New York City:
Day two of the Reign of the Green King:
The Renegades, Angel, Namora and Hercules, are standing on a rooftop, looking at the Hulk’s newly-built arena from afar. So, their supposed buddy, the Hulk, has captured the Avengers and Fantastic Four and now he is turning Madison Square Garden into a hellhole straight out of “Spartacus,” Angel summarizes. Anyone starting to wonder whether they picked the wrong side in this fight?
Namora stoically reminds him that his “heroes” massacred the Hulk’s people. He should slit them gullet to chin and ring the city with their spiked heads. Okay, don’t take this the wrong way, he replies… but every time she opens her mouth, she totally freaks him out!
Hercules advises him to lighten up. They are the Renegades now. Talking trash is practically a requirement of the job. Fine, Angel replies stubbornly. He just wants to make sure that they all know eviscerating people for whatever reason is a very bad thing. Aye, Hercules agrees, in this millennium anyway.
Namora tells him not to worry. Amadeus Cho should reach the Hulk any moment now. And when he speaks reason to the Green King, the lives of Angel’s precious heroes will no doubt be saved. That’s a lot riding on one kid, Angel muses.
He has the heart of a lion, Hercules proclaims of Amadeus, and he is the seventh smartest person on the planet. He’ll know what to say.
Oh &%$&! is what the seventh smartest person on the planet utters, having been surprised by the Hulk in the dungeon, talking to Reed Richards and Iron Man. Amadeus said he was on his side, the Hulk remarks, but now he finds him here in his dungeon, talking with his enemies?
Reed Richards tells Amadeus to run. Chillax, Amadeus tells him. He’s not gonna-- In response the Hulk begins to draw his sword. He’s going to kill him! Reed shouts. Run now! He’s not running because the Hulk doesn’t kill! Amadeus insists, even as the Hulk throws his sword at him which tears the side of his jacket but doesn’t actually hurt Amadeus. “T-told ya,” he states.
“Jackass!” Scorpion shouts and drags him away before the Hulk’s fist pulverizes him. He’s trying to prove a point, Amadeus insists as the shockwave makes them both fall into the sewer. Scorpion orders him to stay back. Look, he tells her annoyed, she may have a poison arm, an exposed belly button and a summer job at SHIELD but she is not the boss of him, so--
The Hulk follows. Scorpion get ready to use her poison arm on him but, before that can happen, Amadeus hits her over the head with a rock as a guard robot discovers them. The robot is about to attack Amadeus who uses a pebble he gathered earlier throws it on the pipe the robot is stepping on, causing the robot to slip, shoot at a water pipe above and be shorted out by the water.
Okay, Amadeus turns back to the Hulk, as he was about to tell him… he drags Scorpion out of the water and explains that she is packed with a cocktail of new toxins intended by SHIELD to destroy the Hulk’s gamma powered physiology. Which means, before the Hulk’s robot pal arrived, Amadeus had already saved his big green can. Just in case, he needed more proof that Amadeus was on his side.
He takes out a plan of a map and puts a Hulk action figure on it. Amadeus explains he stole 1.2. billion dollars from Warren Worthington III and bought a few thousand acres near a downsized military base in the New Mexico area, including the old atomic test site where the Hulk was born. He’s been working on this device. It creates a green energy dome above the map. This is just a tiny version. The completed machine would project a shield over the entire area. Any non-gamma powered creature that tried to enter would pass out. And any technology that entered would get shorted out, so they couldn’t bomb there. It’ll be the Hulk’s place where they’ll finally leave him alone. He’s calling it Gammaworld. What does he think?
The Hulk hesitates, then replies that Amadeus has it all figured out. Just one thing: Why would he hide from the humans when he came here to kill them? Whatever, Amadeus snorts, clearly disbelieving. The Hulk grins nastily. Cho doesn’t know him at all. There used to be a town called Stoneridge, New Mexico. The Hulk tore into it. News reporters said hundreds died. But he doesn’t remember a thing, does he? Amadeus replies surprisingly. ‘Cause he wasn’t even there. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, the Hulk shoots back. ‘Course he does, Amadeus replies. The Hulk’s body was there, but there was no mind inside it. Doc Samson had separated Banner from the Hulk’s body. The mindless Hulk w s the one who killed those people. Samson is the one who’s been losing sleep over this for years, not the Hulk.
