hulk then picked
      him up and threw him out the window.

      Hulk leapt out the window and landed on the Abomination. "Get up,
      Big-Ears! Get up so Hulk can smash you again!"

      "You ain't smashed nothing yet," Abomination grinned as he stood up,
      unharmed. "Now, let's try that again."

      Abomination slammed his own fists into the ground, cracking it and
      causing a shockwave as the Hulk had in the building. As Hulk leaned
      forward from it, Abomination punched him, first in the face, then the
      stomach, and finally the face again. "What do you have to say about

      "Hulk says," Hulk jumped back, and tore a large portion of the thick
      wall of the building off, "that he will smash stupid Big-Ears!"

      Hulk dropped the wall down on the Abomination, who stood still as the
      wall crumbled around him. "Big-Ears is strong, but Hulk is still

      "Oh, yeah?" Abomination laughed. "Prove it!"

      Hulk sent his hands colliding into one another, creating a sonic
      shockwave that nearly deafened the Abomination. "Nice." Abomination
      was still laughing.

      "But it still isn't enough. You're outdated, you pathetic little boy-
      monster." Abomination leapt high in the air, as the Hulk stood and
      watched him.

      As Abomination came down, Hulk prepared to punch him. The
      Abomination quickly took a small piece of the wall rubble from behind
      his back and flung it into Hulk's eye. Hulk held his eye, enraged,
      for a brief moment. Long enough for the Abomination to land on him.

      Hulk threw himself at Abomination, who grabbed his arms casually and
      head-butted Hulk as hard as he could. "That blow would've shattered
      anything short of adamantium!"

      "Then it is a good thing," Hulk growled, "That Hulk is not short!"

      Hulk head-butted Abomination back, and the two separated.


      The giant, deformed, green-skinned, man-like monster had appeared
      seemingly from out of nowhere. The Champions were there within ten
      minutes to try and stop it.

      First, Pyron, the Thermal Man, tried to burn it, but his mightiest
      flame had no effect. Then Atom Smasher tried to use force beams to
      knock it down, to no avail. He tried to give it radiation sickness,
      but it seemed to soak the radiation in like a sponge. Aquon and the
      enormous Earth-Lord tried together to knock him out, but the monster
      was able to easily flick Aquon's comparatively-tiny body away and
      dodge Earth-Lord's attacks.

      Man, Atom Smasher thought to himself, it looks like its gonna be one
      of those days...

      [Gamma Base]

      Samson and Flux clawed their way past the humanoid guards and into
      the control room. The Leader and General Ross were there, along with
      a number of humanoids and unconscious soldiers, to greet them.

      "Who... the hell are you?" Flux stared at the Leader.

      "I could ask the same, child." The Leader released a mental bolt
      that knocked Flux over.

      "Leader. What do you have planned this time?"

      "Just a simple 'start of a new race and destruction of the old'
      plan. Nothing much. And you? Planning to stop me yourself or call
      in your Avenger friends? (1)Or are you going to just sit back and
      hope that the good Doctor Banner can save the day yet again for

      Samson couldn't think of a valid reply and instead punched the
      humanoid standing next to him. "Well, if that's the way you want
      it." All the humanoids in the room began to circle Flux and Samson.

      Leader turned back around. "This is all going even better than I had

      [New York City]

      "And this is identical to the giant who materialized a few weeks
      ago?" (2) Reed Richards (3) typed quickly as he watched the
      radiation levels display on his monitor.

      "Yes," Captain America replied, "Almost identical."

      Thor summoned down a bolt of lightning which struck the green giant
      with no effect.

      Reed double-checked what he was seeing, then told Captain
      America, "The gamma radiation levels on that thing are... well, it's
      almost the same amount as the Hulk has within him..."

      With Wonderman and The Thing distracting the giant at its legs, Thor
      grabbed it by the back of the neck and flew off with it, to deposit
      it in a non-populated area.

      "So what do you think this means?" Captain America asked one of the
      world's greatest scientific minds.

      Reed replied, "I'm not entirely certain, but news reports indicate
      that creatures such as this one are materializing across the planet.
      Whatever it is, I have a feeling that it was planned. I just hope
      that we can discover what's transpiring before it's too late..."

      [Gamma Base]

      "If you'll excuse me, I have an errand to attend to." Leader
      casually strode past Samson and Flux as they clawed at the humanoids
      who were tackling them.

      "General!" Flux cried as he saw 'Thunderbolt' Ross standing
      there. "General Ross! Sir! Help us!"

      The General stood there and stared at them.

      [Los Angeles]

      She-Hulk and Hercules slammed into the giant's legs, full force.
      Photon had hoped that it would be enough to subdue the giant creature
      before it could cause too much damage. The creature picked the two
      up and began squeezing the life out of them.

      Iron Man flew in, in large, all green armor, a very large pack on his
      back, more rounded helmet, and large pods on his chest, arms, and
      legs. "Here it is. Let's just hope it can do the job."

      Iron Man pointed his arms at the creature and the armor's equipment
      hummed with activity. twin green clouds began to pour in to the
      armor's pods as the gamma radiation was being absorbed into the new

      "Reed," Iron Man spoke into his helmet to his ally in New York, "The
      armor's working, but..."

