This article is written from the Real World perspective Real World
The Return of the Beast Part One
Series The Incredible Hulk
Release Date September 8, 1996
Season Number 1 of 13
Episode Number 1 of 21
Writer Bob Forward
Director Richard Trueblood
85 images

General Ross is close to capturing the elusive fugitive Dr. Bruce Banner, who is trying to cure himself once and for all of his alter ego. When things go wrong, the military forces are drawn into battle with the incredible Hulk. In order to finish his experiments, Bruce must ally himself with his enemies. But another foe wants Hulk for himself. (Series Premiere)


It's a sunny day, the clouds are breaking, and hawks fly through the air.

A butterfly flaps its way over to an apple tree. A couple laughs while the woman struggles to grab one of the fruits. She finally snatches one and they laugh as she shakes the three dropping many more.

Bruce Betty Dream Picnic

The woman, sitting on the man's shoulders, laugh as they fall backwards onto a picnic blanket. They stare into each others eyes and she offers him the apple.

As he grabs it, lightning strikes across the sky, thunder roars, and the clouds go dark.

They are shocked when a shadow passes over them. They turn to see a military general standing over them. Lightning strikes behind him casting him in silhouette.

Ross Dream Grab

The general reaches down and grabs the woman. She struggles but he yanks her up. The man tries to hold on but loses his grip.

The apple falls to the ground. It bounces up then shatters.

The man reaches out to her in defiance. Just then the muscles in his arms enlarge and his skin turns green. The ground beneath him breaks apart.

The woman gasps. He is now an enormous green monster. Lightning flashes illuminating his skull.

Hulk Betty Dream Chasm

Suddenly there is a great chasm between them that separates further. The man, now only wearing tattered pants, roars and reaches out to her and she reaches back.

The general is then standing on a tank and points to the man.

Hulk Dream Eye

The man turns and shakes his massive arms roaring. He and the general stare each other down, veins appearing in the man's eyes.

The tank turns and fires its cannon. The shell its the man right in the chest.

Betty Wakes Up

The woman suddenly sits up in bed, in the safety of her room, the whole thing a dream. She looks around at her curtains billowing in the breeze. She then hears a car door close and a voice calling for General Ross.

The front door opens and a military officer salutes. Ross, the general from the dream, stands there in his pajamas wondering what is going on. The officer says that Major Talbot is on the radio link with an urgent message, saying to wake him.

Ross Silences Betty

Ross grabs the radio out of the man's hand and tells Talbot it had better be good. The woman walks down the stairs in a bathrobe asking her father what is going on. She wonders if it's Glenn. He holds up his finger to silence her.

Vehicles surround a transmission tower in the desert. Lightning strikes above them.

Glenn Finds Power Tap

Major Glenn Talbot tells the general that they discovered an electrical tap. Technicians scour the area. One pulls a large cable out of the ground, crumbling the ground as it's lifted.

Talbot admires the job and says it is pulling a lot of energy. He looks up at the power lines, electricity coursing through it. He claims there is only one person who would need that much juice.

Betty Helps Ross Put on Shirt

In his home, the woman helps Ross put on his uniform. He laughs and says that it is Banner. He buttons up his shirt theorizing that Banner is powering a secret lab.

The daughter pipes up that this is another one of Talbot's "phantom Banner sightings." She chastises Talbot for waking her father up for this. Ross interrupts his daughter, Betty, to stop her.

He orders Talbot to follow the power to Banner and to stay alert.

Glenn Power Flash

Talbot looks at a map saying he is already doing so and will keep him updated. He tells Ross to give his best to Betty. Electricity flashes behind him.

Ross says he will and radios out handing it to the officer. He tells Betty that Talbot is a good man and wonders why she cannot see it.

She closes the door and yells that this is not about her and Talbot. She demands to know what is going on with Bruce.

Ross Bruce Messed Up

Ross looks into the mirror to tie his tie as she walks up behind him. Ross turns and says that her "boyfriend" messed up.

Betty tells him that Bruce is only trying to cure himself. She starts tying the tie for him saying that he knows Hulk never intentionally hurt any innocent person.

Ross brushes off her words. She wonders why he and Talbot cannot leave Bruce alone. She finishes the knot and says that he owes Bruce.

Ross becomes enraged saying he owes Bruce nothing, claiming that if anything Bruce owes him. He demands to know where Bruce was when Hulk ruined his career. Betty turns around ashamed.

Ross Comforts Betty Mirror

Ross looks into the mirror and loses his anger. He puts his hand on her shoulder saying he is sorry. He claims he understands she has feelings for him even if he doesn't like it.

She turns and looks into his eyes. He says she needs to try to understand him. He becomes serious saying that Bruce is dangerous, maybe even the most dangerous person who ever lived. He claims Bruce is a threat to her, him, and even the security of the country.

She crosses her arms becoming irritated as he walks away. He puts on his cap saying that no one is safe whenever Bruce Banner becomes the incredible Hulk. Betty is shocked by his words.

Elsewhere, a lab illuminates a large cave. Stalactites hang from above. Flashes of light brightens the area. Bats can be heard but not seen.

Bruce Sees Power Readings

Inside, the man from the dream, Bruce Banner, works on a console. The flashes briefly illuminate his face. He looks around at the computers, the readouts reflected in his glasses.

He is glad when the console reads full power. He picks up a recorder and continues with his lab journal. He explains that he is about to start an experiment to isolate his gamma radiated pineal gland from adrenal stimulation.

