TALES TO ASTONISH #90-91:
Emil Blonsky has led a tragic and convoluted live every since the spy mission he undertook in the Spring of 1967 to steal secrets from General Ross's missile base to sell behind the "Bamboo Curtain." First he tried three separate attempts at sabotage, then he tried to abduct the General's daughter, Betty. In disguise of one of Ross's soldiers, under the pretense of searching for the saboteur, he ducks into a lab in order to take pictures of Bruce Banner's gamma ray machine. Unexpectedly, Banner himself enters the lab, and turns the machine on. He steps in front of it and is just about to fire it when the real soldiers enter and take him into custody.
After they have gone, Blonsky steps out from his place of concealment, positions himself where Banner had been and, noticing the foot control on the floor, activates the apparatus... "and then, the incredible occurs once more!" He changes into a green, scaly monster but, unlike Banner, retains his own intelligence. Because he was subjected to a more intense dosage of gamma rays than Banner had received, under controlled circumstances, he emerged from the machine stronger than the Hulk.
As soon as Betty Ross sees him she dubs him an "abomination" and the name sticks. He gets into a violent altercation with the Hulk and beats him to death... or nearly to death in any case. Not knowing whether or not he can survive a missile attack, the newly-dubbed Abomination flees the scene, taking Betty Ross with him. The base medical doctor is unable to help, but Rick Jones suggests that attaching gamma electrodes to the Hulks chest may revive him. It does, but the Hulk has no interest in helping General Ross, until he finds out that Betty is in danger. At that point, due to the sincerity of Rick Jones' plea, the Hulk changes back to Bruce Banner.
Banner whips up a device which will not only draw the Abomination back to them, but will also drain him of his gamma radiation. The plan works, up until the point Banner loses control, becomes the Hulk and smashes the equipment. At this point, the Abomination and the Hulk are equally strong, but the Hulk is much more savage, more brutal, and handily beats the Abomination in their second match. Then an alien called the Stranger arrives and take the Abomination away with him.
"He who is called the Abomination is truly evil," the Stranger declares. "That, coupled with his Hulkish power, should make him the hireling I seek. Thus, I shall bring him to me--for he will not be missed upon the Earth! Mankind--farewell! The Stranger has other interests-- in other worlds! As the Abomination hurtles to my side, I leave you--as I found you--free to seek your own destiny!"
This appearance is so minor it barely even counts, but I read it so here it is. The Hulk/Abomination fight is basically a scene from a larger overall story which we need not go into at this time. It begins with the Abomination (wearing a "trenchcoat & hat" disguise) watching TV coverage of the Hulk's latest rampage through a department store's show front window. Vowing revenge for Hulk #431-432, he is surprised when the Hulk lands next to him and starts watching the coverage, too. They fight. The Abomination is fighting the Hulk but the Hulk is hallucinating fighting earlier versions of himself. the fight carries them into the Queens/Midtown tunnel. Eventually, the Hulk hits the Abomination so hard he flies through the ceiling, out of the East River and disappears over the horizon.
Here's another one I didn't buy.
Wikipedia says that the Abomination "[encounters] the Angel when the mutant visits the sewers in which he was once captured and maimed during the 'Fall of the Mutants' storyline."
Before I get to today's post, a few words about Joe Casey. Peter David had a long (eleven years) and successful run as writer of the Hulk. There was a time (IMO) that The Incredible Hulk was virtually the only title published by Marvel worth reading. I no longer remember the reasons behind PAD's departure, but I seem to recall it was against his will. In any case, it takes a lot of hutzpah to follow a run like that. Not only that, but Casey was engaged to be the Hulk's interim writer, filling the gap until the new creative team could be chosen and announced. As it turned out, Marvel opted to go with a "new number one" rather than having the new team start with #475, so Casey ending up writing the last issue of a series that had been around (although not quite consecutively) for some 37 years.
