Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #426

Title: “One Fell Off- Fall of the Pantheon epilogue”

Writer: Peter David

Penciller: Liam Sharp

Inker: Robin Riggs

Colors: Glynis Oliver

Editor: Bobbie Chase

The savage Bruce Banner sits in a padded cell screaming. He says that he sees them hiding. He says that they think he is stupid, but that he will bring this place down. He says that he is the strongest one there is. Samson watches Bruce from behind the slot in the door. Samson walks into the room. He talks to Bruce and introduces his associate Dr. Kathy Diamond. Samson tells Bruce that he needs to listen to him. Bruce futilely rams his shoulder into Samson’s stomach. Samson tells him that this isn’t helping. Samson takes hold of Bruce and says that he should have seen this coming. He says that something like this happened once before when they were trying to control the Hulk persona through his heart rate. He says that the rampaging Hulk persona took control though trapped in Banner’s body. He says that it was his first clue that his affliction was rooted in MPD. Samson asks Bruce if any of this is getting through to him. Bruce looks at Samson. He pushed over Kathy Diamond and starts running.

Mr. J stands in the hallway. He tells everyone not to bother him and that he is concentrating. He says that one disruption of his concentration will cause all of reality to crash. Savage Banner knocks Mr. J over as he runs. He shouts out, “Betttyyy! My Betty! Mine!” Samson grabs Bruce from behind as Bruce is mentioning how he will smash anyone that keeps him from Betty. Samson helps up Mr. J and asks if he is all right. Mr. J says that he is fine and that he could not have been hurt. He says that his power ring protects him from mortal harm. Samson says that he is very happy for him. Mr. J tells Samson that he also brought him back to life. Samson says, “Thanks ever so.” Samson opens the door to Bruce’s padded cell and says that he is going back. Bruce says, “You think you can trap Hulk? No one can! No army! No enemy! No puny human can… ooooff!” Samson shoves Bruce over. He says that this is a nightmare. Savage Banner shouts, “Hulk’s butt hurts!” Samson says that he doesn’t know how much more weirdness he can take today. As Samson closes the door, Mercy appears behind him. As Samson walks, Kathy Diamond tries to talk to him. She says that they have to talk, but he keeps walking. She says that he has to get a grip, but he keeps walking. She says that a snake bit her upper thigh and that he has to suck out the poison. Samson says, “pardon?” Kathy says that in all the years that she has known him that she has never seen him this distraught. Samson says that he has never had a patient where the stakes were so high. Samson says that he thinks that Bruce felt himself going over the edge, but that the warnings he gave him got through. He says that Bruce was terrified of the fury he would unleash and the fear created a psychic failsafe. He says that before the fury swallowed him that he transformed back to human form. He says that they thought he had lost that ability, but that it was just hidden. Kathy asks what now. Samson says that now they start over, but that first they have to get him back to normal. Kathy asks if he means big and green and asks if the reversion could recur. Samson says that he is afraid so. He realizes what Bruce would be dead if he were fighting against an enemy and was forced to revert into human form. Kathy asks if what Samson is saying is that the madder he gets the weaker he gets. Samson laughs. He apologizes and says that you would be amazed at what you find funny when you haven’t had sleep in 42 hours. Kathy says that she has been there, but then suddenly people with Betty shout that they are coming through. Samson says that he thought she had stabilized. He is told that she started bleeding and that they will have to open her up again. Kathy tells Samson to get out of the way. She says that brains are his things and that bodies are hers. She tells him to go observe if he needs to, but that there is nothing he can do. Samson takes off his glasses, looks down, and says, “So what else is new?”

Mercy floats before Bruce. She asks him if he isn’t having a very good day. She says that she has peeked in on him from time to time and that he has actually seemed happy in recent months. She says that there has been no need to alleviate any suffering. She says to look at him now. She asks what is bothering him and that he can tell her. Bruce shouts that he wants Betty. Mercy asks who Betty is and that she seems to be causing him a great deal of grief. Bruce shouts that he wants Betty now and leaps at Mercy. Mercy says that if Betty is making him miserable that she will deal with her straight away. She fades away and says that she will be back. Bruce’s cell door opens. Two armed men look down at Bruce and say that he doesn’t look so incredible these days.

Betty’s ghost, in the form of her as a little girl is skipping rope. She sees Samson and tells him not to be so pouty. She says that things will work out and that they always do. The doctors say that Betty’s blood pressure is dropping. Nick Fury walks into the observation room. Betty’s ghost says hi to him and asks him to move as she skips rope out of the room. Fury asks Samson how Betty is doing. Samson says that she is not great. Samson asks Fury what he is doing there. Fury says that they are taking Banner into SHIELD custody. Samson asks if he is taking him away while his wife fights for her life. Fury says that Banner isn’t really aware of it. Fury says that Banner is a ticking time bomb and that they are defusing him. Samson says that Banner is still a citizen and that he has rights. Fury says that Banner’s rights end where the safety of the country begins. Fury says that he isn’t happy about it either and that whether Samson believes it or not that he has covered for Banner where he could. Fury says that it is out of his hands. He says that Banner is helpless and that they can handle, and maybe even help, him. Samson says that he isn’t going to let him do this. Fury says that it is already done. Samson says that he is his patient and that he will get a court order. Fury says that he is being air-lifted out now. Samson gets all pissed. Fury asks Samson if he is going to be like the Hulk and just smash whatever he doesn’t like. Fury asks if Hulk is going to drag Samson down instead of Samson raising him up. He says that is a pretty pathetic ending. Samson unclenches his fist. Fury tells Samson that he tried and that is the most anyone can do. Fury gets a radio contact telling him that Banner is ready to go when he is. Fury says that he has a sick friend on the table and that he will stay until she is in the clear. Fury asks Samson if that is okay with him. Samson says, “Do what you want, after all… it’s a free country… for some people.” A tear wells in Fury’s eye.