He walks over to a chair sitting in the middle of the cave. The consoles flash all around him. He hopes that he does it right this time so he will never transform again.

Bruce Hulk Ruined His Life

He stops by the chair and leans against it. A flash silhouettes him. He claims that his alter-ego has ruined his life and pounds against the chair. He then concludes the journal.

Using his voice, he activates the consoles and they light up. He sits in the chair and sparks fly around the arm rests.

Restraints extend around his wrists, arms, and ankles. He orders the computer to power on. His chair spins around.

Soldier Examines Power Relay

Out in the desert, the technicians are still looking at the power cable. One uses a flashlight to follow it up a tower where they find it hooked up to a transmitter.

Talbot looks at the device. A soldier carrying a bazooka says that Bruce is transforming the power into an electromagnetic frequency. He claims that Bruce could receive it anywhere.

Glenn Asks For Bazooka

Talbot realizes there is no way to trace it to his lab. He then asks the private for his weapon and the soldier hands it over.

In the cave, Bruce's chair swivels around. He knows this is it. He activates the sequence. A mechanical arm moves around and points a device at him. He orders it to activate on his mark and begins counting down.

Glenn Fires Bazooka

At the canyon, Talbot aims the bazooka and fires. The rocket hits the tower destroying the supports. It collapses onto the nearby barn and blows up.

Energy is shot into the clouds.

Bruce Failing Experiment

In the cave, a danger sign flashes while alarms blare. Bruce struggles against the restraints. The overhead lights begin swing around wildly. He realizes everything is overloading and his experiment is ruined. He looks at the danger signs.

One light explodes as the scaffolding begins to collapse.

Bruce cries out in pain as his hand glows green. He tries to fight his transformation into Hulk. He doesn't want to transform now. His hand grows enormous and green, veins popping out everywhere.

Bruce Eyes Glow

He wants to get to Gamma Base, knowing they have equipment to finish the experiment. Suddenly, green light glows out of his mouth and eyes as he roars.

He rocks his head back as his neck bulks out. He continues to repeat that he must get to Gamma Base. However, his foot expands destroying his shoe, pants, and restraint.

Hulk Shirt Rip

His shirt rips apart revealing green skin. Hulk, now in control, yells out that he is going to smash Gamma Base. The arm restraints break apart against his humongous size.

His enormous shadow spreads across the wall. Hulk says he is going to smash and bash everything.

He runs over and destroys a console by bringing his fists down upon it. The roof collapses down on the lab.

Hulk is Strong

Outside, an explosion rocks the canyon. Hulk lands far from it and shouts that he will destroy.

Talbot watches Hulk leap away from the flames of the ruined lab. He speaks into a phone to Ross that he has Hulk's attention and he's heading Ross's way.

The men watch Hulk leap far overhead.

Ross Orders Attack on Hulk

Ross acknowledges and sets down the phone. He picks up a microphone and addresses all his battle units. Attack helicopters fly overhead.

Armored vehicles drive towards the front lines. A missile launcher readies itself while soldiers aim their rifles. Ross claims that Hulk is heading towards Gamma Base and must be contained.

Soldiers offload boxes from a supply truck near some tanks.

Ross watches as one supply truck drives up near him to see Betty in the driver's seat. She calls out to him to stop.

Ignoring her, he says that if Hulk cannot be contained he must be destroyed.

Betty Watches Hulk Leap Into Battle

Betty looks ahead to see Hulk leaping towards them. Helicopters fly towards their adversary.

Hulk lands and growls upon seeing the soldiers. Three helicopters fly in formation. One fires four missiles at him.

Hulk Missiles

Hulk leaps up and all hit him at once.

The jade giant slams into the ground and quickly gets up. Searchlights look around from above. Hulk then runs off.

Three robots walk up and confront Hulk. He stops and they fire their guns. Hulk is blasted back by several blasts and is knocked against a rock wall. Soon the rocks begin collapsing on him.

Betty watches in horror, tears streaming down her face.

The robots continue firing at the rocks.

Looking through his binoculars, Ross orders the robots to cease fire.

Army Smoking Rock Pile

The robots stop and the helicopters circle around. Rocks tumble down. The helicopters shine their lights on the smoking pile of rubble as robots surround it.

Ross warns them all to stay alert. He squints as he waits for Hulk to return.

Hulk Throws Army Robot

Suddenly Hulk smashes his way up through the rocks. He leaps into the air and lands near two robots. He roars and charges them. He picks one robot up telling it to "eat green" then throws it into another.

Betty calls out to him to stop.

Hulk picks up two large rocks saying he will smash, bash, and crush then sees more robots approaching. He charges one robot and destroys it by crushing it between the rocks.

Betty puts the truck into gear and calls out to Bruce. She squeals the tires taking off towards the battle.

Missile Hits Hulk

Helicopters approach and fire their miniguns. The bullets hit all around Hulk and he roars. The helicopter then fires a missile hitting Hulk in the chest.

The pilot looks around trying to find Hulk through the smoke. It lowers to the ground when Hulk emerges from the smoke.

Hulk Grabs Helicopter

Hulk grabs the tail of the helicopter. The pilot struggles to keep his vehicle under control. The helicopter spins around wildly. Eventually Hulk lets go.

The helicopter spins off, the pilot ejecting, crashing into another helicopter. That one then crashes into a third.