      The creature howled and began to run towards Iron Man. She-Hulk and
      Hercules strained their hardest to keep the creature in
      place. "...It's just too much for the suit to handle."

      The siphon was shut off and the creature went back to its business of
      trying to destroy random buildings. Iron Man apologized to
      Photon, "My armor just can't hold it all. I could go back to my
      armory and quickly modify another armor to collect more, or dump what
      I have--"

      Photon interrupted. "Dump it where? And how?"

      "That's the problem. The only truly safe way to dispose of it is to
      send it to the sun, which is beyond my means to do in less than
      several hours. I can get another suit ready in about 15 minutes.
      Can the West Coast Avengers hold it down that long?"

      Photon sighed. "If that's what we need to do, then we'll do it."

      "Something else is bothering you. I can tell."

      "Well, if this thing is gamma radiation-powered... and where Samson
      suddenly went missing... I just hope everything works out."

      Iron Man replied, "If that thing is Samson, his DNA has changed
      dramatically..." Before flying off.

      [Gamma Base]

      Betty turned off the television and sighed. Little Bobby was asleep
      in her bed. Where did he come from? Did the government make him, or
      some super-villain? Betty got up to go get some water when she
      noticed out of the corner of her eye a pink humanoid standing outside
      her window.

      The front door slammed against the wall as two humanoids and the
      Leader walked in. One of the humanoids was holding Janis. Before
      Betty could say anything, a mental bolt knocked her unconscious.

      "You, take her." The second humanoid followed the order and picked
      Betty up. The Leader went in the bathroom and looked, then her bed
      room. There it was. The child.

      "Bobby. It's time." The chip recently installed in Bobby's brain
      (4) clicked on and the child got up from the bed. "Follow me."


      "What is this thing?" Vanguard thought aloud. (5)

      "By-product of the Westerners, no doubt," Titanium Man replied as he
      slammed into its side.

      "Wait, I had my suit do various scans on it, and... this creature has
      an enormous level of gamma radiation in it!"

      "See? A by-product of some experiment to recreate their Hulk, no
      doubt!" The giant creature effortlessly slapped Titanium Man away.

      Crimson Dynamo shot repulsor rays at it, to no response. "The
      question is... how do we stop it? If I use my fusioncaster, the
      released radiation could cause more harm than the monster itself!"

      [Gamma Base]

      Little Bobby was not scared, nor excited, nor anything. He simply
      was. The machines filled his miniscule frame with what would
      normally have been a lethal dosage of gamma radiation. It would have
      been lethal, if he weren't Bobby Bruce Banner.

      The Leader couldn't control gamma mutates by touch, as he could
      anyone else, including the weak-minded General Ross. That's why he
      implanted the tiny circuitry within his gamma-irradiated allies.
      With it, he could control them just as easily as anyone else.

      And now... he controlled a miniature version of the incredible Hulk


      Atalanta shot her electric arrows at the giant beast as Ajax rammed
      into it's leg. The beast replied by trying to step on
      Ajax. "Adlanna! Id's nod woor-keen'!"

      "I know," Atalanta replied as she shot more arrows at the beast's
      legs. She pressed a button on her watch. "Are those reinforcements
      coming or not? There's not much we can do..."

      [Gamma Base]

      Samson hurt so much that he was almost numb to it. He could no
      longer see Flux, the room, General Ross, or even himself. All he
      could see was pink. Those damned pink, rubbery humanoids. No matter
      how hard you punch them, they can absorb the blow. Even the Hulk
      himself has never successfully 'killed' any of them. What chance did
      he have?

      "No!" Using all the strength he could muster, Samson succeeded in
      knocking the humanoids back. It didn't injure any of them in the
      slightest, but it did give him a moment's rest. "I won't give up!"

      Samson heard a savage scream to his left and turned his head in time
      to see the pile of humanoids on Flux fly off in a similar fashion to
      the ones who had been on him. Flux wiped the green blood from his
      mouth. "I won't argue with those sentiments..."

      The humanoids charged. Samson and Flux charged right back at them.

      General Ross stared.


      "Report the current status of Gamma Base."

      "Gamma Base is currently under the Leader's control."

      "What, again?"

      "No, sir, that was Omnibus."

      "Either way, shouldn't they have increased security measures
      drastically after--?"

      "They did, sir."

      "Then how did he get in?"

      "They let him in."


      "He can control anyone he touches, sir. He touched General Ross."

      "Oh, that's right, Sam Sterns. We weren't expecting him to make a
      resurgence until at least next year. So the giant gamma-creatures
      popping up all around the world is his work?"

      "Yes, sir."

      "Now I have to file a report... Is Bruce Banner still there?"

      "Yes, sir, except he's the Hulk now."

      "What? I was told that he only changes at night now! He is still
      gray, smart, and weak, right?"

      "Actually, he appears to be green, dumb, and strong. He's fighting
      the Abomination."

      "Which one is that?"

      "Emil Blonsky, sir. Former spy."

      "Oh, yes, and currently one of Sterns's soldiers. Are Samson and
      Flux still alive?"

