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Al Ewing (writer)The Framing Sequence: Joe Bennett (penciler), Ruy Jose (inker)The Cop's Story: Leonardo Romero (artist)The Bartender's Story: Paul Hornschemeir (artist, colorist, letterer)The Old Lady's Story: Marguerite Sauvage (artist, colorist)The Priest's Story: Garry Brown (artist)Paul Mounts (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Alex Ross (cover artist), Mahmud Asar & Edgar Delgado (variant cover artists), Alanna Smith & Sarah Brunstad (associate editors), Tom Brevoort & Wil Moss (editors), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)Hulk created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Investigative journalist Jackie McGee is interviewing several people who were witnesses to a Hulk siting in South Dakota. Each of the individuals relates the event to her as how they saw it unfold – a gamm-powered individual called Hostshot held a priest and an old woman hostage in a church. He had come seeking the priest's help as something dire was wrong with his girlfriend. While that transpired, police officers arrived on the scene, and Bruce Banner visited a bar, where he saw the hostage situation unfold on a television, so left, and arrived at the church as the Hulk, whereby he absorbed all of the gamma energy from Hotshot. Afterwards, the priest accompanied officers to Hotshot's motel room, where they found his girlfriend, dead, and the words 'Green Door” sprawled across the wall and Hotshot was taken into custody. Back in her hotel room, Jackie starts to make sense of the four stories when she gets a phone call from Walter Langkowski a.k.a. Sasquatch, who informs her that Bruce Banner is an old college buddy of his, and there is something he wants Bruce to look into.
South Dakota, where reporter Jackie McGee has come to meet with several individuals. She introduces herself to a priest as she sits down in his office as a reporter for the Arizona Herald and reminds him that they spoke on the phone. In a quaint home, Jackie thanks an elderly woman for agreeing to see her, and remarks that she doesn't know if any other reporters have spoken to her about the events of Mercer Avenue. In a bar, Jackie tells the bartender that from what she has gathered, the bartender was an eyewitness for at least one piece of the puzzle. 'You were there. And I'd like to hear it from your point of view' Jackie tells a cop as she turns her recording device on.
'Well, little lady – have I got a story for you!' the cop smiles he leans back in his chair, his right arm in bandages.
The Cop's Flashback:It was sundown, and crime lurks with the twilight at the old church on Mercer Avenue. The cop had received notice of a hostage situation, a perp with a gun holding a priest and a helpless old lady – except the perp was one Lou Lembert, a no-good juvenile delinquent who had caught a dose of gamma rays that made him something more than human. 'Hands where we can see 'em, punk!' the cop shouted as he and his partner entered the church, to find Lou Lembert standing over the priest and an old woman. 'Pathetic fools! You'll see my hands, all right – the hands of HOTSHOT! The Human Ray Gun' Lou shouted as he spun around and fired blasts of energy from his fingers, at the police officers. The cops saw that Lou wasn't packing a gun, but too late as the energy blasts struck their weapons, and the cop's right arm as well.
Present:The cop smiles at Jackie and tells her that they needed to go forth, needed a hero to assemble – and blue blazes they sure got one!
At the bar, the bartender begins telling his story by assuring Jackie that he is not a bad person or anything.
The Bartender's Story:The bartender was behind the bar as an unkempt man in a dirty sweater approached him and asked if he could use the restroom. The bartender looked at the other man, wondering what he was going to do – the other man's clothes didn't fit him and looked like someone had died in them – not to mention he looked like a serial killer. He assumed the unkempt man was going to shoot up in the toilet, and things got heated between them, and they argued – until the unkempt man noticed something on the television – there was a reporter about a siege on Mercer Street.
Present:'Mercer Avenue. Whatever' the bartender remarks, before informing Jackie that the next thing he knew, the unkempt man lunged towards a couple eating at the bar and grabbed a knife.
The Bartender's Story:'Whoa!' the bartender called out, putting his hands up in a defensive manner, but the mysterious unkempt man just ran for the door.
Present:The bartender sniffs and tells Jackie that, obviously, he didn't know who the man was.
In her home, the old lady smiles at Jackie, 'No, I didn't know the young man. He was so handsome, though!' She adds that it was such a tragedy, and that she remembered thinking he looked like James Dean – such a nice young man. She reveals that she was a Deaniac when she was young.
The Old Lady's Story:The elderly woman was seated in the pews as the handsome Hotshot told the priest that he needed his help. Tears fall down his face as Hotshot explained that his girl, he loved her more than he can say, but she was dying. He dropped to his knees and announced that they needed the last rites.
Present:'The last rites?' Jackie asks. 'Something like that. My hearing isn't what it was, I'm afraid' the old woman explains.
The Old Lady's Story:Hotshot put a hand to his head as he admitted to the priest that he never believed in that stuff before – none of it, but now all he wants is Jess's immortal soul to be saved. He asked the priest if he will help her, more tears streaming down his face. The priest told Hotshot that he broke in during a service and has taken hostages. 'I'm sure the police will understand if you just -' the priest began, but Hotshot interrupted him, remarking that they will never understand, that nobody understands – nobody in this whole damned world. 'Nobody understands... LOVE!' Hotshot exclaimed as he struck a pose, throwing one hand into the air.
Present:'He really did look just like James Dean' the old woman tells Jackie.
The priest tells Jacki that he looked like something from a horror movie – his skin was green and greasy, like he hadn't slept in days, and there was a smell coming from him – like urine and cobwebs.
The Priest's Story:'The Devil, Father. The Devil's in her' Hotshot told the priest as he stood in the aisle between the pews. The old lady had moved into the aisle behind him, and the police officers stood behind her. 'Get away from me!' the priest shouted as Hotshot moved towards him. 'Or something. Something like the Devil. Something underneath... below everything...' Hotshot uttered as he edged closer to the priest. The priest was terrified – he had just seen this mutant shoot fire from his fingers, and now those fingers were next to his face – and he was insane – quite insane. 'You're not listening! The one below! It got into her somehow!' Hotshot rambled on, sweat dripping down his face, he exclaimed that they need an exorcism – his love needed one. 'See, there's this – this door, to the Below-Place – like a green door – I've seen it in my dreams' Hotshot called out, hanging his head as he admitted that he know how that sounded
The priest was worried that Hotshot was going to kill him and old Mrs Melrose – not to mention the police. 'Just...just keep calm, okay? We'll get someone to negotiate' one of the officers told Hotshot, while his partner radioed for backup. 'No! No negotiations, no more cops – you think I'm stupid? Just listen to me!' Hotshot pleaded, his eyes glowing with gamma energy. The priest began to pray, he prayed to God above for salvation and deliverance – and his prayers were answered – only he didn't think that what was sent to deliver him was sent by God. 'Why won't you LISTEN to me? Why won't you just – just help me -' Hotshot exclaimed, when suddenly, the Hulk dropped down through a stained glass window above.
Present:The old lady closes her eyes as she tells Jackie that it was horrible. 'Such a handsome young man all alone against that - that monster!' her voice trails off.
The Old Lady's Story:'No – stay back!' Hotshot exclaimed as the slobbering Hulk stood over him, groaning and grunting. 'My girl – my girl needs me! I'm begging you -' Hotshot pleaded, when suddenly the Hulk grabbed Hotshot's hands and breaks them, which caused the old lady to scream in fear.
Present:'Monster? Ol' Jade Jaws? Come on, lady. He's a founding Avenger. He's been in movies. He's a hero. Rough around the edges, maybe – but he was disarming a felon. Literally. Or so he thought!' the police officer tells Jackie.
The Cop's Story:'My hands – broken!' the shocked Hotshot calls out, looking at both of his hands. The Hulk told Hotshot that he won't use that gamma blast again, no matter what the court's decided. But the pain just made Hotshot mad – and the madder he got, he gritted his teeth and asked the Hulk if he thought injury can stop his gamma power. 'That's an error, you dull-witted brute – your final error!' Hotshot exclaimed as he fired a gamma blast at the Hulk, his anger making him stronger as the blast struck the Hulk in his chest.
Present:'God help me, I couldn't look away. I saw it all. The hole in his chest. The pulped, torn remains of skin and bone...arteries and organs...a charnel house, open to the world' the priest recalled to Jackie.
The Priest's Story:
The Hulk just stood there, a huge gaping hole in his chest – which suddenly began to close up as if he had never been torn open at all.
Present:Tears well up in the priest's eyes as he tells Jackie that it is the look on the Hulk's face while it happened – that's what he can't forget, and that the boy said what he was thinking.
The Priest's Story:'It's you! You're the shadow! The one below all! You're the Devil himself!' Hotshot shouted at the Hulk.
Present:“You're the Devil himself” the cop quotes, putting his hands behind his head, he asks Jackie if she wants to know what the big guy said.
The Cop's Story:'You're damned right' the Hulk grinned, before he slammed his fist into Hotshot, knocking him backwards.
