Incredible Hulk (3rd series) #84

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

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

Brief Description: 

Bruce joins A.I.M. in their submarine and they head to Sydney to confront Exodus. Along the way, Bruce and Dr. Rappaccini talk, but he begins to become suspicious of her and believes that she has an ulterior motive for asking him to help A.I.M., as she seems a bit obsessive about the Hulk. Though they are spotted by the sensors of Exodus, Banner comes up with the idea of having the Hulk ride atop the submarine and holds a blue whale above the vessel, disguising it from the mutants. The plan works and they are able to get near Sydney to fire a warning shot, filled with messages asking for a peaceful meeting. Exodus agrees to this, but Scorpion and Dr. Isaacs believe it is a trap. Banner, Scorpion and Isaacs are sent to Sydney to peacefully talk, but Exodus chooses to murder them. Isaacs contacts his imprisoned robotic “son,” Adam, who escapes his captors and causes a distraction. Banner, whose transforming ability is being suppressed by Exodus, takes advantage of a distracted Exodus and transforms, defeating the tyrant, and inspiring humanity to rise up against their mutant oppressors.

Full Summary: 

It is morning in Sydney, and the Vanisher finds out after asking Pyro that the governor of Australia, Exodus, is still in his meeting. He has apparently been in one for a long time, after last night’s revelation of the Hulk joining sides with A.I.M., a human resistance movement in Australia.

Inside the Governor’s tower, behind the famous Sydney opera house, Vanisher notices that Pyro is creating a flame from seemingly out of nowhere. Pyro informs his companion on the hallway that it is just left over fire from a match he lit a few minutes ago. Pyro shapes the fire into a delicate image of a fairy, much to the surprise of the Vanisher, who did not think that Pyro could make things so delicate. Enjoying the admiration, Pyro reminds Vanisher that he used to write Gothic romances. He has more layers to him.

Vanisher then asks if Pyro is all right physically. The governor did throw him pretty hard. Pyro explains that he has suffered worse. Besides, Exodus can flip Pyro over as hard as he wants, but it doesn’t change the facts. Suddenly, Exodus, finished with his meeting enters the hallway and asks Pyro what those facts are. He asks if he is referring to how he, Exodus, in an attempt to purify Australia of refugee and rebellious humans, didn’t steer clear of the aborigines. As it turned out, the Hulk was taking up residence with them in the northern territory and he registered his displeasure in his usual way. “Hulk smashed,” replies the Vanisher.

Yes, replies Exodus. Unus the untouchable is not hospitalized and their Darwin forces are in disarray. The Hulk has joined forces with A.I.M. apparently, and for all they know he is heading to Sydney right now. Pyro asks the governor if he spoke to Magneto, and learns that Exodus has indeed spoken to the ruler of the world. Vanisher asks if Exodus informed Magneto on the situation and asked for help. Yes, replies Exodus, again. Pyro then demands to know what the answer is. “He said,” replies Exodus, “I warned you to stay away from the Aborigines. Good Luck.”

The three men return back to the war room, where Exodus reminds his companions that here is a lot of territory between the northern plains and Sydney, so they will spot the Hulk if he comes. The three men are welcomed by General Conner, who informs the governor that they have launched spy-cams, which show no threats within 500 miles. Vanisher turns to Exodus, reminding him that there are other ways to Sydney than by land. Exodus agrees, and questions what Conner has done to supervise an aquatic approach. Conner informs Exodus that sonar picked up a large submerged boat in the Indian Ocean, but it turned out to be a blue whale, a real monster judging my the pings. Vanisher retorts that their enemy is green. Exodus orders Conner to keep on monitoring. The Hulk is a brute, but Banner is not an idiot.

Indeed, Banner is not an idiot, and neither is the Hulk. Below the Indian Ocean, the A.I.M. submarine navigates safely through the water thanks to the Hulk, who stands upon the vessel and, with a strong rope-like item, guides a large blue whale over the ship, masking the A.I.M. vessel from watchful eyes and sonar.

Inside, Dr. Rappaccini is amazed, but Dr. West thinks the better word is incredible. Dr. Rappaccini is still in awe of the plan that Banner came up with, which was to grab a blue whale and to steer it along the course they need to go, all the while hiding them. If she didn’t see it she wouldn’t believe it. Dr. West, however, is not as enthusiastic. In case she has forgotten, the mutant government has taken his son, Adam, prisoner. While they rejoice over the Hulk as a new ally, he wants to remind them that his son’s life is at sake. Annoyed, Dr. Rappaccini tells Dr. Isaacs that her daughter, Thasanee, risks her life everyday as the Scorpion, while his “son” is nothing more than a glorified toaster oven. Can he get a grip? As Dr. Rappaccini walks away with a smug smile, Dr. Isaacs thanks her for the reminder, bitterly.

