(The Sovereign Hotel, Madripoor)
Patch has left the Joe Fixit a present for when he wakes up. Upon showering and shaving, he opens his bags only to find nothing but purple pants. He also discovers a note which reads, ‘We know who you are! Get out of town!” Joe swears that whoever did this will regret it.
(The Princess Bar)
Lindsay McCabe is entertaining the customer by singing, accompanied by a pianist. The bar is where deals are cut and hearts are broken. It’s a surprisingly classy joint for Lowtown, and the tables are filled mostly with locals, including Patch. He is seated alongside Jessica Drew and Chief of Police Tai. Elsewhere in the bar, enjoying the entertainment are Tyger Tiger, General Coy and his niece, Karma. Lindsay’s doing a good job, and Patch’s partner, O’Donnell, is thinking of asking her to stay on.
Suddenly, the wooden doors are smashed to pieces and in walks the muscled form of Joe Fixit, aka the Incredible Hulk. Patch expected him a long time ago, but he figures having a tailor make a suit to fit him probably took some time. O’Donnell bravely confronts Joe, and asks him what he’s playing at. Joe picks him up and tells him that if he wants to stay in business he should talk straight and make nice. He slips O’Donnell enough money to cover the damage and informs him that he’s looking for a man named Patch. Patch leans forward and shows himself. The place suddenly empties, as the locals fear a bloodthirsty battle.
Joe says he needs information, and has been told Patch is the man to provide it. Patch lights a cigarette and replies, “Suppose I’m not in the mood to help?” Several people who remained begin betting on the outcome to this confrontation. Joe tells Patch that doing that would be a big mistake… and maybe his last. Patch grins and replies that, if that’s the case, he’d better help. Money changes hands all around, and Jessica takes her prize from Tai. She knows Patch isn’t that stupid.
Joe and Patch exit the bar, and Joe mentions that he’s looking for a guy. He doesn’t need his address. He just wants to know what it is he does. Suddenly, a truck drives by, straight through a puddle. The resulting splash soaks Joe, but leaves Patch dry. His suit is ruined. Joe is angry, and he leaps after the truck, lands on its container and ploughs straight through it. The container explodes, leaving Joe sitting in a pool of industrial sludge. “Not a word, Patch, hear me?” exclaims Joe. He’s s sorry sight. He stands and tells Patch that, if there’s even the hint of a smile, he’s history. Patch says they need to get him cleaned up. It smells worse’n it looks.
Joe and Patch continue their walk, only now Joe is wearing purple pants. Patch explains that they’re the only ones he could find. Most people out east don’t come in his size. They arrive at a building and Patch knocks at the door. It’s Mr. Max’s Spa, and Joe reckons it looks like a dump. Patch tells him that if he learns nothing about Madripoor, it’s that nothing on the island is ever what it seems.
A peephole in the door slides open and a man’s face appears. He recognizes Patch and tells him to get lost, and to take his pet gorilla with him. Joe warns him that if he wants to insult him, he can do it to his face. He yanks the door off its hinges, bringing the guy into the street with it. They enter Max’s and Joe asks what now. Two burly men approach them, itching for a fight. Joe doesn’t let them down, and soon there are bodies flying all over the place as more men join the affray.
Patch slips away into a back room. He smells female scents on the other side and punches a hole through the door. Once inside, he finds several women behind bars wearing very little. Max’s is ostensibly a bawdy house. They’re legal in Madripoor, but this false front masks Max’s real purpose. It’s a clearinghouse for the local slave trade which isn’t legal. Another couple of bruisers hear the door being smashed in and head off to investigate.
One of the men recognizes Patch and tells him he was warned. Patch knows he could use his claws to end this quick, but that’d blow his cover. Instead, he just decides to hit ‘em hard. However, before he does so, he has a better idea. He senses Joe’s presence, and allows himself to be slammed into him. Joe looks around and sees the girls in their cages. He is furious, and the two bruisers only hurt themselves trying to punch his lights out. Patch smiles and settles back to watch as Joe rips the cages apart and frees the girls, who shower him with affection and gratitude. Patch figures that as the Hulk did all the work, he should take his share of the glory. It’ll also lighten his mood.
As they leave Max’s with the girls in tow, the establishment’s owner appears. Shen tells them that nobody’s going nowhere. He accuses Patch of being way out of line. He should understand how things work in Lowtown. He warns Patch that he’s as good as dead, but Joe picks the guy up and tells him he doesn’t like threats. They make him angry, and he doesn’t ever want to make him angry. He swings his arms backwards and totals the building, much to the owner’s horror.
Joe is living the life. He thinks maybe he misjudged Patch. He’s turning out to be an okay guy. He is lounging in a Jacuzzi, being tended to by four beautiful women who offer him wine. Suddenly, he sees his arm reach out for the glass, but it’s white and not grey. He then sees Banner’s reflection in the glass and screams Banner’s name.
Joe suddenly wakes up and finds himself sitting on a bed, surrounded by a pair of ripped pyjamas. He cannot understand what happened. Was that all real? He hates not knowing what happens when he’s him. Was it Banner having all the fun? Was it? The ladies enter his room carrying a fresh set of clothes as Banner had ordered. “The sun has set,” remarks one. They suddenly halt when they see Joe Fixit on the bed instead of Bruce Banner. They flee, but Joe tries to follow them, tripping over the bed sheets and falling flat on his face.
