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Nightmare Fuel / Immortal Hulk

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The Hulk in Hell
This is a horror comic. Need we say more?
  • Across the series the implications of Bruce Banner's mental state and his incredible power are discussed. Bruce is acknowledged to possess serious mental issues (having multiple split personalities, suicidal depression, explosive rage, etc.), and he's also the Marvel World's Strongest Man who has won the Superpower Lottery and has recently uncovered that he has Complete Immortality. The implications of just how much power is in a not sane person and just what that can lead to are talked about at times throughout the series and it's never pretty.
    • On a similar note, when Devil Hulk and Samson get to talking, Devil Hulk explains/reveals why the Hulk appeared to be on Hydra's side during Secret Empire. It's not because the Hulk was being mind-controlled, but because Bruce's mental health had hit rock bottom and he developed a new personality that came to the surface when Hydra poked him. Not the angry child Savage Hulk, not even the grudge-carrying Anti-Hero Devil Hulk, no, this new personality was just a "wordless ball of rage" that had no motive beyond attacking anyone and everyone with the full power of the Hulk - it couldn't speak, couldn't recognize that other people existed, and only Devil Hulk taking over locked it away. The implications of this terrify and shock Samson.
  • The first issue starts off as a normal Hulk comic, with Bruce Banner on the run trying to stay to himself, keeping under the radar. While he's at a convenience store, a nervous robber accidentally kills a 12 year old girl, then kills Banner and the cashier. However, at night, while the robber is handing his takings to a biker gang, they are attacked by the Hulk, but there's something different about how he attacks them, playing off almost like a monster horror movie. Then he gets to the robber, who begs Hulk not to kill him, protesting he's not a bad person, only for Hulk to look at him with a smile that could only be described as sadistic, and ask him “what do you think?”, before everything goes black. We pick up again in a hospital, where we find out Hulk didn’t murder anyone... and then we see the robber, who was found in a small crater, like he'd been left there by a meteor, and who's so badly injured he'll never be able to walk again, might never even wake up again. The issue ends with a resurrected Banner in a motel looking in the mirror and asking the Hulk in the reflection - who has that sadistic smile again - his opinion on whether he's a bad person. In short, this is a Hulk that is way darker than we are used to.
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  • The second issue has The Hulk tearing off Dr. Frye's limbs and trapping him underground forever. Even though he deserved it, it's very, very brutal.
  • A relatively subdued example: during the bartender's story in issue #3, he mentions how Bruce had come into the bar to use the restroom. Because he thought Bruce was "going to shoot up in there", he refused, prompting the two to get into an aggressive argument... and the bartender fully admits that he "dodged a bullet", since we see Bruce's eye briefly turn green. The reason why he didn't Hulk out was because he got distracted by a breaking news report concerning the siege at the local church. And upon seeing this, Bruce quickly grabs a nearby knife and, with no actual clarification as for his actions, he sprints out of the bar. This is the last time Bruce is mentioned in the issue.
    • The priest's version of the story. Unlike the cop's (which was told in the style of a Silver Age comic), the bartender's (which was just indifferent to everything), and the old woman's (which was too hung up over how much Hotshot looked like James Dean), the priest's perspective is the one best fitting of this comic: that of a horror movie. Appropriately, it's his narrative that showcases Hotshot blowing a hole through the Hulk's chest, and is the one that reveals that, before Hotshot showed up at the church, he had (apparently) snapped Jess' neck.
      • It doesn't get better: prior to the Hulk's arrival, the priest had prayed to God for salvation, because he thought Hotshot would kill everyone in the church. The Hulk promptly smashes through a window. And it's because of the whole ordeal, from Hulk's appearance to his fight with Deadshot to discovering Jess' corpse, that the priest had lost his faith.
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  • The fourth issue goes a little bit into Jackie's experience with the Hulk: when she was younger (the following issue clarifies she was 15), he rampaged through her home town. Her dad did his best to try and keep her calm, but one particular thing he kept stressing was that she should not look the Hulk in the eye... and she can't help but do so when the Hulk glances her way. That's all we get out of that flashback, but the event was clearly so scarring that, when Bruce catches up with her at the hospital, she can't bring herself to look at him, keeping her eyes (at most) straight ahead.
