Appearing in "And They Called the Wind Pariah!"
- Administrator Macon (Only in flashback)
- Superintendant of Tempest Town (Only in flashback)
- New Mexico
- Tempest Town (First appearance)
Synopsis for "And They Called the Wind Pariah!"
A gunslinger rides into the town of Whispering Wells after hearing stories of great wealth to be found there. Instead, he finds that town a charnel house, all the people dead. Going into a nearby saloon, he finds what appears to be a large chunk of gold in the head of a man who appears to have shot himself in the head. The gunslinger takes the gold and finds himself overwhelmed by the living presence within the rock. It turns out it is not gold but some strange unseen material and it has consumed all the lives in town out of revenge. Discovering that the gunslinger has no soul to speak of, the presence in the rock strips away the gunslingers flesh and transforms him into their agent, the Pariah. Since then, the town of Whispering Wells remains untouched for over 100 years....
At Banner's secret lab, Rick Jones and Betty Ross are exposing the Hulk to another dose from the Gamma Ray Projector to force a transformation back into Bruce Banner. With the transformation complete, Banner is weakened after the ordeal. Banner hopes that he can find a cure for his transformations into the Hulk. However, Rick Jones is not quite sure that the Hulk should be destroyed and thinks that a happy medium between the two: Banner's mind in control of the body of the Hulk. Rick then points out the potential benefits of having a Hulk with Banner's mind: fixing damaged infrastructure, fending off invasions, even space exploration. However, Bruce bursts the bubble of this idea pointing out that he is tired of sharing his life with the Hulk. Banner wants to settle down and have a family and get back to his research without having the persona of the Hulk looming over him. This is something which Betty also hopes to achieve as well.
Rick decides to spend some time alone and walks around the secret lab which he spent so many of his early adventures with the Hulk. Rick then decides to get out and get some fresh air. Leaving the cave in a car, Rick thinks back to his time at Tempest Town, a home for wayward orphans. The facility was run corruptly and Jones regularly rebelled. The final straw was when the administrator broke the guitar Rick's father had given him before his death. After a beating, Rick decided to break out and succeeded in escaping. Rick then drifted for years, from place to place, job to job, never really settling anywhere. It was on one of those carefree days that Rick accepted a dare to go onto the gamma bomb testing site that irreversibly changed the course of his life. Rick's reflections to the past, Rick notices that he has ended up in the town of Whispering Wells. Rick decides to get out and explore, playing his guitar as he goes, little knowing that his presence has drawn the unresting spirit of the Pariah.
Back at the cave, Bruce is working away on a means of curing himself when Betty interrupts his work. She professes her love to him and promises to stay by his side. However, Bruce tells her that he cannot commit to anything until he is finally rid of the Hulk once and for all. Their grim discussions are interrupted by a radio distress call from Rick calling for help. Bruce allows himself to get upset enough to trigger a transformation into the Hulk, despite the protests from Betty. The Hulk then leaps to Whisper Wells where he finds Rick has been drastically aged by the Paraiah and his ancient stone. The Hulk tries to attack, only to be bombarded with the stone's energies which also begins to rapidly age the Hulk and sap his strength.
The Pariah explains the origins of the stone, and how it will first steal the power of the Hulk, it will then take the life of Bruce Banner. Rick tells Bruce that in order to stop Paraiah, he is giving up a potential cure for being the Hulk. However, Bruce refuses to accept a cure which will unleash the Pariah on the world. With the last of his strength, Banner transforms back into the Hulk and wrests the stone from the Pariah's hand. Crushing it, the Hulk causes the Pariah's destruction and he and Rick are restored to their full health. In the ruins of the town, Rick points out to the Hulk that even though Bruce Banner wished to be rid of the Hulk, he was forced to realize that the gamma-spawned man-monster has its benefits.
- Rick Jone's time at Tempest Town is revisited in Incredible Hulk Vol 2 #108.
- This story states that a man named Johnny dared Rick to go out to the Gamma Bomb Test Site, however in She-Hulk Vol 2 #4 a man named Gary Swanson claims to have been the man who goaded Jones into taking on the dare.
The flashback detailing the early life of Rick Jones affects the continuity of the following characters:
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