Hulk lands and sees the three helicopters crashing in a fiery explosion. He raises his hands and roars in victory.

Behind him, a transport helicopter approaches and the bottom doors open up. A large cage drops down.

Cage Drops On Hulk

Hulk turns and sees the cage approaching him. He braces himself and it comes down trapping him.

Inside, Hulk pounds against the side but the cage holds.

Outside, Hulk's massive pounding can be heard far away. The helicopters surround the cage while a truck pulls up to it.

Ross watches through his binoculars and realizes his daughter is out there.

Betty Drives to Hulk

Betty asks aloud that Hulk stop since he is only making it worse.

Tanks surround the cage while the helicopters continue shining their lights down. Betty's truck pulls up and she gets out.

Hulk finally punches a hole in the cage. Betty calls out to Hulk demanding that he listen. She reminds him who she is and he peaks out through the hole growling.

She says he doesn't need to do this. She explains that if he stops fighting they'll stop trying to hurt him. She asks that he calm down. Hulk stops grimacing and relaxes, then says her name.

Nearby, Ross watches the events from his binoculars. He promises action if Hulk hurts his daughter.

Betty Will Protect Hulk

Back at the cage, Betty takes Hulk's hand saying she will not let anyone hurt him. She holds it up saying everything will be okay. He asks if anyone will hurt him. She holds his hand to her face saying she promises.

Hulk says her name again then relaxes. Inside, the cage, his skin begins to return to a normal human color and he starts shrinking. He growls but eventually he returns to being Bruce. He collapses, only his arm in the hole keeping him up.

Betty holds his arm saying she will always be there for Bruce.

More tanks and a Jeep roll up to the cage. A spotlight shines down on Betty. She turns to see her father getting out of the Jeep.

Ross Captures Bruce

Ross stares at his daughter and Bruce through the hole and orders his men to take him.

The next day, a gas station sits at the corner of two empty roads. A phone rings causing a dog to bark.

The mechanic, face down in an old pickup truck tells some kid to answer it.

Rick Answers Phone

The boy, Rick Jones, answers for Ed's Garage. He becomes excited when it's Betty and asks what is going on.

She interrupts to explain something to him. Rick acknowledges and says he is on his way then hangs up.

The mechanic, Ed, asks what is happening. He knocks his head on the hood then gets out of the engine. He asks if Rick's "roach coach" is here.

Rick laughs and apologizes. He explains he doesn't mean to leave Ed but he's got a friend in trouble.

Rick Thanks Ed

Rick gets on his motorcycle and dons his helmet. Ed walks out to him. Rick thanks him for everything and rides off. Ed says he should write more often and walks away.

At Gamma Base, Ross walks into a room demanding to know if Bruce is joking. Armed guards stand around the room. He claims he will not risk taxpayer money on some "half-baked" experiment.

Ross Bruce Just Desperate

Inside his cell, Bruce claims it is not half-baked and the theory is sound. Ross turns around and, rubbing his chin, claims he is just desperate.

Betty walks in saying she agrees with Bruce and reminds her father she is more than well qualified in gamma radiation. She explains that she went over Bruce's data and wants to show him something, beckoning him over to a microscope.

Adrenaline Changes Bruce Blood

Ross walks over and peers in. Betty explains he is looking at a sample of Bruce's blood. It's perfectly normal until she adds adrenaline and the blood turns green. She reminds him that they all know stress and anger trigger the mutation causing testosterone levels to rise while serotonin inhibitors drops.

Bruce watches with intensity.

She picks up a device off a table causing a small fly to buzz away. She explains that this is Bruce's theory in action, then uses the device to zap the cells.

Ross Realizes Experiment Will Work

The cells shift around and Betty explains it is reversing the mutation. The cells return to their normal red color. She explains it returned to normal healthy platelets and plasma. She reiterates that, as Bruce said, the theory is sound.

Bruce pipes up saying he needs the equipment and power. Ross stands saying it is too risky. Betty berates the general telling him to "get off his brass."

She reminds him that he has been trying to eliminate the Hulk for years and this is his chance. Bruce calls out to the general, calling him by his name of Thaddeus, that his fate and that of everyone else is in his hands.

Ross relaxes, then admits to making no promises. Just then, the fly buzzes around him. Ross swats it away and continues to say that the experiment would have to go through the proper channels.

Ross Threatens to Shoot Bruce

He walks over to the cell and reminds Bruce that at this time he is not the Hulk and not bulletproof. Betty pulls at his arm but he brushes her off. He orders the prisoner to not even think the color green. Bruce understands.

The fly buzzes around towards the ceiling, revealed to be a tiny robot. A small camera on its head zooms in.

Leader Intro

Elsewhere, a man with a large green head watches. He dislikes the events at Gamma Base and calls out to someone named Gargoyle across a large room. He insults Bruce and claims the scientist cannot proceed with his experiments.

On the other side, a door opens revealing a small grey deformed person. Gargoyle walks in as the man says Bruce is only useful to him as Hulk. He demands that Hulk not be cured.

Gargoyle walks to the man, Leader, saying it would never happen because they have a bargain. Leader turns to him saying that he created Hulk and his power belongs to him by divine right. He claims he will take Hulk's power.

Gargoyle laughs agreeing with him. He claims Ross would never allow the experiment to happen. Leader turns back to the screen watching Betty and Ross at the cell window.

