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Appearing in "A Convocation of Politic Worms"

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Synopsis for "A Convocation of Politic Worms"

Rick Jones has come seeking the aid of Doctor Strange and is in a state of near hysterics. Wong lets him in but informs him that the Doctor is occupied. Rick won't have it and demands that Strange appear immediately. When Strange does appear he scolds Rick for treating Wong so rudely. Realizing that he has been acting like a jerk, Rick gives himself a moment to calm down. Rick explains that six hours ago he had just been freed from the basement of Jackie Shorr, a mad woman who claimed to be his biological mother. His freedom came at a price though, as Jackie had murdered his girlfriend Marlo Chandler. As Betty Banner cries on Rick's shoulder, he watches as Marlo's lifeless body is loaded up into an ambulance. As she is being put into a squad car, Jackie Shorr calls out to Rick, telling her that she did all this for him. After hearing all this, Doctor Strange asks what he can do for Rick. Rick explains that he wants Strange to use his magics to bring Marlo back to life.

Meanwhile, the Hulk is at the Los Alamos Missile Base where the accident that turned him into the Hulk happened. There, Banner walks among the ruins and is berated by the memory of General Thaddeus Ross. Ross berates Banner for thinking that he is better than everyone else because he is smarter and stronger than anyone else. The Hulk responds back with the fact that he is sick of people interfering with his life. With that the phantom of General Ross disappears and the Hulk bitterly recalls how he recently brought Igor Drenkov here to face his personal demons. The Hulk, however, believes that all of his are on the inside. Back at Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorium, Strange informs Rick that there is nothing that he can do to bring Marlo back to life. Rick then points out that all three of them have cheated death before then it shouldn't be impossible for Doctor Strange to bring Marlo back. As he loses his temper, Strange asks him to calm down again. He then explains that if Marlo had been attacked by mystic or demonic forces there might have been a way, but he points out that she was murdered with a knife, something his magic can do little to change. Upset that the Doctor can't help, Rick Jones storms out of his mansion to find help elsewhere.

Back at the missile base, the Hulk begins reliving a memory of Betty showing him around the base when he first arrived. Recalling how Betty said that Banner was so much different than the soldiers on base, the Hulk interrupts their conversation to question Betty about if he was only a guilty pleasure to her, someone she pursued a romance with because it upset her father. When the image of Banner tells Betty that he'll protect her, the Hulk points out that they are the same person. Bruce doesn't believe it because he is not brash and arrogant like the Hulk. Pushing his former self aside, the Hulk tells image of Betty to come to him but she cowers away, but the illusion disappears. At that moment, the real Betty Ross sits alone in the house she shared with Marlo. Breaking down in tears again, she goes to the phone and calls Marlo's mother to tell her the bad news.

Meanwhile, back in New York City, Rick Jones pays a visit to Mister Fantastic at the Four Freedoms Plaza. After explaining Marlo's murder, the Human Torch asks to see a picture of Marlo. When he comments on how beautiful Marlo was, Rick loses his temper with the Torch. They ask for more information about the woman responsible for murdering Marlo, Jackie Shorr. Rick explains that the police told him that she used to work at the orphanage where he grew up, however, she became mentally unstable and she was fired. The orphanage then hushed it up, but this woman began hunting down and murdering the children she used to care for. Rick blames himself because Jackie seemed so harmless. When Reed asks if he wants to have a paternity test done to prove if Jackie is his biological mother or not, Rick declines. Instead, he once again asks if Reed knows a way to bring Marlo back to life. Unfortunately, just like Doctor Strange, there is nothing Mister Fantastic can do. When the Torch tries to tell Rick he empathizes, Rick tells him he has no idea. This causes Johnny to lose his temper, explaining the loss he felt when his discovered that his wife was not Alicia Masters, but a Skrull spy and how seeing Alicia and the Thing back together breaks his heart. Still, Reed suggests that they get in touch with Henry Pym to see what he might be able to do.

Back in Reno, the doctor who is going to perform the autopsy on Marlo's body is shocked when he opens up her locker in the morgue and finds it empty. In New York, Mister Fantastic contacts Pym via his communicator. However, Hank has no solutions to off either. When the Scarlet Witch suggests he contact the Pantheon, but Rick already went that way. Having reached the end of his options, Rick still won't accept that Marlo is dead and storms out. While back in the desert the Hulk thinks back to when he learned that Agamemnon had agreed to ally himself with the Leader. The Hulk tried to plead against, but Agamemnon insists that the Leader can change and he will not allow dissent among the Pantheon. He explained that the Leader has asked for assistance against an attack planned by Hydra. After the Leader and his minions teleport away, the Hulk refuses to fight beside the Leader and leaves. Agamemnon's last words to the Hulk were that he was acting rashly and that will not bode well for him.

In New York, Rick has gotten an apartment where he laments over failing Marlo, thinking that this is just karma after he killed Farnoq Dahn in Trans-Sabal. Suddenly, the Leader and Redeemer teleport into the room. The Leader explains how he has a mental connection with Rick and is aware that Marlo is dead and gives his condolences. Rick is shocked when the Leader offers the chance of bringing Marlo back to life. Rick thinks this is some kind of sick joke, but the Leader tells Redeemer to take off his helmet. Seeing the face under the mask convinces Rick that the Leader can do what he claims.


Continuity Notes

  • The bottle that Betty is holding in her hand is the bathroom cleaner that she and Marlo accidentally used to dye Betty's hair temporarily turning it green. This also happened in Incredible Hulk #383.
  • Johnny explains his problematic marital situation, the love triangle between him, Alicia Masters, and the Skrull known as Lyja. It's a very complex situation, here are the details:
  • The reason why Nick Fury would be upset at the Scarlet Witch suggesting that Rick go to the Pantheon is because the organization caused an international incident when they assisted rebels in Trans-Sabal stage a coup. Rick was involved in this battle and is responsible for killing the dictator Farniq Dahn, as seen in Incredible Hulk #390392.
  • The mental link between the Leader and Rick Jones was forged when the Hulk transferred gamma radiation from Rick to the Leader in order to restore his powers. This happened in Incredible Hulk #332.
  • The reason why Redeemer's identity is a shock is because he is actually Thaddeus Ross as revealed next issue. Ross had seemingly died in Incredible Hulk #330.

See Also

Links and References


  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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