  • Bruce braves his way into the operating room to try and talk to Sasquatch, trying to reason with him through Walter. Sasquatch refuses to talk as Walter...
    Sasquatch: ...I'm not Walter. And I'd rather talk to the real you. (slices through Bruce's throat)
    • As Hulk fights Sasquatch, he gets him into a chokehold against a wall, demanding to know what is inside him. Sasquatch tells him to turn around... where Hulk sees their reflection. Except, instead of holding Sasquatch, he's holding Bruce's dad.
      Sasquatch: Little. Monster.
  • The Immortal Hulk vs the Avengers is as brutal a battle as can be imagined, both in terms of the physical action and the psychological warfare. This new Hulk knows precisely how to push each of the Avengers' buttons on top of being stronger than ever before, hammering them both physically and emotionally while embracing the notion of being a "Devil-Hulk". In the end, the Avengers are left with no choice but to exploit this current Hulk's only weakness, blasting him with a destructive laser that mimics the sun's radiation. Forcibly reverting the Hulk back to Bruce Banner and killing him at the same time.
    • His brief standoff with Jennifer, his own cousin, is particularly frightening. At this point, Jennifer's She-Hulk transformation is more brutish and savage, like the Savage Hulk. And when the "Devil Hulk" goads her with the possibility that Jennifer is now just like him, it disturbs her to the point that she lowers her guard long enough for Devil Hulk to punch her hard enough to send her flying miles away. Even after the fight is over, Jennifer is still disturbed enough that she's unwilling to talk about what the Devil Hulk said.
    • Hulk basically takes Thor down in one hit, cracking his skull and leaving him too groggy to continue the fight, barely able to stand on his own. It's stated afterwards he's going to need to return to Asgard for special healing. Hulk is strong, but handily defeating another massive powerhouse like Thor so quickly and decisively is rare even for him.
      • At the end of the issue, the Avengers have been forced to surrender Bruce Banner's remains to the new group looking to replicate the Hulk's powers. And on the last page, we see how they've decided to imprison the Hulk so he can't break out; by cutting his body up into tiny pieces that are unable to do anything on their own. The Hulk is still alive and aware of what's happening.
      • And as Dr. Clive learns the hard way in the next issue, the Hulk wanted this to happen.
      • Dr. Clive's fate: As the Hulk is regenerating, Dr. Clive finds himself surrounded by the body parts. They fuse back together around him, onto him, and back into the Hulk's body. The last you see of him are his eyes and hands as he is absorbed into the body.
  • 4 words. THE ONE BELOW ALL. In the Marvel universe, there is the One Above All who is the Top God and creator or the entire Marvel Multiverse. The One Above All's power is absolute and it is omnipresent and within everyone. Then the One Below All appears. A being who is implied to be the antithesis of the benevolent One Above All. A being locked away from the Multiverse yet is capable of seeing and being everywhere as well while manipulating and controlling the basest desires of every sentient creature who gains more control and power the more negativity is generated and exists. Mephisto, who is one of the most powerful hell lords stated that his power doesn't even come close to the One Below All. On top of all that, what does the One Below All want? To destroy everything. Every universe and dimension and leaving existence a hollow dead thing where it can exist alone. It's been around for probably as long as the One Above All and has loathed and despised everything and everyone for untold aeons planning its way to erase all things save for itself. No Marvel villain, no matter how powerful can compare to how dangerous and evil the One Below All is.
    The One Below All: I howl through many mouths. I break with many hands. They are themselves but they are also me. I have all the power you give me and my weapon is hate. The mystery frightens and disgust me. I will kill it. Make all as hollow as I. Dead and dark as I. And I will be alone.
  • When the Absorbing Man inadvertently absorbs Brian Banner from the Hulk - and the One Below All with him - the resulting transformation is not pretty, with the top half of his body splitting in two to reveal his skull and spine.
  • The Hulk, Jackie McGee, Puck and Absorbing Man end up in HELL itself.
