Ultimates 2 #2

Issue Date: 
March 2005
Story Title: 
Dead Man Walking

Mark Millar (writer), Bryan Hitch (penciler), Paul Neary (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Laura Martin (colorist), Nick Lowe (assistant editor), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Iron Man is down within the ocean depths working with Britain’s super heroes trying to free a wrecked submarine. They are successful, but their celebration is cut short. They receive a call from Fury. Someone has outed Bruce Banner as the Hulk. Fury wants a meeting and calls in the Ultimates, including Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch from their vacation in Venice. They meet at the Triskelion where Fury goes over the details. Bruce will have to stand trial and will most likely be sentenced to death for his actions. Fury also believes Thor is behind the leak. Later that evening, Captain America pays Thor a visit at a club called Hades. The accusations start flying and a fight almost breaks out. Thor tries to convince him it was his half-brother Loki behind the leak. Cap doesn’t want to hear it and leaves. Elsewhere, Bruce Banner and Professor Xavier are strolling through Bruce’s memories going over the news of the trial. Bruce admits to Xavier that he knows he will be killed for his actions and has accepted his fate. Their session is soon over and afterwards Fury asks Charles how it went. Charles asks Fury again about sending Bruce to the Xavier Institute. Fury wishes he could, but affirms that Bruce has to stand trial. A bit later Hank Pym stops by to see Bruce. They talk about the trial and Bruce mentions again how his fate is sealed. He tells Hank he wants Fury to give him the super-soldier designs he’d been working on. Hank informs him that he is done with S.H.I.E.L.D. at the end of the month. When asked why, Hank tells him he thinks S.H.I.E.L.D. is up to something. He believes they are changing their focus towards a more black-ops direction and want to get rid of the old school guys. Bruce doesn’t believe it. Elsewhere, their conversation is being played over a monitor. General Fury is at the controls and he doesn’t look happy.

Full Summary: 

Deep within the ocean depths Iron Man makes his way to a wrecked submarine. He makes a comment over his comlink regarding the ugly fish one finds in this part of the ocean. He compares one to Ernest Borgnine, to which Black Widow, standing by in the communications center, tells him to stop yapping and start working. She reminds him they have a party at which they’re supposed to be in attendance in half an hour.

Happy Hogan, standing not too far away watching the same monitors, tells Natasha she needs to cancel or go by herself because Tony has a job to do. Happy then asks Tony how the new suit is holding up with the high pressure down there. Tony says he’s fine and that the new suit is a lot more comfortable than the old one.

Iron Man arrives at the submarine and fires out some flashbulbs to brighten the area. The European super soldiers, Captain Britain being one of them, who are already trying their best to move the sub, greet him. James Braddock, part of the European Super-Soldier Initiative and Captain Britain’s father, welcomes Tony’s arrival from his own Comm. Center. He mentions that he would like to introduce him to the soldiers down there working with him, but Tony would have to sign some non-disclosure forms first. Tony tells him not to worry. He has twenty-three offices in the European Union and is no stranger to red tape.

Getting down to business Iron Man tells his associates to get under the sub and support him as he tries to move it backwards off the rocks. He asks Happy to give him a 500% boost in power. Happy radios back that the power boost will occur in fifteen seconds.

The men stuck inside the submarine steady themselves for the movement. The power boost hits Tony and with the super-soldier’s combined effort the submarine starts moving. They move it free of the rocks.

In the Comm. Center Hogan can’t believe his eyes. He asks Tony what they’ve created. It’s Natasha that answers his question, though. She says it’s, “a ten-billion-dollar means of rendering my weekends miserable…”. She asks for a drink and questions Jarvis as to what they’re paying him for. He replies, “Because I’ve still got the negatives…” He tells Natasha to get her own drink because he is in the middle of a game of Strip-Monopoly. Sure enough Jarvis is in the middle of taking off his pants.

He asks Natasha why she isn’t helping with the relief effort since she’s a super hero too. She reminds Jarvis that she is a former Soviet super-spy and the only thing she could possibly use her talents for in this operation is to take pictures. Jarvis states loud enough for Natasha to hear that he doesn’t see what Mr. Stark sees in her. She tells him to get used to her because she’s not leaving. She says she can give him the only thing Jarvis can’t. He looks bemusedly back at her. He asks her if she’s referring to Hungarian goulash. Their bickering is cut short by Happy. He just received a message from Fury and it’s not good.

Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are relaxing on a gondola coasting down the Grand Canal of Venice, Italy. Pietro is reading poetry aloud to his sister. His cell phone goes off mid-sentence. He checks the caller ID and sees it is the “Americans”. He complains to Wanda that they’re being interrupted during their time off. He answers the phone anyway and tells the caller it better be important. After a few “Mm-hm”s he puts the caller on hold and looks over to his sister. Wanda asks, a bit sarcastically, if it’s another alien invasion. He tells her that some guy named Bruce Banner was outed as the Hulk and there’s a meeting to be held at the Triskelion and their attendance is requested. Wanda reminds him of their plans to tour the monastery of St. Lazarus. He tells her he remembers their plans, but he thinks they should cut their trip short. He doesn’t want to alienate S.H.I.E.L.D. like they did with their friends in the mutant community. He looks her in the eyes and asks her if they can explore Venice another time. She puts her finger on his lips and tells him she’ll do it this one time, for him.

