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Al Ewing (writer), Joe Bennett (penciler), Ruy Jose, Le Beau Underwood, Rafael Fonteriz (inkers), Paul Mounts (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Alex Ross (cover artist), Marko Djurdjevic; Inhyuk Lee (variant cover artists), Sarah Brunstad (associate editor), Wil Moss (editor), Tom Brevoort (executive editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)Hulk created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
From the Alpha Flight Space Station, Walter Langkowski and Puck monitor the Hulk, and discover two gamma signatures. In an unknown realm, Crusher Creel's mind reels from his recent encounter with the Hulk, while in New Mexico, the emaciated Hulk battles the remains of Crusher Creel, ripped in two, his horrid form apologizes to the Hulk, while Argent Burbank watches from nearby, ready to take a shot when he gets the opportunity, while updating General Fortean back at Shadow Base on what is transpiring. The Hulk and Crushser's remains continue to fight, as the Hulk tears the rest of Crusher's body apart. Fortean orders Burbank not to take the shot, he doesn't want him exposed at this stage. Shortly, Walter Langkowski and Puck arrive with Jackie McGee in a spacecraft. Walter calls out to the Hulk, who turns to his college roommate, and at that moment, Burbank takes his shot, shooting the Hulk in the head. The Hulk thinks Walter was responsible for this and brings the spacecraft crashing to the ground, while Creel's remains runs away from the others. The Hulk suddenly realizes what Creel wants – the Green Door – the site of the first gamma bomb. Puck confronts the Hulk, shooting him with a weapon, while Creel arrives at the crater where the first gamma bomb was released, and opens the Gree Door, releasing a massive wave of energy which washes over everyone. Walter can't find the others, while Puck realizes they are in another realm – one he has been to before. Burbank is there, too, and can't contact General Fortean, while Creel – his body intact – is nearby, apologizing over and over. Jackie also finds herself in this realm, unable to find Walter or Puck, she is alone with the Hulk, who motions out over a devastated landscape as the Green Door waits nearby, and tells Jackie that they are in Hell.
The Alpha Flight Space Station, high above the planet Earth, where the crew member Romesh informs Dr Walter Langkowski that they have a hit – a positive ID on Banner's gamma signature – Los Diablos in New Mexico. 'We done found us a Hulk, ladies and gents!' Romesh exclaims as he looks up at a monitor. Standing near his monitor and wearing green and black costumes are Dr Walter Langkowski and Eugune Judd a.k.a. Puck, along with reporter Jackie McGee. Walter recalls that Los Diablos is the test site where Banner became the Hulk. 'Curiouser and curiouser' Walter remarks, before asking if anyone is up for a field trip. 'I'm in' Judd replies. Walter turns to Jackie, who rubs her head, 'I don't know. Actually going on a mission with, uh...' her voice trails off. 'Gamma Flight' Puck grins. '...right. Well, it still feels like crossing a line' Jackie tells them, before asking if this is going to be real reporting, or public relations. 'Real. Warts and all. I promise -' Walter begins, before Romesh interrupts him, alerting him to something weird on the screen, 'Looks like there's two of 'em' Romesh points out, before asking Walter what he thinks that means.
Somewhere else: 'I'm sorry' Crusher Creel the Absorbing Man utters, as tears fall from his eyes. The sky around him is red, and lightning crackles in the distance. 'I'm sorry' he repeats over and over as he covers his face with his hands.
In New Mexico, a horrific display is seen within the fenced off area 'Umm sohh ree' the skeletal remains sticking out of Crusher Creel's body utters. 'Not yet' the skinny Hulk responds as he readies himself against the remains of the Absorbing Man. 'But you're gonna be' the Hulk adds, unaware that Agent Carl Burbank a.k.a. Bushwhacker is watching him through a target. 'Holy crap. You don't see that every day' Burbank remarks to himself, before connecting to Shadow Base, asking if the line is secure. 'Good to go, Agent' a voice responds over the communicator, before Burbank asks to be put through to General Fortean. A moment later, deep within Shadowbase, as scientists look at Del Frye who remains in stasis, General Reginald Fortean asks Burbank to repeat himself, as he wants to make sure he heard him correctly. 'What exactly has happened to the Absorbing Man?' he asks. 'Patch me into visual feed and see for yourself, Sir' Burbank responds, explaining that what the Absorbing Man's body has done to itself, well, he should be dead – but he's not. He's winning.
'Umm sohh ree' Crusher's horrific body repeats again as he puts a hand to the Hulk's head and continues to drain the gamma radiation from the Hulk. 'NOBODY CARES!' the Hulk booms as the moon glows down on him. 'Yeah, that's it. You drain the gamma in me – I take it right back. Stalemate' the emaciated Hulk declares, while boasting that Creel is not taking any more of him. Crusher Creel suddenly punches the Hulk in the head, which angers the Hulk, and warns Creel that he is going to take some of him. 'C'mere!' Hulk exclaims as he grabs Crusher's spinal column and yanks it from the rest of Crusher's split-open body. Yeah? That hurt?' Hulk asks, grinning as he tells Creel 'What comes around' and boasts that here is his ball and chain, as he swings Creel's own spinal column and skeleton around and around as if it was a ball and chain – then slams it into the remains of Creel's body, shattering the spinal column and sending the remains of his body careening backwards.
'Ouch. Hulk's fighting back, General. Honestly, I don't know how Creel's alive' Burbank reports, while watching as the Hulk continues to punch Creel's remains. He then announces that he has a clear shot, 'If you want me to take it -' he begins, but General Fortean tells him not yet, pointing out that if he breaks cover he will lose his effectiveness, and probably his gun-arm, too. 'We should wait' he states. 'Wait for the moment'.
Nearby, a small spacecraft drops down onto the barren land, with Walter telling Judd and Jackie that they are coming up on the target area, adding that the gamma signature is still doing that weird doubled-up thing. 'So, wait...there's a second Hulk?' Jackie asks. Judd remarks that if Walt isn't “Sasquatch”, then maybe someone else is, and adds that he is glad he came prepared. Looking out a window, Walt annnounces that he thinks he sees something- and a blinding light from the spacecraft suddenly shines down on the Hulk and Creel's remains – both who are only several feet away from the spacecraft! 'Oh good. He's torn someone in half' Walter remarks, while Judd leaps out of his seat and declares that he will get the gun. Walter communicates with the Hulk via an intercom, 'Hulk – this is, uh, this is Walter speaking' he calls out. 'Langkowski? What do you want?' the Hulk snaps, looking up at the spacecraft. Walt tells the Hulk that they don't want any trouble, but warns him that they do have some weapons locked.
At that moment, with the Hulk talking to Langkowski, Burbank decides he can take the shot, and switches his weapon to cyanide hollow points. 'Let's make this hurt' he remarks as he opens fire – and the bullets strike the Hulk in his head, causing the Hulk to scream. 'That wasn't me' Walter utters as he, Judd and Jackie look down at the Hulk in shock. The Hulk looks furious, he groans as he reaches up to the spacecraft and grabs it. 'Brace! Crash positions!' the wide-eyed Walter calls out as the Hulk drags the spacecraft down to the ground, smashing it hard.
'That's one in the eye for -' Agent Burbank begins, before noticing Creel's remains get up and start to run away. 'Where's Creel going?' he wonders. Watching on a monitor from Shadow Base, Fortean tells Burbank that he isn't sure, and reminds him that Creel had clear orders to subdue the Hulk, but given the damage he has taken, it is possible that Creel is no longer fully in control of his own actions. 'The question is...can he return from that state?' Fortean adds.
As gunk drops out of the Hulk's empty eye socket, the Hulk looks over and with his one good eye sees Creel running away towards the bomb site. He wipes the gunk from his eye socket, but more just pours out, 'Gamma bomb site...Banner's bomb...first...first ever...oh. The Green Door. I know what he wants!' the Hulk exclaims, looking concerned. 'I know what you want, you son of a -' the Hulk calls out, turning, he finds himself confronted by Puck. 'Yeah, yeah. I know what you want. A spare couple of vertebrae' Puck declares, aiming a large weapon towards the Hulk. 'Don't you -' the Hulk starts to say, but Puck opens fire, blasting a hole right through the Hulk's stomach.
Burbank informs Fortean that this is out of control, and tells the General that he needs orders. 'Is this still part of the plan?' he asks, watching as Creel's remains continue to run away – then suddenly comes to a stop in a crater. 'Umm sohh -' he begins, while the Hulk drops to his knees as green gunk pours out of the gaping hole in his stomach. 'Stop Creel – what's inside him – know what it wants -' the Hulk begins, while Puck aims the gun at him again and tells him to stay down. 'Sohh ree' Creel calls out as he plunges his hands into the ground, and green energy begins to radiate around him. 'Gamma. Got all he can get from me. He's after the rest' the Hulk explains to Puck, grabbing the end of his gun and crushing it – while a stream of green energy rises up from the crater and passes through Creel.
The Hulk stands back up as more green gunk oozes from the hole in his stomach, and explains to Puck that when the bomb went off, it opened a door – a green door – only it didn't open all the way. The Hulk continues, 'If Creel absorbs the gamma in the soil here – in the air – if he uses it, right here- to finish the job, to tear open that door -' he begins, finding himself interrupted as Jackie McGee emerges from the spacecraft, 'What? What happens? Tell me!' she exclaims. 'What's going to -' Jackie starts to say, when a brilliant, blinding green light washes over them. The skies above and the ground below appear to tear away in spectacular display.
'Judd! I can't see you! Jackie! Where are you -' Sasquatch calls out the sky around him turns red, and lightning crackles behind him. Puck pauses as he looks around. 'Here we are again...' he mutters, while Agent Burbank taps the communicator in his ear as he takes shelter behind a large rock, calling out for General Fortean to say something, but gets no response. Creel is on his knees still, continuing to utter 'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry'. An anxious Jackie McGee looks for Walter and Puck, calling out to them, she asks if they can hear here. 'Where – oh. Hulk?' Jackie asks as she sees the Hulk nearby. The Hulk looks over to the distance where lightning crackles again. The Hulk looks down at Jackie and tells her that they are too late, that the door opened. 'Where are we? Isn't it obvious? We're where we've always been. Where everybody's always been' the Hulk announces, as a devastated landscape can be seen around them – a city in ruin, the ground broken up, while green energy pours down from a portal above them,striking the top of a mountain.
The Hulk stares down at Jackie as he then welcomes her to Hell....
Bruce Banner / Hulk
Dr Walter Langkowski, Puck (both Gamma Flight V)Romesh
Bushwacker/Agent Carl Burbank, General Fortean (both US Hulk Operations)Scientists at Shadow Base
Brian Banner / One Below All (possessing Absorbing Man)
This issue has the Legacy numbering of Hulk #727.
The Hulk and the Absorbing Man fought each other last issue.