      "As far as we know, yes, sir, but they're fighting dozens of

      "Very good. Make sure to keep me posted on any new developments."

      "Yes, sir."

      [Gamma Base]

      "What the hell's the meaning of this?" Talbot struggled for freedom
      as a humanoid held him tight.

      The Leader tapped him on the shoulder. "You will now join us. Your
      good friends Rock, Ross, and Pratt already have. Now, show me to the
      Mandroid armory."


      Alpha Flight stood above the city, high on the rooftops. They had
      heard the reports from all over the world, and quickly assembled. If
      this giant green army had been mysteriously popping up everywhere
      else, why not here as well?

      However, so far, all had been calm. No signs of trouble at all, save
      one mugging that Puck quickly broke up. They were about ready to go
      home and assume that the threat didn't care much about Canada either
      way, or perhaps was Canada-based and attempting to take over the rest
      of the world, when they heard a building topple over.

      "Well, it's about time," Sasquatch grinned as he cracked his

      [Gamma Base]

      "You can't beat me, Hulk," Abomination laughed as he knocked Hulk
      through another building. "Even if you did, you would still have no
      chance against the Leader, anyway. Just give up."

      Hulk rose slowly. "Leader... is here, too? Hulk will smash

      Abomination dodged the Hulk as he rushed by, and calmly tripped
      him. "Even if you could beat me, which you can't, how would you
      defeat all the gamma-freaks Leader's created all over the world
      before they blow up?"

      "What, Big-Ears? Leader... wants his puny soldiers to... blow up?
      Hulk does not understand..." Hulk threw another punch, this one
      blocked by Abomination's arm. Abomination twisted his arm.

      "I'm not surprised." Abomination hit Hulk in the face. "Think about
      it: He has them all over the world. They're all stuffed full o'
      radiation. They all go boom, radiation scatters all over the place.
      Everyone either dies or becomes one of us."

      "No!" Hulk cried out as Abomination continued to assault him, his
      arm still stuck in Abomination's. "Hulk will smash Big-Ears, then
      smash Leader!"

      "How exactly do you plan to do that," Abomination smiled, "When you
      can't even free yourself?"

      Hulk's face grew more enraged than Abomination could recall ever
      seeing him. Maybe fighting this incarnation head-on wasn't so wise...

      "Hulk..." Abomination felt some force starting to press on his arm
      that was holding onto the Hulk's arm. That force quickly grew
      stronger and stronger and stronger until the interlocked arms
      suddenly switched places and a loud cracking noise could be
      heard. "...can do anything!"

      Abomination cried out in pain. "My arm! You.. broke it!"

      "Don't worry, Big-Ears," Hulk grinned, "That is not the only thing
      Hulk will break."

      Hulk threw the Abomination and yanked him back by the broken arm,
      sending his other arm into Abomination's face.


      Atom Smasher was applying maximum effort to a heat ray to hopefully
      subdue the giant creature, at least a little. Aquon, meanwhile, was
      trying to break its little toe. Earth-Lord was still unconscious
      from its attack, and Pyron was out of steam.

      Suddenly, the giant started to shrink down to normal size, its skin
      changing from green to white. Aquon let go of his toe as it was
      becoming to small to get an entire hand around. Atom Smasher
      stopped, assuming his attack had been successful.

      The now-normal-sized man fell over and passed out. Atom Smasher
      said, "What do you think that was all about?"

      Two seconds later, the man exploded, sending the Champions flying

      [Gamma Base]

      Leader stepped into the doorway and said, "It's time, General." Ross
      walked out of the room, in a manner befitting a zombie.

      "What was that all about?" Flux hollered over the humanoids
      surrounding him.

      "Wish I knew," Samson hollered back as he head-butted a humanoid.

      [New York City]

      "Thor just reported in. He had the creature over the Atlantic Ocean,
      when it transformed into a normal guy, like the Hulk becomes Bruce
      Banner. He didn't recognize the guy, and he... he blew up, in a big
      cloud of green, just like that other guy we fought a few weeks ago...
      (2)" Goliath reported in to Captain America and Mister
      Fantastic. "Thor also said that he did take care of the gamma
      radiation released, sending it into some uninhabited universe."

      "Tell him to go to Detroit and help with disposal there, too. Any
      idea who might be behind this, Reed? Doctor Doom, Hydra, maybe the
      Leader?" Captain America considered the possibility of any of those
      villains being behind it.

      "From what I've currently surmised," Reed answered, "I would guess
      the Leader. We could try tracking him down, assuming he's on Earth,
      but it might be too late by the time we find him..."

      "We'll have to try." Captain America looked at his team, still
      exhausted from the battle with the giant creature. "Avengers

      The team instantly got back on their feet, tired but ready to go back
      into action, for the sake of the entire planet.

      [Gamma Base]

      Rock was controlling his modified Hulkbuster blue Mandroid (6)
      mentally, thanks to the equipment that the base somehow happened to
      have on hand. Talbot got in a slightly smaller, yellow one. Pratt
      got into a bulkier, green one. General Ross got in a new suit that
      was very similar to his Redeemer suit. "A perfect fit? Excellent..."