Present:The cop smiles as he informs Jackie that the Hulk went out the way he came in, didn't stay to be thanked – he was modest. He adds that when Lembert woke up, they had him in cuffs, special ones, and then – 'Oh. Yeah. This next part ain't so fun' he hangs his head and closes his eyes.
The Priest's Story:Lembert had been staying in a motel on the edge of town. The priest accompanied the police officers there – he didn't know why, just something in Lembert's voice, he supposed. There, they discover the body of Hotshot's girlfriend – Jess Harrison a.k.a. Jailbait. She was smiling at them – it was a peaceful smile. Only, her body was twisted, tied to a chair, the words “green door” scrawled across the wall.
Present:“Green door” the priest remembers, putting his hand over his face. 'I... I couldn't... I wasn't able to... I haven't been able to pray, Ms McGee. Not since that day' the priest cries, wondering what that means.
'Jess Harrison' the old lady recalls, touching her pearl necklace, she adds that she had a super-person name as well, but she doesn't remember it, before revealing that she went to visit Hotshot in the special facility. 'He seemed glad of the company' she adds.
The Old Lady's Story:'It wasn't me' Hotshot cried from behind the glass that seperated him from the old lady. His hands are clasped in restraints as he revealed to the old lady that he tied Jess to the chair – he had to, as her power was out of control, they needed help – but when he left her she was alive. He told the old woman that he loved Jess. 'You've got to believe me' he pleaded. 'Someone's got to believe me'.
Present:The old woman tells Jackie that she told Hotshot that she would pray for him – but he found a way to hang himself in his cell, although she is not sure how. 'Such a tragedy...' she utters, before picking up a teapot, 'Ah, well. Tea?' she asks Jackie, smiling.
'Yeah, they're calling it a sighting now. I mean, they're not saying it's confirmed, but...okay, I was watching the whole thing on the news. And blah blah situation has been resolved. No details at this stage, back to football' the bartender tells Jackie, before informing her that he went to lock up for the night, he got down to the parking lot – and discovered his car had been crushed. 'So yeah. I mean, I don't know how he knew. But that's confirmed. That was him' the bar tender remarks, before glancing sideways, and then shouting 'And it sucks!'
Later, Jackie is in a hotel room, laptop open before her, she tells herself to get some thoughts down. She remarks that if these sightings are “unconfirmed”, it is because nobody wants to confirm them. She thinks that these witnesses, these points of view, they add up to something, maybe something bigger than the people in charge think it is. She pinches the bridge of her nose as she reminds herself that there was one other person at the church on Mercer Avenue – the same guy who was in Arizona and Colorado. 'And until I can talk to him, I'm not going to get -' Jackie says, before her cellphone begins to ring. She looks at the phone screen, which says “Caller Unknown”. She answers, and a voice asks 'Jacqueline McGee? From the Arizona Herald?' Jackie looks at the phone and pauses before asking the caller how they got this number.
In Vancouver, Canada, night hangs over the city as Dr Walter Langkowski walks through his apartment and informs Jackie that her editor gave it to him when he dropped his name. 'Turns out he's a Packers fan' Walter jokes, before introducing himself, adding that he works for Alpha Flight – the international space team or at least, he did, but he's on a leave of absence at the moment. Walter then informs Jackie that he has been reading her articles, and he notes that she seems to be the only person actively looking for Bruce Banner at the moment – apart from him that is. 'Why? Well, he's an old college buddy of mine. I want to know he's okay' Walter smiles, adding that, if he is being totally honest, he could use Bruce's expertise. 'Right. Exactly. There's something I want him to look at' Walter remarks as he stares at his reflection in the floor to ceiling window of his apartment – only it's not him that stares back – it's Sasquatch!
CopBartenderOld Lady (Mrs. Melrose)Priest
in the Cop's story:HotshotPolice officersPriestOld Lady
in the Bartender's story:Bruce BannerBartender
in the Old Lady's story:HotshotOld LadyPriest
in the Priest's story:HulkHotshotJailbait (body only)PriestOld LadyPolice officers
This issue has the Legacy numbering of Hulk #720.
Hotshot a.k.a. Louis Lembert first appeared in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #345 and made occasional appearances until Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #464, his most recent appearance prior to the flashback scenes this issue.
Sasquatch's appearance here most likely takes place after Champions (2nd series) #20-21 and X-Men: Gold #29.
In Alpha Flight (4th series) #3, Sasquatch was warned that the more time he spent in his Sasquatch form the less human he would become. During his time with the Alpha Flight Space Program, he only ever appeared in his Sasquatch form. This marks his first appearance in his human form in some time.