Incredible Hulk (3rd series) #83

Issue Date: 
September 2005
Story Title: 
Terra Incognita, part one

Peter David (Writer), Jorge Lucas (Artist), Javi Montes (Colorist), Randy Gentile (Letterer), Andy Brase (Cover Artist), Omar Otieku (Production), Mackenzie Cadenhead (Associate Editor), Mark Paniccia (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

After the world is remade thanks to the Scarlet Witch’s reality warping powers, Bruce Banner finds himself among the aborigines in Australia. With his mentor Gateway’s help, Banner begins to find peace with himself and his alter ego, dubbed the Hulk. Nearby, A.I.M., the last major human resistance group left, helps human refugees in Australia escape the tyranny of Governor Exodus and his human hating ways. House of Magnus agents track them down, led by Unus, and are almost able to defeat the A.I.M. agents, led by Scorpion and her mother, Dr. Rappaccini. Banner is alerted to his trespassing into aboriginal territory and defeats Unus and his agents. However, Adam West, an agent of A.I.M., is captured. Dr. Rappaccini asks the Hulk to join their side, but Banner returns to Gateway to ask for advice. Gateway is cryptic and reveals that something is wrong with reality and the Hulk must forge his own destiny, as he may be able to correct the world. Meanwhile, Exodus watches the defeat of his troops alongside Pyro and the Vanisher. Pyro is angry with Exodus for attacking the aborigines despite Magneto’s warning, but Exodus does not fear the Hulk, for not even he can escape evolution.

Full Summary: 

In an Australian forest, an aborigine woman puts body paint on a Caucasian man in the middle of the night. A group of other aborigines stand and watch as their leader, Gateway, tells the Caucasian man that he has meditated long and hard.

Addressing the man as Two Minds, Gateway tells him that he has taken the first steps into dreamland. He has walked beside Two Minds and has seen what he saw. His totem has been revealed. It is the snake. The pale culture imparts evil to the snake, which is unfortunate for the Caucasian man. The snake represents charm and the power to learn. The snake sheds its skin as human shed perceptions as new ideas are presented. One can see where a snake has been by what it leaves behind. A snake is bold and persuasive in its moves, and can strike in any way. It is very deadly when underestimated. Does this totem satisfy Two Minds?

Bruce Banner tells Gateway that his satisfaction does not matter. It is what it is. The aborigine woman finishes painting the bald Bruce Banner, who listens to Gateway as the man tells him that he has learned much and well. He is on the way to becoming one of the true people. If he continues down this path then…

Suddenly Gateway goes silent and looks off into the distance. Banner asks the old man what is wrong and if there is a problem. Gateway tells Bruce not to listen with his ears, but to instead use his heart. Does he hear the intruders arriving? Bruce closes his eyes and tries to listen with his heart, and when he opens his eyes he is shocked at the vast amount of intruders arriving.

Gateway tells Bruce that the many already there are not their concern. They are fleeing from oppression. The true people have known oppression and have run away as well, so they can sympathize with the refugees’ needs. However, these unfortunates do not know that the oppressors are after them. They are coming. It will not end well.

Some distance away, all is not silent in the dark forest. In a clearing are many tents set up for hundreds of human refugees, all hiding from mutant oppression. Among the organizers of this refugee camp are members of Advanced Idea Mechanics, better known as A.I.M. Leading this ragtag bunch is the superhuman girl known as the Scorpion, who reports back to her mother via intercom. All is going well. The people are tired and exhausted, but they are there. They have come from as far away as Sydney to his Northern Territory. On the other end of the transmission is Dr. Monica Rappaccini, mother of Scorpion, and commander of the A.I.M. contingent in the area.

Dr. Rappaccini tells her daughter that if the mutant oppression continues, then refugees will be coming from much further away. Scorpion asks her mother where she is presently. Dr. Rappaccini explains that she is aboard an A.I.M. sea craft in the Gulf of Carpentaria, just off Borroloola. She swears she loves Australian names. She then asks her daughter for an estimate on the number of refugees, and learns that there are over three hundred. Dr. Rappaccini asks if they are all telling the same story, to which Scorpion replies that the stories match their Intel, but of course with a few variations. In other countries, mutants treat humans as second-class citizens. They are discriminated against and are treated as if at the bottom of the barrel. However, the mutant government in Australia is another matter.

