Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #601

Background

As of last issue, the mysterious Red Hulk has absorbed all of the gamma radiation out of Bruce Banner, preventing him from transforming into the Hulk.

The timing couldn't be better as Skaar, alien son of the Hulk and his wife Caiera, survived the destruction of his homeworld of Sakar. Skaar has made his way to Earth looking for his father - to kill him.

Story 'Banner's Back'

  Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #601
Summary: Spider-Man appears
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Ariel Olivetti

During a subway ride to Times Square, a de-powered Bruce Banner encounters an abusive father (Doug Berenstein) and his son Danny. When Banner intervenes Doug decides that the boy scout needs to be taught a lesson. After a few kicks to the chest, Doug thinks he's had enough. Banner stands up and calmly tells him that he's very lucky he's a bit "off" today. Normally that treatment would result in a physical retaliation that would be sadly be passed on to his son. As it is, Banner uses a (heavily) modified iPod and accesses every piece of information about him - including income tax violations. He promises that if he ever hits his child again, he'll know about it and hit back even harder.

When Banner arrives in Times Square he is met by a large number of the heavy-hitters, led by Mr. Fantastic himself. They exchange jabs at one another for their recent actions (Richards was part of the Illuminati that exiled the Hulk; Hulk returned to Earth and forced him to fight Tony Stark). Richards reminds him that he's lucky Norman Osborn is out of town and he could keep his return relatively quiet. Banner isn't impressed and he wants to get to the point of their meeting: Skaar.

Richards shows him all the footage he has of the Hulk's offspring (specifically their fight) and shared any additional information he has. At this point Banner sneezes and a microscopic craft exists his nose. The crew on board (Hank Pym, Beast, T'Challa, and Amadeus Cho) have been examining him, looking for any gamma radiation traces. Richards did this as a precaution to see if he is actually cured. The remaining "smartest people on the planet" concur that he is gamma-free.

Banner thanks them for the added second opinion. He then explains that despite all this, somehow the Hulk will return, but he'll be ready. With that he grabs the Hulk's sword Richards had been holding since his capture and teleports away. Richards identifies the device as a variation of the Leader's teleportation devices.

Twenty-three hours later in the Mojave Desert, Banner meets his "other half's" progeny in his robotic armor he used to observe nuclear explosions at close range. Despite Banner's boasting, Skaar uses his Old Power and cracks the robot's shell, impressing the scientist.

Banner knows why he's standing in front of him and explains that the Hulk is not available. He continues by explaining to Skaar that he's not ready despite his fighting prowess. In his current state, the Hulk will kill him and possibly destroy the planet in the process. Rather than do that, he tells Skaar that he'll train him so that when the Hulk returns, he'll be prepared.

Banner then taps into an orbiting H.A.M.M.E.R. satellite and destroys the Juggernaut's mobile home in Ash Fork, AZ.

General Comments

Hmmm. Apparently Banner's got a slight 'tude in this issue. Of course after being betrayed by one of your friends and exiled into space, he has good reason.

Whether or not Banner actually wants Skaar to succeed in his mission to kill the Hulk remains vague. It could be a delaying tactic until he can convince him to abandon his quest or Banner could be crazy enough to want a quick death.

Overall Rating

3 webs. Good read by Pak & Olivetti.

Footnote

  • Skaar first met the Hulk (and tried to kill him) in Skaar: Son of Hulk #12
  • Hulk was last captured at the end of World War Hulk #5
  • The red armor was last seen - according to the footnotes! - in Tales to Astonish #60