Gargoyle Bargain With Leader

Gargoyle reminds Leader that they have a bargain. Gargoyle also wants Bruce. He wants to know why Bruce transforms between green giant and normal human while he is stuck that way. He asks if Leader still honors their agreement.

Leader swivels back around saying of course they do. He explains that Gargoyle will be given the unlikely chance of appearing normal in exchange for his servitude. Gargoyle is saddened by the agreement.

Leader turns back to the screen to see how the drama continues.

Bruce Apologizes to Betty

Back at Gamma Base, Ross leaves and Betty approaches the cell window. Bruce apologizes for everything that happened since the testing of the gamma reactor. Betty caresses his face.

Bruce backs away from the window grabbing his head. He wonders why it had to happen.

Bruce Betty Before Accident

He flashes back to the desert. The experimental gamma reactor sat in the middle of a wide expanse. Inside a bunker, Bruce sat next to Betty at the controls. Computers beeped around them.

Talbot watched the two, jealous, while setting some papers down. A scientist handed Ross a clipboard. Bruce in the present explains that in a single second an act of sabotage caused things to spiral out of control, like dominoes

Samuel Sterns Sabotuer

Nearby, a sinister looking man looked on. He pressed a button on a remote and suddenly an explosion rocked the reactor. Bruce and Betty where shocked and he ran to a console. In the present, Bruce claims thing went wrong faster and faster.

A time counted down to under a minute. People began running all over the bunker. Monitors blew up. Bruce shielded himself while Betty ran to a console and Ross looked on in horror. Bruce claims that the disaster was relentless.

Ross turned and looked through his binoculars at the reactor, seeing fires rage. Just then, a boy, Rick Jones, jumped on his motorcycle. Bruce says the situation tried to claim one innocent boy. Rick fell off his bike and onto the ground.

Bruce Rolls Out Window

Ross watched as Bruce rolled out the window through the shutters. Betty tried to follow but her father stopped her. Bruce claims Rick was caught in the disaster's unforgiving path.

Bruce ran to the boy. Rick looked up and saw the scientist running to him reaching out. Bruce says he tried to oppose fate that day.

Rick Rejects Bruce Help

Bruce grabbed Rick by his sweater hood and dragged him up. He started running back but Rick knocked his arm away.

Bruce turned to see Rick trying to start his motorcycle. He dragged the boy off and shoved him towards the bunker.

Bruce Betty Shutter Closes

They ran to the shutters and Bruce pushed Rick through. Ross grabbed and dragged him inside. Betty ran to help Bruce while Talbot tried to stop her. However, the shutters closed cutting them off. Bruce claims that that day fate won and he lost. Betty called out to him.

Just then, the reactor exploded. Bruce turned to see the energies closing in on him.

Bruce Hit By Gamma Radiation

The area was engulfed in the green energies of the exploding gamma reactor. Bruce turned but was bombarded with gamma radiation.

His eyes glowed and he shot out green light from every opening on his head. His clothes were torn apart.

Inside his body, his muscles absorbed the radiation. The platelets in his cells began turning green. The cells began dividing.

Even his DNA turned green and began splitting.

Grey Hulk Emerges

Outside, the skies turned dark with clouds as thunder and lightning crashed. An enormous grey Hulk rose up and swung his massive arms. He turned but was engulfed in pain grabbing his sides.

Green Hulk Emerges

Grey Hulk turned green and he once again rose, roaring. Bruce says he has to end it immediately.

In the present, he sits on his bed with Betty watching him.

Leader watches them saying how clearly they remember and curse that historic day. He notes that many different lives were changed that day.

He swivels around and flashes back to the same day.

Firefighters Spray Gamma Reactor

A fire truck drove towards the burned out ruins of the reactor. firefighters sprayed the smoking ruins. Leader claims that while it was a tragedy to them, he praises the day as destiny.

A firefighter in hazmat gear turned on the hose. More firefighters spray down the ruins.

Inside, green radioactive ooze smoulders in a pit. Men in hazmat suits sweep the green substance towards the pit. One looks up and sees another man on the scaffolding above. Leader claims that that day he too was altered by the gamma radiation.

Sterns Falls Into Gamma Waste

Above, the scaffolding breaks causing the man to fall. His breathing tube snatches on the scaffolding tearing his mask off, revealing the saboteur.

Leader Emerges

The man fell into the bubbling substance below. Leader says that was the day he was reborn. The two sweepers ran over to the pit. The man rose up, his skin altered and his head enlarged.

Back in the present, Leader says that he also gained untold intelligence. He wants to add Hulk's strength to his own, making him the most powerful being to roam the planet and a virtual God among "lesser mortals."

Ross Heaven Help Them

Just then, Thaddeus speaks up. He tells Bruce that the Pentagon has given him permission to proceed with the experiment, under maximum security. Though Ross claims that Heaven will need to help them if Bruce fails.

Leader cries out claiming Hulk is his creation, and his power must be his. He says that the experiment will never happen by his orders.

He yells out for Gargoyle and tells him to "rattle" the cage. Gargoyle walks across the room. Leader orders him to unleash Abomination.

Gargoyle Unleashes Abomination

In a cage looking on, something big growls while eyes glow in the darkness.

Later, a bird flies high in the air. It's scared away by three attack helicopters. They fly past a tower and over a bridge where a tank drives by.

Army Converge on Experiment Building

As the helicopters near Gamma Base, a soldier directs tanks and missile launchers towards the buildings.