      [Los Angeles]

      Iron Man returned in his regular, blue-and-silver armor. "Reed just
      called. This thing is going to explode any minute now."

      Photon replied, "Then we need to get him away from here. Evacuations
      haven't been totally completed yet."

      "If She-Hulk and Hercules distract it for a moment, I can pick it up
      and carry it out to the Pacific. Theoretically, anyway."

      "Are you sure that won't... kill you?" Photon didn't want to see any
      deaths, civilian or super-hero.

      "It might, but I doubt it." Actually, the chances were very great
      that it would kill him. If not the strain on the armor or being to
      close when it exploded, then the strain on his still weakened heart
      could quite easily mean his death. No need to tell her that, though,
      he thought.

      "Okay. Do it."

      Iron Man flew above and behind the creature as Hercules and She-Hulk
      slammed into it from its front. It took notice and seemed to be in
      significant pain. It might be about to change, Iron Man worried, so
      I'd better hurry.

      He grabbed it by the back of the neck and turned his jet boots on
      full blast. The amount of power his armor was using up was too
      much. Almost instantly, it had to go into its reserves.

      He kicked on his boots' thrusters, enough of a boost to escape orbit,
      if he weren't carrying the load he currently was. It got him to the
      Pacific Ocean just in time and he dropped the hundred-ton monster.

      His armor was completely drained, so he had it absorb the sunlight as
      his beta particle generator started to get some energy back in it.
      As he slowly drifted away, the bomb went off, and Iron Man took some
      of the impact, hurtling from the sky into the ocean.

      He gripped his chest. "Yeah, no problem..."

      [Gamma Base]

      "Hulk just wanted to be left alone, but no, puny Banner and fake Hulk
      had to attack Hulk and lock Hulk in tiny dark room! (7) Hulk
      escapes, and still only wants to be left alone, but no, Big-Ears and
      Leader attack him! Well, Big-Ears, Hulk is tired of being attacked!
      Now... Hulk will start smashing!"

      "Not exactly what I was hoping for," Hulk heard a familiar voice
      behind him and dropped the beaten, bloody body of the
      Abomination, "But it may just have to do. You always disappoint me
      so, Doctor."

      Hulk turned, throwing the Abomination at the Leader. "Hulk will
      smash Leader like he smashed Big-Ears!"

      Leader laughed. "I very highly doubt that. Not while I still
      have... the Mini-Hulk!"

      Hulk turned around and saw a child standing alone. He noticed to his
      right and a distance in front of him, two humanoids, one holding
      Betty and the other holding Janis. Four robots stood behind Leader.

      "Kill him."

      Hulk turned back around to the kid as he heard a savage howl tear
      itself from the child's mouth. The child was running towards Hulk
      and growing larger and green. "Hulk will smash!"

      "Yes," Hulk replied to the green-skinned child, "Hulk will smash...
      smash the short fake Hulk!"

      Just as Hulk was about to swing, Betty cried out, "Hulk! He's a
      child... A child version of you!"

      Hulk was distracted long enough for the mini-Hulk to slam into his
      stomach. Hulk tried to back-hand him away, but the Mini-Hulk dodged
      and kicked Hulk in the face, sending him flying back. "Fake short
      Hulk is... fast! But no one can stop Hulk! Not even... Hulk!"

      The Leader turned around. "If he does somehow win, kill him. You
      know where I'll be."

      "Yes, sir." The four armored men all replied.

      "Hulk must think of some way to trick stupid short Hulk!" Hulk
      thought aloud. Hulk jumped over to a jeep and hurled it at the Mini-

      The Mini-Hulk batted it away just like the real Hulk would. "Hulk
      must think of some way to trick stupid tall Hulk!" The Mini-Hulk
      thought aloud.

      The Mini-Hulk pounced, slamming head-first into Hulk's gut. Hulk
      went flying back, collapsing the small house he landed inside
      of. "Short Hulk is strong... Hulk must think of some way to beat
      short Hulk! Think, Hulk, think! Why is it always so hard for Hulk
      to think?"

      The Mini-Hulk stood confident, laughing, "Stupid tall Hulk is strong,
      but Hulk is the strongest one there is!"

      Hulk replied, "Yes, Hulk is! And the madder Hulk gets..." Hulk

      "The stronger Hulk gets!" Mini-Hulk charged.

      The two collided full force, and the planet itself seemed to shake
      from the impact. Several small houses fell in. The humanoids fell
      over, and Betty and Janis ran. The four armored men quickly
      surrounded them.

      Hulk and Mini-Hulk struggled to gain the upper hand as they leapt
      together high into the air.

      "Hulk will smash short Hulk!"

      "Hulk will smash tall Hulk!"

      Mini-Hulk elbowed Hulk in the jaw, and Hulk replied with a knee in
      the stomach. As they began to descend, Hulk quickly back-handed the
      Mini-Hulk, knocking him to the ground first, and through it.

      Hulk fell through the hole made by the Mini-Hulk. When he landed,
      Hulk found himself surrounded by machines. "Machines! Hulk hates
      machines! Puny humans always try to hurt Hulk with machines!"

