- At last! After all these years, I have finally attained the means to become supremely powerful -- to destroy the state that dared drive me into exile!
Appearing in "The Family That Dies Together...!"
- Soviet Super-Soldiers
- Rick Jones
- Presence (Appears in Flashback)
- Red Guardian (Appears in Flashback)
- Professor Phobos (Appears in Flashback)
- Glenn Talbot
- USSR (Topical reference)
- United States of America
Synopsis for "The Family That Dies Together...!"
Going to the Forbidden Zone to stop the Presence and Red Guardian from irradiating the entire world, the Soviet Super-Soldiers ended up clashing with the Hulk. The gamma-spawned monster fought it out with Ursa Major, attracting the attention of the Presence who in turned used his powers to revert both man-monsters back to their human forms and cutting off access to their powers. Wondering why the intruders are in their home, the Presence mentally scans their minds and learns the truth about the mission undertaken against him. The Presence is about to slay Banner and Ursa, but the Red Guardian convinces him that they are beneath his notice. He agrees and they depart to continue their work. It is then that the mystery man who had divided the Soviet Super-Soldiers, Doctor Phobos, uses his mental powers to free both captive men. Embracing his old teacher, Ursa Major is happy to see him.
They are soon joined by Darkstar, Vanguard and the unconscious Crimson Dynamo. Doctor Phobos then explains to Banner who they are: He tells how the Russian government originally killed mutant children, but with the increase of super-humans around the globe they decided to change this policy and instead started the Super-Soldier School which Professor Phobos ran. His first student was Ursa Major, but one-day Russian intelligence agents brought to him two infant children -- the future Darkstar and Vangard. He trained the children in the use of their powers and when they were old enough, the Professor gave Darkstar an amulet and Vanguard his hammer and sickle weapons to help them regulate and control their powers. Phobos then told his children that he had to go away and he disappeared into the wastelands of Siberia.
With the explanations out of the way, Doctor Phobos explains the plans of the Presence and Red Guardian to turn the Earth into a radioactive wasteland. Banner finds it hard to believe but is convinced to help stop the two radioactive beings. With the Crimson Dynamo out for the count, Darkstar teleports him to the nearest hospital while they plan their attack. While Phobos sends the rest of the Soviet Super-Soldiers to distract their foes, he and Banner stay behind to cobble devices that will allow them to defeat their enemies. Meanwhile, Glenn Talbot is still trying to hunt for the Hulk, violating Russian airspace to do so. Although the trail has gone cold, his computer points out that the Hulk is likely in the Forbidden Zone, its radioactive environment making the Hulk invisible to their scanners. Suddenly, Russian fighter planes take to the sky to shoot Talbot's War Wagon out of the sky. However, he is more than prepared for his enemies, using the ship's sonic cannons to destroy the Russian ships.
Back in the Forbidden Zone, the Super-Soldiers locate the Presence and Red Guardian again and attack them. While the Russian heroes are busy distracting their foes, Banner helps construct what he thinks is a stasis beam. In the meantime, the Presence and Red Guardian defeat their attackers and then confront Banner and Phobos. Using his powers, the Presence detects that the weapon the two scientists have built is actually intended to destroy them. However, Phobos insists that they are lying and uses the device. In reality, it turns out that it is siphoning the power from the two radioactive beings and channeling it into Phobos who hopes to use his power to take over Russia. This comes as a shock to Banner and the recovered Soviet Super-Soldiers. They learn that Professor Phobos had always intended to betray his country. In fact, the devices he gave Darkstar and Vanguard siphoned off their mutant energies into his armor, giving him his mental abilities. He actually went into hiding because the Red Guardian tried to arrest him all those years ago.
Professor Phobos uses his powers to lash out at his own adopted children, then he reveals that both Darkstar and Vanguard are the children of the Presence. He explains that the children were taken away by the KGB when the Presence's wife died of radiation poisoning, the same radiation that gave the children their mutant powers. With the powers of both father and children at his disposal he now plans to destroy all those who stood in his way. As Professor Phobos goes through his explanation, the Presence telepathically contacts Bruce Banner and releases the block on his powers. With both Banner and Ursa Major free from the power blocks, the pair transform into their man-monster forms and attack Phobos. As they battle their foe, both Darkstar and Vanguard discard the devices that allow Phobos to siphon off their energies. They then work to free the Presence and Red Guardian.
As the Hulk and Ursa Major strip Phobos of his armor, the device holding the two radioactive beings is destroyed freeing the Presence and his lover. The two then save the world by gathering up all the radiation unleashed by Phobos and carry it into the sky, evolving even further as they go, losing all human definition. With the battle over, everyone tries to come to terms with what was revealed that day, except for the Hulk, who is naturally confused by everything.
Meanwhile, back in New York, Rick Jones is sending out a signal calling together the Teen Brigade to help search for the Hulk.
This story features flashbacks that take place at different points in continuity. These points affect the following characters:
- All reference to Russia being called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Russian intelligence being the called the KGB, St. Petersburg being referred to as Lenningrad and other Cold War references should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- Likewise, the fact that Rick Jones is using a radio to try and communicate with the Teen Brigade should be considered a Topical Reference as well. The technology that is used by Teen Brigade changes with the times. For example in Avengers #1 they were depicted as using Ham Radio, however when the stroy is retold again in Avengers: The Origin Vol 1, they were using the internet.
This issue contains a Hostess Fruit Pies advertisement, The Thing in "Earthly Delights."
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