Appearing in "Animus"
- Doctor Strange (Illusion)
- Namor (Illusion)
- Thor (Illusion)
- Captain America (Steve Rogers) (Illusion)
- Fantastic Four (Illusion)
- Falcon (Illusion)
- Doughboy (Illusion)
- Doc Samson's home
Synopsis for "Animus"
Bruce Banner has returned to Doc Samson and Angela Lipscombe as they continue their attempts to find a cure for the degenerative neurological disease that Banner is suffering from. As the tests drag on, Bruce becomes physically ill and this triggers a transformation into the savage Hulk, who goes on a rampage. However, Angela manages to stop him by offering to make him hot chocolate if he ceases wrecking their lab. The child-like Hulk quickly complies, much to their relief. Although Samson and Angela are exhausted, they continue to work on finding a cure because they are helping a friend. As the two new lovers retire for the evening, Samson's home gets an unexpected visitor: the hate creature known as Animus appears. He has been watching developments in this home and finds it ripe for his emotional manipulations. After waiting for them to finish making love, Animus notes that despite their outward feelings, both Leonard and Angela both feel empty inside.
He then turns his attentions to Bruce Banner, who is having a nightmare where his emaciated body is being ignored by strangers and allies alike. Seeing such sadness in Bruce, Animus decides to bring out one of his other personalities. Using his powers, Animus causes Bruce to turn into his gray Hulk form. In the real world, it is Joe Fixit who wakes up in Banner's bed. Meanwhile, Doc Samson is having a dream where he is being celebrated by the superhero community for all of his work. However, his speech is interrupted by Arnim Zola's creation Doughboy who asks if Samson is such a great hero, how come he always gets defeated. This smashes Samson's confidence and he is quickly beaten up by the pliable creature and everyone abandons him. Samson begs them to come back, but only Angela does. However, instead of helping Leonard up, she tells him that she is leaving him to rekindle her romance with Bruce Banner. She then pulls a skeletal version of Banner out from the earth beneath their feet. However, when Banner professes his love for her, she rejects him as well.
This causes the three friends to instantly hate each other in the waking world. Animus watches as Joe Fixit comes crashing into the room shared by Leonard and Angela. As the Hulk and Samson fight it out, Angela cheers for the Hulk to win. However, ultimately, Bruce Banner realizes that someone is messing with their minds. Among the fragmented personalities inside his mind, Banner finds Animus watching from within. Upon his discovery, Bruce then forces Joe to snap out of it. In the waking world he stops both Angela and Doc Samson from coming to blows, convincing them that someone is manipulating their emotions. Bruce then turns his mind inward, and focuses all of his rage on Animus. The seemingly unending flood of emotions seemingly drowns their foe ending their threat. In the aftermath of the battle, Bruce, Leonard and Angela all discuss their feelings of resentment for one another before retiring for the night. Unseen by the trio is Animus, who watches from afraid, he is finished the main course, but now he is ready for desert.
- 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.
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