- —Jennifer sobbed
Appearing in "Basic Instinct"
- Rebecca Banner (Only in flashback)
- Brian Banner (Only in flashback)
- Betty Ross (Only in flashback)
- Two police officers
- Reporter Des Nesmith
- Jarella (Illusion)
- Police patrol car
Synopsis for "Basic Instinct"
The Hulk has returned to the site of the gamma bomb site where he was born to brood. Here the thinks about the pain that was caused in the bomb explosion that was his birth. However, his mind draws back to the dim memories of Bruce Banner, of his abusive father and his protective mother and explodes into a tearful rage.
At that moment in New York City, the She-Hulk's deep thoughts draw concern from the Avenger's leader the Wasp. When she asks Jennifer what's wrong, the She-Hulk tells Janet that she is thinking about her cousin, the Hulk. She tells the Wasp about how she has been feeling sorry for herself over the past few days and while she usually pulls herself out of these kinds of funks, she can't help but think about how difficult that must be for Bruce Banner. She tells Janet about how she was fighting a legal battle for the Hulk and it looked like they were going to win. However, suddenly, the case was over, no appeals, no recourse, nothing. Using her connections as an Avenger she found no reasonable explanation as to why. Knowing all of this, she can't help but wonder if her cousin feels alone or afraid.
At that moment, the Hulk is making his way to New York City, and his arrival is picked up on the seismographs in Avengers Mansion. The Vision reports this to Iron Man who goes to Central Park to investigate. There he discovers the Hulk on a rampage and requests back-up. Soon Iron Man is joined by Giant-Man, Triathalon, the Wasp, Warbird, the Vision, Scarlet Witch and She-Hulk. When the Avengers debate on how to handle the situation, She-Hulk decides to try and reason with her cousin. However, the Hulk doesn't want to talk and attacks his cousin. As the rest of the Avengers scramble to pull her out of harms way, the Vision starts accessing behavioral databases to try and find some reason for the Hulk's current behavior.
With the She-Hulk pulled to safety, the rest of the Avengers battle the Hulk as the Scarlet Witch generates the necessary chaos magic to try and subdue the man-monster. The other Avengers are no match for the boundless fury of the Hulk, but their attacks give Wanda sufficient time to complete her spell and blast the Hulk with it. The magics cause the Hulk untold agony as he is forced to relive happy memories of his late wife Betty Ross. This causes the Hulk to revert back to Bruce Banner. When She-Hulk tries to approach her cousin, Bruce begins to panic and turns into the Hulk once more. The Hulk knocks his cousin aside and the battle begins anew. By this point, the Vision has collected the data he needs and tells the Scarlet Witch that the Hulk is not angry, but showing off. Based on data he has compiled on the courting rituals of the baboon, the Vision concludes that the Hulk is being overly aggressive because he is trying to impress a suitable mate through superiority and submission.
When they realize that the Hulk is using the same tactics to impress one of his own kind, they realize that he is doing this all for the She-Hulk. This disturbing turn of events leads Jennifer to realize just how confused the Hulk really is and decides to try one more time to stare him down. This causes the Hulk to think of both Betty and Jarella, the two women he loved most and lost. When the Hulk tries to show off his aggression to She-Hulk, she merely turns her back on him. When the Hulk tries to get her to accept that he is the strongest there is, she flat out rejects him. This rejection makes the Hulk sad, as he doesn't want to be alone anymore. She-Hulk goes to comfort the brute, gently telling him it will never be because they are cousins. She tries to tell him that even though she can never love him in a way that he wants, she still cares. This makes the Hulk angry and he eventually gets fed up and leaps away. When Iron Man tries to follow after him, She-Hulk tells him to leave the Hulk alone, tearfully telling her teammates they should honor the Hulk's most requested demand this one time: leave him alone.
A rampaging Hulk hits Manhattan-making a bee-line for the Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Reader won't believe what he wants-or what his cousin She-Hulk will have to do to stop him.
- The Hulk reflects on his abusive childhood which was first explored in Incredible Hulk #312.
- She-Hulk talks about the case she was fighting on behalf of her cousin. The Hulk was framed for the murder of over 300 people in a commercial airliner crash caused by his foe Tyrannus and various other rampages through the course of Hulk #1–11. He was found guilty and She-Hulk attempted to appeal the verdict. This appear was shut down thanks to the machinations of General John Ryker as seen in Incredible Hulk (Vol. 2) #12–20.
- The Hulk is forced to think about two of his past lovers who, at the time of this story, were dead:
- First is Betty Ross, who was Banner's long time romantic interest dating back to Incredible Hulk #1. At the time of this story she had just recently died of radiation poisoning as seen in Incredible Hulk #765. She is later resurrected as seen in Incredible Hulk (Vol. 2) #60.
- The Hulk also had a brief romance with Jarella, the ruler of the microworld of K'ai. She was killed in Incredible Hulk #205.
Various flashbacks in this story have an impact on the chronology of characters as follows: Page 4: Young Bruce Banner plays with his toy blocks
Page 10, Panel 1: She-Hulk in court
Page 10, Panel 2: She-Hulk outside courthouse