Appearing in "In the Shadow of Death!"
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Synopsis for "In the Shadow of Death!"
The She-Hulk has collapsed in an alley after her fight with Ultima. With no more adrenaline to sustain her, she has fallen victim to the deadly blood disease that is threatening to take her life. As a sign of her weakness, the She-Hulk's skin color is a much paler shade of green that almost looks bluish. Her friend Zapper is vainly trying to get her away so she can meet Michael Morbius, who is the only man who can save her life. But while it would be fairly easy to carry off Jen Walters, the She-Hulk is much heavier and she is not changing back. He pleads with her to wake and leave with him before the police arrive. She shrugs him off and says she doesn't need any help. Unfortunately, by the time she agrees to go off with Zapper, the cops show up. She tells Zapper to run off while she tries to jump onto a fire escape. Unfortunately, she is so weak that she cannot pull herself up and she falls down on top of the police officers in the alley. The cops are amazed that they managed to capture the She-Hulk so easily, but they don't question their good luck. They carry her off into the paddy wagon and expect that all of them will be getting promotions soon.
Back at the LAPD headquarters, Sheriff Morris Walters is again vowing that one day he will put the She-Hulk behind bars. To his surprise, he finds that his men have achieved his goal as they carry the She-Hulk into the jail cell as he was standing outside. He orders his men to get a blanket to cover her up since he won't have a "half-naked savage padding around in one of my cells!" Morris then gets on the telephone to try and contact his daughter Jennifer. He heard what a fiasco the Word trial became and he wants to be there when she needs him the most. However, his secretary tells him that she can't be reached. She-Hulk appreciates the irony that she really IS here, but her father doesn't recognize her because she's the She-Hulk. Hiding her true condition, the She-Hulk threatens the policeman who comes in to offer her a blanket. He then tells Morris that the She-Hulk is awake.
Morris tells the man to leave and confronts the She-Hulk alone. He shows her a copy of the L.A. Tribune with the headline "Mass Murderer Held at UCLA" and a picture of Michael Morbius. He tells her that Morbius is a murderer like the She-Hulk and that if he gets his way, both of them will receive capital punishment. He considers this one of his proudest days as a lawman. As he leaves, She-Hulk wonders if her father would feel the same way if he knew her secret identity, or that Morbius was the only person who could save her life. Normally, breaking out of this jail cell would be no problem for her, but she feel so weak that she doesn't know if she can do it.
Back at UCLA, there is a group of protesters demanding that Michael Morbius should be behind bars instead of being held in custody. One woman in particular gets so agitated that one of the police officers takes her away so that she does not incite a riot. He doesn't know that Angela was just acting as a distraction so that her husband could sneak inside and kill Morbius, who murdered their daughter. Inside the building, Michael Morbius watches as the solution in a beaker turns red, which means that he has finally found the cure for which he has long sought. Many years ago, he created a similar serum to cure himself of a degenerative blood disease. While he was cured of the disease, the serum changed him into a vampire and he was forced to kill many people to sate his appetite for human blood. Having been recently struck by lightning, most of Morbius' condition has been reversed and he is no longer a vampire. However, he still lusts for human blood, and this new serum could cure him. However, it is the same cure that Jennifer Walters needs to save her life, and if Morbius drinks it all now, there will be nothing left for her and no time to synthesize more before her condition kills her. He runs out of the lab to remove himself from the temptation of drinking the serum, but he doesn't know how long it will be before he can resist the urge to drink human blood.
Morris is arranging to transport the She-Hulk from the county jail to San Quentin, where he is sure that even the She-Hulk cannot escape. The She-Hulk knows that Morris is more right than he knows, because if she doesn't get treatment soon, she could die before she even reaches the prison. She gets up from her cot and tries to pull apart the metal bars that are blocking her window. At first, she can't do it, but then she tries again and manages to pry them loose. The She-Hulk crawls out of the window, but is close to blacking out. As she attempts to climb down the wall, she loses consciousness and falls into some bushes at the bottom. Just at this moment, assistant district attorney Dennis "Buck" Bukowski pulls into a parking space where there is fifteen minutes left on a meter. He has requested to prosecute the case against the She-Hulk and has come to the county jail to gloat over the She-Hulk. He holds a grudge against her since the She-Hulk has destroyed two of his previous cars and his insurance has gone through the roof. At this moment, the She-Hulk wakes up and tells Buck to climb out of his car or she will rip the top off and drag him out. Buck hands her the keys and begs her not to wreck the car. Just before she drives off, the She-Hulk makes a crack about how Buck needs to get a car with decent leg room. Buck punches the parking meter in anger and hurts his hand.