      Hulk grabbed a large wall of computers and slammed them down against
      the ground. Sparks flew and served to only enrage the Hulk
      further. "Stupid machines still try to hurt Hulk, even after Hulk
      smashes them! Then, Hulk will have to smash them even more!"

      As Hulk pounded his foot down on the sizzling chunks of computer, the
      Mini-Hulk dropped down from the ceiling. "Ha! Hulk has tricked
      stupid tall Hulk! Now, Hulk will smash!"

      Hulk threw a pile of worthless computer scraps up at the falling Mini-
      Hulk, temporarily distracting him, as Hulk jumped up and slammed both
      fists into the Mini-Hulk's jaw. The Mini-Hulk went flying back up
      out of the hole. Hulk looked down at the scraps. "Hulk will be back
      for you later." He then looked back up and leaped out of the hole.

      "Hulk is tired of fighting stupid short Hulk! Hulk will leave!"
      Hulk crouched, preparing to leap off. He stopped as he saw Betty and
      Janis, surrounded by the four armored men.

      "No! Leader wants Hulk to kill tall Hulk, so that is what Hulk will
      do!" The Mini-Hulk crashed into the Hulk, and the pair smashed
      through the wall, and into a laboratory.

      "More stupid machines!" Hulk punched at Mini-Hulk, but he was able
      to dodge again. "After Hulk has smashed stupid short Hulk, Hulk will
      smash machines!"

      "Stupid tall Hulk will smash never smash anything again," Mini-Hulk
      commented as he kicked Hulk in the gut, then plowed his arms into
      Hulk's chest.

      "Hulk will smash whatever he wants, whenever he wants!" Hulk knocked
      the Mini-Hulk over and dropped a large filing cabinet on him. The
      Mini-Hulk tore through it. Hulk grabbed a wall, planning to throw it
      at the Mini-Hulk. The building collapsed in on itself before he had
      the chance.

      "Maybe now Mini-Hulk won't attack Hulk!" Hulk climbed out of the
      rubble and looked around. The four armors, Betty, Janis, a few
      houses, the one remaining large building, and rubble scattered
      everywhere was all that he could see.

      "Hulk is tired, doesn't want to fight anymore," The Mini-Hulk
      mumbled as he shuffled out from the rubble of the building. Though
      he had the power of the Hulk, his body was still that of a child,
      and, even enhanced through massive dosages of gamma radiation, could
      only fight for so long. The child quickly reverted into his normal,
      white-skinned form.

      "Short Hulk has become... child?" Hulk couldn't understand the
      transformation that had just occurred. He was still having trouble
      coming to terms with his own transformations into Banner, and this
      child's transformation didn't help any.

      "Hulk?" The child looked up at Hulk, "My head... feels funny...Hey,
      now you're green like me..."

      The miniaturized bomb inside the child's head went off, as it was
      programmed to once he reverted to his human form. Hulk shielded his
      eyes from the bright green blast, clouds of radioactive smoking
      whizzing past him.

      Betty and Janis fell back, and the Redeemer caught Betty, Talbot
      catching Janis. She turned her head and saw that inside the clear
      helmet was her father. "Dad! What're you--" She stopped yelling as
      she realized that she couldn't be heard over the explosion.

      Everyone stood still and silent as the noise slowly went away. The
      bright light and clouds of green smoke quickly evaporated. Hulk
      uncovered his eyes and looked for the child. "Where did kid go?
      Hulk was beginning to like kid! So similar to Hulk... kid didn't
      need to fight Hulk, he could have been... Hulk's friend!"

      "Now... where did he go?" Hulk turned and looked at the four armored
      men. "Robots! Robots have hidden Hulk's friend! Give Hulk his
      friend back, or Hulk will smash!"

      Redeemer fired, still holding Betty with his other hand. The energy
      blast bounced off of Hulk's chest and incinerated a piece of
      rubble. "So! You try to hide Hulk's friend, you try to hurt Hulk,
      and you try to hide Betty? Hulk will smash you all, stupid robots!"

      Hulk leapt over, landing on Pratt's fist, and went flying headfirst
      into the ground. "Robots are strong... but Hulk..."

      Talbot, Pratt, Rock, and the Redeemer circled Hulk, and all opened
      fire on him. The Hulk was being pushed in every direction, and the
      ground was starting to tremble.

      "Hulk is the strongest one there is!" Hulk sent his fist into the
      already-weakened ground, and the five fell below the ground. Janis
      and Betty broke free and got clear of the hole.

      "Why is he... talking like that?" Janis asked.

      "That's... the way he used to talk, for quite some time," Betty
      explained. "Why he's returned to it, though... I don't know..."

      "Wasn't that your dad in one of those armors?"

      Betty swallowed hard. "Yes..."

      Janis left Betty to her thoughts for a moment. She could tell that
      Betty was taking this hard. Bruce's return to... whatever that thing
      was, the General armored up and trying to kill her husband...

      A beam of energy shot up through the ground about three inches from
      Betty. Loud, savage snarls were heard from below. "Let's relocate
      somewhere safer."

      Betty and Janis began to walk away, and stopped as they heard a
      sickening popping noise.

      The yellow Mandroid Talbot was in came out of the hole first, dented
      and cracked all over. Second, the Hulk and Pratt's green Mandroid,
      locked in combat. Rock and Redeemer followed, firing bolts of plasma
      at their green-skinned enemy.