Dr. Rappaccini then thinks back to her earlier dinner with Bruce Banner in her quarters. He was impressed by the vessel. Dr. Rappaccini, who asks Bruce to address her as Monica, asks what the tribal tattoos signify, as she finds them impressive. Banner sees the cozy dinner table and is surprised to see such elegance in a freedom fighter ship. Dr. Rappaccini informs Banner that they still have some civilization down under. Banner and Monica sit, and Banner answers her earlier question. The tattoos represent learning, growth, and the willingness to change. Monica finds this curious, as he is best known change is hardly a willing process. Is she wrong? Have he and his other ego reached a rapprochement? Banner replies that his alter ego is his suppressed rage. How can he gain rapprochement with that?

Continuing, Monica asks if the Hulk is merely his rage. He has been written up in quite a few places. The Hulk is more than just repressed rage. When people say to “cut to the chase,” the Hulk is that chase. He gets things done in the simplest and most direct way possible. Is it possible that Banner admires the Hulk? Suspicious, Banner replies no, he does not admire the Hulk… but the she seems to. Monica tells Banner that she admires him, all parts of him, even if he is not going to accept his alter ego. She then sees him laughing and asks what is wrong. Banner, who eats some chicken, tells her that she sounds like the old man in his tribe. Even more fascinated, Monica asks Banner how he came to be among the aborigine.

Banner replies that he came upon them and they welcomed him. That is the end of the story. Monica asks if he doesn’t find that strange, but Banner isn’t sure why he would. Taunting Banner, Monica reminds him that he is a scientist. Since when did he stop questioning things. Suddenly, Scorpion rushes in and tells her mothers that they have been pinged by sonar. If the mutants know that they are coming then they won’t be welcoming them happily. Banner gets up and asks if those were not whale songs he heard earlier. Scorpion replies that there are some blue whales nearby, so Banner orders her to steer the vessel towards the pod. Then they must kill the engines. Scorpion begins to object, but Banner tells her to just do it as he transforms into the Hulk.

Dr. Rappaccini asks Bruce if he is cutting to the chase. Annoyed, Hulk tells Monica that his name is not Bruce, and he knows what she is up to. Curious, the secretive Dr. Rappaccini asks what he thinks she is up to. Something, replies the Hulk. He likes how she is screwing with Banner but, if she screws with him, he trashes this submarine. Does she understand him? Monica smiles and tells the Hulk that in some ways she understands him better than Bruce. Good, replies the Hulk as he leaves.

Night falls on Sydney, and Exodus finds himself in the technician lab, where Adam West is held captive. Exodus tells the boy that he is on the wrong side of this war. Just as mutants are the next step in human evolution, he is the next step in modern technology. On the table before Exodus, surrounded by scientists, is the body of Adam West, the robotic teenager, whose arms and legs has been unhinged from him. Exodus finds Adam’s name interesting, as in the novel “Frankenstein” the monster felt a kinship to the biblical Adam. Prometheus brought enlightenment to man and suffered. Frankenstein suffered as well. What does that tell Adam?

Adam snottily replies that it means that Exodus likes to hear himself talk a lot. However, he shouldn’t feel the need to shut up on his account. Exodus wonders about the scientist who maintains Adam, but the boy replies that the “scientist” is his father. Exodus corrects himself and wonders how Adam’s father came to be with A.I.M. Adam tells Exodus that it isn’t his business, but his father’s research facility was destroyed by mutants who hated the idea of humans engaged in scientific exploration. Fortunately, A.I.M. monitored the situation and saved them. Exodus replies that he is unaware of any mutant groups bombing research labs. Adam replies that perhaps Exodus does not know everything, but Exodus suggests that perhaps the bombings suited A.I.M.’s needs.

Suddenly, the alarm goes off, and Exodus calls General Conner. He orders the man to slow down his thoughts, as it is hard for Exodus to telepathically sift through them. Dr. Conner tells Exodus in his head that the whale contact earlier ended up being a submarine. It got within ten miles of shore and has fired a missile. Exodus rushes out to a balcony and sees the missile. With his mental powers he detonates the missile before it can hit Governor’s tower. Falling from the missile, however, are hundreds of papers, which fall to the streets below. Exodus picks up a paper and orders Conner to take down the alarm. It was a warning shot. The message is loud and clear, and states that A.I.M. and Banner request a peaceful summit to settle matters. They suggest that Exodus does not anger them.

