Appearing in "The Power of the Word"
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Synopsis for "The Power of the Word"
Jennifer Walters flight from Florida to Los Angeles lands. As she is getting off the plane she thinks how she shouldn’t be brooding over having to leave Richard Rory. She thinks how even he says that life goes on. She hopes that she will see him again soon. Jen sees Zapper and waves to him. Zapper says that it is good to see her. Zapper and Jen hug. Jen says that she missed him. Zapper says that is a relief he says that when they talked on the phone that all she could talk about was Rory. He says that she didn’t even mention missing him.
As they get in Zapper’s car, Zapper asks Jen where her southern drawl is. Jen says that he wasn’t gone that long. Zapper says that depends on your viewpoint. Jen asks what he means. Zapper says to forget it. As they drive along, Jen asks Zapper if he has heard from his friend at UCLA yet. Zapper says that there are no results on her blood sample yet. Jen says that her transformations into the She-Hulk are becoming more spontaneous and uncontrollable. She says that she is afraid. Zapper thinks to himself that Jen is confiding in him, but that she isn’t coming to him for comfort. He thinks how that is tearing him apart. He wonders why his being younger makes such a difference to her, and that though they grew up together that he is not her kid brother. Jen asks what is the matter and says that he hasn’t said anything in fifteen minutes. Zapper says that he was just thinking. Zapper mentions how Jen told him that Rory won his money in Vegas. He asks her if she wants to bet that he blew it all by now. Jen tells Zapper to stop, and that he is making her angry. Zapper says that she gets so touchy whenever he mentions Rory. Jen says that Zapper doesn’t even know him, and that she resents his flippant tone. Jen grabs her head and feels her blood pressure rise. Zapper tells Jen not to think that he is jealous of Rory. He says that from what she told him about Rory that he sounds like a real zero, and that he is a perfect ten. He says that Rory can’t compare to the next Einstein of medicine. He asks Jen if he is right, but sees her clutching her head. He asks if she is all right. She-Hulk says that no she is not all right. Zapper says that he was only joking. She-Hulk asks if he calls his sophomoric barbs humor. Zapper swerves in traffic. He tells her to get a hold of herself. She-Hulk says that she should get a hold of him, but that his crossbar on his Jeep will do. She-Hulk says that she wants to wring his scrawny neck, but that this should teach him not to make her angry. She-Hulk bends the steel bar into a knot. Zapper says that it has. He thinks to himself that Jen was right, and that her transformations are worse than he has ever seen. He thinks that he hopes his friend finds something when he analyzes her blood. Zapper gets She-Hulk home. She just gets out of the car and slams the door.
Inside her home, Jen’s phone is ringing. She-Hulk answers. Buck Bukowski says that it is about time she answered the phone. He tells her who is calling. She-Hulk says that she thought she recognized his egotistical braying. She asks him what he wants. Buck asks if she is okay, and says that it sounds like she has a cold. She-Hulk tells him to get to the point. Buck says that he has been trying to reach her for days. Buck says that there is a couple that wants to reclaim their kid from a quasi-religious group that revolves around a guy that calls himself The Word. She asks what this has to do with her. Buck says that he is referring it to her as a “let bygones be bygones” present. He says that he will see her at the office tomorrow, but that she had better clam down or she will blow the case. She-Hulk shouts that she is calm and destroys the phone as she slams the receiver down. She-Hulk wonders why she talked to Buck like that. She says that he does rub her the wrong way, but that it seems like everything makes her angry lately. She-Hulk thinks about when she was a girl and dreamed of righting wrongs. She says that now she is a fugitive falsely accused of murder, but that is nothing compared to the seething rage she feels over the least annoyance. She-Hulk feels like she is losing control, and that there is nothing she can do about it.
