- I've seen what she's about to turn into. I feel safer out here with the snakes.
Appearing in "Secret Warts"
- New York
- Mystic Meadows
- New Mexico
- Hulk's Cave, outside of Sallow Springs
Synopsis for "Secret Warts"
Jennifer Walters and Howard the Duck cringe as a horde of green monsters swarm around them. All of them start devouring the giant bologna they are standing on. Jen says that she can’t believe this. She says that they aren’t even interested in them. She says that she wonders what will happen when the bologna is gone. She says that they might tumble into the void never to be heard from again. Jen wonders where the duck went. Howard leaps over some of the monsters and says that assuming they have a future that she can call him Howard. Jen says that she prefers to keep it on a last name basis. He says to suit herself and asks if she has thought about how they are going to get out of there. Jen says that they aren’t leaving until they find Brent, and that they don’t seem to be in any immediate danger. Howard tells her to think ahead to when they run out of prepared meat. The monsters look at Jen and start “yumming” her thighs, legs, and ladyfingers. Jen concedes the point. Howard and Jen leap off the bologna onto a passing flying disc of lunchmeat.
Jen tells Howard that she owes him one. Howard says that considering that she hauled him in there bodily that she owes him about 42. Jen and Howard’s disc is on collision with a Swedish meatball that orbits around a ball of edam cheese. They crash, but the meatball is soft enough to cushion their blow. Jen says that she really does owe Howard an apology. She says that she figured that she could protect him from anything that came after them, but that it turns out that she can’t even protect herself. Jen says that this is about the craziest thing she has ever lived through. Howard says to consider herself lucky, and that this looks like a “course in logic” compared to his life. He says that at least now they can relax and watch the cheese set in the west knowing that they are safe. Monsters jump up out of the ground. They swarm over Jen and start biting her all over. The cheese sets below the horizon. Suddenly the monsters go flying off. Jen has turned into a gray monstrous She-Hulk. She tells the monsters that she is not food, and that she is angry. The monsters run and She-Hulk says, “Stupid ugly things run from She-Hulk… fear She-Hulk’s power!” She says that only puny duck is left. She asks if the duck is going to bite her too. Howard says that was the furthest thing from his mind. She-Hulk asks if puny duck is her friend. Howard says that he hadn’t given the relationship much thought. She-Hulk says that confusing words hurt her head. Howard says that his bill is sealed. Brent sees She-Hulk and says, “Jennifer? Is that you? Jennifer? What’s happened to you?” She-Hulk says, “Puny Wilcox! Never call She-Hulk that name! She-Hulk hates puny Jennifer! But even more… She-Hulk hates what puny Wilcox did to puny Jennifer in puny college!” She-Hulk heads towards Wilcox.
The Critic stands in Brent’s office and says that this is deplorable. He says that he can’t allow this to continue even if it means “fudging my creed of nonintervention. He says that Howard, She-Hulk, and Wilcox must be freed so they at least have an opportunity to rescue the space-time continuum. Critic makes a bubble and drops it in the frame. He says that he is not acting altruistically as much as he is preventing his perishing with this universe. He decides that he has acted properly and flies out of the office.
She-Hulk, Brent, and Howard are caught up in the Critic’s bubble. She-Hulk rants and rages, but Howard tells her to relax and that he has traveled in one before. She-Hulk keeps screaming that she wants to be free as the bubble guides them all out of the frame and back into Brent’s office. Howard tells her to quit whining. The bubble bursts and Howard asks if she is happy now. She-Hulk says that she isn’t and that there are too many walls and no room to move. A look of fear comes over She-Hulk’s face. She says that the change is coming, and that she doesn’t want puny Jennifer back. She-Hulk shrinks in the sunlight back into Jennifer Walters. Brent says that Jen is back to normal. Howard says that he doesn’t know about that. He says that she has turned from green to pink to gray to pink again in the few hours since they met. Jen asks how they got back in Brent’s office. Howard says that she has short-term memory loss too. He asks if there is somewhere they could go to talk about this. He says that he needs to make a long distance call, and that there is a ninja in Cleveland that is going to be upset when he doesn’t come home from work. Brent says that Jen does look like she could use a rest and some warm clothes. Jen says that she needs clothes period. She says that her apartment is only a few blocks from there.
