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Earth-617 diverged from Earth-616 when the Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 encountered her mainstream counterpart - resulting in the new timeline's Gwen avoiding being thrown off the George Washington Bridge, becoming a detective, and bonding to the Venom symbiote to become Spider-Woman.[1]

At some point Leonard Samson began working on a treatment for Bruce Banner, through which he hoped to cure Bruce of his condition. Samson used a dual headset which he claimed would allow both patient and therapist to access the same symbol space—that is, the human subconscious itself. Believing Bruce's condition to be essentially a form of multiple personality disorder, it was Samson's hope that he and Bruce would confront Bruce's greatest fears and conquer them, undercutting the root of the Hulk's awesome rage.

Unfortunately, when Banner was confronted by his subconscious fears–his father's abuse, General "Thunderbolt" Ross' contempt, and Betty Ross' scorn—the Hulk personality emerged and in his rage tore a hole through the fabric of the plane itself.

Finding himself in the Nightmare Realm, the Hulk came face-to-face with Nightmare. When the Hulk attacked, Nightmare asserted his dominance within his realm by forcing the Hulk to choke himself to death. Upon finally noticing Samson, now on his knees in shock, Nightmare searched his memories and determined that his device had opened a back door into one of the prime material planes of Earth-617. Sending his minions through the rifts, Nightmare was able to enter the Earth realm itself. Nightmare sent legions of his minion hell-hounds to terrorize the world, while he woke Dr. Samson so that he could witness what followed.

Surrounded by the chaos of battle, Nightmare explained to Samson that he was an interdimensional being, who fed off the nocturnal fears of sentient beings. While these fears were absorbed from across every possible universe and timeline, Nightmare considered it meager sustenance.

Samson was then possessed by Energumen and forced to seek to merge his mind with the Doc Samson of Earth-616 so that he'd allow Nightmare access to that reality as well; however, Samson's Earth-616 counterpart ultimately convinced him to throw off Nightmare's control. Samson was then killed by Nightmare and his Earth-616 counterpart drove Nightmare back to his realm.[2]

Reality Details

Identity: The existance of this location is unknown to the general populace of Earth-616.

  • Leonard Samson – a Doctor of Psychiatry like his Earth-616 counterpart, but without Doc Samson's physique or gamma-radiation-induced strength. He seems to have the ability to transform into a Hulk-like monster with a particularly malevolent, murderous personality.
  • Hulk (Bruce Banner)
  • Nightmare