Caught in the heart of a gamma bomb explosion, a victim of nuclear radiation gone wild. Doctor Robert Bruce Banner finds himself in times of stress transformed into a dark, distorted reflection of his emotionally repressed rage and anger.
The INCREDIBLE HULK #2 "That Spark Of Life"
Written By Mick Edwards
«Location: North America, Midwest»
Landfall, the Hulk's massive weight impacting with the ground created a shock wave that blew dust in several directions. He set his cousin down, and she looked around wiping the blood stained green locks from her face. The Hulk snorted and walked away from her where he started searching the ground for a particular spot in the sand. He then began digging. Within minutes, a geyser of water was spraying both him, and his cousin. She-Hulk got down in the wide pool, and splashed herself – then looked at her cousin who was becoming docile.
"How did you know there was water here?" she asked.
"Hulk doesn't know, and he doesn't care." A few splashes later Bruce Banner stood next to She-Hulk, the fading glow of his eyes revealed their natural brown color, and they came to bare on his cousin who smiled at him. "Jen?"
"Don't remember anything, Brucie?"
"No," he said as he eyed the filling hole they were in. "Not a thing."
She-Hulk smiled, and put her hands on her hips, a playful look on her face. "Maybe that's a good thing."
Bruce came over to She-Hulk and motioned for her to pick him up, and she leapt with him in her arms out of the hole. Once they were out of the hole, Bruce looked both ways, and then at the sun above. His eyes narrowed as he could imagine the HULK was recharging from such abundance of natural radiation.
"Which way?" asked She-Hulk.
"Judging by the direction the sun is facing, I'd say we go east."
She-Hulk nodded, and leaped in the air. With two or three leaps they covered two miles. Which astonished Bruce, as he had not realized his cousin had gotten stronger. He made a mental note to gauge her gamma levels to see how much they have elevated, and how far along her mutation has come recently.
For now, they would have to find suitable clothing, and means of travel. It wouldn't be long until the enemies of the HULK would be after him, and he would be forced into the Hulk's messes again. The travel to the next town was tedious, but they made it by nightfall. Bruce managed to secure both himself, and Jen some clothes from a clothesline that hung between two buildings. Though, she had to turn back to her normal state to fit in said clothes, which she griped about.
"I hate this," she said, looking at her small boobs. "As She-Hulk, I'm a god's gift to men – as Jennifer Walters, I'm – I'm..."
"A beautiful, normal woman."
"Don't humor me, Bruce."
Bruce finished buttoning his shirt, and slid a pair of glasses he procured from a sleeping drunk onto his face. Jen snickered, and caught a look from her cousin.
"What?" asked Bruce, as she smiled at him.
"I haven't seen you wear glasses in what seems like a long time."
He shrugged, and walked out of the alley with her behind him. When she caught up, she grabbed his arm, and then wrapped both of her arms around his. They walked down the busy streets paying no mind to the people passing the other side of the street. The town was small – small enough to get lost in, and that was the kind of environment Bruce wanted. Somewhere isolated where he could just vanish, and his enemies – no the HULK's enemies wouldn't find him. A store man opened his door, and came out, then shut the door where he proceeded to lock it. He noticed Bruce and Jen, and he smiled at them before walking from the store. They didn't return the smile.
No, instead, they sat on a bench nearby, and waited for what seemed like a half an hour until the streets were mostly deserted. Bruce stood up, and looked around. Seeing no one around, he examined the lock, and used a hair pin he found to pick the lock. They went inside, and rummaged for food. Bruce seemed almost wild as he tore through packs of Twinkies, and ho-ho's. Cans of beans were pried apart, and he eat them all save the can, which he crushed in his hands, and tossed aside. Jen ate a few Twinkies, and sipped a spring water. But aside from that – that was all she ate and drank.
"You are sure acting unlike yourself?" she said, holding her bottle of spring water tightly. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah," he said between mouthfuls of food. "I'm fine."
A creaking noise put them on edge, and Bruce dropped the food he was eating. His shirt was stained with the juices, and oils contained within the canned foods he ate. Outside the store, the sheriff skulked, with gun in hand. Beside him were his two deputies with their fire arms. They examined the inside perimeter, and then fanned out to see who broke in. Bruce hid behind the cash register barely holding in the beast within. The HULK pounded against the mental barriers within Bruce's mind. And apart of him wanted to let go. Jen took hold of his hand then, and he suddenly found the strength to restrain the monster. They snuck around, and shot out the front. The sheriff and the deputies gave chase after noticing them. One fired off a round nailing Bruce below the shoulder. He fell letting go of Jen's hand, which caused Jen to stop, and come back to crouch beside him. She placed her hand on his shoulder, and urged him to move.