The big change to the status quo this time is that Betty Banner is dead. One of the last things Peter David did before leaving the title was to kill her off (in #466). Then, in #467 (his last issue), he put in place a situation (her body was cremated) which would make it difficult for a future writer to resurrect her (which was overturned in the two-page preview of Joe Casey's run that very issue). As Peter David left it, Betty died of long-term exposure to gamma radiation, pointing to Bruce Banner as the culprit.
At the beginning of Casey's run, Bruce Banner's investigation reveals that he is not, in fact, responsible for his wife's death, but he is unable to determine who is before being swept up in an adventure of his own. (Readers, however, know that Emil Blonsky is the killer.) Meanwhile, using a gamma tracer, General Ross follows the trail of his daughter's killer to Constellation, AZ, which is under attack by a gamma-powered being. he arrives to find, not the Hulk, but the Abomination, who freely admits to killing Betty. Blaming Banner for his wife, Nadia, rejecting him, revenge was his motive for killing Betty. This revelation doesn't quite jibe with Peter David's set-up; PAD clearly intended Bruce Banner to be the responsible party. Joe Casey's resolution has it that Banner is responsible for her getting sick, but not responsible for her death.
At that point, the Hulk (returned from his adventure) appears on the scene but, for reasons of his own, choses not to fight. Banner and the General have a reconciliation of sorts, and Ross visits the cryogenic chamber where Betty's dead-but-not-cremated body is being kept.
The Abomination, in this story, appears to be completely healed from the toxic chemicals the Hulk dumped on him back in #364. I don't know if he was somehow cured in X-Men #74 (the sewer mutants do have a healer among them, IIRC) or if Marvel simply "forgot" he had been maimed (or grew tired of it and decided to ignore it), but his appearance is somewhat different here. In addition to his "melted" skin and ears being better now, the bump pattern on his head has been replaced with little "craters," and there are fewer of them. His scales have grow back, but he also has "lines" on his legs and torso. (The ones on his legs are horizontal, and the ones on his torso are vertical, converging at his groin.) He leaps away and Ross lets him go.
"She got better."
Jeff of Earth-J said:
The big change to the status quo this time is that Betty Banner is dead.
GENERAL ROSS'S EULOGY / SOLILOQUY:
#467: "I couldn't let them do it... wouldn't let them do it. We mourned... grieved over ashes... my uncle's. You see, I know something they don't... a truth that escapes them... Nothing is forever. Death is a temporary state. I should know... but I don't have the power to bring you back. There's something I have to do. and now that it's come to this... I can move forward with no hesitation... For the first time in my life, everything is clear. I have my objective. I have my focus. And I won't lose it again.
"That's what you've given me, sweetheart. I'm not one for sentiment... so this will be the last time I will visit you until he's dead*... I won't call him by name in your presence. I've done what I could for you. I've laid your body to rest down here. No one will ever know. I... don't know what else I can do... except have my satisfaction. an eye for an eye. A pound of his flesh. That much I promise you.
"I salute you, my daughter. Be as brave in death as you were in life."
*It won't be. He visits her again, after he learns Banner is innocent, in...
#474: "Hello, Betty... I know I'm... going back on my word. I taught you never to do that. I told you I wouldn't come back to see you... until he was dead. Well... he's not. I'd like to think that a man gains some measure of clarity as the years roll on... apparently not, though. Turns out I'm as stubborn as I've always been. there's quite a bit I've just now come to accept... about the situation as it stands... as it always stood... I wish you could hear me... So beautiful... just like your mother...
"I've taken my responsibility for my part in all this, just as he has. but I suppose I'm as guilty as anyone else. Sucj a strange, tragic way of life. shades of gray. No easy answers. You knew that better than any of us... better than him... better than me... and you stayed anyway. I'm done. rest in Peace, daughter. You honor me."
At Doc Samson's suggestion, Bruce Banner works through his feelings for Betty in a letter. It wasn't he who forgave the Abomination in #474 of the previous series; it was his "Professor" persona. Meanwhile, in a small New Hampshire town near the Duncan Reservoir, Emil Blonsky is teaching a Saturday afternoon writing class at the local public library. He teaches wearing a hooded cape and scarf, allowing his students to think he has "some kind of skin cancer." This is an extension of his "scholarly" persona (as introduced by Peter David in Hulk Annual #20). Blonsky even tells another fanciful "fairy tale" of his life, but it's difficult to reconcile this "kinder, gentler" Abomination with his '60s and '70s characterization.
Regarding the character's appearance (under his "disguise"), he is now completely healed from the toxic waste. The bumps on his head are back, lumpier than ever. (I'm going to chalk the "craters" up to artistic license.) His scales have largely been replaced by segmented sections, but now they all run horizontal. (His skin now looks more like a snake's belly than a snake's back.) He also sleeps underwater every night in the reservoir near the dam. (This is an ability he's never demonstrated before, but it tracks.) He is still stalking his ex-wife (by phone), but she doesn't know he's alive.
General Ross tries to reconcile with Banner. He tells him that he knows where the Abomination, that he's under surveillance, and that one of his men is undercover in Blonsky's class, but Banner, under Len Samson's care, has come to terms with Betty's death. Then Ross takes Banner to the room in which he's secretly keeping Betty's corpse, which he hasn't visited (as far as we know) since #474. Banner loses it, and transforms into his "Hulk Smash!" persona, which is just what Ross intended. "Go gettim, killer."
The Hulk catches up to the Abomination and their fight carries them to the reservoir. They eventually break though the dam, flooding the town, but Ross has had it evacuated. The Abomination taunts the Hulk and the Hulk beats him so viciously he dislodges an eyeball and probably fractures his skull. The Banner side of the Hulk's persona realizes what he is doing and takes control, transforming back to his human self. Later, Banner visits him in his cell, confined to a chair which delivers electric shocks when he fights against it. The Abomination is completely unrepentant (more like his "old" self), taunting Banner again about the "pound of flesh" he extracted (which makes what Banner's about to do all the more fitting).
Banner reveals that Blonsky was under U.S. surveillance for years before he came to America and became the Abomination. General Ross has unearthed sound footage of him and Nadia on the night before he left for what would be his last spy mission. She declares her everlasting love for him as he screams and strains against his bonds. Banner leaves with the clip playing on a never-ending loop. The Abomination begs for mercy, but Banner is firm.
"You did it to yourself, Emil. And you're going to have to live with the consequences. You're going to taste that pound of flesh you took from me every day for the rest of your life. I hope you choke on it."
With this issue, Paul Jenkins brings to an end the "Dead Betty" arc begun (by Joe Casey, not Peter David) in Hulk #467.
HULK #50-54 - "Dark Mind, Dark Hearts"
We're up to 2003 now, the Bruce Jones era. I will admit to kind of "losing the story" on a month-to-month basis at this point, yet never until today have I gone back to reread the series. It's a complex story; let's see what sense I can make out of it. Bruce Banner is on the run. Online he is known as "Mr. Green" and he communicates via laptop with his only ally, "Mr. Blue." He is being pursued by a clandestine organization known only as "Home Base" who want a sample of the Hulk's blood for their own purposes. Home Base has sent two field operatives, S-2 (a man) and S-3 (a woman), to recruit the Abomination to their cause. They infiltrate the base where he's being held (still watching the surveillance footage of him and his wife on a loop), and shoot an explosive device into his carotid artery to ensure his cooperation. If he helps them secure a sample of the hulk's blood, they promise to remove the explosive and grant him his freedom. He laughs at them.
Meanwhile, outside the nearby town of Entropy (somewhere in the Southwest), Bruce Banner stops at a secluded gas station/restaurant/convenience store for a meal. He strikes up a conversation with the clerk/waitress. It's "payday down at the derrick" and, just then, six rowdies show up and begin harassing the waitress. Bruce intervenes and, tapping the power of the Hulk, drives them away. (He has been practicing certain meditation techniques which allow him and the Hulk to "co-exist" (so to speak) and to "share" control. One thing leads to another, and they end up becoming lovers.