Critic says that they are functional again, and that though they lack the proper vision that at least there is hope.
In Connecticut, at Mystic Meadows, a home for the elderly, an old man is arguing with another about the Young and the Restless when he feels something that catches his attention. The old man wheels his chair to the storeroom. He says that after all these years he thought that his secret serum had worn off, but that there is no mistaking the tingle when every blood cell “sits up and barks”. He says that there is evil afoot, and that once he has the scent that no evil can escape the Terror.
Down the hall, the doctor is telling the businessman that the patients contracts are for a lifetime. He says that he can’t turn them out on the street. The businessman says that is a matter between the doctor and his lawyers. He says that the doctor is the one that invested in junk bonds that didn’t pay off. He says that it his problem. He says that they own the property now, and that they want to build condos. A creature in a dark cloak crashes through the door and says that the innocents that live there will not be deprived of shelter because of greed or incompetence. He says, “Die, managerial swine! Die, yuppie scum!” Seventy-four seconds later, the creature goes back into the storeroom as the bodies are discovered. The old man wheels back out. He says that in time their transgressions will be discovered and that people’s grief will be replaced by gratitude.
Jen enters her apartment and tells Weezi that it is her. She says that the anomaly must have cleansed her of the gamma radiation, and that she isn’t the She-Hulk anymore. Jen introduces Brent Wilcox and Howard. Weezi points to Howard and says, “Jennifer… This… this is… a duck.” Howard says that isn’t the half of it. He says that he is also a smoker. Weezi says that it talks. She asks if it is friendly or if it bites or anything. Howard says that only when he is provoked. Jen tells Weezi that she doesn’t get it either. She asks her to make some coffee while she gets a hot shower. After Jen leaves, Howard asks Brent if he heard Jen says that she thinks she is cured. He says that someone has to tell her what she turned into back on the meatball. Brent says that what worries him is that they don’t know why she changed or if it could happen again.
At the Wormwall, New York State Correctional facility, the warden is stunned. He asks why Mangles wasn’t transferred to the Vault. He says that Mangles and his gang tried to assassinate an obscure presidential candidate back in ’76. He thinks that it is H.T. Duke, but that someone spilled coffee on the file and that he can’t read it. He says that the point is that Mangles has some kind of super power. The guard doesn’t believe him. The warden says that he used to call himself Dr. Angst, and that he claimed to be a “master of mundane mysticism”. The guard says that the only power Mangles has is to bore people to death. The building starts to shake. A power drill, six stories high, drills Mangles out of his cell. Mangles says that ten years ago that he cast a spell that summoned the Plunger of the Patooti to reverse the suction of a black hole. He says that his retribution has come. Mangles floats out the hole on a lot of strange balloons called the Orbs of Igg. He says that tonight the output of the cosmic blowhole reaches Earth.
Howard says that he finally got through to Bev. He says that she didn’t believe a word of it, and that he can’t imagine why. He asks if Brent told Jen the bad news. He says that he just did, and to let her absorb it a minute. Jen says that she has the idea. She says that when her cousin Bruce first became the Hulk that he went through the same thing. She says that every sundown that he had to seal himself in an underground vault to prevent the Hulk from running amok. Weezi asks why at sundown. Jen says that because in those days nightfall triggered the transformation. Howard says that she is related to the “He-Hulk”, and that at least some of this is making sense. He says that he has other ill-tidings. He says that back in the baloney-verse that she changed right as the cheese slipped below the horizon. Jen looks out the window at the setting sun and says that she had better get out of town.
Mangles floats on his Orbs of Igg to his old neighborhood. He notes some changes since he was last there but says that this is still the underbelly of society. He says that it is the only conceivable location for his citadel of mundane magick. He walks into his dingy apartment to find it exactly as he left it. He thinks how fortunate that his citadel was rent controlled and that the money he made from making license plates in prison was enough to keep him current all those years he was locked away. He picks up a shoe and says that even his terrestrial talisman is still intact. Mangles says that as he looks into the “fetid folds of its insole” that he will find his former associates. He sees Tillie the Hun, the Black Hole, Sitting Bullseye, and the Spanker. He says that he supposes that each of them went their own mediocre ways, and that their lack of imagination was their only real bond. He says that and his “ambition to flatten the rest of the culture to elevate our own stature”. He says that while he was away that television, movies and business schools accomplished that. He says that in many ways overall culture has surpassed his dreams. He says that he is not maximum leader of all civilization, but that he will take care of that tonight. Mangles eats one maggoty, 14-year-old eucha-ritz cracker and is transformed into Dr. Angst.
Brent is flying Jen’s flying car. He says that it might help if he knew where he was going. Jen says to just keep heading west, and to keep them in the sun. Brent asks if she knows where her cousin’s vault is. She says that it is somewhere near the place where the gamma bomb tests were conducted. Brent says that is outside Sallow Springs, New Mexico. He says that the facility was shut down long ago, and that there is a dude ranch and spa on the property now. Howard asks if they can drop him off in Ohio. Brent says that time is critical. Weezi says to think of poor Jennifer. Howard says that if it had been up to him that he would never have even met “poor Jennifer” and that everyone would have been happier for it.
Two hours later, the flying car arrives at the Gamma Ray Dude Ranch and Spa. Brent says that the speed and accuracy of the car and its navigational computer are astounding. Jen says that she will relay the compliment to Al the alien if she ever sees him again. She says to set down near the rock formation and that any caves in the area will be there. They land near a cave that looks big enough for the machinery that is supposed to be in there. Howard waits outside and says that he has seen what she is about to turn into and that he feels safer with the snakes.
Their guess is lucky, and they find Bruce’s lab. Weezi asks Jen what if they can’t get her out in the morning. Jen says that is unimportant. She says that in there she won’t be able to hurt anyone.
Weezi and Brent seal the vault. Weezi says that this makes her uneasy. Brent agrees but adds that they don’t have much choice.
Inside the vault, Jen has a flashlight shone on her. Someone asks who she is. She says to never mind who she is and asks who they are and what they’re doing there. Two kids say that they are hiding. The girl says that they can’t go out. The boy says that they have warts. They ask if they are locked in there.
Critic watches from space and watches. He says that this is utterly pointless. He watches the failed universes rocketing towards Earth and says that despite the great risks that he has assumed they are going to rain down.
Dr. Angst watches from his window. He thinks, “What an average new universe I shall bring into being this night!”
- Jennifer has been locked in her She-Hulk form since the events Marvel Graphic Novel #18. She was forcibly reverted back to human form last issue. This issue she transforms at night like her cousin the Hulk did circa Incredible Hulk #1 and from Incredible Hulk #325-375.
- Due to the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, it is increasingly difficult to explain how individuals who were active during World War II could still be alive in the Modern Age as the scale moves forward. No official explanation can be provided as to how the Terror could still be alive in the modern age, however he's probably aged slower due to the regenerative properties of his powers.
- The secret cave here is the lab owned by She-Hulk's cousin which was constructed circa Incredible Hulk #2 and used from time to time by the Hulk and his allies.
- She-Hulk and her allies use Bruce Banner's old lab facility and it appears intact even though it was destroyed in an explosion back in Incredible Hulk #332. An official explanation of how it was rebuilt is unknown, however, it's probable that it was reconstructed (at least aesthetically) by Jason and Clara.
- The title "Secret Warts" is a play on the series Secret Wars.
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