One of the helicopter pilots looks down at the mass of tanks covering the canyon floor. They are all pointed at one building. The roof of the building opens up.

The helicopters fly past the skylight. Inside, a soldier connects a cable to a machine. Ross notes that it is the latest model of the Omega Laser.

Soldier Advises Against Omega Laser

The technician explains that the device is now powered by gamma energy, experimental, and is extremely dangerous. He strongly advises against using it.

Ross examines it saying that it is not up to him. He points the laser at Bruce, who is sitting in a chair strapping himself in. Cables run from the chair off to the side.

Talbot stands to one side then offers to do the strapping for Bruce. He pulls on the wrist straps intentionally tight. Bruce jokes that he still has feeling left.

Glenn Threatens Bruce

Talbot threatens to hit Bruce right there for the mess he made of their lives and especially Betty's. He claims Bruce knows that she deserves better. Bruce wonders if he means him.

Bruce comments that Talbot has as much green in his blood as he does but claims the major's is khaki. Talbot angrily tightens the straps even more causing Bruce pain.

Glenn Walks Away From Experiment

Betty rushes forward saying that she will do this and shoves him aside. He walks away glaring back.

Betty reassures Bruce that he should forget everything and just focus on the procedure working. She becomes excited at the idea of it working.

Bruce hopes that it does, but says that if it doesn't she should tell her father that he understood the actions he would have to take.

Betty Bruce Will Get Through This

Betty takes his hand saying that they will get through this as they always do. She kisses him on the cheek and walks away.

Ross stands there ready to begin. Bruce thinks for a second and tells them to begin.

Betty activates a console. The lights begin flashing.

Bruce's chair lifts into the air along the vertical rail. Electricity sparks along it.

Ross powers on the Omega Laser.

Bruce Second Chance Experiment

Bruce's chair climbs towards the electrified ceiling.

Outside, soldiers see the lights flashing.

One, standing near a grate, takes off his glasses and cleans them. However, he drops them and they fall through the grate. They land in the water below next to an enormous two-toed green foot.

Abomination stands there while Leader commands him through an earpiece. Leader orders him to stop the experiment and capture Bruce.

Abomination Climbs Up

Abomination roars as the man pears into the depths below looking for his glasses. He is suddenly knocked back as Abomination breaks his way to the surface. The soldiers shout as he climbs up.

The men turn to see Abomination lifting a tank above his head. He tosses it aside and it lands atop a missile launcher, destroying both vehicles.

The explosion damages a transformer tower. Electricity courses through it before it explodes.

Emergency Alarm

Inside the building, Bruce is stuck in the chair as the power begins flashing. An alarm blares and a sign flashes "EMERGENCY".

Betty turns from her console to see Bruce struggling in the chair. He doesn't want to transform again. Betty urges him to stay in control while she tries the console.

Betty tries to reroute to auxiliary power. Bruce can feel himself changing and urges Betty to hurry.

Abomination Enters Experiment Room

Just then, Abomination breaks through the side wall. He roars and Talbot charges him with a rifle in his hand. Ross readies the Omega Laser.

Abomination lifts a console tearing it from the wall so it shoots out sparks. He tosses it so it narrowly misses Talbot and lands near Ross. It slides across the floor knocking the Omega Laser and Ross away.

Glenn vs Abomination

Abomination approaches Talbot who fires his energy rifle. However, it has no effect and Abomination grabs him tossing him against the wall.

The villain turns and sees Bruce strapped into the chair above. He roars as Betty rushes him with a metal pipe. She smacks him with it but he is unfazed.

Abomination grabs her lifting her up. She screams as he carries her around.

Abomination Grabs Betty

Bruce says he shouldn't do that because he'll make him angry. His eyes begin to turn yellow. He watches as Betty struggles in Abomination's grip.

Bruce's hand turns green and the strap snaps as his arm expands. His feet follow and they burst out of the shoes and leg straps. Bruce's face expands finishing his transformation into Hulk.

Abomination lets Betty fall to the ground. He turns and roars at his opponent. Hulk lands on the ground and leaps to tackle Abomination.

Hulk Hits Abomination

The two crash through the wall to the desert outside. Hulk begins pounding Abomination's head.

Ross wanders through the hole carrying the Omega Laser. Betty follows telling him not to. He pushes her aside ordering her to stand clear.

He fires the laser at the two combatants, but they fall to the ground and the blast hits a tank destroying it.

Leader Gargoyle Watch Tank Explode

In his lair, Leader and Gargoyle shield their eyes from the brightness of the blast. Leader notes it is a gamma-based weapon, something he had not anticipated.

Gargoyle advises him to get Abomination out of there before Ross uses the weapon on him. When Leader just stares at him, he admits it is Leader's decision to make. Behind him on the monitors, Hulk and Abomination continue to battle while the tanks fire at them.

Leader says he is right, then activates a radio. He orders Abomination to cease the battle and return to the lab.

Abomination leaps at Hulk, who is on the ground, but Hulk kicks him away. Abomination staggers back near a tank. He hears Leader ordering him but ignores it.

Betty Tries to Stop Ross

Betty struggles to get the laser off of her father as Hulk rises up. Hulk rushes Abomination promising to smash and bash.

Hulk Tackles Abomination Misses Blast

Ross fires again but it misses as Hulk tackles Abomination. The blast hits another tank which again explodes.

