WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Hulk #1, available now from Marvel.
Hulk and Iron Man have fought one another quite a number of times over the years, but their most recent brawl might very well be their most brutal one to date. Iron Man tried using adamantium nanites to imprison the gamma-powered Avenger by trapping his hand in an indestructible restraint. The results were, quite literally, a bloody mess.
This particular tactic is also a reversal of one of the key moments of their fight scene in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Interestingly, that fight scene — and in fact, that very maneuver — is actually tied to another Disney property: Star Wars.
The brutal fight between the two founding Avengers takes place in Hulk #1 by Donny Cates, Ryan Ottley, Frank Martin, and VC’s Cory Petit. Bruce Banner recently took control of the Hulk’s body, adding cybernetic implants, something Doctor Strange observed was basically the equivalent of turning himself into a starship. Banner also hoped to steal a piece of Stark Tech to help him leave earth, for reasons, as yet, unknown. Tony Stark tried to stop him.
However, instead of using the classic Hulkbuster Armor, Stark chose to remotely control multiple Iron Man suits at the same time. Each of these rigs unleashed a volley of adamantium nanoparticle shrapnel, which were then programmed to form an indestructible cage around Hulk’s hand. Unable to break the metal bonds, Banner ripped off his own hand. Then, he tore through the Iron Man suits, ripping an arm off of one of them and using the severed appendage’s repulsor weapon against Stark.
As noted, all of this action parallels to the fight in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where Iron Man tried to stop the Hulk, who had begun rampaging through a crowded city after being mind-controlled by the Scarlet Witch. In the film, Stark donned his special Hulkbuster Armor. The mech was so badly damaged that he had to literally lose its left arm. Thankfully, he was unhurt and the suit was adaptable enough that he was able to attach a replacement. After an exchange of blows, Stark altered the shape of the arm to ensnare Hulk’s hand.
The similarities between this scene from Age of Ultron and the fight in the recent issue of Hulk are unmistakable: in a fight between Hulk and Iron Man, Hulk’s hand is trapped and one or both of them lost a hand. What may be less apparent is that this also has parallels to a classic element of Star Wars.
Marvel Entertainment’s chief creative officer, Kevin Feige, revealed to CinemaBlend that every single film in Phase 2 of the MCU included a scene where someone lost a hand. This was a creative decision meant to pay homage to the original Star Wars films, which also all feature someone having their hand cut off.
Now that Hulk #1 has apparently referenced the Age of Ultron fight, the film’s Star Wars Easter Egg has also carried over into the comics. Here, it takes on an additional meaning. After all, since Bruce Banner has transformed his body into “Starship Hulk,” it only seems appropriate that his last big fight on Earth should include a Star Wars reference. Especially since the issue ends with Banner leaving earth to set out for new adventures far, far away.
from Ultimate Comic Blog