Appearing in "Lifesblood"
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Synopsis for "Lifesblood"
The people of Atlantis are dying of an illness called the Black Tide, a plague that has been borne of pollution to the ocean caused by the surface world. This has the Sub-Mariner on edge because he knows not to do to save his people and the most vulnerable members of his society are dying, including children. When Namor returns to his kingdom he learns that his longtime advisor, Lord Vashti, has been infected with the Black Tide. No longer wishing to be a burden to the rest of Atlantis, Vashti has made the decision to leave Atlantis, despite the Sub-Mariner's protests.
Meanwhile, at the surface of the ocean, Bruce Banner has taken a boat out into the middle of the ocean. He is still depressed over the loss of his wife, Betty, and has come to shoot himself in the head. However, he cannot bring himself to do it and ends up shooting up the floor of his boat, causing it to take on water and sink. Before Banner can do anything about it, the boat sinks, and with his foot caught up in some rope, he begins to sink as well. Running out of break, Bruce panics and transforms into the Hulk. However, the Hulk cannot get to the surface fast enough and passes out due to lack of oxygen. Some time later, the Hulk wakes up in the laboratory of Zantor who has saved the Hulk's life with a water breathing elixir, which has turned the Hulk's skin blue. As Zantor experiments on the Hulk, he believes that this is the weapon his master has been looking for to overthrow the Sub-Mariner and take over Atlantis. As the Hulk awakes, Zantor inserts a sonar bat-fish into the brute's throat so that he can communicate with underwater. Furious at being experimented on, the Hulk breaks free from his bonds. The Hulk decides to spare the scientist as he saved his life and jumps out of the ship. This leaves him to wonder how he will get to the surface before the elixir wears off. Zantor's master is furious that the Hulk escaped, however, the scientist explains that he was able to harvest something from the Hulk while he was unconscious and that will be the key to their victory after he has tested it on their prisoner, Lord Vashti.
Hours later, the Hulk continues to walk the bottom of the ocean to try and figure out where he is. When he comes across a sunken Nazi battleship he realizes he is somewhere in the middle of the Atlantis. He is suddenly attacked by the Sub-Mariner, who blames the Hulk for an attack on Atlantis. The two come to blows, the Hulk learns that Namor's foe has utilized his blood for something which makes him even angrier. He is about to beat Namor into submission when they are both interrupted by Vashti, who has turned into a Hulk-like being thanks to an injection of the Hulk's blood. The Hulk tries to explain that he had nothing to do with this and will put and end to it. When he tries to attack Vashti, the Sub-Mariner won't let him come to harm. He will not allow Vashti to be killed by his hand, like his wife Marrina some time earlier. The Hulk can understand and the pair work together to wrap Vashti up in the sunken ship's anchors. No sooner is Vashti contained does he change back to normal. The Hulk also changes back into Bruce Banner, and the ocean pressure threatens to crush his weaker frame. Discovering that he is dying, Bruce Banner blissfully falls unconscious.
However, he soon wakes up alive in Atlantis, saved thanks to the Sub-Mariner and his team of scientists. Bruce is upset that he was saved, telling Namor he wants to die. Left alone with the prince of Atlantis, Bruce tells him why. Later, Bruce learns that the Hulk's blood cleansed Vashti's body of all traces of the Black Tide. Warlord Seth explains that Hulk's blood, combined with the Atlantean's unique physiology cures the Black Tide. However, Zantor has taken a large quantity of the Hulk's blood and given it to their greatest enemy. Suddenly, Atlantis is attacked again by Attuma, who has used the Hulk's blood to transform himself into a massive gamma-mutate of phenomenal strength. The Sub-Mariner has come out to battle Attuma, but despite his great strength, is no matched for his long-time foe. Bruce turns into the Hulk again and joins Namor in his battle. During the fight, they both notice how Attuma hasn't reverted back to normal like Vashti. Namor goes to find Zantor to find out why, leaving the Hulk to battle Attuma alone. Soon, the Sub-Mariner returns and warns the Hulk that Attuma has packs filled with the Hulk's blood being fed directly into his stomach. The Hulk finds these blood packs and forcibly removes them. This takes all the fight out of Attuma, who the Sub-Mariner decides to leave alive so he can suffer this defeat.
The blood packs have enough of the Hulk's plasma to cure everyone in Atlantis of the Black Tide and the Hulk is hailed a hero. Suddenly, the Hulk changes back into Bruce Banner again, who is once more vulnerable of the ocean's pressures. With the elixir wearing off, Banner is given a diving suit to survive while he works to create a device that will emit trace amounts of gamma rays to prevent anyone from catching the Black Tide again. Banner is visited by a young family whose infant daughter was saved from the Black Tide. When they offer to name the child Banner, he tells them to name her after his late wife Betty instead. As Namor prepares to return Bruce to the surface, Vashti orders the scientists to disassemble the gamma projector. He explains that gamma radiation is far too dangerous to trust.
- This story takes place between pages 11 and 12 of Incredible Hulk #467.
- The Black Tide certainly became a problem to the people of Atlantis starting in Marvel Team-Up Vol 2 #9-11.
- Bruce and Betty got married in Incredible Hulk #319. She died of gamma radiation poisoning in Incredible Hulk #465. Banner blames himself, however as revealed in Incredible Hulk #473, she was really poisoned by the Abomination. Betty's death proves short-lived as she resurfaces alive again in Incredible Hulk Vol 2 #60.
- The Sub-Mariner mentions the death of his wife Marrina. Namor married Marrina in Alpha Flight #40. However, she was killed in battle in Avengers #293. Marrina is eventually brought back to life, as seen in Avengers Vol 3 #47.
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