It’s nighttime and it’s raining outside. Thor is standing outside an electronics store watching the TVs on display in the window. A crowd of onlookers pauses to stare at him. Displayed on the televisions are several different news reports discussing the Bruce Banner/Hulk situation. One of the news reports is blaming Thor for leaking the information. They’re saying he did it so President Bush wouldn’t use the Ultimates in the war in the Middle East. Thor turns away from the TVs and begins to swing his hammer. He takes off into the air, lightning crackling around him.

Later, the Ultimates and their associates are sitting around a table in a boardroom within the Triskelion. Jan asks Fury what’s going on with the Hulk situation. She heard Fury lost his job. “Not yet”, he tells her. Fury explains that the President is very upset that these files that were being kept from even him were broadcast to the American public. Tony asks Fury how S.H.I.E.L.D. could have let this happen with national security being their big thing. Fury asks him how he would have handled their teammate’s rage-induced 800-person killing spree with the public. The Ultimates were already taking a beating from the public, he reminds them, and they couldn’t afford to openly admit the truth.

Cap explains it pure and simple; they lied. Fury disagrees with Cap on this one. Thanks to Betty’s PR work on the situation the whole ordeal turned them into bona fide heroes. He thinks they should be grateful. Cap doesn’t respond to that one.

Fury pushes the meeting along. He starts off by saying that everyone there might not agree with what the White House has planned for the next step in the Hulk situation. He’s interrupted as Hawkeye finally shows up. Natasha urges him on about what he was saying. Nick explains that the President wants a televised trial where the Hulk is prosecuted for the murder of 852 civilians.

The news hits them hard. Tony iterates the fact that Bruce would be getting the death sentence. Betty turns to Tony and tells him that’s exactly what the public wants. Jan is shocked to hear Betty put it so bluntly, with her and Bruce’s relationship and all. Betty snaps back at Jan. She admits that it hurts her horribly, but her job takes priority in this case. She then addresses everyone else at the table telling them that if she can be professional about it then so can everyone else. Jan apologizes.

Tony asks where Bruce is and if he knows about his current situation. Fury tells him that Bruce saw the news and has been drugged to the max ever since to prevent a possible “hulkage” from occurring. He also says, ironically, that Bruce hasn’t “hulked” in weeks.

Hawkeye wants to know where the security breach came from in the first place. Fury acts like it should be obvious. Captain America asks him if he thinks it was Thor. Fury says there’s no proof, but with all the commotion he’s been causing lately it would be a good assumption. Cap wants to know why they’re not doing anything about Thor if they think he’s responsible. Fury tells him it’s complicated. He explains that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been performing a two-year investigation on Thor and he doesn’t want things to get messed up. He points his finger at Cap and basically tells him not to get involved. Cap asks him rhetorically, “I strike you as the kinda guy who goes looking for a fight?”

Later that evening, Captain America jumps out of a military chopper about 14 stories high and lands in the middle of Times Square. He makes his way to a nightclub called “Hades” and when the bouncer tries to stop him, both he and the door he was guarding go flying inside.

Captain America finds Thor sitting on a couch talking to a young woman about politics. The girl is raving about Thor’s book, which contains his theory that America thinks it’s the new Roman Empire. Thor asks her if she’s the nurse from San Francisco that gave up her job when she saw the Ultimates on TV. She has no time to answer as Cap comes stomping over pointing at Thor and yelling, “You!”

Thor turns his head and says, “Excuse me?” Cap demands to know why Thor leaked the classified Bruce Banner story to the press. Thor has no clue what he’s talking about. Cap’s not buying it. He tells Thor that the whole team knows he’s behind it and worst of all Banner will probably get the death sentence.

Thor turns from Cap and yells up to the club DJ, Johan, and tells him to shut off the music. Johan wants to know what’s up. He tells Johan, and everyone else that’s listening, that Captain America is accusing him of leaking the Bruce Banner story and has come here to beat him up. He asks Cap if that pretty much sums it up. Cap points back with his thumb at all the hippies now staring at him and asks if he’s supposed to be intimidated. Thor lets it be known to Captain America that he’s no Hank Pym and is not afraid of him. He flat out tells Cap he had nothing to do with the leaking of the Bruce Banner files. Thor reminds him how utterly opposed to the death penalty he is, so why would he do this to Bruce? Captain America turns and leaves. He warns Thor to watch himself, as he’s been privy to a lot of classified information. Cap’s in the middle of a vague threat when a girl yells out to him and spits in his face. Then everyone in the vicinity gives Captain America a beer bath.

