Appearing in "Richard Rory... Winner"

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Synopsis for "Richard Rory... Winner"

Richard Rory is walking down the streets of Las Vegas without a nickel to his name. He finds what looks like a silver dollar in the street, but it's only a gambling token. So Richard does the only thing he can with it, which is walk into a casino and stick it into a slot machine. To his surprise, he hits the jackpot. No coins come rushing out, so Richard at first thinks that his bad luck has returned with a vengeance. As it happens, he has won the super jackpot and a check for $50,000 from the casino owner. That owner however, can't afford to pay the jackpot, so he relies on one of his showgirls to bail him out. She leads him to the roulette wheel and gets Richard to bet his entire check on 13 black. Before he can protest, the wheel spins and all bets are locked. The roulette wheel is rigged, so it appears that Richard is destined to lose his fifty grand. The casino owner smirks and tells Richard that it takes guts to gamble and he needs to lose gracefully. But the wheel short-circuits and by an incredible fluke of luck the ball lands on 13 black. At thirty-to-one odds, Richard wins one and a half million dollars. The now unemployed showgirl asks Richard for some help. He offers to buy her a cup of coffee. To the now-ruined casino owner, Richard tells him that he needs to learn how to lose gracefully.

Soon, Richard is now cruising down the streets of Los Angeles in a chauffeured limousine. He hears police sirens and thinks the cops are after him. As it happens, they're chasing the She-Hulk up the street towards Richard. Jennifer is losing more control of her transformations and she "hulked out" against her will. But that's the least of her concerns. She is trying to run away from the police while she has some control of her temper and is not tempted to take her fury out on the cops. Seeing a trash dumpster parked on the side of the road, She-Hulk pulls it across the street to form a roadblock. She then runs into an alley to get away but find it is a dead-end. It looks as if whether she likes it or not, the She-Hulk will be forced to confront the police.

However, Richard remembers his experiences in the Florida Everglades with the creature known as the Man-Thing, and immediately sympathizes with the emerald fugitive. He tells the police rounding the dumpster that the She-Hulk continued to run up the street away from the alley. After the cops leave he calls out into the alley to tell the She-Hulk that it's safe to come out. Nothing happens for several long moments. Then a petite woman with shortly cropped brown hair and dressed only in a tattered white blouse steps out of the alley. Richard is surprised that it isn't the She-Hulk, but the woman says that the green woman has gone. He introduces himself to her. She says her name is Jennifer Walters. Jen weakly states the obvious, that she must look like a mess, and doesn't try to explain how she's in an alley wearing only tatters. Richard accepts her non-story and offers to drive Jen home. Jen is taken aback when she sees that Richard's ride is a chauffeured limousine. She turns down his offer since she's in walking distance of her law office, but tells Richard, to his surprise, that she would love to see him again. They make date for about six.

But when Richard thinks that his bad luck has changed, fate proves otherwise. The dumpster that the She-Hulk moved to blockade the street topples over dumping hundreds of pounds of dirt and rocks on Richard's new limo. A pickpocket then steals Richard's wallet, a minor tremor hits L.A., and what's left of his limo is stripped and looted by vandals. Richard manages to get replacement parts for his car installed, but when he picks up Jen Walters at six his limo is still visibly wrecked. She's shocked, but Richard explains that with his bad luck this is to be expected. In the car, he proceeds to tell the story of his life. The bad luck began the day he was born when the doctor dropped him. Many years later, Richard befriended the Man-Thing in the Florida Everglades where the two misfits got in several adventures. Richard was forced to leave Florida after he tried to help a young girl get out of town, and was convicted of violating the Mann Act. (Transporting a minor across state lines for immoral purposes.) After getting out of jail, Richards went to New York where he not only lived in the worst part of town, but ended up as a hostage. The Defenders eventually rescued him and dropped him off in Las Vegas were Richard just made his fortune, but he fully expects to lose it all. Jen is moved by his story, and thinks what he suffers from is a poor self-image. She shows him the way to get rid of that by giving him a deep and passionate kiss. The two lovebirds lose track of time until the chauffeur complains about needing a break. It is then that Richard and Jen learn that they've talked and kissed the whole night long and it's now early dawn. They stop by a fast-food joint for an early breakfast of burgers and coffee. Richard terminates the driver with pay and lets him keep the car.

Richard then decides that he's not cut out for California and that he really should try to do something with his new fortune to help the one friend he's had over the years… the Man-Thing. He asks Jennifer to come with him since he will need a lawyer for what he has in mind. Jen agrees to fly with him to Florida. A few days later after arriving in Citrusville, Jen and Richard go to the local bureau of records to discover who owns a parcel of land that Richards wants. They discover that the land is owned by a development company registered to a F. A. Schist. The clerk tells them that Schist disappeared several years ago, and until his whereabouts can be found, the title can't be cleared. The clerk believes that the devil took Schist since he was a very mean man.