Ghost Betty skips rope singing, “Two little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and broke his head, mama called the doctor and the doctor said, no more monkeys jumping on the bed.” Mercy appears before Betty and asks who she is. Elizabeth Ross Banner introduces herself, and says that her daddy calls her Betty. Mercy asks what her mother calls her. Betty says that she is in Heaven. Mercy says that she must miss her a lot. Betty says that when she goes to church that she asks God to send her mommy back to her… but he doesn’t. She says that she asks her daddy about it, but that he gets all gruff. She says that he told her that God helps those that helps themselves. She starts to cry and says that she doesn’t understand. She says that if you can’t help yourself then you are helpless. She asks if God doesn’t care about helpless people. She says that no one will explain it to her. Mercy picks little Betty up and says that her mommy could. She asks if she wants to visit her. Betty says that she does very much. Betty and Mercy walk out together.

Betty goes flatline. The doctors inject her with some atropine and start charging the paddles. Samson says that she has been through so much and asks God to have Mercy.

Mercy and Betty walk through the sky. Betty sees the SHIELD ship and asks Mercy what that is. Mercy says that it is a flying vehicle and that most Earth people need help flying. Betty says that she knows that, but that she has never seen one that big. She asks if they can go and see it closer. Mercy says that of course they can.

Inside the ship, savage Banner shouts at the SHIELD agents that he is going to smash them all. The SHIELD agents are suitable unimpressed. Betty and Mercy enter the ship. Bruce shouts that at last he sees Betty. The SHIELD agents figure he must be hallucinating since Betty is a ghost. Betty sees Bruce and asks what they have done to him. Bruce shouts out for Betty. Mercy tells Betty that the should go. She says that they are only upsetting him and that her mommy misses her. Betty says that Bruce does too though. She says that he needs her to calm him and that she can do that.

The doctors try to use the electric paddles to shock Betty back to life.

The little girl ghost of Betty reels from the impact. She asks Bruce to please calm down. Mercy tells Betty to come with her. She says that her mommy needs her and that she needs her rest. Betty says that Bruce needs her and that she can calm him down.

The doctors try shocking Betty again.

In pain again, Betty tells Bruce that she wants to stay with him, but that she needs to know that she will make a difference. She puts her hand on his face and pleads with him to calm down. Mercy tells Betty that she can still go back, but that there is no point if she is going to be miserable. She tells Betty that she has to decide now. Betty tells Bruce to try and remember. She starts to repeat their wedding vows. Bruce gets to the part and starts to repeat, “Both… shall… live.” Betty tells Bruce to come back to her and that she will come back to him. She is zapped again and then disappears. Bruce shouts out Betty’s name. He breaks the restraints from his chair, but is still chained in a straight jacket. He runs into two guards and knocks them over. Bruce rushes toward the door. One guard says that he will never get out, but Bruce smashes through the door and starts falling to the ground below. One of the SHIELD agents says that Fury is going to be ticked.

One doctor is about to call Betty’s time of death, but another insists on charging the paddles one more time. Betty’s heartbeat starts again.

Bruce falls and falls, but before he hits he turns back into the Hulk. Hulk climbs out of the hole. Mercy asks Bruce if he is satisfied. She says that Betty stayed for him, but that she would have been much happier where she was going to take her. Mercy says that Betty loved him more that she loved herself. Bruce says that he feels the same for her, but as Mercy disappears she says, “You hope.”

Kathy Diamond tells Fury and Samson to be quiet and that this is a recovery room. Samson is leaned over next to Betty’s face. He says that she is trying to say something. With a tear in his eye, Samson says, “Something about… no more monkeys.”

Hulk looks at all the destruction at the Mount and says that it is no more. A holo-recording of Paris appears and greets “Bobby”. He says that this is playing every hour for three days in the hope that he will stumble across it. Paris tells Bobby that he is fired. He says that they are going to try and pick up the pieces of his disastrous supervision. He says that they have abandoned the Mount. He says that the civilians, Atalanta, and Ajax have been relocated overseas. He says that Hector, Cassie, and Prometheus have struck out on their own. He says that, not that he cares, but Ulysses has gone in search of Delphi. Paris says that he is running the show, and that he is warning him to watch his back. He says, “…among those people you consider your enemies be aware that… as Bogie would say… you’ll always have Paris. Farewell, Bobby. Farewell.”

No Excuses rating: 7.5 out of 10

The somewhat inside joke about Hal Jordan is pretty cute, as was Hulk talking about how his butt hurts. It was cool to see Mercy again. She fits so well in the Hulk mythos and seems to just stand among others like the Glorian as perfect for the Hulk. The issue itself is well done, but seems a little futile once you read Hulk #466. Liam’s work looks nice so long as he takes his time and details it well, but sometimes it seems a little crude and you wonder how it ever saw print. 3.5 out of 5 for the art.

Review and picture by The Leader