Appearing in "Growing Up Is Hard To Do!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:

  • Previous Empty Vartu (Final appearance)
  • Nalee's father




Synopsis for "Growing Up Is Hard To Do!"

Since his arrival in one of the many worlds of the Crossroads, the Hulk has become a prisoner of Maktu and his red-skinned Iron Knights while trying to rescue the green-skinned Nalee, a woman whose tears cause flowers to grow. The Hulk is put to work grinding down the bones of the Iron Knight's victims which will later be used to expand their City of Death. With everyone on this world being proportionately stronger than him, the Hulk is easily whipped into submission, however, his near mindless form is still capable of rebellion, although it is easily quashed by Maktu's minions. After another beating, the Hulk is given water by a tearful Nalee. Her pleas to Maktu to stop brutalizing her friend fall on deaf ears.

The entire ordeal in the city below are observed by Nalee's people, who are led by her father a wise old wizard. Seeing that his daughter is a prisoner of the Iron Knights, the old man demands answers from Vartu, his apprentice. Vartu explains that while the old man was off strengthening their flower wall, Vartu and Nalee disobeyed his orders not to venture out of the protection of the roses, which led to Nalee's capture. Seeking to solve the problem himself, Vartu tried to cast a spell to summon a demon to save her. With the appearance of the Hulk, Vartu believed he had succeeded in finding the power needed to save his master's daughter, but soon the Hulk was captured as well. The old man is furious and thinks about how he raised his daughter in a sheltered environment and as such, she has no capacity to defend herself with her magical powers. The old man grimly wonders if he made the wrong choice of raising her daughter and their people with no ability to defend themselves.

Later that evening, the Hulk is tossed back in his cell and given a bucket of slop to eat. He is soon joined by Nalee who is still tearful over their mutual plight. As she thinks about her predicament, her tears change from ones of sorrow to ones of vengeance. Instead of growing flowers, these tears grow a massive vine which she uses to break herself and the Hulk out of the dungeon. Seeing Nalee fighting their enemies, Vartu leads the other to join the battle. With her people and the Hulk both losing the fight, Nalee uses her tears to grow monstrous trees that swarm Maktu and his minions, slaying them all. With their foes dead, the trees travel outside into the wasteland outside the City of Death where they root and spring flowers.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Hulk has come to realise that the helpless young woman that drew him here is now gone. Completely dissatisfied with the world he is in, the Hulk triggers the falesafe spell put in place by Doctor Strange and is returned to the Crossroads. No sooner is he back does the Puffball Collective return to his side to try and reach the Hulk's dormant mind.


Continuity Notes

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