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Quote1 Three votes to one. Two abstentions, if we're counting dormant alters. It's settled. You're with us now, Venom. Welcome to the family. Quote2
-- Bruce Banner

Appearing in "We Are Hulk"

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  • Venomous (Mentioned) (Only in flashback)

Synopsis for "We Are Hulk"

In an endless black void, Bruce Banner sets down a chair and sits in it, addressing the Venom symbiote and thanking it for providing the venue. Introducing himself, Bruce says that Venom should remember him from when they fought together in the past. Bruce says that - after talking to Eddie Brock - he thinks that the symbiote, himself, and his various alternate personalities can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. Saying that he knows trust is an issue for the symbiote and that it's been hurt before, Bruce offers to tell it how he arrived in the situation they found themselves in.

A few days prior, Bruce had come to in a motel room in California, a note from Joe Fixit telling him not to bug Jackie McGee, Betty Ross, or Rick Jones. Grousing over Joe calling him too needy, Bruce checks in on Betty, finding her in the washroom with Rick's corpse in the bathtub. As Bruce is shocked by the sight of her Harpy form, Betty tells him to ask Jackie for information and slams the door in his face. Narrating that he spoke to Jackie and was incredulous as to why the Hulks trust her, Bruce sits down to watch the news and is greeted by a report that Thaddeus Ross' corpse was exhumed and stolen, with red slime being found at the site; immediately assuming that either the Shadow Base had stolen Ross' corpse or something worse had happened.

Bruce's narration is interrupted by the arrival of Joe Fixit, who complains about not being in his Grey Hulk form in Bruce's mindscape. As Joe leaves to wake up Bruce's other alters, Bruce explains that gamma mutates resurrect if they are killed and are linked to an immensely powerful malevolent deity called the One Below All, which can indwell them when they resurrect. Resuming his narration, Bruce states that he told Betty about Ross' corpse disappearing despite being afraid that she might go berserk and attack him like she had Rick's handlers, lamenting that he no longer knows her and possibly never did. Bruce asks if Betty can track Ross the way she did the Hulk, and Betty calmly states that she can. Bruce asks if she can fly him there, but Betty states it would blow their cover; Bruce begrudgingly suggesting she crumple him into a ball. Snapping his neck, Betty complies - Bruce's soul confronting the One Below All impersonating his father in the Below-Place, though he notes to the symbiote that he never remembers what happens when he dies. Taking over, the Devil Hulk watches Betty fly away - Bruce noting that the Hulk shared these memories with him and speculating that she either needed to be alone or that she just didn't care. In a pit with countless other corpses, many of them little more than skeletons, Thaddeus Ross' body lies with its spine torn out.

In Bruce's mindscape, the Savage Hulk manifests and asks if Betty was there, angrily berating puny Banner for turning her into a monster. Confronting the symbiote, the Savage Hulk demands to know why he hurts so much and then storms off. Sighing, Bruce states that the mass grave was at the site of an old mental institute in New Jersey, a location where it would have eventually been found by someone. Bruce notes that the Devil Hulk decided to do the unprecedented and call it in, hiding in the bushes and eavesdropping as two paramedics discuss how one of the corpses - Angelo Fortunato, son of Maggia Don Vincente Fortunato - had briefly been the host of the Venom symbiote. Deciding that if he wants to find Venom he should start with Spider-Man, the Devil Hulk sets off to Manhattan.

In Manhattan, Spider-Man frantically web-swings through the dawn-lit city trying to remember all the superheroes who've bonded to symbiotes. His spider-sense goes off as a water-tower narrowly misses him, and he quickly snares it in a net of webbing. Telling a civilian to contact Damage Control, Spider-Man drops into the alley below and spots Bruce Banner. As Spider-Man gives him a spare change of clothes, Bruce explains the arrangement regarding his alternate personalities and that he was the one who found the mass grave. Bruce tells Spider-Man that his main concern was Thaddeus Ross' body being stolen and asks him to fill him in on what's happening with Venom. Spider-Man quickly explains that Venom is one of the good guys, but that Cletus Kasady is back and is collecting codices - trace remnants of symbiote left in former hosts - in order to unleash Knull, a dark elder god older than the universe.

Speaking to the Venom symbiote, Bruce says that Spider-Man's description of Knull immediately reminded him of the One Below All, and speculates that Knull could be a facet or pawn of the demiurge. Bruce states that that makes it his problem, but the Devil Hulk - in his reptilian form - interrupts and says that it's not. Devil Hulk snaps that getting involved with the Venom symbiote is a mistake, reminding Bruce of their mission to destroy the world and that their allies are waiting for him. Bruce retorts that he has no intention of letting a cosmic god of darkness beat them to it, pointing out that they're already involved.

Resuming his narration, Bruce recaps revealing his survival to Captain America, who apologizes for the Avengers attacking him and asks if they can at least sit down to talk after this is over. Bruce also introduces himself to Eddie Brock - the symbiote later transferring to him when Dark Carnage attacked with his horde, kickstarting their mental conversation. The Devil Hulk interrupts and says that only a few seconds have passed in the real world despite hours having seemingly transpired in Bruce's psyche, protesting working with the symbiote and threatening to rip out his own spine if that's what it takes to purge it. Bruce refuses and makes a case for collaborating with the symbiote, Joe Fixit and Savage Hulk siding with him. Devil Hulk storms off growling that they're making a mistake, but Bruce grins creepily and welcomes Venom to their little family as in the world outside the Venomized Hulk towers over his opposition.

Solicit Synopsis

Before his untimely death, Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross was the Red Hulk and, for a time, bonded to the Venom symbiote alongside Alejandra Jones and Laura Kinney. Now, Ross’ corpse has been unearthed, though why and by whom remain shrouded in mystery. With the gamma material in Ross’ body possibly in nefarious hands, that’s just what Bruce Banner intends to find out – one way or another!

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