The next day at UCLA, Ralph is telling Zapper that he fed the blood analysis through the computer and got a weird read out. Zapper asks him what it means. Ralph says that he doesn’t know, and that no one in the entire medical faculty knows. Zapper says that someone has to know. Zapper says that they can’t have come this far only to be stopped because they can’t decode it. Ralph says that Zapper acts as if it is a matter of life and death. Zapper says that it is, but covers and says that it is his thesis. He thanks Ralph for his help. Ralph says that he sent a copy to the experimental radiology department. He says that they have a guy there that is supposed to be a genius. Zapper and Ralph walk to the building. Outside are two guards posted. Zapper says that this guy must be a genius if they are afraid the Russians will grab him. Ralph says that the guards are there to keep him from getting out.
At the law offices, Bukowski introduces Jennifer to Mr. and Mrs. Harrison. Mr. Harrison asks Jen to forgive them for hesitating, but that from Bukowski’s description that they were expecting a weirdo. Mrs. Harrison says that was sort of it. Mr. Harrison explains that Randolph, their son, is a hippie. He says that they thought that someone like him could help them understand what happened. He says that Randolph left three months ago to listen to a lecture by a man called the Word. He says that they haven’t heard from him since, and that they believe that he has been brainwashed by the Word. Mrs., Harrison starts to cry, and says that Mr. Bukowski said there was nothing they could do about it legally. She asks Jen if she will help them get their son back. Jen says that she needs more details. She says that she needs more facts. She says that she can’t promise anything, but that she will do her best.
After a two hour briefing, Jen is walking the Harrisons to the door. She asked Bukowski to stay behind. After the Harrisons have left, Jen takes Buck’s hand and apologizes for snapping at him. Buck tells Jen to save the apology. He says that he knows how flighty females are. He says that she can just thank him for referring the case to her. Jen asks why he didn’t take it. Buck says that there is no proof of criminal intent. He says that the kid is an adult, and that it is a civil case. He says that if she actually finds something illegal that the DA’s office will step in, and that he will take over. Jen says that Buck set him up. She says that he doesn’t care about the Harrisons. She calls him a worm and tells him to get out and stay out. Jen slams the door. Jen starts to feel the change coming on. She thinks about grabbing a tranquilizer, but decides against it. She says that drugs don’t solve problems, they disguise them. Jen admits that she has a problem. The change fades. Jen thinks to herself that she feels weaker and woozier with each transformation. She thinks that she could end up dead, and thinks of the hope she has pinned on Zapper.
Outside the genius’ door, Zapper asks Ralph if it is okay that he goes in to see the guy alone. Ralph tells Zapper to suit himself, but to remember that he owes him a favor. Zapper knocks on the door and enters. He says that he is looking for a professor who is supposed to be scanning a blood sample for him. The man looking into the microscope says that he is that man. He introduces himself as Dr. Michael Morbius. He asks Zapper if it is his blood. Zapper says that it isn’t important whose blood it is. Morbius calls Zapper a fool. Morbius says that Zapper is a fool. He says that he doesn’t know who he is trying to protect, but that there is a degenerative disease in the person’s bloodstream. He says that unless it is halted soon that Zapper’s friend will die.
Jen has rented a car and is driving out to the world headquarters of the Word. She notices that it is designed like a fortress. She guesses that the best way inside is to pretend that she wants to enroll. He figures that once she finds Randolph that she will have him sign the papers she prepared saying that he is being held against his will. She says that if he doesn’t that she will lose the case, and that his parents will lose their son. Jen is greeted at the door by a clean cut man with orange hair. She says that she called earlier. The man tells her to follow him and he will show her that it is wonderful to know the way of the Word. As she is given the tour, Jen notes that everything is clean and bright. The guide says that surroundings affect the mind and emotions. He says that the right thought can only be produced in the right environment. Jen asks what he means by “right thought”. He explains about PMA; positive mental attitude. Jen says that a friend of hers named Randolph is there, and asks if she could see him. The man says that she can later. The guide excuses himself as it is almost time for the day’s lecture. He thinks to himself that he has to warn the Word.