      "Did you see their eyes?" Betty asked.

      "No, why?"

      "I think... they're being controlled. It is something the Leader can
      do, I think."

      "Who?" Janis scratched her head.

      Betty sighed. "The guy currently in control of the base."

      "Oh, yeah. That guy is flarking disgusting looking." Janis and
      Betty stopped talking and continued to watch the battle.

      "Hulk knows you! You are stupid demon that attacked Hulk in Hulk's
      head! (7) Hulk will smash you for that, puny demon!" Hulk slammed a
      hand into Pratt's armor's gut, clanging but not damaging it.

      "Demon?" Betty wondered aloud.

      "This base sure has some weird hiring practices," Janis answered.

      Redeemer fired at Hulk, and the blast exploded in his face.
      Temporarily blinded, Hulk rubbed his eyes. Pratt took advantage,
      punching Hulk in the gut and then the face. Hulk went flying back,
      and landed on Rock, who popped out a claw in time for the Hulk to
      land on it. The claw shattered on the Hulk's near-invulnerable back-

      Hulk elbowed back at Rock, whose armor dented just slightly from it.

      The three again opened fire together on the Hulk, who was slightly
      dazed from the attack from all sides. "Which enemy should Hulk smash

      "Eeny," Hulk pointed at Redeemer, "Meany," then Rock, "Miny", then
      Pratt. Pratt fired a cluster of spikes at him. The spikes bounced
      off. "Stupid demon made Hulk lose count, so Hulk will smash him

      Hulk ran towards Pratt, but Rock grabbed him by the ankle. Hulk
      tried to smash the hand holding him, but couldn't. Rock released
      millions of volts of electricity into the Hulk.

      "Stupid robot! No one can stop Hulk!" Hulk grabbed at the
      electrifying arm with both hands and, with supreme effort, yanked it
      off. The 'robot' staggered backwards, howling in pain. In a secret
      basement somewhere on the base, the operator of the remotely-
      controlled Mandroid, LaRoquette, felt exactly the same pain as if his
      own arm had been ripped off, even though it hadn't.

      The blue Mandroid fell over.

      Hulk smiled. "Who is next? The one who made Hulk lose count--demon!"

      Hulk tackled Pratt as Redeemer opened fire on him. "Stupid weapons
      can't hurt Hulk! Nothing can hurt Hulk!" Hulk slammed both fists
      into Pratt's chest, but the green armor held.

      The chest plate opened up, revealing a large plasma cannon that fired
      straight up at the Hulk, knocking him back. "Stupid demon tries to
      use stupid trick on Hulk!"

      Pratt stood up as Hulk leapt at him and tore the cannon from his
      chest plate. "Now demon can't use stupid trick anymore on Hulk!"

      Pratt swung at Hulk, but Hulk grabbed the arm and began to squeeze
      it. "Stupid demon is puny! Hulk will show demon what power is!
      Hulk will show demon why no one can defeat Hulk!"

      Hulk continued to squeeze the one arm, as the metal slowly cracked
      and began to shatter, and slammed his other fist into Pratt's armor's
      face, creating a giant web-like crack in it. "Hulk will show demon
      why demon and his friends should have left Hulk alone! Hulk didn't
      want to fight! Hulk never wants to fight! But no one ever leaves
      Hulk alone, so Hulk must smash them... all of them!"

      The armor's arm finally completely shattered, exposing Pratt's arm to
      the outside world. Hulk was about to finish him when he felt a blast
      hit his back. He slammed Pratt into the ground and spun around.

      Redeemer continued to fire at Hulk, though even his mightiest
      weaponry merely bounced off Hulk's impenetrable green skin. Hulk
      slowly walked to Redeemer and grabbed him by the hands. "How many
      times must Hulk say it? Leave Hulk alone, or Hulk will smash!"

      Hulk looked Redeemer in the eyes, and suddenly was awash with a new
      hatred. "Hulk remembers you... Ross! The one Hulk hates most of

      Hulk pulled his arm back, preparing for the death blow...

      "Hulk! No!" Betty.

      Hulk turned his head, still holding both Redeemer's arms. "Betty...
      Hulk remembers Betty... But Hulk also knows Ross..."

      Betty touched Hulk's arm. "Please, Hulk... look into Ross's eyes.
      Can't you see--the Leader has him under his control? He can't
      control himself! He doesn't really want to hurt you anymore!"

      Hulk looked at Redeemer's eyes, and saw that Betty was
      correct. "Betty is right. Hulk will not smash puny Ross. Hulk will
      smash Leader!"

      Hulk threw Redeemer at Pratt, and Redeemer passed out.

      "Thank you, Hulk..."

      "Hulk will talk later... right now, Hulk has big job to do!" Hulk
      leapt towards the main control building, which looked extra large
      with no other buildings left anywhere close to its size.

      Hulk landed directly in front of the building. If he had much of
      Bruce Banner's intellect within him, he would have tried using the
      door. Instead he tore the door and a portion of the wall off and
      charged inside, bellowing, "Where is Leader? Hulk will tear this
      place apart until he finds stupid Leader!"