Ross watches the destruction. Betty tries to run forward but Talbot stops her.

As the smoke clears, they see Hulk amidst the debris. Betty smiles.

Hulk Victorious Over Abomination

Hulk stands and looks around for his opponent not seeing him anywhere. Believing himself to be victorious, he crouches and begins pounding the ground near an open grate.

Down below, Abomination's shadow moves across the sewer wall.

Hulk continues pounding the ground. Betty calls out to Bruce but Talbot yanks her back. She cries out and Hulk turns to see her.

Ross Aims Omega Laser

Ross readies the laser while Hulk stares at them. He says it is time to finish it and aims it at Hulk.




-Dream Bruce Banner, first line of series

"General Ross. General Ross, sir."
"What in thunder is it?"

-Military Officer and Thaddeus Ross, first line

"Dad? What's going on? Is that Glenn?"

-Betty Ross, first lines

"Repeat that, Major."
"I said we discovered a hidden power line tap, sir. It's a slick job, and it's pulling some heavy current. Only one person I can think of who needs use that kind of juice, sir."

-Thaddeus Ross and Glenn Talbot

"Oh, of course. Another of Glenn's phantom Banner sightings. He woke you up for..."

-Betty Ross and Thaddeus Ross

"Good man, that Talbot. Why you can't see that is beyond me. If only you'd just..."
"This isn't about Glenn and me, father. Tell me what's going on with Bruce?"
"Your boyfriend slipped up, Betty. He showed his hand."
"Bruce is only trying to cure himself. You know the Hulk's never intentionally hurt any innocent creature. Why can't you and Glenn just leave him alone!? You owe him that much."
"I owe that man nothing! He owes me! Where was he when that beast sent my career into a nosedive! Where was that...Oh...oh, look honey. I'm sorry. I understand you have feelings for him. I don't much like it, but I try to understand it. Now I need you to try and understand me. Banner is dangerous. He may very well be the most dangerous man who ever lived. A threat to you. To me. To the security of this country, if not the world. No one is safe when Bruce Banner becomes the incredible Hulk!"

-Thaddeus Ross and Betty Ross

"Yes, full power. Lab journal of Dr. Robert Bruce Banner. Continued. My experiment to isolate my gamma mutated pineal gland from adrenal about to commence. If I could just do it right this time, never again transform into...into...that which has ruined my life. Um...entry concluded."

-Bruce Banner, first lines

"No! Not the Hulk! Now now! Need to get to Gamma Base. It has equipment to finish the experi-AHH! Gamma Base. I must...I must...I must...I must SMASH GAMMA BASE! HULK BASH! HULK SMASH! HULK CRUSH! HULK DESTROY!"

-Bruce Banner transforming into Hulk, first lines

"Attention all battle units. The Hulk is approaching Gamma Base. He must be captured and contained."
"Father, no!"
"And if he cannot be contained, the Hulk must be destroyed."

-Thaddeus Ross and Betty Ross


-Hulk, first use of line

"Stop resisting! You're only making it worse."

-Betty Ross

"Hulk! Hulk, listen to me. It's me, Betty. You don't need to do this. If you stop fighting they'll stop trying to hurt you. Trust me. Just let yourself calm down."
"Hulk...calm down...Betty..."

-Betty Ross and Hulk

"So help me, you harm my little girl..."

-Thaddeus Ross

"Please, I won't let them hurt you. Everything's going to be okay."
"Not hurt Hulk?"
"I promise."
"I'll always be here for you...Bruce."

-Betty Ross and Hulk

"Ed's Garage. Rick Jones speaking. Betty! Hi, how's every...What!?...Uh huh. On my way."

-Rick Jones, first lines

"Rick, what's up? Roach coach here already?"
"He he, sorry Ed. Don't mean to sleaze out on you like this. But I got a friend in a jam. So I'm rockin' and rollin'. Thanks for everything."
"Don't forget to write."

-Ed, only lines, and Rick Jones

"This your idea of a joke, Banner? You think I'm going to risk the taxpayer's equipment on some half-baked experiment?"
"It's not half-baked. The theory is sound."
"Yeah, says a desperate man."

-Thaddeus Ross and Bruce Banner

"Here's a sample of Bruce's gamma irradiated blood. It looks completely normal until I...introduce adrenaline. We all know that's what triggers the mutation. Stress. Anger. Testosterone levels go through the roof and serotonin inhibitors drop off the scale."

-Betty Ross

"Look, I just need the equipment and the power. You know that."
"It's too risky."
"Come on, General. Get off your brass."

-Bruce Banner, Thaddeus Ross, and Betty Ross

"In the mean time, remember, you're not the Hulk so right now you're not bulletproof. Meaning, don't even think the color green."
"Understood, sir."

-Thaddeus Ross and Bruce Banner

"No. GARGOYLE! That overrated sniveling Banner must not be allowed to proceed with his experiment. Banner is only of use to me as the Hulk. THE HULK MUST NOT BE CURED!"
"Never, my Leader? Because we have...a bargain?"
"Because I created the Hulk and Hulk's power is mine by divine right. And I shall pluck it from him."
"Yes, of course. And pluck it you shall. That pompous martinet Ross will never let the experiment proceed. But still, we do have a bargain. Banner is also mine. I must know why he can transform from the Hulk into a normal looking human and why I cant!"

