Appearing in "Nightmoves"
Synopsis for "Nightmoves"
In the Dimension of Dreams, Nightmare is visited by his "brother" D'Spayre who offers to join forces to bring pain and misery upon a soul in the waking world. Nightmare is interested and D'Spayre suggests that they set their sights on Betty Banner, as she has undergone much suffering in recent months, making her ripe for their manipulations. Nightmare agrees, recalling how Betty is the wife of Bruce Banner, also known as the Hulk. While Nightmare wishes to torment her with images of her husband in the form of his brutish alter ego, D'Spayre disagrees and tells his benefactor that they must deal with a more subtle means of tormenting the poor woman. They then turn their focus to Betty's current location, a hospital where she has been staying for some time.
Inside, Rick Jones waits patiently outside of Betty's room for her doctor to tell him of her status. When the doctor and a nun enter the room, Rick is told the bad news: Betty has had a miscarriage. When Rick asks to see her, the doctor allows him a few minutes, but tells Jones that Betty needs her rest. Going into the room, Rick expresses his condolences to Betty and the two hug. Betty is upset, because as far as she knows her husband is dead, and the baby was the last part of him that she thinks she will ever have. Just as Rick starts to console her, the nun enters the room and tells Rick that it is time for Betty to get some rest. After Rick leaves, the nun asks if there is anything she can do for Betty. Mrs. Banner tearfully asks if her prayers can bring back her baby or her husband. As she breaks down she confides in the nurse that she is alone all over again.
As Betty goes to sleep that night, Nighmare and D'Spayre enter her dreams where D'Spayre creates an idealic suburban setting. Nightmare is confused by this, as he expected something horrifying. D'Spayre tells his brother that he is lacking in subtlty and tells him to wait and observe. In this dream, Betty is visited by her husband Bruce and their child, Bruce, Jr. Betty is happy to hold her baby in her arms with her husband. Nightmare is even more confused by this. D'Spayre just tells him to continue watching his artistry at work. Suddenly the Banners are visited by Betty's father Thaddeus Ross and her ex-husband Glenn Talbot who are coming over to dinner. Watching Betty interacting with all the people she has lost in her life, D'Spayre explains that his torment is a subtle one, giving Betty everything she has ever wanted before taking it all away again. Just then, D'Spayre makes the image of Betty's happy family crumble to dust, leaving her in a barren desert. Nightmare finally gets it, but finds the progress too slow and uses his powers to create the image of a baby carriage. As Betty approaches the crying baby inside, it suddenly turns into a massive gamma-spawned creature that chases her.
Disgusted by such a vulgar display, D'Spayre banishes the monstrous apparition and tells Nightmare to observe him at work. Nightmare will have nothing of this and departs, seemingly leaving D'Spayre alone to his work. However, Nightmare has other ideas in mind and travels to Las Vegas. There he finds the Hulk in a fitful sleep after a night of partying. He then takes the soul of the Hulk into the dream dimension. There he is surprised by the random transformations between the Hulk and Banner in this realm, realizing that the two are ever so intertwined. They return to D'Spayre who is tormenting Betty with images of demons dragging her late mother away. The two then agree to use the Hulk to further terrorise Betty. D'Spayre creates an image making it look like the Hulk has killed everyone Betty has loved.
In the waking world, Rick Jones wakes up to hear Bety's nightmares as they become vocal in her sleep and convinces the nun to let him back in her room so he can be by her side while she sleeps. Back in the dream world, the Hulk tries to approach Betty but she fearfully flees from him. Thinking that this is just a dream, the Hulk dismisses Betty. Spotting Nightmare and D'Spayre, he threatens to beat the two demons. D'Spayre then tells the Hulk that Betty has lost her child that night. This strikes a chord with the Hulk, bringing sorry to both him and Betty that is so deep both react to it in the waking world. D'Spayre then believes it is time to claim their souls and begins putting down Betty. This angers the Hulk and he lashes out at the monster. While Nightmare torments Betty, D'Spayre forces the Hulk to change back into human form. They then begin the process of claiming their souls, which manifests in this dream as massive hands pulling Bruce into the ground and quicksand swallowing up Betty. Bruce manages to pull himself free by turning into the Hulk and despite interferences from Nightmare and D'Spayre, he reaches out and grabs Betty's hand.
When both Bruce and the Hulk say that they need her, the spell placed upon them by Nightmare and D'Spayre is shattered and the two lost souls are returned to their rightful bodies. As they are being pulled apart, Betty tells Bruce that she will hold because he believed in her and that she loves him. The Hulk wakes up from his sleep and dismisses the entire encounter as a dream. Meanwhile, Betty wakes up in her hospital room and seeing Rick by her side tells him that after that nightmare she now has the strength to move on with her life. While back in the dream dimension, D'Spayre admits defeat for now, but vows to get the Banners to see their ultimate dispair and their rightful ends.
- D'Spayre refers to Betty as "Betty Ross Talbot Banner". Ross was her family name, which Talbot and Banner are for the two men she has married. The facts:
- Nightmare mentions how he once manipulated the Hulk. Nightmare manipulated the Hulk's dreams from Incredible Hulk #292-299 in an attempt to manipulate the Hulk into killing his enemy Doctor Strange.
- This story reveals that Betty has lost her child. She first learned she was pregnant in Incredible Hulk #340. Betty and Rick Jones believe that the Hulk died in a gamma bomb explosion in Incredible Hulk #345.
- D'Spayre torments Betty with images of family that she has lost, or believed to be dead. They are:
- Her ex-husband Glenn Talbot whose obsession with the Hulk led to his death in Incredible Hulk #260
- Her father, Glenn Talbot who seemingly died in Incredible Hulk #330, he later turns up alive resurrected by the Leader, as explained in Incredible Hulk #400. Betty does not discover that her father is still alive until Incredible Hulk #455.
- Lastly, there is Betty's mother, Karen Talbot who died when Betty was still a young girl, as depicted in Incredible Hulk #291.
- This issue is reprinted in the trade paperback Incredible Hulk Visionaries: Peter David Volume 4
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