Dr. Rappaccini asks if they are rounding up people, and learns that they are. Her mother then asks if the humans are being put in internment camps or if this is Australian’s version of “The Final Solution.” Scorpion, however, does not know what the term “The Final Solution” means. Her mother makes a comment against the American school system and regrets sending her daughter to be educated there. “The Final Solution” was Hitler’s plan to exterminate all the Jews during World War II. “Oh,” replies Scorpion, “That.”

Scorpion tells her mother that Hitler didn’t have to deal with A.I.M. They are doing good work here. She was right when she told them that they should help out in Australia. They need to show humans that they cannot just roll around in the face of oppression. Suddenly, Scorpion hears something and asks what the likelihood of an earthquake in this area is. Dr. Rappaccini replies that it is as likely as having one in the western region, which apparently isn’t very likely. Scorpion pulls down her cowl and tells her mother that they are not having an earthquake. They are about to get some company.

Suddenly, fellow A.I.M. agent Adam West runs out of the woods as civilians run in the opposite direction in terror. Adam tells Scorpion that they are coming, but he thought that they wouldn’t come into the Outback. Scorpion tells Adam that bullies are never satisfied. They will keep on coming till a stand is made. They might as well as make it there. Adam sees Scorpion’s point. Unfortunately, as Adam points out, many of their refugees don’t agree. To Hell with them, replies the girl as she spots several House of Magnus troops in large armor suits chasing around the terrified refugees.

Scorpion orders her troops to arm themselves. Adam’s father calls out to him and tells him to be careful. Adam tells his father, with all due respect, that this is not the time to be careful. This is the time to kick butt and to take names. The A.I.M. troops then charge the House of Magnus troop. Adam’s father tells himself that he is sure the bad guys are telling themselves the same thing.

Suddenly, several House of M soldiers on hover bikes arrive, led by Agent Angelo Unuscione, better known as Unus, the Untouchable! Unus, under orders by the governor, orders the refugees to halt and to not make them come after them.

In the forest, hiding, watch Bruce Banner and Gateway. Bruce asks Gateway if he will despise him if he unleashes his other mind. Gateway has never actually seen it yet. If it emerges, will Gateway despise him? Gateway tells Bruce that he is one of the aborigines now. To despise him would be to despise himself. He has opened himself to them and that is all that matters. Besides, these intruders have entered sacred places, and that is unacceptable.

Nearby, Unus tells the humans that they are just making this harder for themselves, when suddenly, someone tells Unus that the same could be said to him. Unus turns to see Bruce Banner standing by a lake edge holding a boomerang. Banner tells Unus that he is in the sacred land of the true people and that he must leave. A soldier reminds Unus of the strict orders not to harm the aborigine, but Unus smirks and calls Banner a “gone-native wannabe.” He then asks Banner what will happen if he doesn’t leave. Banner throws his boomerang at Unus, but it is blocked by his force field.

Unus reminds Banner of who he is, but Banner tells him that he is making a mistake. Unus gets off his hover-bike and tells Banner that he has an unbeatable force field and Banner has a piece of wood. Who is making the mistake? Unus then knocks Banner into the lake, telling the man that he isn’t a deep thinker. As crocodiles swarm into the lake to feast, Unus laughs and thinks that Banner, whom he has not recognized, looked familiar. As he sees air bubbles slowly die out on the lake surface, he supposes that it no longer matters who the man was.

Suddenly, the incredible Hulk rises out of the water, with crocodiles all over his body trying to eat him. The Hulk orders the soldiers from the House of Magnus to leave. He then throws crocodiles at them, and the reptiles waste no time in trying to feast on the fleeing soldiers. Unus, protected by his force field, scoffs at the Hulk and dares him to do something worse. Nothing can penetrate his force field. Can the Hulk hear him?

The Hulk tells Unus that he can hear just fine. He then slams his mighty hands together, creating a deafening clap that hurts Unus’ ears. Unus, angered, threatens to kill the Hulk, but the green goliath wishes him good luck as he kicks away Unus, who is trapped in his force field like a hamster in a rolling ball.