-Leader and Gargoyle, first lines

"I'm so sorry, Betty. For all of it. Losing control of the gamma reactor test. And for everything that's gone so wrong since. I don't know why it had to happen. In one...fractured second, one cowardly act of sabotage, later the dominoes started toppling. One after another, faster and faster. Relentless, it spiraled towards disaster. Running to take one innocent boy, who was unknowingly trapped in its unforgiving path. So I attempted to oppose fate that day. And that day...that day...I lost. I have to end it. Now."

-Bruce Banner

"Oh yes. How clearly they remember. How they all curse that historic day long ago when so many lives irreversibly altered course. A tragedy to them, but a day I praise. A day of awakening...of...destiny. A day when I soon found myself at the residue of that same unpredictable gamma radiation. The day I was reborn as the Leader. And to my resulting unsurpassed intellect, I will now add the unrivaled strength of the Hulk. Thereby becoming the most powerful being to ever have walked this planet. A virtual God amongst lesser mortals."


"Alright, Banner. Pentagon has seen fit to grant you permission. Under maximum security, of course. You can proceed with your experiment. And may Heaven help us if you fail."

-Thaddeus Ross

"GARGOYLE! Rattle the cage. Unleash...the Abomination."


"This the latest model of the Omega Laser?"
"It's now gamma powered, sir. Completely experimental and extremely dangerous. I would strongly advise against using it."
"Oh, it's not up to me, soldier."

-Thaddeus Ross and Technician

"Banner. Allow me."
"Little tighter, major. I still have some feeling left."
"I outta drop you here and now, Banner. Just for the mess you made of everyone's life. Especially Betty's. You know she deserves better."
"Someone like you, perhaps? Actually, you've got as much green in your blood as I do. Only yours is a little more, he he, khaki."

-Glenn Talbot and Bruce Banner

"Forget everything else, Bruce. Just focus on this procedure working. Because it will work, I know it."
"I hope so. But if it doesn't, tell your father...I understood. Betty, I..."
"We'll get through this. Together. We always do."

-Betty Ross and Bruce Banner

"Remember, stop the experiment and capture Banner. So commands your Leader."


"You shouldn't do that. Because I'll, you've made me angry!"

-Bruce Banner

"I-if I may be so bold, my Leader. Get your clumsy, scaly cretin out of there before the rogue general is forced to atomize him! Or not, dear Leader. It's completely up to you."
"As it should be."

-Gargoyle and Leader



"And now to finally finish it."

-Thaddeus Ross


  • There are seven apples on the tree, eight fall off while three are shown staying on for a total of twelve.
Danger Sign
  • There is a shot of Hulk's skull during the dream and later a lighted "DANGER" sign flashes. Both allude to the opening titles of the famous series The Incredible Hulk, which was the first to feature Lou Ferrigno.
  • General Ross's first line is "What in thunder is it?" His nickname is Thunderbolt Ross.
  • The HUMVEEs are an example of real world vehicles being used.
  • There are eight cars at the electrical tower.
  • The real Bruce doesn't appear until four minutes into the episode.
  • There is glass between the "camera" and Bruce reflecting the lights.
  • Bruce's experiments are visually similar to those of Dr. Curt Connors in the Spider-Man premiere "Night of the Lizard".
  • The real Hulk doesn't appear until six minutes into the episode.
Army Helicopter Fires Missile
  • The attack helicopters are the Boeing AH-64 Apache.
  • Fifteen robots fight Hulk.
  • Six tanks surround the Hulk's cage.
  • A roach coach is a nickname for a food truck. Ed thinks Rick is leaving to eat.
  • In addition to the cell zapper, there is a flathead screwdriver, pliers, and what looks like a file.
  • Leader is introduced watching the heroes on a monitor, similar to the introduction of Mandarin on the Iron Man premiere "And the Sea Shall Give Up its Dead".
  • A martinet, as Gargoyle calls Ross, refers to a strict disciplinarian, especially in the armed forces.
  • The fifty-eight second time for the gamma bomb goes off in twenty-three real time seconds. However, it is exactly fifty-eight seconds to the reveal of Green Hulk.
  • There are twenty-nine tanks seen from the helicopter on the approach to Gamma Base.
  • Leader tells Abomination "So commands your Leader." His recurring line throughout the series is the similar phrase "So says the Leader."


  • Given Bruce's low-tech situation in the cave, the swiveling chair and mechanical arm seem to be unnecessary.
Glenn Watches Tower Lightning
  • Talbot isn't illuminated by the lightning.
  • During the experiment, the light moving across Bruce is moving across the shot, but it doesn't extend to the floor and casts no shadow.
  • While transforming in the cave, Bruce's glasses morph into his face but reappear in the next shot.
  • The Army helicopter miniguns fire from different positions.
Bruce Blonde Hair
  • While transforming back in the cage, Hulk returns to normal human color then back to green. Additionally, when Betty looks at him through the hole, his hair is blonde.
  • When Ross looks into the microscope, the viewer is animated over the brim of his hat.
  • After Betty tells Glenn that she will strap Bruce, the wrist straps change color from green to white. It also happens during the Abomination's attack, when Betty tries to calm Bruce down.
  • Talbot has very poor aim since he completely misses Abomination while shooting at him, despite his close proximity.
  • It is unknown why the helicopters disappear during the battle with Abomination.
  • When Betty attacks Abomination, she is wearing her casual clothes instead of scientist robes.
  • Towards the end, the footage behind Leader is actually from earlier in the episode.


