The following article contains major spoilers for The Immortal Hulk: The Best Defense #1 by Al Ewing, Simone Di Meo, Dono Sanchez-Almara and Cory Petit, on sale now.
The Hulk is wrapped up in quite a few mysteries at the moment. Not only is there the mystery of The Green Door in the pages of The Immortal Hulk, he’s one of the heroes trying to figure out who stole their memories and why in the pages of Marvel Knights.
Now, he has a third mystery to solve, as someone seems to be targeting the original four Defenders for some unknown purpose. That manipulation has drawn Bruce Banner to an abandoned New Mexico town where he finds two things that cause him great concern: The skeletal remains of Doctor Stephen Strange, and no Eye of Agamotto, meaning that someone out there has access to an artifact few in the Marvel Universe are equipped to wield.
The Face Underneath
Banner finds himself in Happy Trails, New Mexico in the middle of the day which is somewhat of a problem, as since he’s returned from the dead he’s only able to unleash The Hulk at nighttime. Plus, there’s the mystery of The Green Door and The One Below All (which is answered somewhat in this week’s Immortal Hulk #10, but we won’t spoil it here) meaning Banner is more cautious than usual when it comes to letting the Hulk run loose. An inspection of the town leads to Bruce discovering just one occupied home, where a man and his elderly mother are hiding out from whatever force came down on their neighbors.
After a fight, Bruce discovers that the man who did all of this has been holed up in the nearby bar, and learns the truth about what happened to Stephen Strange and the Eye of Agamotto. The man was simply a homeless individual just trying to get by, who was attacked by the local marshals for representing the town’s own failing. They said it was for vagrancy and disturbing the peace, but really it was easier for them to eliminate the discomfort they felt at seeing a person in need than confront the factors that caused it. Dumped outside of town, the man found the body of Stephen Strange, already dead, and the Eye of Agamotto, and used it to return to Happy Trails and get revenge on those who beat him by forcing them to confront who they really are.