Appearing in "Higher Ground"
- Fall People
- U.N. (Mentioned)
- Mole Man (Harvey Elder) (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Unit 2 armors
Synopsis for "Higher Ground"
On the Florida Island commandeered by the Hulk, the gamma-spawned monster defends his domain from an influx of creatures from Monster Island.[Continuity 1] Wondering what the Mole Man is up to, the Hulk leaps all the way to Monster Island to see what is going on. However, upon arrival, he discovers a number of unconscious monsters and no sign of the Mole Man. That's when the Hulk is ambushed by Chtylok, a massive chicken monster.[Continuity 2]
In the Savage Land, Spider-Man, Ka-Zar, and Shanna the She-Devil are struggling to keep the residents of this prehistoric domain from the flood waters caused by the melting glaciers.[Continuity 3] Although they managed to get the Fall People to higher ground, this is only a temporary measure as the whole Savage Land is at risk of being totally flooded. Although a joint S.H.I.E.L.D./Roxxon taskforce is trying to resolve this issue, time is running out.
That's when Ka-Zar's friend Tongah introduces them to Mathala, one of the elders of the Fall People. The elderly man has a legend of an even greater danger, of a creature that they call Chtylok the Che-K'n Kau. In this legend, some of the youth of the village ventured into the frozen lands outside of the Savage Land. There they encountered the wrath of the monster, which Mathala describes as their protector. With its claws and spiked tail, Chtylok savaged those warriors and sent them back to the Fall People as a warning to the rest of them to never leave the relative safety of the valley. For centuries, the Fall People left offerings to the creature every new moon. Mathala concludes his tale by telling the gathered heroes that they have nothing to fear as Chtylok will return and protect them all. That's when they are told that an elderly recluse named Yada is still in the low lands and refuses to leave her home despite the flood waters. When they arrive on the scene, Ka-Zar begins working to move the animals on Yada's property, while the wall-crawler tries to calm the woman. When Ka-Zar translates her words, Spider-Man learns that she can't leave her baby. She then brings Spider-Man to a grave where her baby has been buried. Seeing this causes a sad quiet to fall over the wall-crawler.[Continuity 4] Ka-Zar soon snaps Spider-Man out of his silent vigil to warn him that the waters are coming and they need to get back to higher ground.
Back on Monster Island, the Hulk and Chtylok trade blows with each other until the gamma-spawned monster loses his temper. With a single blow he sends the chicken monster flying into the maw of the face carved into the side of a nearby mountain. Still spoiling for a fight, the Hulk leaps in after the feathered creature.
Ka-Zar and Shanna take Spider-Man to one of the Roxxon relay stations that are scattered across the Savage Land. The wall-crawler is told that these stations are used for the communications and transmitting the energy needed to power the giant refrigeration units that are attempting to keep the glaciers frozen. Entering the facility, Spider-Man gets a look at the data feed on one of the computer screens and makes a shocking revelation: Roxxon isn't trying to stop the glaciers from melting but are making them melt faster. When looking for the reason why Spider-Man discovers a drill and quickly deduces that Roxxon is trying to drill for oil in the region. Shanna finds this difficult to believe, reminding everyone that the Savage Land is under the protection of the United Nations. That's when Ka-Zar points out that the UN mandates become void if there if the Savage Land cease to exist, making it open season on the oil reserves below its surface. However, Ka-Zar refuses to allow this to happen.
Elsewhere in the jungle, Stegron the Dinosaur Man has freed himself from the glacial ice he has been trapped in since his last defeats.[Continuity 5] He watches as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents work to build dams to shore up the water created by the melting glaciers. Seeing humans fouling the domain of the dinosaurs angers Stegron who vows to stop this violation from continuing. While at the S.H.I.E.L.D./Roxxon command center, agent Chris Townsend continues to be briefed on the growing floods in the region and coordinates teams to respond. Watching this is Doctor Gerald Roth, a scientist with Roxxon. One of his technicians informs him of the security breach at one of the monitoring stations and orders the intruders destroyed, hoping that he can remove Ka-Zar as a potential threat to Roxxon's plans.
Deep below the Earth, the Hulk and Chtylok continue their no holds brawl. With each blow, the pair are taken deeper and deeper into the underground caverns that spread out from Monster Island.
Ka-Zar, Spider-Man and Shanna are surrounded by Roxxon soldiers armed in high tech battle armor. They are ordered to surrender for trespassing on Roxxon property, which angers Ka-Zar as no outsider can lay claim to any part of the Savage Land. With his spider-sense going off, Spider-Man manages to pull Ka-Zar to safety as one of the mechs begins opening fire. Before they can do anything to apprehend the intruders, the Roxxon soldiers are suddenly surrounded by dinosaurs under the command of Stegron the Dinosaur Man who has vowed that every human in the area will be killed.
Spidey's adventure with Ka-Zar continues. The web-slinger and the vine swinger discover that Roxxon is behind the devastation of the savage land, but when our heroes shut down the operation, that nasty company pulls out the ringers to crush the do-gooders, hired thugs.
- At the time of this story, the Hulk had taken over the island of Duck Key in Incredible Hulk #451.
- The Mole Man is absent here because, at the time of this story, he is incarcerated as seen in Heroes for Hire #1.
- This story specifically cites the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. At the time this issue was published, this was a serious concern. Although ozone depletion is still a concern, the growing damage that was a major concern in 1997 is less so a concern now. A 2018 UN report has noted that the ozone layer is actually starting to heal and could return to pre-1980 levels (when the ozone crisis began) by 2060. As such, this should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Likewise should the use of the phrase "global warming" be considered a topical reference as the more accurate term of "climate change" has long since been adopted.
- Spider-Man's sudden sadness here is because, at the time of this story, Peter's unborn daughter had died during childbirth as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #418.
- Stegron was frozen in ice following a battle in Thunderstrike #20.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters: