Incredible Hulk History
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Hulk, you can't hate Bruce Banner because before you changed, you were him! ~ Rick Jones

Incredible Hulk History

Note: Text based on official handbooks about The Incredible Hulk.

Robert Bruce Banner was born in Dayton, Ohio, to Dr. Brian and Rebecca Banner. As a child, Bruce was abused by his alcoholic father, who killed his wife when she and Bruce tried to escape from one of his drunken rages. Later, Bruce was raised by his aunt Susan Banner while his father was institutionalized. Burying his emotions throughout his childhood, Banner had developed over time a deeply repressive personality.

After graduating from Science High School, Bruce studied nuclear physics in Navapo, New Mexico, at Desert State University as the star student of Professor Herbert Josiah Weller. He also studied for a time at Pennsylvania State University, where he met Walter Langkowski (later Sasquatch). He obtained his doctorate in nuclear physics at the California Institute of Technology, alongside Phillip Sterns (later Madman).

During the course of his college studies he began dating classmate Susan Jacobson who tried to bring the withdrawn Bruce out of his shell. When he finally did respond to her, however, his emotions exploded forth, and he grabbed and terrified the girl, who broke up with him. After other similar relationships, he finally found happiness at CIT with medical student Angela Lipscombe. However, when Angela won a research grant and Bruce's proposals were turned down by multiple organizations, he became jealous and left her.

A genius in nuclear physics, Robert Bruce Banner went to work at the United States Defense Department nuclear research facility at Desert Base, New Mexico. There, Banner met General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross, the Air Force officer in command of the base, and Ross' daughter Betty. Banner and Betty Ross eventually fell in love. Banner designed and oversaw the construction of the "gamma bomb" or "G-bomb," a nuclear weapon that had a high gamma radiation output.

Eventually, Bruce's father was released from his mental facility. Reluctantly Bruce agreed to let his father live with him, although he again acted belligerently towards Bruce. On the anniversary of his mother's death, Bruce visited her grave but was attacked by his father. Fighting back, Bruce accidentally killed his father by causing him to fall and crack his skull on Rebecca's tombstone. Bruce repressed the memory of his actions and the police dismissed the death as a random mugging.

Death of Brian Banner Banner was present in the instrumentation bunker at the test site for the first trial detonation of the gamma bomb. Observing that a civilian had breached security and entered the restricted test area, Banner told his colleague Igor Starsky to hold the countdown while he was going to get the civilian to safety. Starsky, secretly a Soviet agent, did nothing. He was confident that Banner would die in the explosion, bringing the project to a halt. Reaching the civilian, a teenager named Rick Jones, Banner threw him into a protective trench. Before Banner could get himself to safety, the gamma-bomb detonated, and intense waves of radiation hit the surface. Banner was irradiated with highly-charged radioactive particles.

At first, Banner changed into a gray-skinned yet intelligent behemoth at sunset (dubbed "the Hulk" by a spectator) and reverted to human form at dawn. For a short time, Bruce could control the transformations using gamma radiation projectors in his secret desert laboratory, maintaining rudimentary intelligence in the Hulk's alter ego. Even so, the Hulk became a green-skinned monster possessing little of Banner's memory or intelligence and easily enraged. Hence, the Hulk became a menace continually hunted by military forces commanded by the implacable Thunderbolt Ross. The Hulk was joined by Rick Jones, who felt responsible for Banner's condition. After some time, however, Jones left the Hulk.

Hulk gets his name Still tracking the Hulk's activities, Rick Jones attempted to send the hero team Fantastic Four after the Hulk, but the trickster god Loki sent the message to the thunder god Thor and other heroes. After initially battling the Hulk, the heroes instead joined him in defeating Loki and, together, they founded the hero team Avengers. Still easily excitable, however, the Hulk left the Avengers almost as soon as he joined them, believing his teammates were unappreciative of him after a battle with the Space Phantom.

Soon, Banner's transformations into the Hulk were triggered by the release of adrenaline when he became intensely excited, no matter what time of day or night it was. By this time the Hulk had lost his intelligence and became a brutish "savage" menace. Banner would often wander the country with Rick Jones as his sidekick, as the Hulk was chased by Ross' government task force, the Hulkbusters, as well as the gamma radiation-spawned Abomination and the Leader, among other villains.

Tales To Astonish #77 For a surprisingly long time, Banner managed to hide the fact that he was the Hulk, but his secret became public knowledge when Rick Jones, believing the Hulk had been killed by the government, was tricked by General Talbot into revealing the truth.

The Hulk would often find himself in amazing situations, both aiding and fighting superhuman heroes and villains, and even visiting other planets and dimensions. One place where the Hulk was welcome was the subatomic world ruled by a princess named Jarella. She saw something of the childlike gentleness of the Hulk, and the two were, after a fashion, in love. But tragedy struck when Jarella returned with the Hulk to Earth and sacrificed her life to protect a child. For years, Banner wandered the world as a fugitive, cursed by his recurring transformations into the bestial Hulk.

Later, after one adventure in outer space, the Hulk returned to Earth via a gamma-powered transporter beam used by Rocket Raccoon. Somehow, this allowed Banner to control his transformations into the Hulk and retain his personality. Banner then decided to use the Hulk’s strength to aid humanity instead of continuing his treatments to cure himself of becoming the Hulk. After proving his intentions to the world by defeating the villainous U-Foes on national television, the public was impressed by the Hulk's demeanor. Banner received a Presidential pardon for his previous rampages as the Hulk and was proclaimed a hero and accepted by virtually all of the superpowered adventurers and by the world as well. Betty refused to accept Banner's decision, in that he ceased his attempts to eliminate the Hulk alter ego, and distanced herself from him.

Katherine Waynesboro, an agent of the espionage agency SHIELD, was sent to monitor Banner’s activities, but began to fall in love with him. Suspicious of her at first, Banner eventually reciprocated her feelings, especially after he rescued Katherine from the clutches of the villain MODOK. Katherine then seemingly resigned from SHIELD to be with Banner and assist him in gamma radiation research for humanitarian purposes.

The Incredible Hulk #303 Soon afterward, the savage Hulk personality began to reassert itself during the Hulk's various adventures, due to the machinations of the demon Nightmare, who had begun weakening Banner's dominance through his dreams. The savage Hulk ultimately tried to defeat Nightmare's archenemy, the sorcerer supreme Doctor Strange. Strange defeated the Hulk but Banner's personality, ashamed of the savage personality and unwilling to share its activities, retreated entirely, leaving the Hulk virtually mindless. Doctor Strange transported the mindless Hulk to a dimensional crossroad, from which point the Hulk could travel from dimension to dimension. (Strange hoped that the Hulk would find a world that he would be content to live on.) After several months, the Hulk returned to Earth when Banner's college friend and fellow scientist, Walter Langkowski (Sasquatch), accidentally found him with a device that monitored other dimensions. At this point, Banner once again was able to assume control of the Hulk through the subconscious cooperation of the other personas.

The Incredible Hulk #319 Later, scientist Leonard "Doc" Samson captured the Hulk and succeeded, through a process which drained Hulk of excess gamma radiation, in separating Banner's psyche and thus making Banner and the Hulk two separate beings The Hulk, free of Banner's moderating influence, escaped and became a greater menace than ever before. Banner became the leader of a new government task force to capture the Hulk, called the new Hulkbusters. Banner also married Betty Ross, believing himself free from the curse of the Hulk.

Eventually, Doc Samson discovered that Banner's life force was tied to that of the Hulk, and that their continued separation threatened to kill both of them. A hurried experiment reunited the two in a new arrangement: the Hulk was now gray once more and again manifested himself only at night. Moreover, General Ross had tried to sabotage the machine, wanting to kill the Hulk, but Rick Jones helped thwart his plans even though he ended up becaming involved in the experiment. Thus, Rick would transform, similar to Banner, into the green-skinned savage Hulk at nightfall. (Rick was later cured by the Leader on behalf of Banner.)

The grey Hulk possessed all of Banner's intelligence, although few of his specific memories, and none of Banner's morality. He sought to keep himself alive and in control. Only during the full moon, when enough reflected sunlight hit the Earth to bring out some of Banner's buried personality, would the Hulk have any kind feelings whatsoever. The Hulk again ran afoul of the Leader, who proceeded to trap the Hulk in an enclosed area with a detonating gamma-bomb. Coincidentally, the Hulk was simultaneously brought to Jarella's world, narrowly escaping the effects of the gamma-bomb. The Hulk found himself embroiled in a religious war and agreed to assist one faction of wizards in return for their preventing Banner from ever surfacing again.

The Incredible Hulk #347 Returned to Earth, the Hulk adopted the identity of "Joe Fixit," and sought employment in Las Vegas as a "leg-breaker." He joined with casino owner Michael Berengetti and the two shared a tenuous friendship. The Hulk managed to convince most of his associates that his gray skin was some racial characteristic. Later, however, the Banner-suppressing spell wore off. Again, the Hulk appeared only at night, with Banner, claiming to be Joe Fixit's half-brother, dominant during the daylight. During this time, Joe Fixit began a romantic relationship with Marlo Chandler (later, Marlo Jones), although Bruce was still technically married to Betty. Marlo later ended the relationship, growing uncomfortable with the secrets Fixit would keep from her.

Betty, along with the rest of the world, believed Bruce to have died in his encounter with the Leader, and she was training to become a nun. Banner learned of Betty's whereabouts during the Hulk's encounter with the villain Madman, and was soon reunited with her, but not before the green-skinned savage Hulk reappeared as well, in an encounter with the hero Prometheus. Banner and Betty searched for Rick Jones and were similarly reunited, as was the Hulk with Rick's new girlfriend Marlo.

The Incredible Hulk #373 Eventually, various personalities of the Hulk began to war among themselves. Banner, just as he was coming to accept the idea of the Hulk being a permanent part of his life, began to transform into the green-skinned "savage Hulk", just as the gray "Mr. Fixit" began to prematurely change into Banner. This culminated in a "battle" between the various psyches in Banner’s mind while the Hulk's body began changing rapidly in the physical world to reflect the mental battle. Doc Samson felt that if such mutations were to continue it would eventually kill Bruce from the physical strain. After extensive therapy from the combined talents of Doc Samson and the criminal hypnotist Ringmaster, the Hulk emerged with the three different personalities fused to one whole: The Professor.

Soon after, the Hulk was contacted by the enigmatic leader Agamemnon to join his clandestine hero team Pantheon, as he felt the currently "merged" Hulk/Banner would make the team better equipped to take on superpowered menaces around the world. The Hulk served with the Pantheon for a long tenure. During this time, his relationship with Betty became strained. She was not comfortable with the "merged" persona nor did she agree to live at the Pantheon's headquarters with the Hulk. At one point, when Agamemnon left to travel the world, the Hulk took the mantle of leadership. Agamemnon may have had some specific purpose for this, but it was never fully revealed. The Hulk remained with the Pantheon for several adventures although he participated in many of his own, such as his encounter with his future self, the Maestro. Over time, the Hulk and Betty's relationship improved.

After many months, the Pantheon fought Agamemnon after a falling out with their former leader, and in the subsequent battle Agamemnon called down the fury of "The Endless Knights," spirits of Pantheon members who had previously died. The ensuing battle destroyed the Pantheon's headquarters and resulted in the deaths of Agamemnon and another Pantheon member named Achilles. Also, when Betty was fatally wounded, the Hulk lost control over his form and the savage Hulk reassumed control.

Returning physically to the Banner alter ego, Banner was remanded to SHIELD custody and Betty was hospitalized. Escaping, Banner would return to the Pantheon only to learn that some of the Pantheon members, most notably Paris, blamed the Hulk for its troubles and told him he was no longer welcome

The Incredible Hulk #425 At some point, the Hulk snuck Betty out of the hospital that she was in and they began living as fugitives. They eventually settled in Sunville, Florida under assumed identities. The Hulk managed to keep their identities secret despite several adventures in Florida and New York. Eventually, however, Betty was captured by the U.S. Army's Matt Talbot who succeeded in capturing the Hulk despite the reemergence of the Hulk's fractured personalities.

The Incredible Hulk #440 Betty was freed by the Leader's former lackeys, collectively known as the Headshop. Betty and the Headshop, in turn, freed the Hulk, but in the process the Hulk jumped on a live grenade, which left him with shrapnel in his brain and a subsequent penchant for turning into a physical alter ego of the Maestro. The Headshop brought Hulk into conflict with Omnibus, who tricked the Hulk into assuming his Maestro alter ego and claiming leadership of a worldwide terrorist orgainization, the Alliance. When Omnibus was revealed as the true terrorist leader, the Hulk was believed to have died in the final battle, when the Maestro-Hulk was hit with an atomic bomb. Nevertheless, Doc Samson and the U.S. Army began a search for the Hulk.

Later, the Hulk was used by the psychic entity Onslaught to fight the mutant Cable. Cable managed to turn the tables on Hulk and he agreed to join the fight against Onslaught. Onslaught managed to physically separate the Hulk and Banner once again. Banner seemingly sacrificed himself to contain the energies that made up Onslaught, but was actually shunted to another dimension created by Franklin Richards to save his father (Mister Fantastic) and the other victims of Onslaught. In this universe, Banner once again became the Hulk by reliving a variation of his origin.

The Incredible Hulk #447 Separated from Banner, the Hulk in the prime reality nevertheless remained intelligent if somewhat savagely emotionally unstable. The Hulk was briefly captured by the Army, but he escaped. Confronted by Betty, the Hulk refused to acknowledge her and left. The Hulk joined a formative, new version of the team Heroes for Hire, but his antisocial behavior and the fact that he was among those blamed for the deaths of Onslaught's victims prompted the Hulk to leave New York. He was also contacted by the Pantheon to rejoin their number, but he refused. He began wandering the Earth again, ranging from New Mexico to the Florida Keys and even Antarctica. The Hulk continued to grow more unstable, even to the point of seeing hallucinations of his father’s ghost.

He was then abducted by the villain Apocalypse, brought to Egypt, and subjected to experiments and rhetoric to turn him into one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen-- War. The Absorbing Man took Rick Jones and Betty to Egypt to talk the Hulk out of this new role, and the Absorbing Man, and later the Juggernaut, fought the Hulk. The Hulk succeeded in defeating them both, and was about to kill them when Rick Jones tried to stop him. The Hulk swatted Rick aside, and Rick slammed into a wall, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Realizing what he had done, the Hulk tore Apocalypse's implants out of his skull and leaped away, ashamed.

The Incredible Hulk #466 The Abomination attacked the Hulk who had made his way to New York, but he was brutally defeated. Later, Betty Banner had learned that her long association with the Hulk had left her dying from gamma radiation poisoning. The Abomination, out of revenge for his brutal defeat by the Hulk and other things, learned of this and then somehow used a transfusion of his own gamma-radiated blood to poison her, and Betty died.

Due to the fact that he existed in both the prime reality and the one created by Franklin Richards, the Hulk had became a type of physical "gateway" between the two dimensions, which boosted the Hulk’s strength but also would have gradually killed him. With the hero Spider-Man, the Hulk was taken to Franklin’s universe by the Celestial Ashema. The two versions of the Hulk battled, and it was revealed that Franklin’s universe had to be destroyed. After returning to the prime reality with the other victims of Onslaught, Banner and the Hulk found themselves once again the same physical being. Crash-landing at Gamma Base, Banner again turned into the green "savage Hulk" during periods of rage and/or intense adrenaline rush. He began to wander the country once more, at one point battling the Abomination in revenge for Betty’s death.

Banner discovered he was dying of a degenerative neurological disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's disease). Banner's condition deteriorated severely, and he worked with his old college girlfriend, neurologist Angela Lipscombe, to develop a cure. During this time, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, Namor and the Silver Surfer fell prey to a spell of their enemy Yandroth that cursed them to be drawn together as the Defenders whenever evil threatened Earth. Following being targeted and briefly captured by the nefarious General John Ryker, the Hulk was ultimately treated by Lipscombe, Reed Richards and Ant Man (Scott Lang), who repaired Bruce's nervous system via implanting DNA from Brian Banner's corpse (a tip given by the Leader). Obliquely indebted to him for his continued life, Bruce at last made his peace with his memories of his father. Soon after, Yandroth's spell -which drew on the Earth goddess Gaea's power- caused the four Defenders to become increasingly self-righteous and violent, eventually establishing themselves as the Order and seeking to conquer Earth. Empowered by their violence, Yandroth nearly gained the power to destroy the world before the Order realized his plan and ceased all hostilities, dissipating his power and essence again.

Bruce and Nadia Bruce was then contacted by the mysterious Mr. Blue - actually Betty Ross-Banner (?), secretly resurrected and surgically altered by a mysterious agency known only as the Team - who trained him to use self-hypnosis to better control his transformations. Soon after, the Leader initiated his most complex plot yet against his old foe. The Hulk was framed for the apparent death of Ricky Myers, and Bruce had to go into hiding. On the run once again, the Hulk was pursued by various agents of the cover organization Home Base, who sought his blood to create an army of super-powered warriors. Some of these agents, such as Pratt, Sandra Verdugo and the mysterious S-3, had been granted extensive regenerative powers. Both Banner and the Hulk were pursued relentlessly in a series of ever more complicated plots, though Banner continued to receive aid from Mr. Blue and Doc Samson. Verdugo was actually Ricky Myers' mother by Samson, and she had been promised she would be reunited with her son if she brought the Hulk to Home Base. Realizing that Home Base would slay Ricky as soon as they had the Hulk, she instead turned against her partner, Jink Slater, arranging his death and convincing the Hulk to help rescue Ricky. Pratt successfully obtained a sample of Hulk's blood but was injected with it before he could return it to Home Base. Despite being mutated by this exposure, Pratt was ultimately destroyed by the Hulk. Bruce then seemed to happen upon a New Mexico desert supply store and shared a romance with its owner; this turned out to be yet another Home Base plot, as the owner was Nadia Dornova-Blonsky, the Abomination's ex-wife, who had joined with Home Base to gain revenge on her abusive former spouse. Nadia, however, developed true feelings for Banner, revealed her plot to him, and confronted the Abomination herself, intending to destroy him with a Home Base-implanted weapon. Home Base double-crossed her with an ineffective weapon, but the Hulk saved her and defeated the Abomination.

Bruce vs. Abomination Seeking peace in Mistassani, Canada, Banner instead encountered Wolverine and the assassin Shredder before saving coral-snake-bite victim Kyle Hatcher with a transfusion of his own blood. Relocating to Manhattan, Banner befriended advertising agent Pam Grayson, who helped him defeat a psychically powered Absorbing Man. Banner was then guided back to New Mexico by Home Base and arrived to save Nadia and the recently arrived S-3 from the Home Base's Krill - lizard-like androids designed to deliver Hulk blood to Home Base. Despite her facial reconstruction, the Hulk recognized S-3 as Betty, a former double agent within Home Base as well as the enigmatic Mr. Blue, and they were soon joined by Samson and Verdugo. In a seemingly final confrontation with Home Base, Sandra perished in its self-destruct nuclear explosion, while the Hulk saved the others from a Home Base Banner/Hulk clone, which he was forced to eviscerate to prevent its regeneration. During that conflict, only Nadia believed that Bruce was himself and not the clone, and Banner left all of them to be alone, though he did leave behind a supply of the Hulk's blood that Betty might use to save herself from the cancer she had contracted during the Team's treatments.

Relocating to California, the Hulk was captured by the clairvoyant Even Matthews; Matthews released Banner and tried to trick Banner into killing him to prevent his dying from cancer, though Banner recognized the ruse and refused.

The Incredible Hulk Vol.2 #73 Tony Stark drafted Banner into helping him develop a gamma-radiation-proof suit of armor, and both Banner and the Hulk were needed to save Stark from radiation toxicity after Stark elevated the radiation exposure levels in efforts to prove the armor's value.

Exhausted by his recent nonstop adventures, Banner at last fell prey to the Leader, who forced the Hulk into a somnambulant state, drawing him to his base. Left a disembodied head by his recent experiences, the Leader forced the Hulk to set his controls to establish a link between their minds, and the Leader intended to transfer his mind into the Hulk's brain, permanently ousting Banner's mind. Samson, Betty and Nadia came to the rescue, and Samson smashed the Hulk into the Leader's tank, severing the linkage between the Hulk and the Leader and leaving his head to die in the open air. Nadia, however, perished, saving Betty from a piece of flying glass from the shattered tank, taking it through the chest instead. Enraged and confused, the Hulk savagely beat Samson until Betty condemned the Hulk as a destructive monster and caused him to flee.

The Hulk was subsequently enlisted by Strange against the extradimensional sorcerer Dormammu, who turned Hulk to stone. Restored and seduced by Dormammu's sorcerous sister, Umar, the Hulk then joined her, Strange and Namor in stripping Dormammu of power he had usurped from the cosmic Eternity, power Umar claimed herself.

The Incredible Hulk Vol.2 #81 Summoned to Nightmare Island, the Hulk was beset by extradimensional Mindless Ones in illusory form via the demon Nightmare, but he ultimately saw through the deceptions, decapitated Nightmare and left his new acquaintance Daydream (Nightmare's half-human daughter) behind. In London, Bruce briefly befriended the sorceress Patricia Freeman, helping her spirit track down her killer, Tom Perkins, before she faded from existence.

When the Scarlet Witch overwrote existence with the "House of M" reality, Banner and the Hulk both found themselves an accepted part of the True People tribe of Aborigines in Australia. The Hulk joined forces with AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) - including Monica Rappaccini, Scorpion (Carmillia Black/Thasanee Rappaccini), Profesor Aaron Isaacs and his robot creation Adam - in toppling the mutant Exodus' dictatorship, which was rounding up humans for slaughter. Now ruling Australia, Banner had a relationship with Monica, learning she was Nicky from his college days. Even after discovering and neutralizing Monica's cyborg army program (developed from unwilling recruits captured by government agents) and overcoming her efforts to have him killed, Banner kept Monica by his side, refusing to surrender his new position even under orders from the mighty Magneto who ruled that reality. Soon after, however, this reality faded from existence and the status quo was restored. The "Old Man" of the True People, whose mysticism had allowed him to see beyond the reality changes, invited "Two-Minds" (his name for Banner and the Hulk) to stay with them, but Banner realized his violent ways would be a constant threat to them. Sometime later, while passing through Jackalope, New Mexico, the Hulk fought off a SHIELD helicopter pursuing Amadeus Cho, earning the young ultra-genius' fierce loyalty.

Enlisted to foil a plot by the terrorist group Hydra, the Hulk was exposed to a gamma bomb explosion, which rendered him delusional and left him in his gray form, but with his full strength. The Hulk rampaged in Las Vegas, battling the Human Torch and the Thing at length until the former's nova flame restored his sanity. This rampage, however, had been noticed by the "Illuminati" - a secret elite cabal of super-beings who sought to keep Earth's paranormal affairs under control. Despite the objections and violent departure of Namor, the remaining Illuminati members - Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), Dr. Strange and the Inhuman monarch Black Bolt - plotted the permanent elimination of Hulk's threat to Earth. As Strange and the others had all been Hulk's friends at some point, they sought not to slay him, but instead to banish him to another world where he might live in peace.

The Incredible Hulk Vol.2 #90 Banner had relocated to northwestern Alaska, living a solitary existence as a fisherman, but was tracked by a Nick Fury LMD (Life Model Decoy) and enlisted to destroy the Godseye, an alleged Hydra creation that threatened Earth. Banner agreed and the Hulk went up in space, risking his life and destroying the Godseye, but not before he learned it was actually a SHIELD creation. Planning to take this up with Fury, the Hulk instead fell victim to the "Illuminati" plot and was sent flying off into space with no ability to control his ship as it headed for an uninhabited planet. A parting message from his four former friends explaining their actions played as he realized his fate.