The waitress's name is Nadia and (you guessed it), she's Emil Blonsky's wife. She is in America searching for him, but not for a reunion, for revenge. Emil, it turns out, was an abusive husband (which tracks more than the "poetry-loving lost soul " as established by Peter David and developed by Paul Jenkins). Nadia is also working for Home Base, and it is her job to maneuver the Hulk into battle with the Abomination in the nearby town of Entropy at a given time. Because Agents S-2 and S-3's initial plan to recruit the Abomination didn't work, they take surveillance of Bruce and Nadia making love and show the film to Emil. That works.
Elsewhere, yet another Home Base agent is researching the identity of Mr. Blue. He eventually discovers footage of an unknown woman's face being removed and grafted on to another woman's body. when Home Base sees the footage they immediately recognize the woman as... agent S-3! Back at the service station, Nadia drugs Bruce so that she can send false messages to Mr. Blue through his laptop. Something about the knock-out drug she gave him cause him to "sleepwalk"... as the Hulk. In her fear, she slaps him hard on the face. Fully expecting to be beaten (as her husband would have done), the Hulk does nothing and reverts to Banner. It is at this point she changes her alliegence. When bruce awakens he has no memory of the encounter.
The Abomination is set loose upon the town of entropy, attacking agents S-2 and S-3 before he leaves. When it comes time for Nadia to send Bruce to Entropy, she comes clean about everything, but she intends to confront her ex-husband, and drugs Banner so that he cannot interfere. She is armed with the device which will detonate the bomb in the Abomination's neck but, when she presses the button, it doesn't work. By this time, Banner has shrugged off the effect of the tranquilizer and leaps into town to confront the Abomination.
They whale on each other for most of #54. Agent S-3/Mr. Blue recovers enough to sent a warning to Mr. Green, but he is already fighting the Abomination. Then, not realizing her cover has been blown, contacts Home Base for an extraction, but they disconnect. Suspecting something is fishy, she fakes her own death and substitutes a body for her erstwhile allies to find. I know who Mr. Blue really is (or was, before the "face transplant"), but that's not relevant here, so I'll end by pointing out that the Abomination makes the mistake of taunting the hulk about Betty's death... again... and is beaten to a pulp by the Hulk... again. Later, Nadia and Bruce part on good terms.
According to Wikipedia, the Abomination's next appearance is "a humorous encounter with the demigod Hercules." That doesn't sound very interesting so I'll be giving it a pass. Speaking of Wikipedia, the "Abomination" article is useful for tracking sources but, if you consult it, be aware that it is rife with errors.
HULK DESTRUCTION #1-4:
I remember when this series came out but, by 2005, I wasn't even buying Hulk anymore, so I didn't see the point of buying this mini-series (which touted "Startling secrets of Hulk's most ABOMINABLE FOE revealed at last!"). But I'm on something of a roll (no jokes, Bob), so I picked up the entire mini-series at my LCS yesterday during my weekly run. Besides, I figured, it's by Peter David. How bad could it be? Pretty bad, as it turns out. I'll tell you, if I had bought this new 18 years ago, I would have stopped after the first issue.
Talk about an EYKIW! The U.S. government is considering using the Abomination as a super-powered black ops operative and have sent Doc Samson to do a mental evaluation. General Ross is against the idea, and accompanies Samson. Okay, so far, so good. But #1 treats to an entirely rebooted origin, starting with Ross interviewing and hiring Emil Blonsky for an administrative position on his base. Blonsky gets the job and is eventually promoted to being in charge of the division, and Ross's boss. Doc Samson is also on hand, making the Abomination's debut much later or Samson's much earlier.
I will also mention that the Abomination's appearance has altered drastically. He now has golden skin, except the top of his head which is light brown. And he has a mohawk. It is also that, early in his career, he could transform back and forth from human to Abomination.
Like I said, if I had been buying this series off the rack, I would have stopped at #1 but, since I bought them all at once, I thought I might as well read them. I was prepared to simply disregard #1's EYKIWs and pick up with #2. After all, nothing had really happened (in the present) so far. But the changes just kept coming. He first transformed, not by voluntarily stepping in front of Banner's gamma ray machine, but by touching an improperly sealed bio-container containing a gamma isotope confiscated from Banner's hidden lab.
#2 also "establishes" that Emil Blonsky had two former wives, both named Nadia, one being the dancer/actress whom he adored, and the other being the one from Hulk #50-54 whom he abused. It's a wonder why PAD even bothered to make this distinction in the first place, because he later "reveals" that "Dark Mind, Dark Hearts" was a concoction of Nightmare's from (David's own) "Tempest Fugit" (Hulk #77-81), but if anything is a nightmare, it's this. But I digress. ;)
David introduced a character named Mercy back in #338 whom he has used from time-to-time since. I never particularly cared for that character and usually skip those issues when I am reading in sequence. But he turns issue #3 of Hulk: Destruction over to Mercy and ties her up-until-this-point unrevealed origin in with the Emil Blonsky retcon.
Hulk finally shows up in the last issue and they have their obligatory knock-down drag-out fight. After Hulk wins (as usual), it is determined that the Abomination is too unstable to be used by the Army. Then, in a last-page twist, the secretary of defense enters the Abomination's cell and tosses a folder stamped "N.KOREA" with a picture of Kim Jong-un paperclipped to the front.
This is easily my least favorite PAD story I have ever read.
I was going to leave it there for the day, but I felt the need to cleanse my mental palette.
The Abomination's next appearance is in...
It has been only three months since I last read She-Hulk #15 (albeit from a different perspective), nevertheless it was just what i needed. She-Hulk is an agent of SHIELD at this point and, with her famous cousin missing (off-world, but she doesn't know that), the Abomination has declared himself "the strongest one there is." It falls to She-Hulk to take him down, which she does with the over-the-phone advice of Doc Samson, proving that she's different from her cousin, but equally effective. The Abomination is his classic self here: scales (not segments), bumps on his head, fin-like ears. He is at large as the story opens, which doesn't necessarily jibe with either of his two previous appearances, but I don't really care.
At this point (according to Wikipedia), "Abomination has a subtle but significant role in the 'World war Hulk' storyline, being the source of gamma-irradiated DNA that allows the creation of an anti-Hulk response team." After that, he is "killed" by a character whom I consider to be apocryphal at best. Then he has a surprising number of "life after death" appearances which, similarly, I consider non-canon. All of which brings us to the 2014 Hulk series.
HULK (2014) #1-4:
After more than 30 years of reading The Incredible Hulk, I finally gave it up in 2005 after the pointless, four-issue "House of M" crossover (I wish I had dropped it before), just prior to him being shot into space by the so-called "Illuminati." But because the Hulk was once my favorite character (my very first favorite character, in fact), I feel the need to check in from time-to-time to see if Marvel is publishing Hulk stories I care to read. (Most of the time they are not.) I was drawn to try the "Marvel Now!" version by the creative team of Mark Waid and Mark Bagley. By this time, the status quo has changed once again.
At this time, both Bruce Banner and the Hulk are working for SHIELD under the direction of Maria Hill. Then, someone from a shadow organization (later revealed to be the "Order of the Shield") shoots Bruce Banner twice in the head and attempt place a device in his head which would give them control over the Hulk. Banner awakens in the midst of the procedure, Hulks out, and escapes. He is later found by SHIELD with "his brain practically hanging out of his skull" and taken to a small town to recuperate. His enemies find him, however, and here is where the Abomination comes in.
The same organization that wanted to control the Hulk has also resurrected the Abomination (or, AFAIAC, merely gained control of him). The Abomination is, at this point, a completely mindless monster under the control of the Order. The Hulk's healing factor, in the meantime, is busily at work trying correct the brain damage suffered by Bruce Banner from having been shot twice in the head and leaving surgery with his brain "hanging out." The thing is, his healing power needs time to work, and every time he transforms into the Hulk it makes it harder to heal because the transformation kind of "locks the damage in place," like a broken bone that heals without being set properly.
