Appearing in "Finality"
- 🢐 Jacob Feinman 🢒
- Karen Ross (Appears in flashback)
- Reggie Fortean 🢒 (Only in flashback)
- Elizabeth Ross (Appears in flashback)
- Alexander Ross 🢒 (Only in flashback)
- Mr. Garvin (Only in flashback)
- Henry (Only in flashback)
- Henry's father (Only in flashback)
- Hulk (Bruce Banner) (Only in recap)
- Betty Ross (Only in recap)
- New Hampshire (Main story and flashback)
- Ross farm (Main story and flashback)
- Gamma Base (Only in flashback)
- Zero/One's ship
Synopsis for "Finality"
The Red Hulk has just been defeated in battle against the robot known as Omegex. However, before the machine can land a killing blow, he is pulled out of sync one more time by Zero/One. He witnesses a point in time where he stood helpless as the Hulk leaped away from a battle with his daughter. Next, he relives the moment when Betty tells him that she loves Bruce Banner, despite the fact that he is also the Hulk. At first, he thinks he is in Hell, but he quickly realizes that Zero/One is going through his past to try and understand why he covets his humanity. After reviewing the years Ross had battled the Hulk, she notes that he face loss after loss and still wonders why he hangs onto his weaker form. Observing this from a monitor aboard Zero/One's ship is her assistant Jacob Feinman, who prays that the Red Hulk can convince her the merits of humanity. She then points out that even using his more powerful form, the Red Hulk has been unable to defeat the Omegex, further convincing her that humanity is weak. Needed more time to investigate, she sends off artificial bio-signals to trick the Omegex into thinking the Red Hulk is elsewhere, keeping it busy long enough for her to conclude her examinations.
Returning back in sync with time, Zero/One summons her ship so she can recharge. Aboard the ship, the Red Hulk is handed a written note by Jacob Feinman, it warns him that Zero/One will destroy all of humanity if she deems it unworthy and begs the Red Hulk to convince her that humanity matters. All the while, Zero/One is assessing how the Red Hulk has proven unable to stop the Omegex, a being that has never failed in its mission to destroy its intended target. Emerging from the recharging station, she concludes that Ross has always failed in what he does. Thaddeus disagrees and tells her that she didn't look back far enough into his past and tells her to bring them back to the old Ross farm so he can show her. Once they arrive there, Zero/One pulls up an image of Thaddeus Ross when he was an infant being cared for by his mother. This moment in time was when his father, a career military officer, was going on a three-month deployment. They go inside where they witness a young Thaddeus Ross getting a toy tank for Christmas. He plays with it, thinking his father drives a tank. However, his mother corrects him by telling him that he actually commands soldiers where to go and that all the soldiers look up to him, instilling an interest in the military in the young boy.
Shifting forward again, they revisit a day when Ross was still a young boy. He and some local children were sent off to play in the creek so his mother and the neighbor, Mr. Gavin. Once the boys are out of sight, they witness as Mrs. Ross kisses Mr. Gavin. Zero/One inquires if she had taken a new partner, but the Red Hulk explains that this was temporary while her husband was away. Although Ross initially resented this infidelity when he first heard about it, but eventually realized that Mr. Gavin was a nice man and taught him a lot of things his father should have. His recounting stops when something crashes in the nearby woods. The pair go there and witness as young Thaddeus and his friends rush to a burning Mustang that crashed nearby. It was flown by the father of his friend Henry and he was trapped inside the burning wreck. He tells her that witnessing this crash had strangely inspired him to learn how to fly. He he eventually learned how to fly a crop duster and then became a barnstormer to earn money. He then tells Zero/One that to really understand this rationale to move forward in time to the moment that he last saw his friend Henry.
They witness a sullen Henry who had been deeply impacted by his father's death. At that moment, Ross tells his friend that he had been accepted to West Point military academy. The Red Hulk explains that Henry wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, but was spooked out of it when his father died in the plane crash, so Ross joined the Air Force in his place. From there they move forward through time. They witness Thaddeus Ross romancing his future wife, Karen Lee. From there, after their marriage, they witnessed the addition of Thaddeus' daughter, Betty. How he pushed to be assigned to a base near to home so he could spend as much time with his growing daughter. Twelve years later, tragedy, Karen had died of cancer. Zero/One doesn't understand the difference between moments, but the Red Hulk points out that she skipped all the time in between, which he says were the best part of it all. They continue on, seeing how Ross became even more devoted to the military, taking Betty away from their home to live on base with him. This ultimately led to the Gamma Bomb project and the fateful meeting of Bruce Banner, the man who his daughter would eventually fall in love with. Then, the gamma bomb accident that first turned Banner into the Hulk. He notes how he felt threatened that he was losing his daughter to another man. Zero/One notes that Ross is as damaged as his childhood friend. The Red Hulk sees the irony, he also points out that Reggie Fortean, the man who now hunts him, was his loyal soldier at the time, assisting with the gamma bomb project.
When he explains how Fortean planted nanite bombs that will kill him if he ever returns to human form, Zero/One uses her advanced technology to purge them from his body. They then return to the present time. Just then Jacob warns them that the Omegex has isolated the Red Hulk's true energy signature and is coming for them. As the Red Hulk resumes his battle with Omegex, Annie and Uravo the Watcher arrive. Although Uravo cannot get involved with the battle, she promises to keep Annie safe. Zero/One also refuses to intervene as she wants to witness the end of Ross' life. Also arriving is Uatu, Earth's Watcher who set the Omegex free and set these events in motion. With no strength left to fight, the Red Hulk decides to die as he lived, as a man, and reverts back to human form. He prepares for the worst when suddenly, the Omegex dissolves in a flash of light. Ross is confused, but Uatu explains that when Ross returned to human form it tricked Omegex into thinking it destroyed the Red Hulk and thus accomplished its mission. Happy to be alive he and Anne celebrate the victory. After, Ross asks Zero/One if he had proven to her the merrits of humanity. Zero/One points out that while this is an exception, it doesn't change her conclusions. Before she leaves, Jacob Feinman manages to pass his diary on to Ross and Annie.
Meanwhile, Uravo notes that the Watcher orchestrated these events, not for revenge, but to minimize the possible loss of life had the Omegex wiped out another alien race instead of being tricked into trying to destroy the Red Hulk. Uravo is impressed that he managed all of this without violating the Watcher's code of non-interference. Uatu points out that the even observation affects events, something that philosophers on Earth also have learned this. He explains that sometimes they have to use their best judgement in moments like these, otherwise they will have nothing to watch. Watching Ross and Annie standing close together, Uatu concludes that there is much that is worth seeing.
THE OMEGEX SAGA CONCLUDES! Apparently you really can’t go home again. The Red Hulk just wanted to visit his old homestead, but is now in the fight of his life against the mighty Omegex, the world destroyer! As Red Hulk is on the ropes and it seems as though things can’t get any worse, super-villainess extraordinaire Zero/One and her henchman Black Fog arrive. Rulk’s renowned writer Jeff Parker and all-star artist Gabriel Hardman bring a thrilling, action-packed conclusion to Red Hulk’s most dangerous dust-up yet!
Flashbacks and time travel affect the chronologies of the following characters:
- Infant/Child Thaddeus Ross 🢒
- 🢐 Young Thaddeus Ross 🢒
- 🢐 Thaddeus is accepted at West Point 🢒
- 🢐 Thaddeus returns home to his girlfriend Karnen Lee after a tour of duty 🢒
- 🢐 Ross shortly after Betty is born until Karen dies 🢒
- Ross raises Betty on base is a recap of events seen in Incredible Hulk #291.
- Ross' introducing Betty to Bruce Banner is a recap of events seen in Incredible Hulk #312.
- Ross at the Gamma Bomb test is a recap of events in Incredible Hulk #1
- Ross witnessing the Hulk leap away with Betty is a recap of the events from Tales to Astonish #83.
- 🢐 Present day Red Hulk (Page 1-10) 🢒
- 🢐 Present day Red Hulk (Page 11-20) 🢒