"Get up Bruce!" she yelled, a panicked look on her face. She turned him over only to realize they had reached the end game. His eyes had turned emerald and he was already metamorphosing. She knew she would have no choice, but to change as well if she was going to keep her gamma charged cousin from wrecking the town.
The change didn't come over her, however, which made her wonder why. And then she heard the HULK's loud proclamation of destruction:
"HULK SMASH PUNY HUMANS!"
Jen looked at the sheriff and his deputies. She feared for their lives, and for those in the town as well. She ran up to the Hulk, but his hands swung back, and clipped her sending her smacking into the street unconscious. He slammed his hands together, creating a massive shock wave that blew the sheriff and deputies away. A truck drove toward the HULK, it was an eighteen wheeler carrying a heavy load, and the HULK picked it up off the ground and over his head. His animalistic roaring scared the people in the town awake. As soon as they crowded on the street. The HULK threw the eighteen wheeler in their direction.
The panic that flowed through the frightened citizens was so intense that it reached across the entire planet. Rick Jones could sense it through the cosmic awareness that he for some unexplained reason shared with Genis – the hero known as Photon.
"Not even a week after ending up bonded with you again," said Rick, as he slammed the nega-bands together, and Genis finished: "And I gotta face the HULK again."
Good luck, hero.
"Very funny, Rick!" said Genis, as he flew to the town at his fastest possible planet speed.
Just before the eighteen wheeler could crush the citizens, Genis caught it, and flew high into the air with it. The HULK growled, and then roared upon seeing his new adversary.
I think you made him madder than he already was.
"Ya think?" he said prior to being hit by the HULK's full weight.
The two came spiriling toward the earth, and Genis blasted the HULK off with an intense photonic blast. He righted himself, and shot a more intense burst, which sent the HULK into the desert with a loud whump. The HULK climbed out out of the hole he made, and his rage was so intense that he could not even form words.
"What now?" asked Genis, hoping his symboitic partner would have answer.
You're asking me?
I DON'T KNOW!
"THINK OF SOMETHING!"
How much of the HULK's energy can you absorb?
"Not much, his energy is too tainted by his emotions."
Genis drew on the HULK's tainted gamma energies, and started taking them within his nega-bands, but as he had told his symboitic partner, the energies proved too tainted for him to contain. With a scream, he let loose the energy, and it flowed back into the HULK, renewing the jade giant. The HULK then charged toward the spot where Genis fell only to find Rick Jones lying where Genis should be. The HULK's look of anger became one of confusion – then child-like concern, and he picked Rick up, and leaped away.
«New York City»
Spider-Man leaped from his descending arc and shot another web-line in which he climbed higher into the air. From line to line he crossed the New York skyline until he arrived on top of the Avengers Mansion where he had been called by its current chairman. Out walked Tony Stark sans armor, but wearing a high priced business suit. With a retina scan the defensive systems went off-line, and allowed Spider-Man access.
"Hey, hey, what's the meaning of waking me up when I have a day off?" asked Spider-Man, as he plopped down on the ground.
"It's the HULK, he's been sighted more than once, and we think he's headed here."
"So?" asked Spider-Man, shrugging his shoulders, and throwing up his hands. "What does it have to do with me?"
"We need your particular skills for a special mission..."
"Don't tell me," said Spider-Man, palming his face. "You want me to try and apprehend him like I did years ago when I tried out for the team?"
"Yes, but this time you'll be working with a partner."
Tony stepped aside, and out walked from the front door Janet Van Dyne – the Wasp. She wore a seductive two piece black costume with a large yellow wasp on the front of it. The top was high enough to leave her midriff bare, and her pants were skin tight leaving no imagination for her shapely legs.
"Whoa," said Spider-Man, his eyes widened behind his mask's lens. "Some back-up!"
"Pleasure's all mine," said Janet as she walked up, and took Spider-Man by the arm.
As Tony explained the mission parameters, a floating camera drone watched the heroes and relayed the information thousands of miles away.
NEXT ISSUE: Close Encounters Of The Large Kind
GAMMA CHARGED: HULK hates...grammar