      Hulk tore through the reception area and quickly found himself facing
      a giant door, made of secondary adamantium, two feet thick. "Puny
      walls of metal won't stop Hulk! Not this time! This time, Hulk will
      do what he should have done long ago, and smash the puny Leader, once
      and for all!"

      He punched the giant door, and a very large noise and small dent were
      the only result. Infuriated, he tried again and again and
      again. "Do you hear, Leader? Stupid wall won't stop Hulk! Big-Ears
      won't stop Hulk! Killing children won't stop Hulk! Stupid Ross and
      stupid demon won't stop Hulk! Nothing--"

      Hulk leaned back. "--can stop--"

      Hulk slammed both fists full-force into the giant door. Its hinges
      snapped off and it fell forward. "--Hulk!"

      Hulk ran forward, the only thing in his mind being his main
      objective. To smash the Leader.

      Hulk peered inside a large doorway and saw Flux and Samson struggling
      below dozens of humanoids. Hulk leapt over them. "Hulk!" Samson
      saw him and realized the incarnation that had finally returned, and
      may be able to help. "Help us!"

      "Help yourself. Hulk has more important things to do." Hulk walked
      straight towards the center of the room, where the Leader sat,

      Casually, Leader pulled out the gun he had used earlier on
      Banner. "It's about time you showed up."

      "Hulk will smash stupid Leader!" Hulk charged.

      Leader shot at Hulk. The adamantium-tipped bullets bounced off his
      chest and hit various machinery around the room, sparks flying
      randomly. "I thought as much."

      Leader blasted Hulk with a full-force mind-blast. "No! Headache
      will not stop Hulk! Hulk must smash Leader... for Betty!"

      Hulk was slightly slower, but still walking towards Leader. "All
      right, Hulk, all right. If you absolutely refuse to change into the
      one I want to kill, then I'll just settle for you. You, also, have
      spoiled my plans numerous times. Yes, it's a compromise, but I'll
      take it."

      Leader pressed a button on a small keypad and a giant, light gray
      armor materialized around him. It was almost 50-feet tall, and his
      head stuck out from the top of it, a small protective bubble of
      unknown material around it.

      "Sometimes when you want something done right, you just have to do it
      yourself." Leader sighed. "Come at me, savage."

      Hulk slammed into the chest area of the gigantic armor. "Yes, Hulk
      will smash Leader! Stupid armor won't stop Hulk! Nothing will stop
      Hulk, this time!"

      Leader's humongous metal hand slapped Hulk away, throwing him out of
      the building. "It's sad that it's come to this, but I suppose
      fitting. The brains finally kills the brawns, using brawn forged by

      Hulk shook his head and saw Betty and Janis. "Go! Betty may get
      hurt during fight! Hulk can't smash if he is too busy saving Betty!"

      Leader's large armor suddenly crashed out of the building, picked
      Hulk up, and flew off. "I'll crush you, Hulk. Slowly your insides
      will become mush--"

      Hulk screamed, "Leader is wrong! Nothing can crush Hulk!" Hulk
      strained to free himself of the powerful grip.

      "Wrong, Hulk. Even you can't possibly break free of this grip. It's
      my own combination of various metals, including--"

      "Hulk doesn't care what it's made of!" Hulk managed to get a little
      more room. Then, a little more, and a little more, until his efforts
      quickly snowballed and the metal fist was completely open, the Hulk
      straining with all his might to keep it that way.

      "Hulk will smash it, whatever it is, then smash Leader!" Hulk began
      to apply pressure to the fingers, so Leader quickly flipped his
      wrist, sending Hulk flying.

      "You will find, mindless monster, that I have allowed for your great
      strength and have devised numerous counterattacks. Even you cannot
      possibly survive them all!" Leader then released from the wrists of
      the armor a spray of lethal gas.

      Leader thinks Hulk is stupid, that Hulk will breathe stupid gas, the
      Hulk thought inside his head, but Hulk will just hold his breath and
      keep words inside his head.

      Hulk walked through the gas and hammered into the armor's leg.
      Leader unleashed a power repulsor ray at Hulk, hitting him in the
      gut. Almost, almost enough for Hulk to open his mouth.

      Hulk leapt and hit the armor's wrist, deactivating the device that
      unleashed the repulsor ray. Leader countered by aiming the other
      wrist and firing a wave of gamma rays at Hulk. Hulk returned to the
      ground, the rays still bombarding him.

      The gas was clearing out now, so Hulk let his words go outside his
      head again. "Hulk feels weird... but Hulk will not let Leader's
      tricks stop him!"

      With the gamma rays still bombarding him, Hulk smashed into the
      armor's chest plate. "No! This can't be!"

      The chest plate sizzled and the armor fell over. "He penetrated
      the armor enough to cause a malfunction in the--" Leader stopped
      talking to himself as he saw the Hulk land, holding his head.

      "Hulk feels... funny..."

      "Of course, it had to take effect after he broke my armor!" Hulk
      fell over as his skin shifted from large and green to much smaller
      and white.

      Bruce Banner stood up, one hand on his still-throbbing head. "What's
      going on?"

