Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #445

Issue Date: 
September 1996
Story Title: 
Dancing in the Dark

Peter David (writer), Angel Medina (pencils), Robin Riggs (inks), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Glynis Oliver (colors), Malibu (enhancement), Bobbie Chase (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The Hulk helps to bring a stranded train filled with people into safety. Afterwards, he goes back to the other heroes, who are busy making battle plans to defeat Onslaught. Hulk notices that nobody seems to trust him, besides the Falcon. The Hulk tries to make Captain America understand that they should attack Onslaught directly now, but Cap feels that it’s not the right time yet. The Hulk is determined to follow his plan and is able to bring the Falcon, Hawkeye, the Vision and Crystal to his side. They make tunnels to move under Central Park and hope to attack Onslaught at his castle. Unfortunately, Onslaught notices them and attacks the heroes. The Hulk can’t have it any more and grows out of control and destroys Onslaught’s armor. But Onslaught isn’t defeated yet and is now everywhere and can enter whoever’s mind he wishes. The fallen heroes return to their friends, distrusting the Hulk once more. Meanwhile, Rick Jones tries to reach New York, but finds resistance in the form of his girlfriend, Marlo, and the fact that no planes go to New York because of the disasters happening there. And at the same time, the mysterious Janis is rescued by the Pantheon, who believe that she knows more about the Hulk.

Full Summary: 

The Hulk, standing in a subway in New York, sarcastically says, “boo.” He scares a lone motorman, who got stuck in the subway when the power went down. The man explains that he is scouting ahead to lead other trapped people safely outside. Hearing this, the Hulk asks where the train is.

At the train, people begin to get scared and worried. Suddenly, the train begins to move! They look outside the windows and see the Hulk carrying them out! To himself, the Hulk finds all the people idiots and thinks that he should leave them to rot. But the Hulk thinks otherwise, because that would be the exact same thing Onslaught wants him to do. And the Hulk doesn’t like Onslaught. Not after he took over his mind and afterwards took over the city. Hulk realizes that by saving these people, he takes back a small piece. The Hulk knows that, by this way, he and the others will get him. One small piece at the time.

The Hulk brings the train out and rescue workers help to breach the wagon open so that the humans can run out. A small kid takes a look at the green goliath and becomes scared by his appearance. The kid runs to his mom, saying that he saw a monster. His mom doesn’t believe him and says to her child that he pretended the whole thing.

Meanwhile at the Los Angeles airport, a man grows impatient, as he wants to buy a ticket to New York. The vendor tells the man to watch the news, as no flights go to New York, because they are dealing with some heavy troubles. The man says he knows that and that’s the reason why he’s going there. An old man holds the man back, asking if he is Rick Jones. Rick knows that the old man is right, but denies. Rick tries to explain that he has been to two other airports already and somebody must give him a ticket. Rick knows and asks if chartering a plane might not be a good idea. The woman still says no, because no planes could land because all the airports in New York are closed. Rick suggests that he could skydive.

Hearing this, the old man behind him realizes that he indeed is Rick Jones and hands him over his “famous people” book to sign. Rick simply signs to get rid off the annoying old man. The vendor woman tries to make Rick understand that it’s suicide to go to New York now. Rick says that the woman doesn’t understand, because people he cares about are in danger. Suddenly, a loud voice calls to Rick. It’s his girlfriend, Marlo, who’s angry that Rick is trying to get to New York and pulls him away from the crowd. As Rick and his girlfriend take off, arguing, the old man takes a look at his book to check out the autograph. Surprisingly, it reads, “Best regards, your pal, Bill Mumy.”

Meanwhile, the Avengers and their allies are not having one of their finest moments. Some of them try to recover from their wounds and to encourage each other. The Hulk walks into the building and notices that, as he passes by, everyone stops talking. The Hulk tells them to stop looking at him like that, unless they prefer that he walk over to the other side. The heroes can’t believe their ears. The Falcon tells the Hulk not to sweat about it, knowing that they are strong with him than without him. The Hulk asks why. The Falcon says it’s the truth, and the heroes know it. And so does the Hulk, the Falcon says. The Hulk continues his walk. As he is gone, Hawkeye asks his teammate why he is cozying up to the green man. The Falcon says that he does it because he owns it to him.

