Appearing in "Shattered"
- Leader (Apparent death)
Synopsis for "Shattered"
Trying to free the Hulk from the Leader's control, Betty Ross and Nadia Doronova attempted to reach him in the forests along the California/Oregon border. When attempting to use their devices to track the Leader's telepathy to his hideout, the villain uses his powers to make the two women black out so their chopper crashes. Fighting the Leader's control, Nadia is able to bail out with a parachute. With Nadia accounted for and Betty feared dead, Tony Stark and Doc Samson decide to go out onto the field and help their allies. However, Betty managed to survive as well, managing to bail out of the chopper as well. She frees Betty from her parachute, which is snagged on a tree. When Betty asks how Nadia was able to keep the Leader out of her mind, Nadia teaches her a technique of picturing a brick wall in her mind. Meanwhile, the Doc and tony Stark are en route to the women's location in Tony's private jet.
At that moment, thanks to the Leader's mental influence, the Hulk arrives at his location. The women watch as the gamma-spawned man-monster begins to dig into the ground. Nadia scans the area and discovers that they are standing over a long abandoned missile silo and deduces that there is something important being stored there. Learning that the silo's name is KR-39, Betty recalls that as the code name that the leader of Home Base gave himself, and realizes this is where the Leader has been hiding out this whole time. Looking around, they find a ventilation shaft and use it to get into the facility. Because Betty has a sprained ankle, only Nadia can traverse down the shaft to the bottom. When she does she ends up in the center of the Leader's facility. To her shock and horror the Leader is a massive disembodied head floating in a tank. Having been discovered, the Leader decides he needs an audience for his next transformation and informs Betty how to get down into the facility while they wait for Doc Samson and Tony Stark to arrive. Just then, the Hulk comes bursting in through the ceiling.
The Leader then begins explaining his master plan. With his mind trapped in this dying body he created Home Base with the hopes of getting the Hulk's DNA so he could clone a Hulk body to escape into. Although a powerful telepath, he couldn't just control the Hulk's mind due to its fractured nature until it had been sufficiently worn down. With the cloning facility destroyed, and Banner's mind not susceptible to his mental probes, the Leader decided to lure the Hulk to him and instead transfer his mind into the Hulk's body before his current one expire. Trying to find a way to stop the Leader, Betty pulls out her gun. The villain points out that his tank is bullet proof. So instead, Betty fires on the Hulk, snapping him out of the Leader's control and putting him into a fresh fit of rage. Soon there is a battle of wills as the Leader and Betty Ross fight over dominance of the Hulk's mind. However, before the Hulk can attack Betty, Iron Man arrives on the scene and knocks the brute aside. The Hulk manages to get the upper hand until Doc Samson arrives to even the odds.
While the Hulk is busy battling Iron Man and Doc Samson, Nadia creates a distraction for the Leader while Betty tries to hack his computer systems. However, before Betty can succeed, the Hulk is knocked into the Leader's containment tank, shattering it. As Nadia runs for cover she is impaled by a massive shard of glass. When Nadia dies of her injuries, the Hulk blames Doc Samson for her death and begins to pound on him. Betty's screams to the Hulk to stop it triggers a reversion back to Bruce Banner who is horrified by what he has done. Betty tells Bruce to keep away from Leonard and never come near him again. When Tony Stark tries to point out how Bruce risked his life, Betty doesn't care in light of the fact that Nadia is dead and Leonard was beaten within an inch of his life. When Betty calls Bruce a freak he flees the Leader's base and into the wilderness.
- Betty's reappearance here is a complicated one. Some facts:
- Betty died of radiation poisoning in Incredible Hulk #466. As revealed in Incredible Hulk #473-474 this was due to Betty being injected with the Abomination's Blood.
- The Leader wonders how Betty was brought back to life, which he should know since he and the other members of the Intelligencia were responsible for bringing Betty back to life as seen in Fall of the Hulks: Alpha #1.
- However, some aspects of this storyline are part of the manipulations of Nightmare as a round about way of birthing a child named Daydream as revealed in Incredible Hulk Vol 2 #81.
- Although it appears that the Leader dies here, he cheats death once again. He manages to cheat death thanks to the intervention of the Intelligencia, also seen in Fall of the Hulks: Alpha #1.
- The series went on a brief hiatus after this issue, with the next issue published March 2005.
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