Zapper arrives at the UCLA lab where Michael Morbius is being held in custody. He sees a guard outside unconscious and when he takes a closer look, Zapper sees two puncture wounds on his neck. He rushes off to find Morbius before the cops do because he still needs the vampire to save Jen's life. As he runs off, he does not see the guard rise to his feet. Morbius did indeed attack the guard and bite his neck, but he did not drink the man's blood. Not far away, Morbius is catching his breath now that his moment of bloodlust has passed. A voice tells him to turn around. It is the father of the girl Morbius killed years ago. The man tells Morbius that he saw him kill the guard (not realizing that he isn't dead), but when he did so Morbius eliminated the last person who could stop him from taking his revenge and he attacks the doctor. Actually, there is one more person who can help at this point, but he picks the wrong side. Zapper sees the two men struggling and wrongly assumes that Morbius is trying to kill the enraged father rather than the other way around. Zapper rushes in and grabs Morbius who calls him a fool. At this point Zapper notices that Morbius incisors are normal-sized and not fangs, and that the "victim" he was helping is now brandishing a knife. He tells Morbius how two years ago his daughter was returning home from her first date when she was killed by the living vampire. Morbius would not remember seeing him that night, but he would never forget his daughter's last scream or holding his baby while her life faded away. Now he has the chance to make sure that her killer is punished. Zapper pleads with the man not to kill Morbius since he is the only one who can save his dying friend. A remorseful Morbius sympathizes with the man's anger, but he confirms Zapper's story. He tells the man that he can have his revenge after her saves Jennifer's life. The vengeful father thinks this is just a sob story to save Morbius' life, and gets ready to stab the former vampire.
She-Hulk is driving towards Morbius' lab at UCLA, relieved that Buck believed her bluff. She is so weak now she doesn't think she could swat a fly, let alone rip the hood off the car. In a few minutes she will get the treatment she needs, but fate has other plans. A truck to She-Hulk's left drives over a nail-studded board and blows out the right front tire, causing him to veer toward She-Hulk. She puts on the brakes to avoid getting forced off the road. But ahead of her, an old woman is crossing the street in front of the truck that can't stop in time. She-Hulk sees only one thing to do… she jams on the accelerator and steers hard to the left, overturning the truck and bringing it to a halt before the old woman. However, She-Hulk cannot stop her car and it careens out of control into a ravine. The old woman and the truck driver are unhurt, although the elderly woman faints once she realizes the magnitude of what has just occurred. Buck's Triumph, like his other two cars, is a total wreck and there does not appear to be any survivors. That might indeed be the case were the car not being driven by the Savage She-Hulk! She slowly drags herself away from the car and climbs out of the ravine where she can now see UCLA.
In a few agonizing minutes, She-Hulk is finally in Morbius' lab where there is nobody waiting for her. While she wonders if she has come to the right place, the phone rings. The emerald Amazon staggers toward the wall phone but collapses. Buck is on the other end, trying to contact Jennifer as Sheriff Walters requested. He previously phoned her home and office and is now trying the phone number she left in her purse after she fled from court during the disastrous trial against the Word. Now he's really worried.
Just outside the lab, time is running out for Michael Morbius. The father is telling Zapper to get out of the way or he will kill him as well as Morbius. Morbius also tells Zapper that there is no use reasoning with the man, and that he will have to accept this man's punishment. Fortunately, the cavalry arrives. The guard Michael attacked has returned with a fellow cop. They make the same mistake Zapper did earlier and assume that Morbius is the bad guy. They tell him to freeze and the other guy to beat it. Zapper tries to tell the cops the truth but by the time the police think he might be telling the truth, the other guy is long gone. Morbius has no time for that, he wants to save Jennifer's life and he hopes that she is in the laboratory by now. They find She-Hulk collapsed underneath the phone. Zapper finds that she is still alive, but that her pulse is erratic. Zapper urges Morbius to hurry, and he says he is working as fast as he can. In truth, the serum is already prepared, but Morbius is resisting the urge to drink it himself. Zapper tells She-Hulk that she will soon be all right thanks to Dr. Morbius. Those last words finally sway the doctor and he gives Zapper the serum. Morbius says it will be a few minutes before it takes effect and is surprised to hear She-Hulk say that she still feels weak before losing consciousness. Morbius fears that because he waited so long to give her the serum that it may be too late. Zapper asks what is happening, and Morbius tells him that that serum was her only hope. If it has failed her, then nothing can save her.
- She-Hulk makes a quip about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series. At the time this story was published the Cub hadn't won the World Series since 1906. Their inability to win the pennant was something of a running joke among sporting enthusiasts. However, the Cubs have since won the World Series in 2016. As such, this should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- Buck Buckowski mentions the past two times that the She-Hulk wrecked his cars. This happened in Savage She-Hulk #2 and #5 respectively.
- Michael Morbius is referred to as a mass-murderer here because he was transformed into Morbius the Living Vampire back in Amazing Spider-Man #101. At the time of this story he had just recently been cured of his vampirism in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #38. His cure is short lived as he is returned to his vampiric state in Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #10.
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