A previously unseen story from Bruce Banner's past reveals a surprise connection to mercenary Deadpool.
Incredible Hulk: Last Call, set during a time when Bruce's wife Betty was fatally poisoned by Hulk's arch foe Abomination, finds a depressed Bruce alone in Reno, Nevada.
Veronica, a suicide prevention hotline counselor, wards off unwanted suitor Cal over the phone. She used to work with Betty, and it's this connection that gets Bruce to open up about his many suicide attempts: leaping into the Grand Canyon, cutting his wrists, overdosing on pills, and shooting himself in the head.
All attempts ended the same, with Bruce automatically transforming into the near-indestructible Hulk.
"I think he was the personification of my will to live," Bruce says. "Every time I get into dangerous situations, well... you've heard of fight or flight? He's fight."
Bruce says he's solved his suicide problem: he's hired a hit man who awaits a signal. A high sign means the hit man puts a bullet through Bruce's head. Another sign cancels the contract, but the money is kept either way.
He tells Veronica of the first time he met Betty, then a university student struggling to crack an equation for a graduate course. Bruce solves it in seconds. Years later, they've married, but the bond Betty was capable of forming with his monstrous alter ego puzzles even the big-brained Banner.
"You have the same eyes. Don't you know that?" she asks him while the married couple lie in bed. "If the eyes are the window to the soul, then so be it. You have the same soul."
When Bruce says the Hulk hates him, Betty tells her husband, "You hate you, Bruce."
She says he sees the Hulk as an endless source of destruction, one the world would have been better off without had Bruce simply died in the Gamma blast that created the Incredible Hulk. Betty points out Bruce didn't run into that blast years ago to create a monster — he did it to save someone, Rick Jones, and blame lies solely on the saboteur who botched the test.
Back in then present day, Bruce catches himself musing about the weather. He wonders if it will snow.
"It never snows here. Ever," Veronica says. But Bruce is unstirred. "You never know."
Bruce can't help but ask what might have happened had he been evaporated in the blast. Maybe Betty would have stayed married to military man Glenn Talbot and led a happy life with children. Maybe Rick Jones would have become a professional musician celebrated the world over instead of wasting years trying to help Bruce-slash-Hulk. And Betty's father, General Thaddeus Ross, might have achieved his own aspirations and become president had he not relentlessly pursued Bruce's green-skinned alter ego.
But Veronica tells Bruce he used the Hulk to help people, but Bruce waves it off. There are more than enough super-people to solve those problems, and none of them carry the tag of destruction that has long followed the Hulk.
Bruce's admission is interrupted by Cal's arrival to the suicide prevention hotline center. It's revealed he's Calvin Zabo, who transforms into his towering alter-ego, Mister Hyde, over Veronica's rejection.
Green Hulk arrives and battles Hyde, lunging into a rage and subduing the villain when he taunts Hulk over Betty's death.
Later, after reverting to human form, Veronica doubles down. "I'd be dead if you hadn't saved me. Dead," she says. "Do you think Betty would have wanted me dead?"
"Of course not," Bruce says. Veronica kisses him on the cheek. "Never forget that. And merry Christmas."
Bruce walks out, alone, and holds up three fingers. Watching through a scope, the hit man says he "wasn't really thrilled with this gig anyway."0comments
"I mean, he asked so nicely. 'Please kill me.' It was the 'please' that got me," Deadpool says to himself while perched atop a nearby rooftop. "Still, it didn't feel right. Guess I got too much heart. Like the Grinch, but more fatal."
Snow covers Bruce as he walks alone into the distance. "I'll be damned. It never snows around here," Deadpool says to no one in particular. "Guess it's a time of miracles."