As much as we expect superheroes to not kill, a comic from the ’90s enraged fans because the Hulk chose to stay his hand.
In Incredible Hulk #419, after attending the wedding of Rick Jones and Marlo Chandler, the disgraced skrull warrior Talos the Tamed attacks the Hulk in hopes that the Hulk will give him an honorable death.
But unlike the suicide-by-Hulk cases of Mimic and the High Evolutionary, the Hulk Talos faces is one of the more intelligent versions and not as easy to manipulate. Not to mention it’s only been three issues since the Hulk killed Trauma, and he isn’t eager for a fresh helping of guilt.
So, rather than kill Talos, the Hulk gives up. Though clearly not hurt badly, the Hulk begs for mercy from Talos. The skrull sees the ruse for what it is, but is so insulted by it that he refuses to continue to fight someone who would use such a pathetic tactic. Though he survives the fight, his fellow Skrulls have watched him go toe to toe with the Incredible Hulk. When he returns to his ship, Talos is welcomed by admiration he hasn’t enjoyed in ages.
The creative team of Incredible Hulk didn’t receive as friendly a response. They weathered a torrent of angry mail from proud fans who couldn’t bear to see their favorite good guy do something so “wimpy,” even if it was clearly a fake-out.