  • The qlippoths of Rick Jones, McGee's dad, and General Ross. Empty-eyed shells of loved ones just repeating things they said in life.
  • Hulk, pushed too far by Red Hulk's qlippoth, finally lapses into Hulk speak. But he doesn't say "Hulk smash." Instead...
    Hulk: Hulk KILL.
  • Issue 17's second half is just full of horrifying displays of warped anatomy.
  • Issue 18 gives a clearer image of Subject B. Its most notable trait is its head being a kind of Flower Mouth where the "petals" are made of hands and when they unfold they reveal two malformed faces of Rick Jones, individually pleading for either help or their death and to help the Hulk or his death.
    • The next page cuts to Shadow Base watching from what appears to be Subject B's eyes as the Hulk gawks in shock at what they've created. The expression on Fortean's face as he observes the atrocity he's unleashed upon the Hulk can only be described as satisfaction.
  • While not anywhere near as horrific as Subject B, issue 18 also gives us a good look at Red Harpy. She's not exactly a pleasant sight.
  • By issue 18, Bruce is communicating regularly with Hulk... and reveals that not only does the Immortal Hulk want to destroy the world, Bruce is fully cooperating with him. Also, Bruce has grown a mustache, which mixed with the suit Joe acquired while he was in control, makes him far too much like Brian Banner for comfort.
  • Issue #19:
    • Fortean's plan to keep Subject B under wraps is revealed to be sending in mercenaries to murder anyone who sees it attacking the Hulk.
    • When said mercenaries corner Jackie McGee and the Red Harpy, Betty simply rips them apart with her bare hands as they scream in horror and try desperately to ward her off with gunfire. The horrified Jackie points out that Betty could have simply taken and destroyed their guns, to which Red Harpy calmly retorts that this feat of wanton slaughter is "her nature".
    • Subject B displays its trump card: spewing Hollywood Acid that can not only dissolve the Hulk's flesh, but nullify his Healing Factor. Hulk visibly panics when Subject B melts off one of his arms and he realizes it's not growing back.
    • The finale of the issue: Jackie McGee and Red Harpy come across Subject B and the Hulk; Subject B has temporarily exhausted its supply of acid, but not before melting off all four of Hulk's limbs and burning out his eyes. Despite his blindness, he senses Harpy's presence and begs her for help. And Red Harpy's response? She slowly rips Hulk's heart out of his chest as he screams in confusion and pain, begging Betty to remember that she's his friend. Then she eats it.
      • What makes the finale even worse? Hulk has apparently reverted to his Child Hulk persona. So he's speaking and acting like a scared, frightened child throughout.
    • Issue #20 makes this moment even worse by revealing that she actually was doing that to save him. Subject B hurt him so bad that the only way to save him was to kill him so he could come back through the Green Door.
  • Issue #21 gives us a look at the mind and life of one Reggie Fortean, and surprise surprise, it turns out the man is completely insane. In case digging up corpses to turn them into gamma-powered acid vomiting monsters wasn't a hint anyway, he now decides to go recover it... and merges with it.
  • Issue #22 confirms what'd been previously hinted at some issues prior - Rick Jones wasn't dead when Gamma Base was experimenting on him. He just wasn't alive. But he was very much aware of what was being done to him. He was aware of all of it.
  • Fortean spits acid at the Hulk's face in a fight. The Hulk's face and chest skin peels off... and he just says "Hulk Snash". "Snash" because he has no lips to speak properly.
  • Issue 24: Joe Fixit reminds all that he is not a nice person, by snapping Fortean's neck while the guy's distracted over being brought down to Hell.
  • The end of issue 24. We go back to the end of existence from issue 20, where Bruce Banner and the corpse of Mr. Immortal are sitting on a rock, waiting for the end of everything. The living embodiment of the multiverse shows up and tells Bruce they're going to merge, and become the next multiverse's Galactus. Then Bruce, eyes glowing green, says he killed Mr. Immortal, who was filling in for Franklin Richards. Hulk killed him two billion years ago. And Galactus. Then, turning into half-a-Hulk, he starts eating the Metatron, who screams repeatedly that this isn't supposed to be happening and that something is wrong.
    • Calling it a half-a-Hulk doesn't do it justice. First off, Bruce is in full on Humanoid Abomination mode, emaciated with glowing green eyes and a wide Slasher Smile. Then, a Hulk bursts from his chest, not in a visceral broken body way but in a smooth shapeshifter kind. This form resembles how he looked when Joe Fixit rigged the sunlamps at the Shadow Base to release gamma radiation, comprised of various limbs and heads in different stages of transformation all mashed up on one body. He has a huge Hulk arm grasp the sentience of the multiverse while smaller arms growing out the side of his mouth spread his jaws wide, with a glowing green light at the back of his throat. This is not a partial Hulk, it's an outright Humanoid Abomination in its own right.
  • Issue #25. The whole thing. We get to see what happens in the next multiverse - a giant, cosmically powered Hulk, rampaging across the universe, smashing every world and star it comes across. By the time the story begins, it's been at this for ten billion years. There's barely any universe left. And then Par%l, the last being in existence, sees it smashing the last planet, and just for a moment, gets a glimpse into the Hulk's mind... there's no more Hulk. There's no more Bruce. The One Below All ate them from the inside out. And now the One Below All will be the only one there is. In a dark, broken, lightless universe. Forever.
    • Worse, Par%l tries to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, to send a warning back into the past to someone who'll understand... except nothing changes. And after The Stinger, it turns out the warning's fallen into the Leader's hands. With the horrible implication that rather than correcting the timeline, they've only created a Stable Time Loop...
    • The glimpse into the World-Breaker's mind also gives a good dose of Body Horror - a misshapen pile of green flesh and eyes which can only be called a "body" in a very generous sense...
      • On top of that, there's The One Below All's reaction to Par%l's immense grief at witnessing the destruction of hir world: it lowers itself to around eye level with Par%l's ship and just...smiles, with the most unnerving Slasher Smile to ever grace the Hulk's face. The face of a truly evil God content with its work.
    • There's also the state of the universe itself, even before The One Below All finishes the job. Aside from Par%l's home world, the single star that gives it life, the two ships used by Par%l and Farys, and the TOBA-possessed Hulk itself, there is no light or life left in the entire universe. After leaving Farys's ship (which happens to lose power and die just as it leaves sight, which really presents the ominous tone of the setting), Par%l passes through a vast amount of space...that is pure black. No stars shining in the distance. No planets passing by the ship, though occasionally some chunks of rock and earth are illuminated by the lights. For all intents and purposes, this universe is dead, in a sense that would make Lovecraft himself uneasy.
    • The Stinger. A mirrored epigraph like the ones that usually begin each issue. It's Bruce, pleading after Joe, because the Hulk's gone quiet. Bruce thinks something's eating him... and he thinks it killed the Hulk, which suddenly raises a chilling answer as to where the missing Professor Hulk and Green Scar have gotten to.
    • The issue as a whole is peak Evil Only Has to Win Once. No matter how many times the multiverse is saved, all it takes is one victory by The One Below All for all of creation and hope to die.
  • Issue #28. The way the Roxxon Security guard rationalizes shooting his daughter. Thankfully she's saved by the timely arrival of the Hulk.
    • Usually Fond Memories That Could Have Been is used for making a person more sympathetic, but the Roxxon Guard's use of it just serves to make him seem like more of a monster. He doesn't see his daughter as she is, but as just a bigger version of what she was. A pink dress, long blonde hair and unquestioningly happy with her life. It shows that he doesn't really see her as a person anymore because the imagined future life of a loving daughter who names her child after him that he imagined in his head doesn't exist. We don't see what Hulk does to the man after that, but given what happened to the last guy who shot at a kid the fact that his daughter is totally apathetic to it happening says more than any words could.
  • Issue #31. Xemnu returns to save us all from that mean green monster! Remember? ...Wait, that's not right. Xemnu's the monster. A formerly silly villain turned terrifying now that he has access to Mass Media. And so far, only Hulk's childish brute persona seems to be immune, even Devil Hulk and Banner himself falling under Xemnu's control...