The "Illuminati" plot went awry when the SHIELD ship carrying the Hulk was pulled into the Great Portal, a wormhole created by the Shadow People of the planet Sakaar that brought beings and objects from around the universe to their world in hopes of helping the planet and its people. Greatly weakened by the passage and subsequent crash, the Hulk was captured and auctioned off to gladiator trainer Primus Vand. Drawing early attention after slaughtering a group of immensely powerful "great devil corkers," the Hulk then targeted Sakaar's ruler, the Red King (Angmo II). Intrigued, the battle-armored King confronted the Hulk, delivering several wounds but receiving a sword slash to his face in return. The Hulk was subdued by the King's Death's Head Warguards, implanted with a control disk and sent to the training camp known as the Maw where it was believed he would perish.

The Incredible Hulk Vol.2 #94 Overcoming various challenges, the Hulk was placed in a group with fellow survivors the insectoid Miek (whom he had saved from the Corkers in the previous battle), a nameless Brood female, the Kronan Korg, Hiroim of the Shadow People, and the Imperials (of the same ruling class as the Red King) Lavin Skee and Elloe Kaifi. During their first group gladiatorial combat, an enthusiastic announcer nicknamed Hulk the "Green Scar" for a wound he received fighting the Red King. After proving themselves in combat, the gladiators were invited to join the Sakaar Democratic Insurgency; though the Hulk and others refused, Elloe sided with the rebels, who were swiftly captured by Warguards. Recognizing the Hulk as extremely dangerous, the Red King's bound Shadow Warrior, Caiera the Oldstrong, attempted to buy him and take him out of combat, but he refused. The Red King subsequently had a bomb dropped on the gladiators, but the Hulk saved them, taking the full hit himself and then flattening the attacking Warbound, though Lavin Skee fell in combat. The remaining gladiators then joined together as Warbound, vowing loyalty to each other. Interestingly, in spots where the Hulk's blood touched the soil of Sakaar, Eleha'al vines vines began to grow, leading some to believe the Hulk was the Sakaarson, a being long prophesied as the savior of Sakaar.

The Incredible Hulk Vol.2 #95 The Warbound's next challenge was the Silver Surfer, who had also passed through the Great Portal and been enslaved by the Red King as the "Silver Savage". Surprised by his former ally's attack, the Hulk recovered and shattered the Surfer's control disk but nonetheless angrily beat him senseless. The Red King then offered the Warbound their freedom - as was custom after surviving three such combats - but only if they slew their former member Ellow. The Warbound refused despite the King's threat of destruction, and the Surfer then destroyed every control disk in the arena, allowing the Warbound, Surfer and others to break out and escape into the wilderness. The Surfer offered to take the Hulk with him as he departed, but the Hulk declined, having at last found friendship and a life he could enjoy.

Via sage advice from Hiroim and Korg, the Hulk evaded multiple attacks by the King's warriors, and his following grew steadily as Miek located a number of his insectoid brethren (thought long dead) and then liberated those in the Maw. The Incredible Hulk Vol.2 #98 The Hulk considered leaving his allies as he feared that he was not the Sakaarson, but instead another prophesied being, the apocalyptic World Breaker; however, after Miek evolved into a much more powerful form as ruler of the insectoids, Hulk decided to continue to lead the rebels. Hoping to save Sakaar from prolonged war, Caiera met the Hulk in single combat, her Old Power proving an even match for his gamma-spawned might. The Red King, however, caring little for his people and wishing to end the Hulk's threat by any means possible, unleashed the Spikes - parasitic menances which his father had long ago banished to one of Sakaar's moons, able to infect and assimilate organic beings into their number - freeing them to slaughter the Warbound, his own troops (including Caiera) and even the innocent civilians nearby. The Hulk proved resistant to the infection, and after the Red King had an entire city of civilians slaughtered by missile attack to destroy his enemies, Caiera vowed vengeance on him and joined the rebellion.