The Hulk walks over to Captain America and tells him that if they are done licking their wounds, they should bring the fight to Onslaught himself. Cap doesn’t like the idea, finding it better to attend to their injured now and make battle plans. The Hulk says that this is the exact same thing Onslaught is expecting them to do. But, the Hulk continues, battle’s ninety percent state-of-mind and, if they continue to hide, the more confident Onslaught becomes. Cap doesn’t want to attack when they are not ready. Hulk says they should attack before Onslaught is ready. Cap explains to the Hulk that right now, Onslaught’s castle consumes several square miles of Central Park.

Cap says that, from what info he has gathered, the castle still continuous to grow. Cap says that everyone hurled themselves into battle with Onslaught, and the Hulk has seen the results. Cap guesses that if one thing is certain, it is that Onslaught is ready. At the back, Hawkeye says that he doesn’t understand what the Falcon could possibly owe the Hulk. Falcon explains that Hawkeye probably didn’t hear it, but the family kept it under wraps because they didn’t want a media circus. But, the Falcon says, his nephew Jim died of AIDS last year.

A startled Hawkeye apologizes. The Falcon tells him not to be, as the Hulk was there for Jim. The Falcon explains that the Hulk took Jim to a hospital at one point and then, when Jim was in his final stages, the Hulk brought him to a safe haven. The Falcon says that Jim called him from there, saying that he was comfortable. And after Jim died, the Falcon continued, someone paid anonymously all funeral expenses. The Falcon says that he knows that most people think of the Hulk as a soulless being, but the Falcon knows otherwise.

Meanwhile, Cap tells the Hulk that he must do whatever he feels to. The Hulk says that he always does that. The Hulk tells to all the heroes that he is taking a shot at Onslaught. He says that he will be going through the tunnels under Central Park. The Hulk says that if someone wants to come, they are allowed to. The Falcon determined says that he will come. Hawkeye agrees to join as well. The Vision stands up, despite Crystal’s warnings that he is in no shape to. The Vision explains that, at any moment, Onslaught could unleash another, even more powerful electro-magnetic pulse.

The Vision flies towards the Hulk, saying that he doesn’t know how much longer he can remain functional. He prefers to be of assistance while he still can. Crystal asks Cap what he thinks about it. Cap says that he feels that it’s too soon to attack, but he could be wrong. The Hulk finds it’s nice that Cap admitted that, and takes his group with him. Crystal joins them, this surprising the Scarlet Witch. Crystal says that she thinks she picked up some of Quicksilver’s impulsiveness, and finds it funny that Wanda doesn’t seem to endure the same thing. As they move, the Vision tells the Hulk that he realizes one withdraw from his plan. Namely: there are no tunnels under Central Park! “The day’s young,” the Hulk answers.

Meanwhile, somewhere in a Pantheon safe house, a scared red-haired woman wakes up and asks where she is. A woman in a green costume enters the bedroom, telling her patient to be careful or else she’ll destroy the healing equipments. The costumed woman explains that the girl was burning up with a 104 fever when they found her. She was dehydrated with a killer infection. The girl doesn’t understand, everything is confusing to her and asks who the “land mass” is who found her. The woman explains that the land mass was Ajax. The woman herself introduces herself as Atlanta, and says that the place they brought her to belongs to them.

Atlanta continues that they haven’t used the house for a while, because they had some… setbacks… in this part of the world. But with the events that are going on in New York, Atlanta continues, they thought it would be best if they started gathering at the United States again. The girl asks who “they” are. Atlanta tells the girl that she doesn’t need to know right now, and asks who the girl is instead.

The girl introduces herself as Janis, and claims that a… friend… brought her to that place. Atlanta asks who that “friend” is. Janis, not trusting Atlanta, tells her that she doesn’t need to know right now. Atlanta finds that fair enough and walks out of the room, telling Janis that they will talk later and that she should rest for now. On the other side of the room, Paris awaits Atlanta. He lights up a cigarette and asks Atlanta if she thinks if “Bobby” brought her there. Atlanta has no doubts about that.