Some time later, A.I.M. receives word that Exodus has accepted. Scorpion immediately calls it a trap, but Dr. Rappaccini tells her that, if they are smart it won’t be a trap. Dr. Isaacs tells her that the mutants don’t have to be smart. They hold all the cards, including his son. Monica begins to become annoyed at the constant reminder about Adam, but Scorpion interrupts and reiterates that it is a trap. It is ridiculous for Banner to go hat in hand when he could go in as the Hulk and kick their butts out of their tower. Banner tells Scorpion that she is young and does not understand. Annoyed, Scorpion tells him that she knows when she is being patronized. Banner at first begins to say he wasn’t patronizing her, but then admits that he was a little.

Banner gets to his point and tells Scorpion that violence begets more violence. It always happens. She needs to trust him. They need to end persecution in Australia. Unleashing the Hulk only means that he is the strongest that there is. Exodus already knows that. The Hulk lives to prove to Banner that he is stronger. They should not give him a reason to do so. Scorpion turns to her silent mother for help and asks her what she thinks. Monica repeats her daughter’s question and then turns to Banner, stating that she does not think that the Hulk lives to prove he is superior to Banner. She thinks that the Hulk is the part of Banner that lives to prove that he is superior to everyone else. Unimpressed and annoyed, Banner thanks Monica for sharing that. No problem, replies Dr. Rappaccini.

She gets up and tells Scorpion that they are playing things Banner’s way. Scorpion will go with Banner to watch his back. Doctor Isaacs will accompany them. Dr. Isaacs asks where Monica will be, and she replies that she will stay here as backup. If it is a trap and they do no return, then she will make that they are blown into Hell.

Sometime later, Exodus waits for the Hulk’s arrival on his balcony with Pyro and the Vanisher. Pyro spots Banner, Scorpion, and Dr. Isaacs and states that they are coming. Sarcastically, Exodus asks Pyro what his first clue to that was, as he looks down to the ground as onlookers make way for the human rebels, while guards stand by waiting. Pyro asks what the plan is. Exodus replies that when Vlad III, a fifteenth century ruler of Wallachia, didn’t like the envoys sent to him, he put their heads on spikes as a message. Vanisher reminds the governor that the Hulk wasn’t in those envoys. Exodus, however, sees no Hulk. He only sees a man. He can kill a man. He can kill a hundred men. Just like this.

Using his vaunted mental powers, Exodus strikes at Banner, who clutches his head and screams in pain. Pyro fears that this will not end well, but Exodus tells him that he should not underestimate him. He is mentally suppressing Banner’s ability to change into the Hulk. He wants Banner to realize how helpless he is. He wants the humans of Australia, including those they keep as servants or the race traitors in their armies who still clutch to hope, that there is none. Exodus then extends his power against Scorpion and Dr. Isaacs. However, before Isaacs falls, he calls Adam on his intercom and tells him that the time to strike is now.

In the tower, Adam is able to pick up the call and is happy to hear his father’s voice. He then mentally summons his removes appendages and reattaches them to himself. He then bids ado to the scientists, who order him back on the table. Adam then transforms his arms in a variety of guns, telling the scientists that when he says he is blowing this Popsicle stand, he really means he is going to blow it.

Adam unleashes his power and outside Exodus and Pyro watch as a section of their tower is blown off and crumbles. Pyro screams at Exodus to maintain focus on Banner and not on the crumbling wall, but it is too late. Banner transforms into the Hulk and leaps up to the balcony. Pyro tells Exodus that Hulk is mad now, but Exodus does not care. Does the Hulk think he can beat his psionic blasts? He then blasts Hulk away with his powers and throws the man against an adjacent building. The Hulk, however, simply gets back up and leaps back to the governor’s tower, much to the surprise of Exodus. Pyro yells at Exodus and tells him that he warned him, but he did not listen.

Below, Scorpion battles a few guards and radios her mother. Dr. Rappaccini responds and learns that Scorpion was right: it was a trap. Exodus has them pinned down. Suddenly, an unconscious Exodus falls from his tower and into the streets. Up above, the victorious Hulk screams and asks who else wants to challenge him. Below, the humans cheer for the Hulk and realize that here is hope for humanity. Scorpion stands dumbfounded and tells her mom to cancel that last transmission. Things are looking up… way up.

The humans of Sydney begin to chant the name of the Hulk.

Characters Involved: 

Bruce Banner/Hulk

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

Exodus (Governor of Australia)
Pyro, Vanisher (House of M)

General Conner
Various House of M agents

Various residents of Sydney

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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