Thor gets up off the couch in a fit of anger. He yells out for everyone to stop. All the lights in the place arc electricity. Everyone in the club looks toward Thor. He is incredulous as to how they could act this way when they all came to him looking for a better way. He asks Cap if he’s ok. Cap says he is. Thor gives him a heartfelt apology for his friends’ actions. He tells him seriously that he had nothing to do with outing Bruce. He tells Cap he might know who did, though. Cap asks him who. Thor tells him it might have been his half-brother Loki, who escaped from his bonds. Captain America cuts him off mid-sentence and starts walking away. Thor calls after him, but Cap tells him to shut up. As Captain America leaves, Thor asks him if what he has to say is any stranger than him going to church every Sunday.

Elsewhere, Bruce Banner and Charles Xavier are walking together along the beach. The sun is setting, with the waves are crashing at their feet. Xavier asks Bruce how he is feeling. Bruce tells him he’s relieved. He was sick and tired of being stuck in his cell, never able to have contact with anyone. He continues, telling Xavier he’s not allowed to watch TV anymore in case he sees something upsetting, which might trigger the Hulk. Charles assures him he’s not missing much. Most people are debating how to kill him: the electric chair or lethal injection. He asks Bruce if he realizes that he will get the death penalty for this. Bruce replies he has known since the day he was locked up he would never make it out alive, but it is cathartic not being in limbo anymore.

Charles asks where they are. Bruce thinks it’s a cross between the time when his parents took him to Kunnebunkport and the time he spent the summer at his cousin’s in Runnemede, New Jersey. Xavier informs their time is up and asks Bruce if he wants to stay in this place. Bruce declines. He would like to stay, but he thinks it would be better to leave his memories and face the music. Also, Hank Pym is stopping by at around 4:00 to visit. Xavier brings them both back from within Bruce’s mind. Xavier is in his wheelchair outside Bruce’s cell, while Bruce is sitting in chair facing Xavier. The Professor tells Bruce he’ll be back tomorrow and to send a psychic distress signal if the Hulk gives him any trouble. Deep within the dark recesses of his mind, the Hulk is hunched over, flexed and angry.

Fury, Xavier and Cyclops are exiting the detention area. Fury asks Charles how Bruce is doing. Charles informs him that Bruce is doing well and both understands and accepts his fate. Fury thinks it hasn’t really sunk in yet. He wonders what will happen with Bruce once the trial starts. Xavier asks Fury if he’s given any more thought to sending Bruce to his institute where they might be able to rehabilitate him. He mentions Scott as one of his prime examples, enabling him to see without killing anyone is his line of sight. Fury admits that it might work out, but his hands are tied. It’s more about what the public wants then what is good for Bruce. The public wants a scapegoat, Fury tells them. They head towards the Blackbird.

Back in Bruce’s holding area, Hank has arrived. He asks Bruce what it feels like to become a big TV star. Bruce doesn’t get the reference. Hank tells him the trial will be broadcasted in ninety countries and 150 languages. He tells Bruce he’s bigger than Oprah. Bruce reminds him that she won’t be killed at the end of her season, though. Hank notices all the cameras set up around his cell for the trial. Then he talks about the district attorney they have prosecuting Bruce’s case. The guy never mentions the Hulk, only Dr. Banner. Bruce knows it’s only because he wants everyone to associate him with what happened, and not the Hulk persona. Hank thinks he’s being philosophical, but Bruce points out he killed hundreds of people and turning into the Hulk was no excuse. He knows he’s going to die in the end and all he wants to do is tie up some loose ends.

Bruce tells Hank he wants Fury to give him the super-soldier designs he was working on. Hank doesn’t want to hear him talk like that. Besides, he says, he’s done at the end of the month. Bruce asks why and Hank says it’s not him, but S.H.I.E.L.D. They don’t want anymore unstable personalities hanging around. Hank thinks it might be something different, though. He has a feeling S.H.I.E.L.D. is shifting their focus from the friendly Ultimates to a more terrorizing military force. Bruce doesn’t think S.H.I.E.L.D. would do such a thing. Hank points out they’re getting rid of him and Bruce and people like Hawkeye, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are replacing them.

From a different control room, Bruce and Hank’s conversation is being recorded and played over. At the controls is Fury and he is replaying Hank’s line, “Look who they’re phasing out.” Fury doesn’t look happy.

Characters Involved: 

Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Wasp (all Ultimates)
Giant-Man/Dr. “Henry” Hank Pym

The Hulk/Dr. Robert Bruce Banner

General Nick Fury

Cyclops, Professor Xavier (all X-Men)
Betty Ross
Captain Britain
Happy Hogan

Professor James Braddock (Captain Britain’s father)

Dan (news reporter)

Johan (club DJ)

Story Notes: 

Brian Braddock appeared before in Ultimate X-Men #19 & 32. This is, however, his first appearance as Captain Britain.

Issue Information: 
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