In the van Jen cheers up Richards by saying that she's sure that they will be able to find Schist. Richard says he wished he had Jen's self-confidence since she "doesn't got a worry in the world." Jen sighs inwardly, since Richard does not know about her troubles with her alter ego. He turns on the radio to listen to some music when he gets an idea. They go to the radio station where Richard used to work when he was a jock in Citrusville. His old boss Mr. Carpenter at first thinks Richard wants to demand his old job back and that Jen is his sister. When he hears she's Rory's lawyer, he thinks he wants to sue him. To his shock, Richard buys the station for more than it's worth. Richard then has the exquisite pleasure of firing Carpenter and taking over the station. He plans to offer rewards for Schist's whereabouts and play lots of acid rock. Jen offers to drive out and check out the land that Richard wants to buy.

After following Richard's instruction, Jen is shocked to discover that the land Richard wants to buy is unable to be developed swampland. She thinks he's going to get swindled and decides to go back to warn Richard, but Jennifer spends too much time admiring the scenery. While she has been gazing in disbelief at the swamp, an alligator creeps up behind her. Suddenly, the reptile charges at the lawyer. Jen's heart leaps in her throats and her frightened pulse rate goes faster and faster....

Meanwhile, back at the radio station a mysterious man in a wheelchair comes to visit Richard. He claims to be Professor Slaughter and knows what happened to Schist. But he has been afraid to come forward up to now because he was afraid nobody would believe his story and he'd be accused of murder...

Back in the swamp, Jen continues to back away from the alligator until the stress of the life-threatening situation causes her to hulk out. The She-Hulk grabs the alligator by the jaws and hurls him across the swamp. Unbeknownst to her, she is watched by two purple men...

Slaughter tells Richard that he and Schist had a scheme to discover the fountain of youth that Spanish conquistador Ponce de Leon sought in Florida nearly five centuries ago. Richard thinks it's a crackpot scheme, but Slaughter said they discovered the remains of perfectly preserved 16th century Spanish soldiers in the swamp...

She-Hulk passes by the same remains and thinks she is seeing things. In running away from the alligator, Jen managed to get herself lost. Now as She-Hulk she is trying to make her way back to the van. But little does she know that by stumbling on the body she has just settled an argument by the two purple men watching her. One of them thinks they should share the secret of La Hacienda with the whole world, and this green stranger is the perfect person who needs their wisdom because of her unbridled aggression. His brother believes La Hacienda should remain a secret, but agrees that the She-Hulk should be brought into La Hacienda to keep her from telling the outside world about their secret. They confront She-Hulk and implore her to calm down and come with them for her own good. Shulkie doesn't care for this idea and warns the ogres that they'll see how "calm" she can be if they step any closer.

Richard is skeptical of Slaughter's story so far, and he doesn't find it easier to believe him when Slaughter tells him about the purple ogres...

Back in the swamp, the She-Hulk is easily fighting off the two ogres. When one of them tells her that she is too tense, hostile, and bad-tempered, she says, "No, I'm not!", as she punches him away very hard. She grabs him by the throat and in self-defense, the ogre uncorks a phial underneath the She-Hulk's nose. It contains a dosage of paralyzing gas, but by the time the She-Hulk realizes something is wrong, it is already too late. She lets go of the ogre and collapses.

Slaughter has finally explains to Richard why he's been talking about purple ogres. He and Schist managed to find the legendary fountain of youth, which was guarded by the purple ogres in a place the called "La Hacienda".....

La Hacienda is exactly where the two purple brothers are carrying the She-Hulk. They continue to argue over whether it is a good idea to keep the Fountain of Youth a secret. The She-Hulk can hear them, but is powerless to do anything about it. Inside the city, they pass other residents of La Hacienda who are not purple but look like ordinary human beings in 16th Century clothing. They are not surprised to see the purple men carrying a large green woman through the streets, and assume that she is going to become a citizen of La Hacienda.

The purple men take She-Hulk inside a lab and put her in a cylindrical tank. There, she hears why they are disfigured. Centuries ago, they made the mistake of trying to drink from the Fountain of Youth, which turned them into purple ogres. But when one bathes in the water, it changes you and grants you the secret of eternal life. The ogres turn a switch and flood the tank with water. She-Hulk is helpless to do anything as the water rises above her head....


Continuity Notes

  • This story briefly glosses over the history of Richard Rory touching on the following subjects:
    • His time with the Man-Thing from Man-Thing #220. That time ultimately ended with him getting arrested for kidnapping.
    • Rory's reference of being "kidnapped by a madman" and getting rescued by the Defenders is a reference to the events of Omega the Unknown #810 and Defenders #7476 and 78.
  • The incident with the Fathers involving F.A. Schist was chronicled in Man-Thing #8.

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