X-Men: First Class (Vol 2) #5: Smash

The X-Men have been called upon by the FBI to help apprehend the Hulk.

Searching through the wilderness, they are ambushed from above by the Hulk. They are having a tough time taking down the Hulk. Iceman only manages to freeze him for a few minutes. Cyclops’ optic blasts causes Hulk to take a fall, from which he quickly recovers. Marvel Girl telekinetically blasts him a fair distance, but he returns, more outraged.

Xavier changes his plan of attack and tries to telepathically subdue the Hulk, but the constant distractions in the army base is not allowing Xavier to concentrate.

Suddenly, the X-Men are interrupted by a teenager on a motorcycle, who comes to the Hulk’s defence. He tries to get the X-Men to stop attacking the Hulk, but the X-Men fear the Hulk will endanger the teen and try to protect him against the Hulk. Marvel Girl and Iceman manage to fling the Hulk away.

During this time, the teen, Rick, explains to the X-Men that the Hulk came to be when the Hulk saved his life by the army base. Rick had been near the base when a “gamma bomb” went off. The Hulk had absorbed all the radiation, transforming him into a “monster”. Rick has felt guilty ever since.

The Hulk returns yet again. As the X-Men try to fend off the Hulk, Xavier finally gains mind control over the Hulk and calms him down.

After the Hulk calms down, he transforms back into his human self. Hank recognises him as the physicist, Dr. Bruce Banner.

Cyclops informs Dr. Banner that the army intends to apprehend him. Dr. Banner explains that he has come to the countryside to hide and keep the Hulk in check, far from civilisation. Hank tries to reason that Xavier could help keep the Hulk under control in the mansion, but Dr. Banner politely refuses, stating it is safer to keep the Hulk out in the wilderness. Rick cuts in, saying that the Hulk only manifests when threatened, and as long as they stay undisturbed, the Hulk will not cause trouble.

After observing the officers on the base, Xavier suspects that the capture of the Hulk is not so much for national security, but to gain “the Hulk’s power...as a weapon”. Xavier is morally against that notion, and the X-Men depart. The official report will state that “the search turned up nothing”.

The Talking Board