Nearby, Scorpion battles a few human agents of the House of M and is disgusted that humans would attack humans on behalf of mutants. How can they take their side? One of the soldiers shoots Scorpion in the back with an energy gun and tells her that she cannot judge them. What did other humans ever do for him? If any of them were lucky enough to be offered this job, they would take it to, and she knows it. Scorpion falls to the ground and finds a gun aimed at her head. The soldier tells the girl that she is either apart of the snowstorms or she is buried. With her quick reflexes, Scorpion grabs the man by his throat and stings him. First, he angered her by being a traitor to his race, but now he is just boring the crap out of her.

The other soldiers fall back at the sight of a soldier in a large mechanical suit approaching Scorpion, ready to exterminate her. Suddenly, Unus, the so-called untouchable man, comes flying towards the suit at high speeds. Scorpion spots the Hulk leaping into the area and asks her mom via intercom if she sees this. Dr. Rappaccini acknowledges that she does. Scorpion is surprised to see the Hulk painted up like an aborigine, but her mom interrupts her and reminds her that they have aerial cams and they do not need Scorpion to narrate.

The Hulk lands among the soldiers and angrily faces them. He asks one question. “Who… attacked… my… PEOPLE?” The Hulk then leaps at the soldiers in an angry rage.

Aboard her submarine, Dr. Rappaccini sees all this and demands a shuttle to the surface. A soldier tells her it will take time, but she does not have patience and demands a ship ready immediately. The gods have blessed them with the Hulk and she is not going to be able to exploit their new ally to his fullest potential down in the water. The soldier then turns to his inferiors and orders them to ready a ship for the good doctor. Soon, a ship is prepared and Dr. Rappaccini heads to the surface.

A.I.M., however, is not the only organization watching the Hulk battle. In his headquarters in Sydney, Australia, Exodus, better known as the governor of Australia, watches alongside his allies, the Vanisher and Pyro. Exodus bluntly states that there is a problem. Angered, Pyro asks Exodus if he really thinks so. The problem is the Hulk. Exodus states that he knows who is the problem, but Pyro does not think that the man does.

The three men, dressed in gray body suits with the House of Magnus insignia, are in the battle room monitoring the battle. Exodus tells Pyro that he sounds like he is afraid of the Hulk. Pyro tells Exodus that he is afraid. Unlike Exodus, Pyro has fought the Hulk and he is not eager for round two. Magneto told them to leave the aborigines alone. However, Exodus sends troops anyway and now that mistake has come to bite them in the butt. Angered, Exodus blasts Pyro unconscious, telling him to address him as Governor or Sir, at the very least, but never Exodus. Pyro is sent flying through the Vanisher, who phases in time to avoid being hurt.

Exodus tells the Vanisher that the Hulk’s arrival is a setback. It is actually proof of what he has been saying all along. Tolerating human existence on any level is detrimental and plants seeds of rebellion and discontent. Security exists on human eradication. Australia will provide a beacon of hope and a model for the future for mutant kind. Even the Hulk cannot stand in the way of evolution.

Back in the outback, Dr. Rappaccini introduces herself and her daughter to the Hulk, accidentally addressing him as Dr. Banner. Dr. Rappaccini apologizes for the mistake, and then explains that A.I.M. is the last hope for humanity. By their calculations, in one to two centuries mutants will have dominated the Earth. Humanity will be extinct, just like the dodo. “So?” questions the Hulk, “World’s done fine without the dodo.”

Dr. Rappaccini admits she walked into the trap, but begins to explain her next point. However, she is interrupted by Adam’s father, who explains that his son is missing. The troops must have overcome him and taken him when they retreated. Worried, Dr. Rappaccini assures the other doctor that they will find him, especially since they have the Hulk on their side. She turns around in time to see the Hulk leap away. “Wonderful,” says Dr. Rappaccini, “The most powerful weapon on two legs, and he leaves in a huff.”

The next morning, Dr. Banner finishes his climb up a plateau to meet Gateway. Up top, he tells his mentor that it was a hard climb up and he thought he was going to have a heart attack. Gateway reminds Banner that, if he allowed the Hulk to take over, he could have leaped up. He does not want to give him that satisfaction, does he? Banner admits that he does not. Gateway is amused at this rivalry when the Hulk is Banner and vice versa. Stoically, Banner tells Gateway that the Hulk is not him.