Seeking allies, the Hulk was denied the aid of the Shadow People but did claim their stone starship to aid the rebellion. Surprising all involved, the Hulk made an alliance with the elder Spikes, learning they only sought freedom from Sakaar's environment since it deprived them of stellar energy and drove them mad with hunger. The Hulk finally met and overpowered the Red King, who mercilessly slaughtered his own people during the battle, and cast him into the wilderness where he was consumed by Wildebots. The Incredible Hulk Vol.2 #103 The Hulk was pronounced the new king of Sakaar and he swiftly enforced peace between the formerly warring Imperials and insectoid Natives, after which he chose Caiera as his queen, undergoing her Shadow ritual and revealing his Banner form to her. Having sustained the Spikes with his own power, the Hulk had them sent back into space, and they gratefully returned the spirits of the lives they had unintentionally absorbed on Sakaar, allowing those spirits' loved ones closure and the knowledge that they had achieved peace. By only the third day of his rule, the Hulk had earned massive approval and was making steps towards peace with longtime enemies of the Imperials when the warp core on the ship that brought him to Sakaar exploded. The unleashed energies caused a chain reaction that shattered Crown City of Sakaar and slew the vast majority of the population, including Caiera, who was bearing the Hulk's child. Infuriated beyond comprehension and empowered even further by the explosion's energies, Hulk led Sakaar's few known survivors, including his Warbound and robot pilot Arch-E, in boarding the stone starship and heading to Earth for vengeance on the "Illuminati".

World War Hulk #0 Arriving first on the moon, the Hulk savagely beat Black Bolt and then sent a transmission to Earth ordering Manhattan's evacuation that he might meet Iron Man, Dr. Strange, and Reed Richards in combat. Iron Man faced him in a suit of Hulkbuster armor but met a crushing defeat that shattered much of Avengers Tower as well. Overpowering all who tried to stop him - including Doc Samson, She-Hulk and two Avengers contingents - the Hulk then took down the entire Fantastic Four to get Richards. Despite his violent methods, the Hulk gained allies when Amadeus Cho organized the Renegades to assist him. Dr. Strange met Bruce Banner on the astral plane, but the Hulk crushed his hands, reducing his spell-casting ability. Strange then used a potion to obtain monstrous-strength via the immensely powerful magical entity of Zom, but was defeated by the Hulk. Tearing the roof off Madison Square Garden, the Hulk made this his new gladiatorial arena, using Sakaarian slave disks to control the captured heroes and forcing his former banishers to fight each other to the death.

World War Hulk But the Hulk stopped them before they could kill each other, explaining he came for justice not for murder, and to show the world that the "Illuminati" are a group of liars, traitors and murderers. Hulk wanted to destroy New York City, in revenge for Crown City. Richards and Stark told him once again that they had nothing to do with the ship's explosion. Suddenly, the Sentry arrived and began to fight the Hulk, unleashing his power like never before, risking the destruction of the planet. However, the Hulk had never been mightier before either, and ended up defeating the Sentry, saving the world. The Hulk turned into Banner and offered a friendly hand to Rick Jones, but as Miek grabbed a spear, Rick pushed Banner out of the way and was impalled by Miek. The Hulk smashed Miek to the ground as the other Warbound tried to stop him. It was then that Miek revealed that Red King men were responsible for the core that exploded and destroyed Crown City, and that he did not stop them because the great tragedy will make the Hulk meet his true destiny: becoming the World Breaker. The Hulk could not contain his anger and unleashed force fields that started breaking the world around him. Stark programmed the world satellite weaponry to fire a beam that knocked out the Hulk. Banner was locked in the new Gamma Base, miles below the surface. Meanwhile, Skaar, the son of the Hulk and Caiera, revived in planet Sakaar.

A new Hulkish being appears: the Red Hulk. This extremely strong, smart, and red-skinned version of the Hulk enjoys killing: He murdered the Abomination, a Wendigo, and Clay Quartermain, among others. The Red Hulk's identity is initially kept a secret (aiding to the rising popularity of the character among comic readers), but is later revealed to be General Thunderbolt Ross. He battles along the original Hulk against his former partners, the Leader, M.O.D.O.K. and others, saving the world in the process. The Red Hulk later becomes a member of the Avengers lead by Steve Rogers A.K.A. (the original) Captain America.

To Be Continued...

Source: Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Hulk 2004 (Marvel Comics)


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