How does he know that? the Hulk asks. He’s read every document about the Hulk in every government base imaginable, Cho explains. He’s studied every recording and report of every fight he’s ever been in. So he knows what’s happening. He’s figured out how the Hulk’s brain works. He’s like Amadeus. He can see the mathematics of every object around him. As long as his brain isn’t tampered with, there is a part of him that’s always running the numbers. He knows where the innocent are and how to save them. How many times has he fought the military? How many tanks and helicopters has he smashed? And not a single soldier has died. Yesterday he brought down the Sentry’s Aerie. He smashed the top of the Baxter Building. He pulverized all those heroes and hasn’t killed a soul.
Hmpf, the Hulk replies, nonplussed. Couple of years ago he killed a guy named Trauma. Twice. In self-defense, Amadeus points out. How’d he know that? the Hulk asks, taken aback. He guessed, Amadeus grins. Gotcha!
Few years before, he killed an alien named Filana. He’s seen the files, Amadeus replies. He was an assassin sent by Lord Visis of K’ai to rub out his girlfriend, Jarella. He killed half a dozen American soldiers, then blew up a big array of machinery… He snapped his back over his knee, the Hulk interrupts. And then a year later he smashed the castle of Lord Visis himself. Just as he smashed the Red King of Sakaar. Yeah, and Captain America killed himself some Nazis, Amadeus replies unimpressed. Big deal. This was war.
“War?” the Hulk asks grabs Amadeus by the lapel and jumps outside. He shows him the devastated grounds. So is this. Reed Richards, Iron Man, Black Bolt and Doctor Strange destroyed his world! Now maybe they’ll know what it feels like! Yeah, Amadeus replies unimpressed. His little speech about that got broadcast to every corner of the world. He’s already won! No matter what happens now, everyone knows what those guys did. So let’s get out of here--
He still doesn’t understand, the Hulk replies. Then why hasn’t he killed them already? Amadeus insists. Because he knows it isn’t their fault, he replies himself. Yeah, they are lying, incompetent morons but he hasn’t seen any evidence they deliberately killed all those people. So the Hulk is not going to kill them. He is right, the Hulk agrees. They are gonna kill each other.
They look at the stadium. The audience is on the one hand made up of bloodthirsty hero haters and “the end is near” freaks on the other. Amadeus is at a loss for words. He isn’t kidding, is he? The Hulk doesn’t reply. Okay then, Amadeus adopts a fighting stance. Just remember, you brought this on yourself, he warns the Hulk who asks what is the matter with him. He’s the smart kid, remember? Amadeus replies. He can stop a rhino with a grape. So, he knows exactly where to hit him to cause the maximum— He hits the Hulk in the torso and shouts out in pain. Okay, he knew this was gonna happen, he insists. He was just testing to see if the Hulk knew. He grabs a wrench and hits the Hulk’s knee. Unimpressed the Hulk asks what he is doing. Stalling, comes he surprising reply.
“Hey Amadeus, you paged? Angel calls and tosses Scorpion at the Hulk’s back Immediately she injects him with her poison. He swats her aside. He sinks down clearly in agony as a reaction to the poison.
He thought she was only going to stun him, Angel protests. He thought wrong, Scorpion replies coolly. This is the end! Hercules, Namora and Angel are horrified. Angel promises the Hulk help. Wait, Amadeus asks. Incredulous, Namora reminds him they turned their back on everything they hold dear to follow Amadeus because he convinced them the Hulk’s cause was noble. And now he tells them to stand by while he is killed? Amadeus asks them to trust him.
Turning to the screaming Hulk, he sarcastically congratulates him. He tells him in a low voice he’s convinced himself and them he is a killer. So now they’re gonna let him die. But before he goes Amadeus wants him to know… everything he blames on everyone else… it’s all his own fault! His girlfriend Jarella… his wife Betty and his queen Caiera. They died because of him. All his fault. ”Suck it up, you monster!”
What did he say to him? Scorpion asks. He’ll tell them later. Right now he thinks they better run, he shouts as the Hulk’s rage overcomes his pain. Angel flies away Scorpion while Hercules steps between the Hulk and Amadeus. The Hulk uses a rock to smash him aside, then looks down at Amadeus. He emits a cry of pure rage. Whatever, Amadeus replies. The Hulk raises his fists and brings them down. Then, without a word he leaves the crater and walks away.
The Renegades fear the worst. Hercules begins digging for Amadeus amidst the debris to find him unhurt. The Hulk didn’t lay a finger on him. He could have killed him, Hercules points out. But he didn’t, Amadeus retorts. And he’s not gonna kill anyone else. He pushed the Hulk as hard as he possibly could and is still alive. The Hulk is no monster!
He believes him, Hercules replies, he just hopes the Hulk does too. Alongside his Warbound, the Hulk is entering the arena…