Gateway announces that the white men want Banner to go with them. Banner wonders how Gateway knew, but the man tells him that since Banner knows, he knows. A.I.M. wants him to root out the oppressors, save Adam, and change things. Banner tells Gateway that he does not know what to do, as it is an important decision. No, replies Gateway, it is not.

Gateway becomes more serious and tells Banner that he has been walking in dreamtime and it is not feeling… right… to him. He understands why now. As he thinks about Magneto, Gateway explains that they are in dreamtime right now. That which is… isn’t. This world is not natural and it will not last. Banner is confused, but Gateway tells him that he will understand and perhaps help end it. However, perhaps neither of those things might happen. He has to find out for himself. Banner tells Gateway that he wants to do the right thing. Gateway scoffs at this and asks Banner if he knows of the stolen generation. Banner does not.

Gateway explains that the government wanted to deal with the aborigine by assimilating them into their culture. So they took the children. They were forced into white society while the aborigines were expected to die off. Ending their race is considered merciful. His two sons were taken and he never saw them again. Their minds are lost to him. Truth rises above all. In his quest to learn it, Banner might be taken away from Gateway. However, he must trust in the mother land, despite the sorrow in his heart for losing the young man. Banner tells Gateway that he would miss him too. He is happier there than anywhere else. He didn’t think that this type of happiness was possible. That is how you know that you walk in dreamtime, says Gateway.

As he walks away, Gateway informs Banner that it is time for the snake to begin his crawl toward awakening and deciding what is best for him.

Characters Involved: 

Bruce Banner/Hulk

Gateway, various aborigines

Dr. Isaacs, Dr. Rappaccini, Adam West/Machine Teen, Scorpion (A.I.M.)
Various A.I.M. soldiers

Exodus (Governor of Australia)
Pyro, Unus, Vanisher (all House of M)
Various House of M agents

Story Notes: 

This is a tie-in of the House of M crossover, which had a prelude in Excalibur (2nd Series) #13-14, and its main story is in House of M #1-8. Other tie-in issues include House of M: Spider-Man #1-5, House of M: Fantastic Four #1-3, House of M: Iron Man #1-3, Uncanny X-Men #462-465, New X-Men (2nd Series) #16-19, Cable/Deadpool #17, Black Panther (3rd Series) #7, Mutopia X #1-4, Wolverine (3rd Series) #33-35, The Pulse #10, The Pulse: House of M Special Edition, Exiles #69-71, Secrets of the House of M, Captain America (5th Series) #10, and New Thunderbolts #11. None of the tie-ins are needed to understand the main story in House of M #1-8.

While serving as an Avenger, Wanda’s reality warping powers slowly deteriorated her mind and she lost all grip on reality. Desperately wanting children again, she reconjured them back and went mad, thinking the Avengers as her enemies and killing Ant-Man II, Hawkeye, and Vision during the Avengers Disassembled event in Avengers (1st Series) #500-503. In the end, the heroes could do nothing, but let Dr. Strange turn off her mind temporarily. Wanda was then taken by her father, Magneto, to Genosha where she has been from Excalibur (2nd Series) #8-14. When the Avengers and X-Men gathered in House of M #1 to decide the fate of Wanda, her powers were used to change reality so that Magneto ruled the world, populated mostly by mutants. The heroes who would most likely interfere were given new lives, which made it impossible for them to rise up against Magneto, while others were given their greatest desires to preoccupy them. Almost the entire world population has no memory of the old world.

According to the Secrets of the House of M one-shot, Bruce Banner was almost murdered by his insane father, who thought he would be a mutant as his own genes were mutated thanks to working with radiation. Banner was saved by the police, but his mother was unfortunately murdered. His father was shot dead by the police. Bruce later went to college and was asked to work for the Defense Department to create a super-army, but met little success. Pressure from General Ross led to a lab accident that bombarded Banner with gamma rays, thus transforming him into the Hulk. Ross hunted down the Hulk, who defeated his opponents in San Diego, before fleeing into the ocean. Banner awoke in Australia and joined the aborigine people, vaguely remembering his time as the Hulk. Magneto himself asked Banner to join him, but Banner declined and has been with the aborigines since.

Prior to the reality altering, Pyro was dead killed in Cable (2nd Series) #87, and Exodus was last seen being sucked into a dimensional portal contained in the head of Xorn II in X-Men (2nd Series) #164.

Adam West is better known as Machine Teen.

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