  • Issue #32:
  • Issue 33: Al Ewing wasn't kidding when he said he had "big plans" for the legacy 750th issue of the Hulk.
    • "Bob" Banner starts us off with an imagine sequence of what might happen if he "let go"...and it ain't pretty, with Iron Man and Doc Samson ripped in half (Doc by being split in two with Captain America's Shield, no less) Spider-Man decapitated, Red Harpy somehow dead, and what looks like a massive Gamma bomb going off in the distance. But the crown jewel of this vision would be the Hulk's latest screwed-up form resulting from Banner's complete lack of control - four legs, four arms, three faces sharing four eyes and huge. Thank god it's just theoretical...for now...
    • Within Banner's psyche, Savage Hulk finally gets a chance to assume uncontested control and manifest in the real world. How? By quite literally ripping his way out of Banner, turning him into a broken sack of meat, skin, and bones. Thankfully, this doesn't actually kill Bruce, but his comrades' reactions of "oh, that's new" rather than utter horror should tell you everything about how accustomed they are to this madness.
    • Xemnu, full stop. If you thought what he did to Travers in the last issue was horrifying, now we get to see the end result: Xemnu doesn't eat people, he converts them into disturbing amalgams of flesh and machinery that only barely resemble humans anymore, all with the same glowing red eyes of everyone's favorite childhood hero himself. When Dario finds out about this, he tries to claim that he would have known how far Xemnu had gone due to their deal of leaving his psyche out of the Mass Hypnosis...only to realize that this is simply what he remembers. Then, Xemnu caps it all off by dragging Dario himself into his innards: clearly, the process isn't meant for beings of non-humanoid builds, and when the Hulk finally finds Dario, the latter can best be described as supremely fucked up - exposed flesh and muscle, half-finished robotics, melted skin, a completely broken jaw, and his organs trailing on the ground behind him. He can't walk, can't even speak, and is clearly begging for death the whole time. No one's gonna say Dario didn't completely deserve it, but god damn! It says something about how horrific it is that Hulk looks horrified at what's become of the poor bastard.
    • And at the end, Green Scar's killed Xemnu, the latter's hold on the world population is broken, and the big guy decides to go help his other friends while reaffirming that Rick is his good friend. Nice way to end such a terrifying issue, right? Then Rick ponders Hulk's description of him...and smiles while noting "if only he knew, right?" Turns out, Rick's being impersonated from behind the Green Door by none other than the Leader himself - who has ALSO been impersonating Brian Banner! We won't know just how long he's been maintaining this charade until the next issue, but now it's clear what he's doing with the information he received from the universe where The One Below All won.
      • The "Green Scar", if that is who readers are actually seeing, is not so subtly off during the issue. He claims that his absence up until now is because he has been working behind the scenes of Bruce's mind to repair its damaged state but Savage Hulk notices a strange smell just as the Green Scar says this which the Scar quickly brushes off, keep in mind Devil Hulk has manifested the ability to smell lies. Later the Green Scar more or less tortures a captive Devil Hulk over Savage Hulk's protest's, subtly exerts abnormal power to stop Savage Hulk from freeing the tormented Devil Hulk and generally comes across as manipulative and shifty by taking advantage of the Savage Hulk's childlike mentality. The fact Rick - The Leader seems to have some idea of what is going on and is encouraging it (lying to a shaken and confused Savage Hulk about what occurred after the Green Scar took control and understanding what was happening when the Scar emerged against Xemnu) implies bad, bad things.
  • Issue 36:
    • Absorbing Man is manipulated into absorbing Gamma again and proceeds to transmogrify into a towering, nightmarish Humanoid Abomination made of smoke, wind, and radiation that begins pummeling Hulk around like he's nothing.
    • Del Frye suddenly reviving and using his radiation powers to melt an unlucky scientist into goop. No detail is spared.
  • Issue 0 gives us a look into what's been going on with Brian Banner. The Leader's making him relive the moment of his death over and over. While Brian does have it coming, unlike everything else he's doing, there's no real point to the Leader's actions - he's not gaining any knowledge or benefit.