The man walks up to another seated man. The seated man in the Word. The guide tells the Word that he thinks that they have trouble. The Word asks Randolph what he means. Randolph says that a Jennifer Walters claims to be a friend of his, but that he has never seen her before. He says that he thinks she is a spy sent by his parents. The Word tells Randolph to just go along with whatever she wants. He tells him that the best defense is a good offense.
The audience sits rapt with attention as the Word walks out onto the stage. Even Jen feels an odd sensation as he speaks. The Word says that everyone can banish doubt, fear, and failure. He says that all they have to do is follow his way. Jen says that it seems like everyone accepts the glib solution to their problems. She hopes that when she meets Randolph that she can convince him that this is the wrong way to face life. The Word goes on. He says that years ago he was the editor of one of the world’s largest unabridged dictionaries. He says that he immersed himself in the meanings of millions of words. He says that words were his life until one day he began to see beyond them. He says that is when he finally perceived the truth. He says that words mean nothing by themselves. He says that words are merely tools that he intends to use to get everything he wants. He goes on to say that he became a DJ, and that within months he became number one. He says that his words made him a master salesman, and that no one could refuse him anything. He says that every raise that he wanted from his boss he got. He says that no demand was too excessive, and that he drove the company to bankruptcy. He says that is only the beginning of the secret behind his power. The Word introduces the ultimate achievement of the power he preaches within his daughter. The Word says that from her earliest youth that he taught his daughter in the ways of mental discipline. He taught her to exploit all her sensory abilities. He says that day after day she exercised to become what she is today. He says that she is now a woman in complete control of herself, and that she has become as a result a superhuman. The Word’s daughter says that she detects doubt, and asks if she should demonstrate. She steps in front of a car and says that it weighs thousands of pounds, but that through her father’s teachings she has learned that mass is meaningless. She lifts the car up into the air with one hand. Randolph whispers to Jen that while everyone is watching that they should slip outside.
Outside, Jen asks if he is going to help her find Randolph Harrison now. Randolph reveals his identity and says that there were too many witnesses before. He asks what she wants. Jen says that his parents were afraid that he was being held prisoner at this place. She says that they can help him escape if he will just sign the papers she brought saying he is being held against his will. Randolph asks if he signs the paper that he can walk away from there. Jen says that the papers will legally give them a fighting chance against the Word. Randolph says that he will do it. He asks how his parents are. Jen says that they are well, but that they are very worried for him. Randolph seems surprised. He sys that they never got along when he lived at home. Jen says that doesn’t mean that they don’t love him. Suddenly, the Word’s daughter, Ultima, approaches. Ultima says that she has found Randolph and that he is with another girl. She says that he had better have a good explanation. Randolph says that it isn’t like that. Ultima says that she has eyes to see. Jen says that Ultima has a brain, but that she obviously isn’t thinking. Ultima says that they will see what Jen has to say once she takes her to her father for interrogation. She says that once he is done with her that she won’t be bothering Randolph or anyone else again. Ultima picks Jen up under one arm. Jen tells Ultima to let her go before it is too late. Ultima says that she has nothing to fear from Jen. Jen thinks to herself that it isn’t her she should fear, but the She-Hulk. Jen breaks Ultima’s grip and rolls under some bushes. Ultima orders her to come out, but instead of Jen coming out it is the She-Hulk. She-Hulk punches Ultima to the ground. Ultima says that she will pay for striking the daughter of the Word. Ultima realizes that She-Hulk isn’t the girl she captured. She-Hulk introduces herself and tells Ultima to get out of her way. Ultima charges She-Hulk and says that she will knock her out with one blow, and that she will then recapture the interloper. She-Hulk punches Ultima and knocks her back down. She-Hulk asks Ultima where her big speeches are now. She tells her to get up, and that she is the one that wanted to fight. She-Hulk realizes that she is acting like a fool, and that she has to escape with the statement. She-Hulk runs at a stone wall and leaps right over it.
She-Hulk runs from the compound. She says that Jen Walters has her court case, and that the Harrisons will have their son back.
- 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 shortlived as he is returned to his vampiric state in Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #10.
- Ralph Hutchins names himself Ralph Owens in this story.
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