Gamma Reactor Test
  • Hulk/Bruce Banner previously appeared in the Fantastic Four episode "Nightmare in Green", also featuring Rick Jones, and Iron Man episode "Hulk Buster", where it is revealed Tony Stark and Stark Enterprises had a hand in the development of the gamma reactor.
  • Betty Ross is the first character seen, both in the dream and in reality.
  • General Ross is the first villain seen.
  • Explores the origin of Hulk and Leader.
Grey Hulk Intro


Main Actor Role(s)
Lou Ferrigno The Hulk
Grey Hulk (Uncredited)
Neal McDonough Bruce Banner
Genie Francis Betty Ross
John Vernon General Ross
Matt Frewer Leader
Mark Hamill Gargoyle
Luke Perry Rick Jones
Kevin Schon Major Talbot
Unknown Various Soldiers
Omega Laser Technician
Hulk First Speaks

Lou Ferrigno returns to the role of Hulk six years after he finished his famous live-action run with The Death of the Incredible Hulk. This is the first time he ever got to speak as Hulk.

Ferrigno also voiced Grey Hulk in his brief appearance, and would do so again for "Darkness and Light, Part Three". In the second season, Michael Donovan would be cast to voice Grey Hulk regularly.

John Vernon, General Ross, previously played Glenn Talbot on The Marvel Super Heroes. Ross praising Talbot could be a in-joke to this.

Matt Frewer had previously been cast as Leader on the Iron Man episode "Hulk Buster". He is the only one from Hulk's previous two appearances to reprise the role.

A narrator says the words "To be continued" as it appears on the screen. There is no narrator otherwise in the series.

The voice actors for the soldier waking Ross, the soldier with the bazooka, Ed the mechanic, the Omega Laser technician, and the narrator are all uncredited and unknown.


The series is a spin-off of Hulk's appearances on the Fantastic Four episode "Nightmare in Green" and the Iron Man episode "Hulk Buster", which were backdoor pilots.

Betty Offers Bruce Dream Apple

The opening sequence is an allusion to the Christian story of Adam and Eve. Bruce and Betty are Adam and Eve, respectively. Betty, like Eve, grabbed the apple and offered it to the man. Ross could be seen as God, angry that they took the apple and throwing them out of the paradise garden.

Bruce gives his full name as Robert Bruce Banner. Stan Lee originally named him Bruce Banner because he remembered alliterative names better. However, he kept forgetting the name and would sometimes call him Bob Banner. When fans caught on, he was given the full name of Robert Bruce Banner to account for the discrepancies.

Bruce Sees Gamma Wave

The flashback sequence is a mostly faithful adaptation of The Incredible Hulk #1. In the original comics, Bruce was working on a gamma bomb to improve on the atomic and hydrogen bombs. It was changed to a gamma reactor because of the end the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union meant there was no further need for a gamma weapon. It was also a man named Igor, who supposedly defected from the USSR but was actually a spy, who did not stop the timer for the gamma bomb when Bruce went to rescue Rick.

Leader's origins have no tie to Hulk's. He did fall into radioactive waste at a chemical research plant.

Grey Hulk Becomes Green

Hulk being grey first before turning green is an allusion to the original design of Hulk in the comics. He was originally colored grey, but this proved difficult for the printers and he was changed to green. This change was later integrated into continuity so there were multiple versions of Hulk, which is used in this series.


Hulk Dream Skull

"Stu" of Marvel Animation Age noted how Marvel wanted a Hulk show given the backdoor pilots on Fantastic Four and Iron Man. He felt this version was far superior than the Hulk on those other series attributing it to featuring more of the supporting case and focusing more on Banner than Hulk. He felt the episode was a perfect example of the series' premise while also having plenty of action and was one of the series best. He liked that Ross and Talbot were more than two-dimensional villains, mostly because of their relationship with Betty. He enjoyed the symbolic dream sequence that opened the series as a perfect example of how the show portrayed the battle between Bruce and Hulk. His favorite part was, while captured, Bruce talked about Hulk's origin claiming the speech was great. He felt the animation standards where above those of other Marvel shows, though he felt the designs were mixed. He liked Banner, Gargoyle, Ross, Talbot, and Doc Sampson. However, he felt Hulk was lacking and sometimes looked like he was pouting rather than in a rage. Though he claimed Leader's design was the worst with the orange and black, and that his design on Iron Man was far superior. He also felt Leader was a weak villain overall. "Return Of The Beast was a thoroughly enjoyable opening episode, with an unfortunately weak conclusion."

The episode has a rating of 9.0 on and 7.2 on the Internet Movie Database.

External Links

The Incredible Hulk Episodes
Season One "The Return of the Beast, Part One" • "The Return of the Beast, Part Two" • "Raw Power" • "Helping Hand, Iron Fist" • "Innocent Blood" • "Man to Man, Beast to Beast" • "Doomed" • "Fantastic Fortitude" • "Mortal Bounds" • "And the Wind Cries...Wendigo!" • "Darkness and Light, Part One" • "Darkness and Light, Part Two" • "Darkness and Light, Part Three"
Season Two "Hulk of a Different Color" • "Down Memory Lane" • "Mind Over Anti-Matter" • "They Call Me Mr. Fixit" • "Fashion Warriors" • "Hollywood Rocks" • "The Lost Village" • "Mission: Incredible"
Related "Nightmare in Green" • "Hulk Buster"
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