  • Issue 37 brings a huge amount of Fridge Horror by revealing just how the Leader has been manipulating everything: The Green Door is not a singular object; every Gamma mutate has their own Green Door that they pass through when dying or reviving. The Leader is somehow able to steal other peoples's Green Doors, allowing him to exit through said Doors and possess their bodies. He's done this to Rick Jones, Del Frye, Brian Banner, and the Green Scar (suggesting all of Bruce's personalities have personal Green Doors as well, which raises even more scary questions), using them as either tools or weapons to manipulate Bruce and his allies down the path Leader and the One Below All want them to go down. And on top of all that, Leader has also discovered the Red Door. It's just like the Green Door except it doesn't open both ways; if you go through it, you're dead for good, no chance of revival. And it's pretty clear just who exactly he intends to use it on...
    • The beginning of the issue shows what's been happening to Del Frye. He's been reliving the moment of his death, over and over and over and over... and then the Leader pops in to say "hello" as he steals Del's body, noting that Del just lacks the willpower necessary to get back to life like Rick or Len, so he'll be stuck in that endless loop.
    • Tying into all this, in the Empyre: Immortal She-Hulk one-shot, Jen has her own encounter with the Leader down below, and he tells her all about his plans, confident in the knowledge that Jen won't remember what's happened, but she still vows the other Gamma mutates will stop him, same as usual. At which point the Leader tells her if she happens to die again, he'll make sure it's permanent.
  • Issue #39 begins with showing how the Leader took Brian Banner's place. His face splits open and a sucker pops out, eating / absorbing / draining Brian into himself, while Brian's still conscious. Turns out the Body Horror of the series doesn't just apply to The Hulk.
    • Given the nature of the Below Place it can also be assumed that he has that ability in the real world. The Leader's been upgraded from just a guy with a big brain to a Body Horror infused brain eating cannibal.
  • After the end of #38, you'd expect Devil Hulk to lay the beat-down on the Leader and save Bruce, right? Wrong. The Leader turns into a... well, basically, he turns the Green Scar body into an Alien Queen. And Savage Hulk tries stopping the Devil when Sam turns himself into Brian, because at the end of the day, Hulk is still that hurt little kid who wants to be loved. And then the Leader uses that to tear the Devil to shreds, before dragging Bruce off to the Below Place.
    • What the Leader does to Bruce once he's there. Remember the stinger from issue #25? We see Bruce saying it. Body Horror doesn't quite begin to cover it. His eyes are gone, his arms had been stretched out into what looks like a brain, and everything below his pelvis is gone.
  • In #40, Joe Fixit chest-bursting from a restrained Hulk.
  • After Joe Fixit escapes from Gamma Flight's space station by shooting out the windows, the Absorbing Man returns to Earth and refuses to come back until the station replaces them. Naturally, Gyrich starts throwing around his bureaucratic muscle, threatening to make the Absorbing Man and Titania criminals again, until Samson-Sasquatch slowly and deliberately starts scratching the room's window with his claws, all whilst rambling conversationally about how death would be the greatest mercy he could give them. After this scares Gyrich into dropping it, Puck congratulates Samson-Sasquatch on his bluff. Samson-Sasquatch simply replies he wasn't bluffing.
  • In #43, Vapor transforms into tear gas to practice for the Hulk, in the process giving herself a Nightmare Face as her body distorts in shape.
  • In Issue #44, the absolutely brutal beatdown that the U-Foes give Hulk, including Vapor suffocating him using tear gas and Vector tearing the flesh from his skull using his inertia powers. The worst part by far, however, is when X-Ray gets his turn. The radioactive villain bombards Hulk with anti-gamma rays in order to force a transformation back into Banner, and the results are...not pleasant.
  • In Issue #50, it's revealed that The One Below All is not an opposing separate being to The One Above All, it's an aspect of Him, His dark, destructive side that seeks to destroy everything, His Hulk so to speak. To see the entity who once gave hope and words of advice to Peter after Aunt May was shot have this side to Him is unnerving, to say the least.