- ...the stronger the Hulk gets! But strength is no use against me hex power.
Appearing in "Trouble in Paradise"
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Synopsis for "Trouble in Paradise"
Bruce Banner has found himself in the commune created by botanist Owen Chandler. After hearing his insane scheme to replace all life on Earth with plant duplicates, Banner refused to go along with the scheme, even though Owen created a plant duplicate of his dead wife Betty Ross. In response, Chandler and his followers have tossed him into the pit containing Union, the massive plant created from Chandler's Salvation Seed. Before Banner can land in the creature's massive maw, Bruce Banner is rescued by the Vision who has arrived with his fellow Avengers, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man. They have come to bring the Hulk to justice for his alleged attacks around the town of Faulkner.
Chandler tries to convince the Avengers of his grand mission, but Banner warns the heroes about his mad scheme. In order to determine if Chandler is telling the truth, Iron Man scans the area. He discovers that there is a low-level psychic energy that is present around the entire area. Before they can figure out what this is, Chandler smashes Iron Man's scanner, which reveals the truth that has clouded all of Owen's followers. Grabbing Chandler's arm and showing "Betty" and the others his cut, he reveals that they are all plant creatures. This comes as a such to Chandler's followers. Having had enough, Iron Man activates a disruption device that disconnects the psychic energy from the people around, causing them all to crumble into plant life.
Seeing his "wife" die a second time is enough to get Bruce Banner angry enough to begin changing into the Hulk. He then punches Owen sending him flying across the swamp. The Avengers then swing into action to try and contain the Hulk. The four Avengers only succeed in getting the Hulk even more angry. Their battle also disrupts the area enough that the Union tries to wrap them up in its tendrils. As the Avengers and the Hulk shift their attention to fighting off the Union, the battle is detected by Tyrannus and his followers who have been trying to get a lock on the Hulk since he escaped them. Tyrannus then tells his minions to prepare for another mind transfer with the Hulk. When his Tyrannoids express their concern over his safety, Tryannus at first scolds them for questioning his orders, but decides that an emergency shut-off might be a safe idea after all.
With the Hulk who is busy fighting the Union, the Avengers decide to find Owen Chandler to try and find a way to stop his creation. When they find Chandler he begins to lose his human form, turning into plant life. He realizes, much to his horror, that the Salvation Seed didn't save his life, it consumed it. Losing his mind to fear, Chandler runs into the swamps where he runs into the Man-Thing. His all-consuming fear causes Chandler to burn at Man-Thing's swamp, incinerating him in a flash of flame. With Chandler dead, everything taken over by the Union flower crumbles, including the stuff that the Man-Thing is made of. In the aftermath of the battle, the Avengers wonder where the Hulk had went.
In the midst of all the confusion, the Hulk had managed to leap far enough away to lose the Avengers. At first, the Hulk thinks he is alone, however spotting a plane passing by and seeing someone dive out of it, he soon suspects that he will be attacked again soon. This fear is warranted when the Hulk is suddenly confronted by Wolverine.
- This is not Betty Ross, but an impostor. The real Betty Ross died of radiation poisoning in Incredible Hulk #466. She will be eventually resurrected, as seen in Incredible Hulk Vol 2 #62.
- Speaking of impostors, the man who appears to be Wolverine is actually a Skrull impostor. This was eventually revealed in Uncanny X-Men #375. How the impostor took Wolverine's place was depicted in Wolverine Vol 2 #145.
- The Hulk appears in Contest of Champions II #1-5 and Black Panther Vol 3 # 15 & 17 between pages 18 and 19 of this story.
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