Back at New York, the Vision (phasing through the ground), takes a look at Onslaught’s castle and believes that the Hulk is apparently correct and finds his sense of direction to be supernatural. As the Vision phases back to underground, he doesn’t notice that Onslaught has seen him.

Below, the Hulk continues to broaden their walking tunnels. The Falcon notices Crystal using her powers and asks what she is doing. Crystal explains that the walls of earth around them are fairly weak. The “Earth” part of her elemental powers, Crystal says, do more than just cause earthquakes. She can also prevent cave-ins. The Falcon likes that idea. The Vision reports what he sees to the Hulk, but then they are attacked! The Hulk realizes that Onslaught knows what they are doing and goes into their heads, trying to take them over. The Hulk is quick to resist it and tries to dig himself up. Meanwhile, Betty Ross watches the news and cries from happiness when she learns that Bruce is still alive.

The Hulk digs himself up and lands inside Onslaught’s castle. There, the Hulk realizes that he was right, and that Onslaught’s mental attack is weaker then it was before. Onslaught attacks the Hulk with energy beams, but the Hulk fights back and orders the members of the Avengers to attack. The Avengers attack at full force, but Onslaught doesn’t get one scratch on himself. The Vision tries to phase through Onslaught, but it’s no use. Onslaught punches the Vision hard back. Onslaught unleashes more energy waves and tries to kill his enemies. He doesn’t notice that the Hulk stands right behind him, and grabs him! The Hulk gets angry, and his body grows larger. The Hulk punches Onslaught real hard, until his armor is destroyed! The Hulk stands victorious!

But he soon realizes his mistake. Onslaught is not defeated. Onslaught enters the heroes’ minds, saying that he is everywhere now. Onslaught tells the Hulk that he should come to his side, for all the good it will do for him. The Hulk doesn’t know what to say.

Back at the airport, Marlo can’t believe that Rick actually considered going back to New York to fight super-villains. Marlo wants Rick to promise to never go back there, as she wants to raise a family with him. Rick agrees, since he can’t catch a plane anyway.

Back at the Avengers’ base, Cyclops, Mr. Fantastic and Captain America are busy making battle strategies, as the Hulk and the others return. Cap says that he didn’t expect them to return so soon and asks how things went. None of the heroes answer. The Hulk says that he still hasn’t dismissed the notion of him taking Onslaught directly, but has concluded that it isn’t the right time to attack.

Cap’s happy to hear that and tells the doctor that it’s decisions such as this that will help him earn the confidence of others. The Hulk takes a look at the ones who followed him, who look rather angry at him. The Hulk turns back, in a sarcastic way saying that he is sure that they trust him with their lives.

Characters Involved: 

The Hulk

Rick Jones
Marlo Chandler (Rick’s girlfriend)

Captain America, Crystal, Giant-Man, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Falcon, the Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision, Quicksilver (the Avengers)

Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman (all X-Men)
Mr. Fantastic (all Fantastic Four)


Atlanta, Paris (the Pantheon)

Betty Ross-Banner

people trapped in a train (unnamed)
rescue workers (unnamed)
people at the L.A. airport (unnamed)
news reporter (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

The Hulk’s mind was taken over by Onslaught last issue, but was brought back to normal.

The full story of the Hulk trying to safe the Falcon’s nephew, Jim Jones, can be found in the Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #388.

The story of the Hulk and the Pantheon began in the Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #381.

Bill Mumy is an actor known most recently for his role as Lennier on the science fiction show Babylon 5. He first came to fame as a child actor, playing Will Robinson on the television show Lost in Space and, most famously, as the “monster” on the original Twilight Zone in the episode “It’s a Good Life.” The reference in this issue is most likely a tip of the hat to the issue’s writer, Peter David, having both a friendship and a collaborative partnership with Bill on the short-lived television show Space Cases, running on Nickelodeon at the time of the issue’s publication.

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