      The Leader laughed. "Well, at least there is some justice in the

      "Leader?" Bruce asked. "Wait... now I remember..." The memories
      started to return to him, of the Leader's return and of his being

      "Here's the deal, Banner. This armor has a gamma bomb in it, active
      once the armor is deactivated, something your green-skinned alter-ego
      just accomplished. You have a few brief minutes before it explodes.
      Good luck." Bruce walked over to the fallen armor.

      "What about you?"

      Leader smiled. "If you survive, then I'll be back to kill you all

      The Leader's thin body then dematerialized, teleporting to his secret
      base. Just my luck, Bruce thought, his headache still with him as he
      walked onto the armor's giant chest piece, and begun to dig through
      the torn apart pieces of it.

      Pushing through the wires physically, and his giant headache
      mentally, he easily found the gamma bomb and popped it open. He
      grabbed a sharp piece of the metal scraps torn from the body of the
      armor and ripped several wires, one at a time, apart. A red light on
      the bomb flashed on and Bruce saw an image of Betty flash through his
      mind. He cut the final needed wire and the red light went black.

      [Gamma Base]

      All the humanoids smothering Samson and Flux suddenly disappeared.
      Flux asked, "Is that good or --?"

      "I don't know," Samson answered.

      [Many Minutes Later]

      Bruce finally was back at the base. It looked like God himself had
      come and struck the base down. There was one building left standing,
      and even it had large holes in it, and an altogether unsafe

      "Bruce!" It was Betty, followed by Janis.

      "Hi, honey. I'm home." Bruce continued to walk towards the last
      building standing, even as Betty hugged him. Janis followed.

      "The only thing I want to do right now is hold you, Dear, but you
      must believe me when I say that I must go in there." Betty let go, a
      tear forming in her eye.

      Bruce could feel a tear starting to form in his own eye, and tried to
      wipe it away before anyone else would notice it. A scientist
      shouldn't allow emotions to ever overtake him, and especially not in
      a situation such as this.

      Betty and Janis stayed by the torn-apart doors as Bruce entered the
      building. He followed the Hulk's destructive path.

      Samson and Flux watched him as he entered the control room. "This
      looks bad, doesn't it, Doctor Banner?"

      "Call Reed Richards. Tell him its of utmost importance."

      Flux had rarely seen the Hulk's other. It was odd to realize how
      very different the Hulk and Bruce Banner walked, talked, and acted.
      They were truly different. Not like Flux, who was basically the same
      either way.

      "Well, Bruce," Samson explained, "It seems that the Leader's had all
      lines to the outside world cut... except my cell phone." Samson
      quickly dialed the number and threw the phone to Bruce.

      Ring. Ring. Ring. Bruce was about to transform into the Hulk from
      the aggravation. Why couldn't anyone ever pick up on the first
      ring. "Reed Richards speaking."

      "Reed? What's the situation in New York?"

      "Bruce! I assume you are aware of the source of the planet-wide
      giant problem?"

      "Yeah, to make a long story short, Hulk smashed good. Look, those
      giants... I remember a tiny bit from the Hulk's fight with
      Abomination and... have they begun to blow themselves up yet?"

      "Affirmative, however, Thor's going around and removing all the
      ambient radiation that he can. There are a few others who are
      disposing of it, as well."

      "Okay, thank you."

      "It's no problem, Bruce. The least we could do. Could I possibly
      acquire details as to the source of this?"

      "Yeah, I'll tell you later, though, okay?"

      "I'll be looking forward to it. Goodbye, Bruce, and good luck."

      "Yeah, you too." Bruce hung up and threw the phone back to Samson.

      The three exited the building, triumphant but unable to celebrate.
      The victory had come at too high a cost to them. The base was
      completely destroyed. The most powerful, bestial incarnation of the
      Hulk would roam the Earth once more. Worst of all, the Leader was
      still out there, somewhere.

      Bruce and Betty hugged, neither able to hold back the tears any

      Ross also had streams running down his face as he slowly got up, the
      beat-up Redeemer armor still on him like a badge. A badge to all the
      world, showing everyone exactly how much of a traitor he was. He
      knew that he could never live it down.

      Ross walked, limping, over to the others. He kept his head down, and
      swallowed hard. There was nothing he could say to justify, to make
      things right.

      "General," Bruce said, still holding onto Betty, "I surrender."

      [The End]

      Special thanks to Dan the Man, Crash the Rash, and Hoang the Lover of
      Kang, for use of their characters! Make sure to check out their own
      AMU adventures, in West Coast Avengers, The Mighty Avengers, The
      Invincible Iron Man, The Champions, The Mighty Thor, Alpha Flight,
      and the upcoming Winter Guard!

      1. Samson is currently a West Coast Avengers Reservist!
      2. See AMU's Mighty Avengers #429!
      3. Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, of course!
      4. Some time after AMU's Incredible Hulk #16 and before #22!
      5. All words in the Moscow scene are translated into English from
      Russian, naturally!
      6. See AMU's Incredible Hulk #17 for this Mandroid's first
      7. See AMU's Incredible Hulk Annual #1
    • 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


        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,

        "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

        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

        "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

        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

        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

        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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