Marvel Comics highly successful mini-series Civil War II continues to wow fans in part No. 3 with a shocking plot twist that leaves Bruce Banner, alter ego of the Incredible Hulk, dead. Even more stunning, the culprit is revealed to be Hawkeye, another Avenger. According to The New York Times, Hawkeye kills Banner because he believes he will be preventing the Incredible Hulk from a destructive frenzy that would have left even more Avengers dead.

Marvel's 'Civil War II' series

Marvel's Civil War II No. 3 revolves around a dispute that causes the Avengers to split between two camps. Captain Marvel leads a faction that wants to use the clairvoyant powers of Ulysses to prevent crimes before they happen.

The other group is led by Iron Man, who is troubled by the idea of punishing criminals before the crime is ever committed.

The tumultuous battle that results in Bruce Banner's death comes after the events of Civil War II No. 2, which saw War Machine killed and left She-Hulk in a coma. Hawkeye got the arrow that kills the Hulk from Banner himself. Bruce asked his fellow Avenger to step in and use the arrow to stop the Incredible Hulk from causing massive destruction in just such a situation.

After the double loss and the new tragedy, where does it leave the Avengers? Marvel executives aren't giving fans any clues.

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"This is uncharted territory for us," Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso told the New York Daily News.

The Hulk gone – fan reaction

As reported in the New York Daily News, some fans are expressing their displeasure over the Hulk's demise and other recent character developments in the Marvel Comics series, but series writer Brian Michael Bendis is taking any fan outrage in stride. The new controversy comes on the heels of the media attention that spiked over the news that teenage girl Riri Williams was taking over the Iron Man suit.

While Bruce Banner and the old Hulk may be gone from the Marvel story line (at least for the time being,) Korean-American teen Amadeus Cho has already been introduced as a new Hulk character. It is part of Marvel's program of reworking the Avengers for a racially diverse 21st century.

Created by Marvel legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Incredible Hulk has been a fan favorite since the first Hulk comic came out in 1962. Even with this latest development, Hulk fans are likely to hold out hope for the big green Avenger's return. Both Captain America and Spiderman were killed in their own comic series, only to return about a year later.

Marvel Comics Civil War II No. 3 comes out next Wednesday, July 20.