Thanks, still something else might be happening here..
IF it is Bruce, maybe it's Joe trying to force a change into the Gray Hulk form, but he's unable to do so.
As far as homages go, IF this is true, they're going for The Fly and teleporting him elsewhere. I don't have the issues handy, but they make a point to say that they need to take their time or else they risk teleporting somewhere unknown/etc.
Heh, it'll never happen but wouldn't it be fun if he returned from exile stronger, angrier and looking for revenge as we revisit WWH in the same way we're getting echoes of the run up to 300
But yeah, seeing the Triad return on covers is a fun nod and fingers crossed.
It may not have seemed like it at the time, but removing the Hulk from Earth seems to be a good "go to" storywise. Crossroads wasn't as well received I think, but it had some good stories and art there. Planet Hulk was a shot in the arm to the title. Etc.
It's also a good jumping off point for Ewing to give a new writer a clean slate to work with.