Appearing in "How Green My Garden Grows!"
- 🢐 Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) 🢒 (Main story and recap)
- 🢐 Betty Ross 🢒 (Main story and recap)
- 🢐 Fred Sloan 🢒 (Main story and recap)
- 🢐 Rick Jones 🢒 (Main story and recap)
- 🢐 General Thaddeus Ross 🢒
- 🢐 Doc Samson (Leonard Samson) 🢒
- 🢐 Elysius 🢒
- Pantheon of Sorcerers
- 🢐 Jarella 🢒 (Main story and recap) (Corpse)
- Centauron 🢒 (First appearance) (Shadow only)
- Stranger (Only in recap)
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (Only in recap)
- Adam Warlock (Only in recap)
- Thanos (Only in recap)
- Avengers (Only in recap)
- Thing (Ben Grimm) (Only in recap)
- Samson's dogs
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and recap)
- K'aitians (Main story and recap)
- Kree (Main story and recap)
- Cosmic Beings (Main story and recap)
- Titanians (Main story and recap)
- K'ai (Main story and recap)
- Valley of Life (Main story and recap)
- Earth (Main story and recap)
- Soul Gem (Main story and recap)
- Nega-Bands (Main story and recap)
- Captain Marvel's Suit (Main story and recap)
- Time Gem (Main story and recap) (Referred to as a "Soul Gem" here)
- Mjolnir (Only in recap)
- Spider-Man's Suit (Only in recap)
- Web-Shooters (Only in recap)
- Captain America's Shield (Only in recap)
- Captain America's Uniform (Only in recap)
- Sanctuary (Only in recap)
Synopsis for "How Green My Garden Grows!"
The Hulk has returned to Jarella's world of K'ai to bury her body. Having found the world decimated since he last visited it he was taken to the Valley of Life to bury his love. There he was attacked by the Gardener who refuses to let any living humanoid set foot in his small paradise.
Bound in vines, the Hulk demands that the Gardener to let him free so he can bury Jarella. The Gardener refuses, and as the Hulk continues to struggle, the Elder of the Universe realizes that he cannot explain himself to the Hulk in this state of mind. Using his Soul Gem, the Gardener awakens the mind of Bruce Banner....
He explains how he, like the other Elders of the Universe, have one single obsession to govern the eons-long lifetimes, with his being Gardening. He tells how he obtained a Soul Gem and used it recently to create a lush garden on Earth's Moon. When the Stranger came to his paradise, the Gardener got assistance in dispelling the invader with the aid of Spider-Man and Adam Warlock. Warlock and the Gardener combined the power of their Soul Gem's in order to repel the Stranger. However, thinking that he had tainted his Gem's ability to sustain life on the moon, the Gardener left, leaving the Gem behind. This Gem ended up in the possession of the Mad Titan known as Thanos, who was collecting all the Soul Gems to power a massive synthetic gem which he plotted to use to snuff out all the stars in the universe. Thanos was stopped thanks to the combined efforts of the Avengers, Spider-Man, the Thing and Adam Warlock. However, Warlock perished while turning Thanos into stone. The heroes then buried Warlock's body on an asteroid and left his Soul Gem there on his grave. The Gardener later came and collected the Soul Gem and took it with him to K'ai where he created the Valley of Life. Remembering how his last paradise was tainted, the Gardener vowed to never allow man to tread in his gardens again.
With the tale finished, Banner asks the Gardener to at least allow him to give the woman he loves a decent burial. The Gardener refuses and carries Jarella's body away, assuring Banner that she will be buried. Having yet another thing taken away from him causes Banner to burst into tears. His sorrow is so great his body reverts back to human form, allowing him to get free of the vines he is caught in. However, Banner refuses to give in and vows to find Jarella and bury her himself, even without the power of the Hulk.
Back on Earth, Betty Ross bids farewell to Captain Marvel and his lover Elysius as they fly off. Before she can depart in her private plane with Rick Jones and Fred Sloan, a soldier comes to tell her that her ex-husband Glenn Talbot wishes to speak with her. Betty refuses to grant an audience and soon flies off without another word. A heartbroken Glenn Talbot watches as Betty's plane takes off and flies away from Gamma Base. Meanwhile, in the Colorado Rockies, Doc Samson and General Ross continue their hunting trip. When Ross spots a strange creature in the woods, he opens fire assuming that it is the Hulk. Samson assures Ross that it wasn't the Hulk after he heard reports that the gamma-spawned monster had been banished from Earth.
