Appearing in "The Stand-In"
- Thaddeus Ross's childhood friends (Only in flashback)
- Henry (Only in flashback)
- Mr. Garvin (Only in flashback)
- Henry's father (Only in flashback) (First and only known appearance; dies)
- General Reginald Fortean (Mentioned)
- Steve Rogers (Mentioned)
- MODOK (Mentioned)
- Omnisapient (Mentioned)
- 🢐 Jacob Feinman 🢒
- Karen Ross (Mentioned)
- Betty Ross (Mentioned)
- 🢐 Uravo 🢒
- Watcher (Uatu) (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- P-51 Mustang (Only in flashback)
- Ross's crop duster (Only in flashback)
- World War II (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "The Stand-In"
Western New Hampshire. 50 Years Ago
A young Thaddeus Ross is playing outside with his friends with loaded BB guns. When his mother finds out she confiscates the weapons from the boys. When Mr. Garvin arrives to clear the field, she tells the boys to go play in the creek. Along the way, the boys talk about how their fathers will soon be coming back from military duty soon. When they ask Thaddeus when his father is returning home, Ross tells them that his father won't be coming home from the war because he is a career officer in the military, but thinks he is getting some leave in a few months. Suddenly they hear a Mustang flying across the sky and get excited. Suddenly, the engine cuts out and the plane begins to crash land near where the boys are playing and catches fire. Inside the plane is the father of one of Thaddeus' friends. Observing this, out of synch with time, is Zero/One and the Red Hulk. When she asks about the significance of this tragedy, the Red Hulk explains that the boy's father came in the Mustang that he borrowed from the National Guard in order to surprise his father.
Following his battle against the Thing, the Red Hulk is taken as far away from Gamma Base as possible by Annie. The Red Hulk orders her to take him to the old Ross family farm. He explains that he never sold the family farm and tells Annie how he grandfather kept it after he retired from the army. As they walk through the overgrown yard, they wonder who had created Black Fog, although the Red Hulk is certain that it was not the work of MODOK Superior, even though Black Fog appears to have been created by Omnisapient technology. The only information Annie can pull up from Gamma Base are old drawings of a notorious serial killer from India known as the Black Fog. While they discuss this, their conversation is being spied upon by Zero/One and her assistant Jacob Feinman. Jacob expresses his concern that the Red Hulk may have made the connection between them Black Fog. The Red Hulk finds himself thinking of the woman who ran Omnisapient, but doesn't know how she could be connected to the situation.
They go inside the farmhouse for some water so Red Hulk has something to wash his mouth out after he takes the inhibitor that keeps him in Hulk form. Looking around the house, Annie finds a photo of Thaddeus standing in front of his crop duster when he was a young man. Ross tells her that when he was old enough to fly a plane he put on barnstorming shows for money. Thaddeus wonders if his old plane is still in the barn and goes to check it out. He recalls discussing possibly donating the antique to a museum but can't remember if he did or not. Sure enough, the crop duster is there, all be it in very poor shape. Recalling fond memories, Thaddeus apologizes for bringing up his late wife so frequently, but Annie is curious about that time in his life and would like to hear more.
Suddenly, the Red Hulk becomes aware of something in the back of the barn. It turns out to be the robot known as Omegex and it strikes him with such force he goes flying out of the barn. When Annie asks who the robot is, it ignores her and leaps away. She is then approached by Uravo the Watcher who finds this recent development significant. Meanwhile, the Red Hulk crash lands in Bar Harbor some 15 miles away. The Omegex is soon upon him, unimpressed by its display of power so far, the Red Hulk hits the robot as hard as possible. This blow sends Omegex flying into the city of Boston with the Red Hulk hot on its heels. Omegex soon overpowers the Red Hulk, beating him merciliously. However, before the robot can land the killing blow, it is stabbed through the chest by Black Fog.
OMEGEX, a deadly force from beyond the far reaches of space, has awakened, and he wants Red Hulk! Our Crimson Crusader has fought battles of massive scale, fought villains of great strength and guile, and even punched a Watcher! But what can he do against a destroyer of entire worlds? Star scribe Jeff Parker and the astounding artisan Gabriel Hardman bring an epic Hulk tale in the grand Marvel tradition!
- The flashback of Thaddeus Ross is said to have occurred 50 years prior to this story. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 the "present day" in this story takes place during "year thirteen" of the Modern Age. As such, these events happened some 37 years prior to the beginning of the Modern Age.
Flashbacks and time travel in this story affect the chronology of the following characters: