Appearing in "Dear Betty..."
- Nadia Dornova
- Angela Lipscombe
- Betty Ross (Corpse)
- Brian Banner (Only in flashback)
- Rebecca Banner (Only in flashback)
- Rick Jones (Only in flashback)
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Dear Betty..."
Bruce Banner finds himself thinking about dead wife, Betty Ross, once again. This time, he writes her a letter on his computer at the suggestion of Doc Samson. Banner begins to talk about his abusive childhood. That while his father beat him, his mother always loved him for who he was and was so patient. His father, on the other hand, was associated with so much screaming and crying. Bruce thinks that's why he retreated into his studies. He then recounts the gamma bomb explosion that turned him into the Hulk. Bruce then begins to talk about his relationship with Betty, who he fell in love with her from the moment he saw her because she reminded him so much about his mother. After the two had begun dating and eventually got married, Bruce used to wake up in the morning and watch her sleep, afraid that one day he would wake up and she would be gone. Banner thought this a silly fear until the day it happened, he woke up and she was dead. Banner then goes on to talk about himself following her death. He hopes that she is living in a paradise after death, and knows that he will never find such peace thanks to the degenerative neurological disorder he is suffering from. It will ensure that while the mind of Bruce Banner fades away, the Hulk will remain. He spends these empty nights alone trying to remember Betty's smile or her smell, but finds that he no longer can, and he starts to cry.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, the man responsible for killing Betty -- the Abomination -- has began covering himself head-to-toe in a cloak and has begun teaching writing classes at the local library. After hearing one of his student's stories, he eventually tells him to stop because the story hasn't hit on any of his suggestions. He then tells them a story about tragedy and loss. This story he tells his a modified version of his origins, how his activities as a spy led to his being exposed to gamma radiation and being turned into the Abomination. He recounts his battles with the Hulk and how this has kept him away from his wife Nadia. How he got revenge against the Hulk, but now lives an empty and purposeless life. When his class asks if the character in his story ever sees Nadia again, the Abomination tells them no, and that happy endings are for lazy writers and dismisses his class.
Meanwhile, back at Doc Samson's home, Bruce continues his therapy sessions. It's here that Bruce confronts Samson about his "Professor" persona and why Samson lied about it being Bruce Banner being in control of the Hulk, when in reality it was just another fractured personality brought on by his Multiple Personality Disorder. Samson explains that he had no choice because the Hulk was raging out of control and he had hoped the deception would lead to Banner eventually asserting control, but that never happened. This causes Bruce to think about the Abomination and how it was the Professor persona that forgave him for the murder of his wife and how he never reconciled his feelings about it. Samson warns Banner that this is dangerous territory to explore, but Bruce reminds him that as far as the Hulk is concerned, nothing is safe. At that moment, in New Hampshire, the Abomination calls his former wife from a payphone. This isn't the first time, and when Nadia realizes that this is the same person who has called her constantly and said nothing, she warns him that next time she'll call the police and change her number before hanging up.
Back at Samson's, Bruce sits outside watching as Leonard and Angela snuggle in the warmth indoors. He is soon joined by his former father-in-law, General Ross, who tells him that he has not come to arrest Banner. Instead, he explains that he has come to terms with the fact that the Hulk is not responsible for the death of his daughter, the Abomination is. He tells Bruce that he wants to bring Betty's killer to justice. Bruce tells Thaddeus that Betty is dead and buried and he made his peace with her death. That's when Thaddeus tells him that there is something he needs to show him. Meanwhile, the Abomination has decided to say "goodbye" to his wife Nadia by writing her a letter before he goes back to his routine of going into the water and trying to forget his life. At Area 51, Thaddeus explains to Bruce that he has been using General Ryker's gamma scanners to track down the Abomination since taking over the facility. Having pinpointed his location and they now know where he is. It's then that Thaddeus takes Bruce into a private room where he has the body of Betty kept in stasis. Seeing his wife like this causes Bruce to break down. Thaddeus reminds Bruce that the Abomination did this to his wife and tells him to bring the killer to justice. Bruce at first cannot bring himself to do it, knowing he will kill Emil Blonsky. However, his emotions get the better of him eventually and he transforms into the savage Hulk. The Hulk rages and after recalling that the Abomination killed Betty, the Hulk smashes out of the facility to go hunting for him, just as General Ross had planned all along.
- Bruce Banner states that he has Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Since this story has been published there have been advances in treating the illness and with the advent of and innovations in stem cell research could potentially lead to a cure. As such any references to what disease Bruce is suffering from should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- There are numerous mentions to the fact that Bruce's wife, Betty Ross, had just recently died. She died of radiation poisoning in Incredible Hulk #466. The Abomination revealed his involvement in Incredible Hulk #473-474. She will be eventually resurrected, as seen in Incredible Hulk Vol 2 #62.
- Mention is made of Bruce's abusive childhood, this was first explored in Incredible Hulk #312. He also recounts his origins as they were originally told in Incredible Hulk #1.
- The Abomination also recounts his own origins as they were told in Tales to Astonish #90.
- The Abomination accuses the Hulk from keeping his wife Nadia away from him. This is a somewhat skewed perspective of the events of Incredible Hulk #382-383 where a mentally unhinged Abomination kidnapped his ex-wife and the Hulk rescued her.
- Doc Samson and Bruce discuss the creation of the Professor Persona. This happened in Incredible Hulk #377.
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