Marvel has been teasing the return of the Hulk in the pages of Avengers: No Surrender for weeks and today's Avengers #684 finally had the payoff.
The Hulk is back and the Challenger is counting on the green goliath to be his ace in his ongoing game against his fellow Elder of the Universe, the Grandmaster.
Now the Hulk is back up and running and rampaging through the Avengers' auxiliary headquarters. Luckily the team has a surprise of their own, the Iron Hulk, to try to hold Banner off.
This is all set up for the new ongoing series that will launch as part of Marvel's "fresh start," The Immortal Hulk from Al Ewing and Joe Bennet. Avengers #684 begins with a Hulk-centric prologue establishing a new angle on the creature, that he is literally unkillable.
"Okay – to begin with, the title character is Bruce Banner, and Bruce Banner is the Immortal Hulk, the World's Mightiest Mortal, the Green Goliath, the Strongest One There Is, etcetera, etcetera," Ewing said when the series was announced. "A lot of people have been a little wary that we're actually bringing him back for keeps this time, so I figure this is as good a place as any to confirm that yes, this is Banner, he's back, he's got an ongoing solo series and he's not going to die again anytime soon. In fact, that's kind of the point."
The prologue traced the Hulk's history from creation up to No Surrender, making pits stops along the way at every moment that the Hulk seemingly cheated death. A reference guide was provided at the end of the issue to which other issues that prologue was referencing. Allow us to provide some context for the Hulk's many deaths.
Avengers: Ultron Forever #1
Though this is a relatively recent publication compared to some of the others on the list, it occurs earliest in the Hulk's actual timeline.
Hulk and several other Avengers are plucked out of the timestream and assembled into an ad hoc team to battle Ultron.
In this case, it was the Hulk from the Early 1960s, before much of what fans know of the character had been made canon.
The trip through time doesn't end well for the Hulk. A villain ends up getting hold of Captain America's shield and throws the vibranium weapon at the Hulk so hard that it cuts the Hulk's head right off.prevnext
Tales to Astonish #69
This tale from 1965 sees the Hulk trapped by his old nemesis, the Leader.
The Leader has plans to use a deadly device called the Absorbatron, but the Hulk does what he can to stop the villain.
Meanwhile, Rick Jones is trying to reach the Hulk and warn him that General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross is tracking him down.
As usual, Thunderbolt assumes the worst of the Hulk. He orders his men to storm the Leader's base and shoot Bruce Banner on sight.
The Hulk destroys the Leader's lab and all of the equipment inside. He's found by one of Ross's soldiers, who shoots and apparently kills him.prevnext
The Incredible Hulk #225
This is another story involving the Hulk's dangerously intelligent foe, the Leader.
The Hulk is unconscious and dying after destroying a giant robot in the previous issue slammed him with a massive surge of electricity.
Doc Samson drags Hulk's lifeless body back to Gamma Base and believes him dead.
Samson bombards Banner's body with gamma radiation in the hopes that it'll revive him. At first, it seems to have no effect, but the Samson gets more than he bargained for when Banner transforms into the Hulk and attacks.
The two eventually manage to work together to stop the Leader. Then Hulk goes right back to attacking Samson.prevnext
Incredible Hulk #367
Once again, the leader is involved in the Hulk's apparent death.
This time, the Hulk has been poisoned and the Leader is dangling the location of Bruce Banner's wife, Betty Banner, as a reward for taking out his foe, the Madman.
The Leader and his associates watch as the poison apparently works its way through Hulks body and leaves him dead.
Or not. Despite his body appearing to have quickly withered away, the Hulk gets up from his chair just fine after the Leader and his friends leave the room. Hulk uses his newly earned privacy to try to go through Leader's information and find Betty himself.prevnext
Incredible Hulk #446
This story takes place shortly after the epic final battle with Onslaught in Central Park. That battle actually separated Bruce Banner and the Hulk physically. Banner sacrificed himself to help finish off Onslaught while the Hulk remained unconscious for some time after the battle was over.
The military tried to move the Hulk's body when a nightmare about his fight with Onslaught woke the sleeping giant.
Without Banner there to reign the Hulk in, the trauma of his battle with Onslaught drives the Hulk mad and he lashes out like never before.
The Hulk's body heats up with such radiation that it melts the metal containment cell meat to hold him, trapping his body in a statuesque, metal prison.prevnext
Indestructible Hulk #20
This series saw Bruce Banner trying to work with SHIELD so that he could get funding for his research and have a constructive place to channel the Hulk's rage.
By issue #20, Banner and Maria Hill were beginning to chafe against one another. Banner was alone in his lab when someone snuck up behind him and shot him in the back of the head.
The gunshots caused terrible brain damage to Banner, ruining his brilliant mind. Tony Stark was able to save him by using Extremis, which repaired Banner's mind and created the Doc Green persona for the Hulk.
It was later revealed that Betty Ross shot Bruce Banner to stop the Hulk from committing an extinction level event.prevnext
Civil War II #3
Bruce Banner became the most infamous casualty of the Marvel Universe's second superhero civil war.
At the time, Bruce Banner was believed to have been "cured" of the Hulk by Amadeus Cho. He was working in his bunker and became paranoid, thanks to the influence of evil Steve Rogers, that he may not be as cured as he thought.
Banner gave Hawkeye two specially made arrows that he knew could kill him as he was hulking out if it should come to that. When Captain Marvel confronted Banner about that possibility, Hawkeye thought it was time to use those arrows and killed banner.prevnext
Uncanny Avengers #17
The Hulk was not allowed to rest in peace after the events of Civil War II.
That's because the Hand go ahold of the Hulk's body and used their mystic abilities to bring it back to life as one of their thralls.
The Avengers Unity Squad - what was left of them after Civil War II - had to go to Japan and team up with Elektra to deal with the Hulk.
Even then, it came down to Brother Voodoo traveling to the mystic realm and freeing Bruce Banner to make the Hulk stop, though Avengers #694 retcons that turn of events a bit.prevnext
Secret Empire #6
Once the Hand was done using mysticism to bring the Hulk back to life, it was Hydra's turn to use science to do the same.
Arnim Zola, working for evil Steve Roger and Hydra, managed to resurrect Bruce Banner. They convinced Banner to channel all of the Hulk's rage against the Avengers who were still working in the resistance again the Hydra government.0comments
They dropped the Hulk on the resistance's base, the Mount, and let him go to work. The Thing was there to stand up to the Hulk, but even he could stop him.
In the end, the entire mountain base came down on top of the Hulk, which is where the Hulk remained until the Challenger brought him forth.prev