It is at this point the Abomination arrives, inflicting further damage. Then "The Avengers Take Over" (so to speak), just in the nick of time as Hulk is knocked out and reverts to Bruce Banner. Maria Hill explains to Captain America that Bruce Banner must not become the hulk again, but Bruce has other ideas and the Hulk ends up fighting the Abomination with Captain America's shield. (Cool!) With Iron Man's help, they hook up one of the enemy's armband transporters to the strap of Cap's shield and tell Hulk to throw it as hard as he can against the Abomination. The teleporter was programmed to activate on impact and, depending on how hard Hulk threw it, Iron Man estimates that the Abomination was teleported "somewhere in the vicinity of Jupiter" (but that may be simple hyperbole).
This brings us up the The Immortal Hulk as far as the Abomination is concerned and, although he will have a role to play in that series, that's a whole other discussion.
SAVAGE HULK #1-4:
I used to call this "The Impossible Abomination Story" because there's no way it fits into continuity, but i think I have found a work-around. First of all, it's by Alan Davis; second, it's a direct sequel to X-Men #66; and third, it's so good I don't really care whether it fits into continuity or not.
X-Men #66 was released concurrently with Hulk #125. The problem is, the Abomination was abducted from Earth by the Stranger, shortly after his creation, in (Tales to Astonish) #91. He didn't return to Earth until Hulk #137, then he immediately spent the next two years in a coma (see above). That makes his appearance in Savage Hulk (circa #125) somewhat problematic. Even granted that the stories don't necessarily take place in the exact order they are published, there's just no point prior to #159 Savage Hulk could logically fit. BUT the Abomination was also on Earth, albeit briefly, in Silver Surfer #12 (and Hulk #125 was concurrent with Silver Surfer #14). Hmm... this could work.
Silver Surfer #12 ended with the Surfer ordering the witches to return the Abomination to space, but we don't actually see that happening until Thor #178, in flashback. What if... the coven did not reverse their spell at all, but rather let him remain on Earth until the spell wore off? That's the perfect window for the events of Savage Hulk to have happened, in continuity, from the Abomination's POV.
But what about the Leader, who appears in Savage Hulk as well? Not a problem. the Leader supposedly dropped dead in Tales to Astonish #74, but he had already revealed himself to be alive in Hulk #115 (and even if he hadn't, he was only allowing the world to think he had died between #74 and #115).
"You know, when I first heard about The Abomination, I assumed he'd be Hulk's arch-foe. (After all, he was initially described as stronger.) But I guess The Leader is more of the Hulk's "evil opposite" (Superman/Lex Luthor, Batman/Joker, etc.). Abomination just doesn't show up enough to be an arch-foe."
It's kind of like who's Spidey's arch-foe: the Green Goblin or Doc Ock? I maintain that both the Abomination and the Leader are contenders (maybe I'll do a "villain history" of the Leader one of these days), but my question is why they didn't team up more often.
In regards to the "arch-foes", the choices Stan Lee made for inclusion in the 3rd Fireside collection of Marvel Origins, Bring on the Bad Guys, is rather interesting. Most of the selections were pretty obvious, such as Dr. Doom for the FF, Red Skull for Captain America, Loki for Thor, and Dormammu for Dr. Strange. Other selections seem to have been made more based on the particular villains that were not only closely associated with a particular hero, but also for whom there was a particularly dramatic story that featured either the actual origin of the baddie or his first appearance and which also happened to have been written by Stan Lee and had great art as well. Just on the basis of "arch-villain" alone, the Leader would have been the most obvious choice for the Hulk, but his first full appearance, which also told his origin, wasn't all that dramatic, at least not as much as the first story and origin of the Abomination. And while Dr. Octopus seriously rivals Norman Osborn as Spider-Man's top baddie, and his first appearance and origin in ASM #3 is a great comic ASM #40 beats it out for heavy drama with the unmasked Green Goblin facing the unmasked Spider-Man and revealing his backstory. No selections of baddies from the Avengers, X-Men, Iron Man or Daredevil -- Magneto had already showed up in the X-Men story in Son of Origins and anyhow none of the stories he'd written in those mags featuring the origin or first appearance of a top baddie had quite the gravitas he was looking for to fil out BotBG, but Mephisto from Silver Surfer # 3 fit the bill quite nicely and some fantastic art by big John Buscema. And while the Silver Surfer wasn't one of Marvel's best-selling superheroes of the time, he was one of Lee's personal favorites. Ol' Norrin also got to be one of only 3 superheroes to appear in each of the first 3 volumes of the Origins series, along with Thor and Hulk.
I think Stan, in his series of "origins" books, was also trying to showcase a variety of artistic talent in the stories he chose.
MAESTRO: WORLD WAR M #1-4:
Decades in the future (or an alternate future, at any rate), World War III will devastate the Earth. When the first missiles were fired, strictly to advantage themselves later on, A.I.M. seized individuals whose bodies seemingly made them benefit from radiation. But they didn't choose classic "heroes," only those whose ambitions they thought might align with their desires. The Abomination was one such individual. Decades later still, when the A.I.M. base was hit with "bunker buster" missiles (designed to deliver their payload to subterranean targets), the Abomination was freed.
He awoke to a world ruled by the mysterious "Maestro," but immediately rebelled against his would-be bosses. Making his way to the pier at Santa Monica, he is soon confronted by a squad of Atlantean troops. Prince Namor himself (now close to 200 years old) intervenes and convinces the Abomination to accompany him to Pacifica, one of several undersea cities not affected by nuclear fallout. Namor explains that the Maestro is actually the Hulk, and the missiles which took out the A.I.M. base were fired by the Maestro in alliance with Dr. Doom. The Atlantean troops had been stationed just offshore to keep an eye out for the Maestro, whom they mistook the Abomination for. Namor himself is allied with his old teammate, the original Human Torch. Their intention is to topple the Maestro's regime and they ask for the Abomination's help.
The Torch flies to Santa Monica, engages the Maestro in battle, then lures him back to Pacifica. This strategy doesn't work out as well as Namor had hoped, with his wife and son both killed during the battle. Just as he is about to impale the Maestro with his trident, Namor, the Abomination and the Torch are all transported to Dr. Doom's castle by Doom himself. after Doom and the Maestro took out A.I.M., the Maestro betrayed him and, although he escaped with his life, the Maestro did manage to break his leg. Now he's seeking revenge.
In an attempt to drown their sorrows, the Abomination and Namor sit raid Doom's wine cellar and liquor cabinet. Namor (drinking wine) is obviously mourning the deaths of his wife and son; the Abomination (drinking vodka) is trying to come to terms with the futility of his vendetta against the hulk and his feelings of loneliness and despair in this new world in which he now finds himself. Later, the Abomination lures the Maestro into battle, distracting him from the real attack: Namor leading Giganto against the Maestro's stronghold, Dystopia (New York City). With that task accomplished, the suicidal Abomination decides to let himself drown. He is saved by none other than the Maestro himself (after dispatching Namor and driving Giganto back into the sea).
The Maestro and the Abomination achieve a temporary truce, and the Abomination agrees to transport the Hulk along with him to Doom's castle using a handheld device. Doom is expecting the treachery though, and they materialize within an adamantium cell. The Maestro slips through the bars of his cell by transforming to Bruce Banner, and finds a way to release the Abomination from the outside. Now it is the Maestro and the Abomination vs. the Sub-Mariner, the Human Torch and Dr. Doom. The Maestro transports back to Dystopia and convinces the Abomination to use Doom's computers to cause the Torch to explode in a nova blast, destroying the castle and killing all four of them.
Now the Maestro is the undisputed ruler of Earth... until "Future Imperfect" anyway.
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