SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Avengers #685 by Jim Zub, Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Jesus Aburtov and Cory Petit, on sale now.
The Immortal Hulk lives once again, and he’s madder -- and more frightening -- than ever.
Having made some sort of deal with The Challenger to obtain the final Pyramoid, the only thing that stands between The Hulk and total victory are the staff at Avengers Auxilary HQ, who aren’t the heaviest of hitters to put it kindly. With the Black Order closing in and Voyager up to her own tricks as the game’s wild card, The Hulk spares no prisoners in his assault on his former allies, removing a number of them from the contest, some of them seemingly permanently.
It’s so rare these days that The Hulk is written as a genuinely terrifying force of nature, but in the pages of Avengers #685 we really get a sense of what it feels like to be on the other end of the rampage of a single-minded Hulk.
General Robert L. Maverick, aka the Red Hulk, has been warned from ever transforming again due to health concerns -- but he's the best option the Avengers have. Dressed in the armor of the Iron Patriot, Maverick attempts to go toe-to-toe with The Immortal Hulk, only to get soundly trounced by The Strongest One There Is.
The really scary thing is that while The Hulk seems more focused and more angry than he’s ever been, he doesn’t seem like he’s truly rampaging. He’s got his sights set on his goal and is working towards it, only stopping to take down whichever Avenger gets in his way. He even has enough presence of mind to take Red Hulk out of play permanently by draining Maverick’s body of its gamma radiation, removing his ability to ever become The Hulk again, but also more than likely saving his life.
With the Avengers of the Auxilary HQ seemingly defenseless, Scarlet Witch — currently with the Field Team — has an idea that if she can lift the magical stasis certain Avengers find themselves in, she can place someone in stasis too. Doctor Voodoo — Wanda’s current beau — volunteers to go under so that she can bring her ex-husband The Vision out of stasis, as Vision is on site and may be one of the only people who can go one-on-one with The Hulk.
Unfortunately, The Immortal Hulk is a lot smarter than anyone gives him credit for, and he tricks The Vision into providing the opening for Hulk to literally crush the synthezoid's head with one hand, rendering the android Avenger lifeless.
As both Black Swan and Proxima Midnight arrive at the Auxilary HQ, it comes down to Cannonball and Lightning, with the aid of Toni Ho and Enigma, who have retrofitted the destroyed Enigma suit into crude-but-effective weaponry. As they hold off The Black Order, The Hulk prepares to breach the chamber Voyager has locked herself in, only to be stopped by the one Avenger that doesn’t want to fight him: Wonder Man.
Simon Williams has committed himself to a life of pacifism and won’t exchange blows with Hulk, but he just might be able to reach Bruce Banner and get him to calm down. An approach which, quite honestly, is something people don’t try to do enough. We'll see if he's actually effective next week, in "Avengers: No Surrender's" next chapter.