Back on K'ai, Jarella's followers wait outside of the Valley of Life fearing that their would-be king had been killed there. Suddenly, a stampede of animals come rushing out of the forest and begin attacking them. While inside the lush region, Banner stops by a stream to get a drink of water when he is suddenly attacked by the very thing he tried to drink. As he is being pulled into the liquid, Banner's pulse races enough to trigger another transformation into the Hulk. The Hulk fights his way free and then leaps across the Valley in order to intercept the Gardener and his animal followers. The Gardener orders the animals to attack the Hulk, but they are no match for him. Seeing signs of the battle, the people of K'ai are reinvigorated and start fighting back against their attackers. Meanwhile, with no more animals to set upon the Hulk, the Gardener tries to fight the brute one-on-one.
The two struggle and the Gardner begins to wonder how powerful the Hulk really is. As they fight, the Soul Gem levitates off the Gardener's brow and the Hulk knocks the Gardner aside and plucks it out of the air. Hulk comes to the conclusion that if the Soul Gem could create the Valley of Life it could also restore Jarella's entire world. With that, the Hulk throws the Soul Gem into the ground and it burrows its way directly into the planet's core. As the planet begins springing to life, the animals quit fighting. The people of K'ai soon join the Hulk as he buries Jarella in the Valley of Life. When her grave marker is constructed they are all surprised by a flower that suddenly pops out of the rocks. This is the work of the Gardener who has realized how selfish he was being and asks the Hulk if he can stay. The Hulk tells the Gardener as long as he remains peaceful, he may remain on K'ai. With his lover finally buried, the Hulk tells the Gardener to send him back home. With a wave of his wand, the Gardner causes the Hulk to resume his normal size, leaving the people of K'ai leaderless but with a bright future ahead of them.
- This story makes multiple references how the Microverse exists within the atoms of the Hulk's world. This is not correct as revealed in Fantastic Four #282, the Microverse actually exists in another dimension that is accessed by shrinking small enough to breach the dimensional gulf.
- The Gardener mentions a number of past events:
- His battle against the Stranger on the moon occurred in Marvel Team-Up #55.
- Thanos' attempts to collect the Infinity Gems as well as his plan to use them to extinguish stars, and the subsequent deaths of both Thanos and Adam Warlock were chronicled in Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2.
- Although they are all referred to as Soul Gems here, these are actually the Infinity Gems which are not called by that name until Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #44. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #5 clarifies that the Infinity Gem that the Gardner had in his possession on the moon was actually the Time Gem. It also confirms that the Gem used by Adam Warlock was specifically the Soul Gem.
- Although Thanos and Adam Warlock are stated as having died during the events of Marvel Two-In-One Annual Vol 1 2, they both come back to life in Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #34 and Infinity Gauntlet #1 respectively.
- The dates on Adam Warlock's tombstone read 1967-1977. The years on this tombstone should be considered a Topical Reference relative to the date of publication per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Although the dates state that Warlock had been alive for 10 years, this is more reflective of the numbers of years of publications between his birth in Fantastic Four #66 (published in 1967) and his "death" in Avengers Annual #7 (published in 1977). As the Timescale is measured the actual period of time that has passed is two years of Marvel time. Publications released in 1967 fall under "year two" of the modern age and those published in 1977 fall under "year four".
- Betty Ross called Glenn Talbot her ex-husband. The two got married in Incredible Hulk #158. After a troubled marriage, they got divorced in Incredible Hulk #238.
- Jarella is finally laid to rest here, however she is briefly resurrected during the Chaos War years later in Incredible Hulks #619–620 before being laid back to rest.
- Although the Soul Gem revitalizes K'ai, it doesn't remain the planet's core for long. As explained further in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Vol 1 5, the Soul Gem was later recovered by the Gardener and is back on his brow when he is seen again in Secret Wars II #6.