New York City:
The Hulk beats the demon-possessed Dr. Strange. Hot damn, he loves the Hulk! Amadeus Cho exclaims. When Angel asks what the Hulk is doing, Amadeus explains the Hulk is smashing the stuffing out of the demon which turned out to be Dr. Strange (now a very beaten Dr. Strange), who’s now getting his sorry can dragged back to Madison Square Garden. Where the Hulk is going to make him fight to the death in his gladiatorial games, Angel finishes. He told him the Hulk is no killer, Amadeus protests. He can tell him whatever he wants, Angel replies as he, Hercules and Namora return to helping innocents. But when the Hulk himself says he wants those heroes dead, he is inclined to believe him. Now they need to get back to the arena.
Forget it, Amadeus states and points at some more helpless New Yorkers trapped in a car. Dopey civilian alert at ten o’ clock! Angel helps the people out of the car, then asks what Amadeus is talking about. Now that the Hulk’s captured Strange he has all four men he says destroyed his world. God knows how far he’s going to… What’s it gonna take for him to listen? Amadeus exclaims. The Hulk doesn’t kill innocent people! Okay, fine, Warren agrees, but what if they are not innocent? What if they really did blow up his world? Then they have some explaining to do, Amadeus shoots back.…
Angel just looks at him. What? Amadeus asks. He knows Amadeus doesn’t care about all this destruction. But does he seriously, for an instant, think anyone but a monster stands by while people get slaughtered? Amadeus is probably the smartest person he ever met. But sometimes he wishes he’d just think a little.
They are interrupted as another civilian tries to make his way to them amidst the rubble. Told him they were dopey, Amadeus states. Namora grabs the man, telling him they are trying to get puny humans out of the battle zone. Hercules asks her to stop, he recognizes the man as Dr. Strange’s faithful servant Wong. He promises they won’t abandon his friend. But he must, Wong replies, as long as Zom walks the Earth! Strange’s demon is a creature of chaos and destruction, sworn to destroy them all. He shows them a vessel and states he must find him.
When Angel replies the Hulk took Strange to the arena, Wong explains the doctor’s potion imbued his body with a fragment of Zom’s essence. But now that the doctor has been defeated the demon will seek a new host, one as powerful as possible, with the least amount of intelligence to oppose its control. Hmm, Namora eyes Hercules critically. Heyy! he protests.
Suddenly, demonfire appears close by. Namora grabs Amadeus and Wong, Angel grabs Hercules and they fly there. Wong explains the amphora he brought is ensorcelled to retrieve Zom’s spirit. It only works when Zom is at his weakest. Right after his host has been defeated.
Time for a plan, Angel tells Amadeus. Assuming he is done with his super-villain phase… Amadeus swears. Namora admonishes him to grow some thicker skin. Angel wouldn’t scold him if he didn’t care. Yeah, and he wouldn’t care if Angel didn’t scold, Amadeus retorts. If it makes him feel any better, if she were in the Hulk’s shoes, those four would already be gutted and gibbeted on the gate of Atlantis, Namora points out. Okay, no offense, but that doesn’t actually make him feel better.
They reach the source of the fire. About that plan… Right, step one, Amadeus announces: avoid the giant monster! The monster immediately hits Hercules. Wong asks what that is. Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor, Amadeus explains. Big and dumb, like the doctor ordered. Tch, Stark’s tech, Doc Strange’s demon, and people keep saying the Hulk’s the planet’s greatest threat!
Namora dodges a blast by the demon in the Hulkbuster suit. Hercules is up again and hits the demon, only to be blasted again. Plan please! Angels shouts. Amadeus tells Namora to hand them over to Angel. She guesses the rest and helps Hercules with the hitting.
Angel points out that armor was built to take down the Hulk. He was hoping Amadeus had something else up his sleeve. Not exactly up his sleeve, the boy replies, as he presses a few buttons on a box, but he thinks it’ll do. He has called the Amphibitas, their ship. But it doesn’t have any offensive weapons, Angel asks.
Amadeus has it fly right at the combatants. Is he insane? Angel asks. Come on, Amadeus tells him. Herc’s the Prince of Power; Namora’s an invulnerable Atlantean mutant. They live for this stuff. Indeed, the two heroes are not hurt.
Namora announces the demon is down. The amphora should suck up his essence. That’s the idea, Wong agrees, when the armor burrows into the earth. No sweat, Amadeus tries to calm them. Direct access to the latest Iron Man circuitry. In five minutes, he’ll be able to tell them everything that armor knows and exactly what it’s planning to… There is a booming noise and Wong shouts this city will be gone in five minutes!
So the others follow. What exactly is Zom after? they ask Wong. The destruction of their entire dimension, but for now he’ll probably settle for Manhattan, comes the reply. Amadeus is busy hacking into SHIELD files while Hercules once again ineffectively attacks the possessed Hulkbuster armor. Amadeus finally manages to livetrack Zom’s datastream. He’s scanning the SHIELD databases looking for their Manhattan bunkers and armories and he’s found something he likes.
Amadeus warns Namora and Hercules from dropping that beam they are holding, as that would cause a chain reaction of 2342 separate disasters culminating in the burning and then flooding of Greenwich Village. Well, they wouldn’t want that, Herc admits while Angel flies Amadeus up. Zom went the other way, Amadeus protests. Angel tells him to check his screen: SHIELD has a nuke in Chelsea. And their best chance of reaching it before Zom does is taking the high road. Amadeus begins that Zom is not after the nuke.
Suddenly, they see something seemingly exploding. It’s the Sentry battling the Hulk. Further down, Namora and Herc are still holding up the beam. Are they coming back? Wong asks about Angel and Amadeus. They never abandon their friends, Herc tells him.
When it begins to rumble, Namora orders Wong out. Herc reminds her he just told Wong they never -- and gets what she means as water floods the tunnels. She tells him to leave as well. And let the twenty city blocks crush her like a flounder? he jokes. Fish joke, very clever, she replies and tells him to go as the water fills up. He always liked fish, he replies, puzzling her.
Further above, Angel and Amadeus watch the Sentry up in the air. He’s going insane, Angel fears. He’s an agoraphobic schizophrenic. Of course he’s going insane, Amadeus informs him. Richards and Stark should have known better than to bring him in. He’s destroying the city, Angel fears. They have to stop him. The Hulk will stop him, Amadeus insists. He puts a lot of faith in that monster, Angel remarks. Enough with the M-word, Amadeus orders and tell him to get them down that shaft before Stark’s other colossal mistake kicks in.
Confused at Amadeus’ words, Angel notes that Zom’s just taking out a few city blocks. To this, Amadeus replies that that’s what he was trying to explain. Why would Zom go after a single nuke when he can tear into the data core in SHIELD’s emergency bunker 12B and destroy New York by teleporting it into the Negative Zone? Oy, Angel admits. Plan? A: grab Wong, comes the order, B: head down that shaft, and C: when all else fails, kick his ass! With that, Amadeus wriggles out of Angel’s grip to drop onto Zom.
Upstairs, the Hulk is indeed battling the Sentry. Angel wants to catch Amadeus ,who tells him not to. Zom won’t kill him because he just figured out Amadeus is the one who jinxed the code for his Doomsday system and the only one who can get it on-line is…
Flames engulf Amadeus, or more to the point, the new demonic Zomadeus, whom Angel immediately kicks in the chin. Apparently having a glass jaw, Zomadeus falls down and Wong can finally capture the essence of the demon.
That was insane, Angel chides Amadeus. Nah, the boy blusters, he knew Angel had his back. ‘Cause friends don’t let friends turn into super-villains. Angel chuckles amused.
Under water, Namora is sharing air with Hercules in a kiss when Amadeus in the Hulkbuster suit lifts the rubble and suggests they could come back later. They were underwater and so… Hercules begins. Breathing, Namora adds, helpfully. Shouldn’t they go save some puny humans? Herc changes the subject. No longer necessary, Amadeus informs them. ‘Cause their pal, the Hulk, who everyone kept saying was a monster, just saved New York by taking out the Sentry. So now they’re gonna go up and watch the whole world kiss his big beautiful green…
A shockwave hits and Angel and Namora fly the others out. Outside, they see the Hulk in a killer rage. Amadeus tries to shout at him it’s over but then realizes he’s too strong… he’s really gonna kill them all! However, before the Hulk can approach, a blinding light encompasses the Hulk. He sure could have, Angel states, referring to Amadeus’ words. But they got him. He’s sorry, it’s over.
The light now subsided, the assembled heroes find the Hulk gone, now replaced with a half-naked and very human Bruce Banner, who lies unconscious at the bottom of a crater.
Later, Angel and Namora take their leave. Hercules tells the dejected Amadeus he should be proud. He saved the world and he was there for his friends. Not all of them, Amadeus states. Hercules sits down next to him and puts an arm around his shoulder.