Patch appears and asks if he slept well. Joe growls, so Patch asks why he’s so cranky. He hears Jasmine’s ladies did a superlative job - all day long. Patch knows that the Hulk not knowing what his alter ego is doing during the day is sure to drive him crazy. He sure doesn’t like the idea of paying for Banner’s party. They head out as they still have a job to do. They chat as they walk, and Joe asks if they’ve met before. There’s something about him. Anything’s possible, replies Patch. Joe doesn’t like this caper, and he doesn’t like having to rely on Patch to be his guide.
Patch points to a series of buildings perched atop a long winding stairway, and informs Joe that he’ll find what he’s looking for up there. Joe grabs Patch’s collar and leaps the distance in one jump. Arriving on a terrace, Joe notices that there’s no one around. Patch says he figures they’re inside. His entrance probably spooked them. Joe tells him to lead the way. He likes his suit the way it is. Any more surprises and he’s gonna turn real mean.
That’s music to Patch’s ears as he steps into the darkness of one building. By the time Joe appears on the other side, Patch is nowhere to be found. “Bad move Patch! Gonna cost you,” warns Joe. Suddenly, he hears the sound of splintering wood, as below him, Patch uses his adamantium claws to rip apart the terrace. Joe crashes through the floor and tumbles into a thousand foot drop. “Happy landings, bub,” grins Patch.
However, there is method in Patch’s madness. As Joe’s almost indestructible body plummets, inside a factory down below, a man named Kobe is showing a Mr. Liu around the place. It is a state of the art cocaine refining and processing facility, the largest and most modern in the world. Liu asks if the prince tolerates his operation. Kobe replies that considering the money they pay in bribes, he’d better. Even is his chief of police wants to shut him down, he has enough man and fire power to turn any such raid into a small war - a war he’ll win.
He mentions that the manbot androids following them are each the equivalent of a company of soldiers. They can deal with any threat… even that hulking overdressed man o’ muscle foreigner who’s been making so much trouble. Above them and dropping fast, Joe says, “I’m gonna kill him, I’m gonna kill him, I’m gonna kill him,” as he impacts the roof of the factory and crashes to the floor.
Patch figures anybody who’s just belly-flopped a thousand feet onto steel and concrete isn’t likely to be in the best of moods. Likewise, the cocaine handlers are equally likely to be upset. Kobe orders his manbots to kill Joe, and they rush the grey behemoth. Patch watches from above and, to paraphrase an old army buddy, ‘I do so love it when a plan comes together.’
As wars go, this one is pretty short. Joe Fixit routes the cocaine manufacturers and their manbots with ease, but ruins yet another suit in the process. Kobe is angry. Only last month the general’s crop of opium was destroyed. Now, he’s losing his entire storehouse of refined product. Only blood will satisfy him.
Fire and smoke engulfs the facility, as Joe comes out heading right for Kobe, who begs for mercy. Patch has arrived and apologizes to Joe for the suit. Joe’s furious that he’s been suckered and he grabs Patch, threatening to punch him. Patch points out that he just wrecked the biggest drug factory in the world, not to mention that slaver ring. Not a bad two days work. “You set me up,” Joe replies, pointing at Patch. Patch replies that he wasn’t the first. Joe’s been conned from the start. If he doesn’t believe him, why not just asks his local client. “Joe Fixit, meet General Nguyen Ngoc Coy and bodyguards.”
Joe turns to see the general approaching flanked by Roughouse and Bloodsport. Coy calls him a madman. What have you done? He explains that the don sent Joe to help him, not to cripple his operation. He has a rival crimelord he was supposed to eliminate. Instead, he’s done her work for her. Joe thanks Coy for telling him. It makes him feel a lot better about what happened. He isn’t a hitter, and especially not a wiseguy. He doesn’t do mob jobs. His boss, Berengetti, is a straight arrow and, from what Coy’s telling him, the don lied to both he and Berengetti. He’s dealing himself out of this caper, and asks if anyone cares to stop him. The three men look back at Joe impassively. They’re smarter than they look, Joe reckons.
Joe turns his attention back to Patch. Patch tells him this is his turf, and Joe should stick to playing in his own backyard. Joe asks what’s to stop him from dumping him, Coy and the rest and simply taking over. Patch replies that half the day is sunlight, and in every way that Mr. Fixit is invulnerable, Bruce Banner isn’t. He should think about that.
Joe ponders this, and then gives Patch his answer. He slams his fist into Patch’s face, flattening him into the concrete beneath them. Joe bends down and tells Patch he’s going, but that was for treating him like a jerk. He should be treated with respect. Patch rubs his jaw. He’s got the message. He also notices that Joe didn’t pull his punch, like he knew his bones couldn’t be broken. The way Joe dusts himself off and smiles makes Patch wonder if perhaps the Hulk has grown a lot smarter than he gives him credit for.
The two man head to the airport. “This is a westbound flight, right?” he asks Patch. Night time all the way, right?” Patch says that as per instructions, everything has been taken care of. Joe tells him he’s a good sport. He took his hit like a man. They shake hands, and Patch says it’s been a treat. Joe hopes the don feels the same after he tells him how he feels about being conned. Patch almost wishes he could be there to see it, as Joe is led away by two stewardesses.
As Patch watches Joe board the plane, an elderly couple approach him and ask if this is where they check in for the westbound flight to London. “Oh dear,” replies Patch, “Someone must have switched the signs. This is the east-bound to Los Angeles.” He figures that, as the weather’s clear as can be, the plane ought to be climbing into the most beautiful sunrise.” As the plane heads higher into the sky, all that can be heard is a scream. “Patch!?! ”