Appearing in "As Others See Us!"

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Synopsis for "As Others See Us!"

Influenced by the mind of Thaddeus Ross, Zzzax has tracked down and attacked a battle between Bruce Banner and Rick Jones in their Hulk forms. Although the initial attack has caused Banner to revert back to human form, Rick is still in his transformed state and furious about the attack. As Zzzax overpowers the Hulk, Bruce recovers from the attack. Before the energy creature can slay Jones, Bruce tries to appeal to the mind of Thaddeus Ross trapped inside. He tries to convince him that he is cured of being the Hulk, and therefore Ross' desire for revenge useless, and that they should work together to cure Rick Jones. While back at Gamma Base, Doc Samson learns that Thaddeus Ross is now brain dead after his mind was absorbed into Zzzax. He is horrified to learn that S.H.I.E.L.D. was engaged in such activity. Soon, Betty demands to see her father. Seeing his mindless body on life support, she is horrified to see the state of her father and accuses Clay Quartermain and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. of being the real monsters. Although Betty is on a verge of another breakdown, Doc Samson assures her that if there is a way to restore her father's mind, they will find it.

Back at battle-field, Bruce's attempt to talk sense to Zzzax has failed and the confused creature lashes out on both him and the Hulk. The Hulk tries to fight back but is blasted into a nearby lake. Rushing to the Hulk's side, Bruce orders it to splash water at Zzzax. The Hulk complies and the water causes Zzzax to short out and violently dissipate, ending his threat. As the battle rages, some creatures watch from within Bruce Banner's secret lab and rejoice that the "green one" has returned. However, Zzzax has not been destroyed and the creature quickly reforms. Bruce tells the Hulk to carry them out of the area, but Zzzax follows after them and resumes their attack in a nearby town. When the Hulk proves too resilient to his attacks, Zzzax dives into the brute's body and takes control of his electrical impulses in an effort to force the Hulk to destroy himself. Meanwhile, at a rumbling mansion in South Carolina, a live-in nurse named Miss Geller has arrived for the first day of her job for a wealthy client. The woman is greeted by the butler who takes her up to his master's room. When the woman enters it, the butler seals her inside and goes about his business as she begins to scream.

Meanwhile, back in New Mexico, Zzzax continues to possess the Hulk. However, as the sun begins to rise the Hulk begins to revert back into Rick Jones. Feeling himself getting weak, Zzzax pulls himself out of the Hulk's body. This causes Zzzax's dominance to reassert itself and it struggles to try and fully absorb the mind of Thaddeus Ross. Spotting survivors of the attack trying to free themselves from the rubble, Zzzax becomes intent to feed on their minds. While back at Gamma Base, Doc Samson continues to try and support Betty Banner through her grief after learning that her father has been rendered mindless. Meeting Clay Quartermain in private, Samson fears that after a history of mental breakdowns, he fears that Betty might be on the road to another one. Quartermain brushes this off as he has other pressing matter. He later meets with Samuel LaRoquette and asks him to stay on and help hunt the new Hulk. Sam agrees to stick around, wanting another shot at the Hulk, and get revenge against Doc Samson.

Back in the ruined town, Zzzax is about to absorb the minds of a family trapped in rubble. However, when they call it a monster, the mind of Thaddeus Ross comes back to the fore. It struggles with the idea that he sold his humanity and became a monster himself. Bruce Banner tries to appear to Ross' mind, trying to get it to see how far it has gone and return to Gamma Base. However, Zzzax rejects this and flies off into the sky before Banner can concinvce it to come back.


Continuity Notes

  • Clay Quartermain points out that this isn't the first time that Betty Ross suffered a mental breakdown. She has actually had a few over the years. The first was when her father was captured by the Russians in Incredible Hulk #163. When Glenn Talbot, her then husband, was seemingly killed on a rescue mission in Incredible Hulk #166, then when it appeared that Glenn died again in Incredible Hulk #185.

Continuity Errors

  • Doc Samson states that Betty suffered her breakdown after the death of her husband Glenn Talbot. This is not accurate. The only time she suffered a breakdown involving Glenn Talbot was when Russian spy Gregori Kronski died in a failed attempt to assassinate the President of the Untied States in Incredible Hulk #185. When the real Talbot later died in Incredible Hulk #260, it was long after her divorced and at the time she didn't mourn much because she had discovered that she still loved Bruce Banner and was assisting Rick Jones in tracking down the Hulk in an attempt to cure him.

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