The Hulk – herald of Galactus
The Hulk stood with one foot on the Sentry's chest as the former hero lay in the dust a deep vicious cut running the full length of the Sentry's torso. The Sentry had been reluctant to move against the Hulk but eventually he could stay his hand no longer.
Sentry fought magnificently but in the end it was for nothing. The absolutely unquenchable anger of the Hulk sustaining almost exponential increases in strength had been just too much. Alone among all the heroes or villains of the Earth only the son of Odin might have given the Hulk pause. But he had not been heard from in a long time and many presumed him dead.
"They sent a boy to do a man's work" said the Hulk, somewhat ungraciously, to nearby Hercules. "I guess he wasn't so tough after all" uttered one of the sycophantic minions that had found their way into the behemoth's retinue.
" Do you think we may have done enough Hulk ?" ventured Hercules "All those that have done you wrong have now been dealt with, as have all those who supported them."
" Might it not now be time to reach some sort of accommodation with those heroes that remain ? even the US and other militaries have been humbled enough to seek some reconciliation."
From the look on the Hulk's face it seemed the timing of Hercules comments was unfortunate. All the Hulk's entourage prepared themselves that the demi-god might receive another beating, albeit undeserved.
And so, regrettably, the struggle continued. The Hulk and his followers seeking out both heroes and villains with ever more tenuous links to the undeniable wrongs that had been done him. On their part the diminishing numbers of heroes continued increasingly sporadic and ineffectual attempts to stop the green titan.
The United States military persisted in its efforts to stop the Hulk even though it had been repeatedly humbled. Increasingly it sought the help of other military, the British in particular.
There was no herald to announce the arrival of the great Galactus. Rather he was suddenly just there levitating perhaps about 10,000 feet above a partially destroyed New York City. He looked much larger than his normal 27 feet or so.
The world devourer was hungry but still more than a match for the combined power of the remaining heroes of the Earth, WW Hulk included.
As it happened WW Hulk was also in New York at the time but then Galactus knew this.
As Galactus levitated down closer to the ground the Hulk and some of his companions confronted him. The sycophants, the hangers on fled for their lives.
The Hulk stood defiant, angrily glaring at the intruder, a new factor that simply could not be dismissed. Galactus looked back – impassive.
The devourer had a surprising offer to make – he hungered and would not baulk at consuming the world that had so often been denied him. However he would spare humanity if the Hulk would accompany him as his new herald.
On all the Earth there were none to gainsay the Hulk but Galactus, in all the Universe there were few who could truly stay his might. And to the Hulk this meant ? – absolutely nothing - as his leg muscles tensed preparing to leap at the giant and smash his offer right down his throat. Even if his comrades in arms were intimidated by the Hulk old greenskin was definitely not cowed.
In his present state of mind what did it matter to the Hulk if Galactus consumed the Earth? , he had already lost all that he held dear.
At that precise moment the astral form of a relatively unknown follower of Dr Stephen Strange appeared near the Hulk. Only Galactus sensed the astral form but he did nothing. Working a relatively powerful spell the devotee sought to appeal to the Hulk's deep buried humanity as images of Galactus consumption of the Earth flashed through the Hulk's mind.
The spell worked - dumbfounded the Hulk's companions heard him agree to the terms of Galactus. Then the world devourer raised his hand and the Hulk levitated up to him and the two were gone – presumably teleported to Galactus Worldship.
The motives of the acolyte may have been noble or they may have been baser. His master for all his mystical might possessed a very vulnerable physical body.
After the Hulk's departure all momentum among his followers was lost as Earths remaining heroes brought them to heal – but that is another story.
For reasons best known to himself Galactus empowered the Hulk with more of the raw power cosmic than any of his earlier heralds. Whether the world consumer might one day live to regret this remained to be seen.
Strangely enough while it had never been his way to serve another the Hulk came to find his relationship with Galactus not unsatisfactory. While aboard the Worldship Galactus acted to calm the behemoth but when the Hulk approached worlds to be consumed the devourer withdrew the calming affect – even inducing the anger. When encalmed the Hulk had many interesting conversations with Galactus and learned much of cosmic importance.
The Hulk found himself leading Galactus to the most savage and brutal of worlds (and deliberately steering him from any gentler worlds that reminded him of his dead beloved). On such worlds the Hulk rejoiced in battle against defenders as powerful as they were brutal and savage.
But in time the Hulk tired of this existence. It had never been his lot to serve another and he made plans to leave Galactus. He was conscious however of Galactus capability to withdraw the power cosmic from him.
The Hulk noticed that the time intervals between Galactus need to feed had become ever decreasing. The search for suitable new worlds – new sources of nourishment became ever more frequent.
On one such occasion the Hulk was only narrowly able to steer the world devourer from an idyllic world that reminded him of his lost love more so than any other. It was a world he would like to return to and see more of – when circumstances permitted – and sooner rather than later.
In acting as Herald for Galactus the Hulk came across one world of powerful shape shifting mystical creatures. Wraithlike in their normal form the Hulk saw that they might just be formidable enough to trouble a weakened Galactus. Especially if he lent them a hand. As the thought crossed his mind he wondered, not for the first time, just how far Galactus telepathic powers extended.
When the time came though the Hulk could not go through with his plan – a bond of some kind had developed between himself and Galactus.
It came to pass that while Galactus was heavily distracted by other matters on his Worldship the technologies that were being used to encalm the Hulk temporarily failed. The Hulk while resting began to think again on what the illuminati had done to him and of the fateful consequences. Not so slowly the anger within him began to well up.
Now the internal defences of the Worldship of Galactus are a most wondrous thing designed to deal with almost any intruder. Vital areas are protected by inconceivably powerful force fields and huge baulkheads and other physical barriers form and re-form wherever they are needed. In addition a small army of internal robotic enforcers will act immediately against anything threatening the internal security of the great ship. However as it happens an enraged cosmic powered WW Hulk is not "almost any intruder". As his anger increased so did his strength and the enraged Hulk began to smash anything and everything near him – force field protected machineries, baulkheads, vastly thick metal walls and any robotic enforcers that were unfortunate enough to come his way.
Though he must have been aware of internal alarms the heavily distracted and possibly unwell Galactus was slow to react to events. By the time he intervened to encalm the Hulk there had been significant internal damage to his Worldship.
Afterwards neither the Hulk or Galactus spoke of the event. In a strange way each thought they had somehow let the other down and the matter was allowed to pass. Extensive though the damage was, to one with the power of Galactus, it was easily remedied.
Not long after this Galactus raised the matter of his increasingly frequent need for nourishment. "It is an illness mighty one" said Galactus "it has come upon me before and no doubt will so again." "While it lasts the intervals between my feeding decrease dramatically and the earch for nourishment becomes all pervasive, all consuming." "It will pass."
"You may wonder why I chose you as my herald" continued Galactus "as many might see you as a most unlikely choice." "For a time now I have been aware that a former creation of mine and two former herald conspire against me." Continued Galactus "Tyrant, Morg and Terrax, perhaps you know of them ?"
" Tyrant is aware of my illness, and unerringly he will seek to move against me at my weakest moment." "In you Hulk" continued Galactus "I sought more than merely a herald, though as such you have performed admirably." "I also sought an ally with power enough to assist me when Tyrant and the others move against me."
" Our arrangement has been convenient for us both and in your time of difficulty it has suited you to stay a while." said Galactus " I know that now you are ready to move on again." "If you will stay with me during the illness and help me see off Tyrant and Morg then you may leave and with my blessing." "Also" continued Galactus "I know that you thought to ally yourself with the mystical wraiths that we recently confronted, it gladdens me that you did not do so, that you saw the bond which has developed between us."
Only a short time after Galactus revelation the inevitable confrontation came about. The Hulk led Galactus to an unusual world of ephemeral life . Perhaps in the Hulks mind the extreme short livedness of that worlds inhabitants somehow made their imminent deaths less significant.
As predicted by Galactus, at his weakest moment his very lowest ebb, Tyrant struck from nowhere. Terrax and Morg also appeared turning their attentions to the Hulk.
Terrax immediately attacked WW Hulk – much as a small terrier might seek to attack a great Doberman. Raising his mighty axe, made mightier still through the power cosmic the Hulk struck at Terrax cleaving the former heralds axe in two. A second blow from the Hulk at Terrax's chest looked as though it would cleave Terrax himself in two except that the vast cosmic energies swirling about the axe consumed Terrax at that precise same moment. Perhaps he was spared a more painful death.
Morg seemed unimpressed by the Hulk's quick victory. Nor did he seem to display any concerns about his colleagues quick death. Morg then launched a massive energy assault on the Hulk Still very inexperienced in the use of the power cosmic the Hulk seemed to be very much on the receiving end. His only option to close in on Morg and engage him hand to hand.
The Hulk knew not to underestimate his opponent – this bestial yet legendary creature was one of the most purely savage entities in the known Universe. At close quarters the two behemoths seemed very evenly matched trading a flurry of blows any one of which would have felled most heroes.
With his hands full the Hulk was only barely conscious of Galactus and Tyrant though he could not but sense the enormity of that even more titanic struggle. At times massive concussive and other energies from the Galactus/Tyrant exchange sent the Morg and the Hulk reeling almost knocking them umconscious.
Still holding his own the Hulk saw that Galactus and Tyrant had now closed for the final stage of their battle. He worried that, not for himself, but for Galactus that the great titan might die this day.
How strong can the Hulk get when he is enraged to the nth degree ? No one really knows but today fueled by the righteous anger that had sustained him so long, by thoughts that Galactus himself might die and utilizing the power cosmic to further increase that strength the Hulk may have come close to that theoretical limit.
Whatever the ultimate source of the power of the entity Morg it was not enough on this day as the Hulk raging almost beyond control pummeled Morg blow after blow after from both his fists and his cosmic power enhanced axe. The green behemoth frantic to help save Galactus seemed to move into overdrive. Never had he moved so fast never before had he felt so powerful.
Morg was not dead – yet the pummeled shapeless mass in front of the Hulk might as well have been.
A triumphant Hulk turned to see how the great Galactus had fared. He need not have worried.
Can the pupil triumph over the master ?, the creation over the creator ?, yes of course they can - but not today, not today. Though ill and ravenous with hunger the world devourer one of the truly great powers of the Universe rose above his maladies and struck his abominable creation Tyrant with a final physical/energy blow tha scattered the atoms of tyrant irretrievably to every corner of the Multiverse.
Soon after these events the great Galactus recovered from the illness that had afflicted him and the Hulk left with his blessing. Galactus left the Hulk with enough of the power cosmic that the behemoth might safely reach a planetary destination of his choosing. He also undertook never to menace the world that the Hulk eventually chose as home.
The Hulk's choice was not difficult the beautiful world that he recently managed to steer Galactus away from seemed to be calling him and there was now surely no reason to return to the hated Earth.
As he approached the planet the Hulk discarded both his battle axe and armour sensing that he would not be needing them here.
Do you believe that every one deserves a second chance at happiness ? If so, why should the Hulk be any different in this respect ?
We wish him well !