Hulk (2nd series) #54

Issue Date: 
August 2012
Story Title: 
Mayan Rule, part II: Reunion

Jeff Parker (writer), Dale Eaglesham (artist), Jesus Aburtov & Val Staples (color artists), Virtual Calligraphy’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Eaglesham & Aburtov (cover artists), Jack Thomas & Jon Moisan (assistant editors), Mark Paniccia (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Storms and floods rage in El Salvador, as Ixchel the Jaguar Goddess appears before “her” people, announcing the return of the Mayan gods. At Gamma Base, A-Bomb and General Ross communicate with Puck, who along with Guardian and Shaman, is recovering in hospital from injuries. Puck is adamant that they go and search for their captured teammates. A-Bomb and Ross meet up with Machine Man and Annie the LMD who are monitoring She-Hulk and Lyra, whose withered bodies are placed in stasis tanks. They watch various news footage of Ixchel and learn that another Mayan god has returned, Camazotz. Annie then reports that the pyramid has returned to Chichen Itza, and the four depart in a jet to investigate. When they approach it, General Ross fires a missile towards it - but it vanishes as it touches the side of the temple. Machine Man reports that the missile has appeared at the Uxmal pyramid in Egypt, and emerged from it, then detonated. They are soon attacked by a large fiery Mayan god called Tohil, who tosses their jet about. Ross transforms into Red Hulk and separates the cockpit from the rest of the plane. He, A-Bomb and Machine Man land in the jungle below, where they are confronted by a tree-like god called Yum Kaax. Tohil continues to fight them, while Annie reaches the temple. She sees Ixchel, Camacotz and another Mayan god, Ah Puch, and when the entrance is clear, she makes her way into the temple. Ixchel and the others join the fellow gods to battle Red Hulk, A-Bomb and Machine Man. The Mayan gods believe that Red Hulk and A-Bomb are some sort of modern gods. Machine Man suddenly realizes that Ixchel and Camacotz appeared when She-Hulk and Lyra went missing, and now Ah Puch, Yum Kaax and Tohil appeared once the Alpha Flight members went missing. At that moment inside the temple, Annie finds Snowbird, Sasquatch and Aurora, drained of their life force, their withered bodies laid out on slabs. However, Red Hulk, A-Bomb and Machine Man soon learn that Sasquatch’s life force was enough to revive two Mayan gods, and Tohil’s brother, Jacawitcz, the volcano god, rises from the ground below them, and Red Hulk, A-Bomb and Machine Man plummet to the lava below.

Full Summary: 

San Miguel, El Salvador, where civilians flee in a panic. ‘Get to safety!’ someone exclaims, as the sky turns dark, lightning strikes, and a massive wave of water rushes towards them down a busy street. A voice from above calls out to them, ‘It hurts me to have to do this, my people. But as much as it does you, but my pain is more important’ the voice exclaims, as a scantily-clad woman, whose revealing outfit is comprised of jaguar-print animal skin, drops down, and walks on the water, ‘I hear your fear. I hear your respect. Soon I will hear y our love again’ she exclaims. Clouds thicken in the sky above, and more lightning strikes, while people, vehicles and buildings are tossed about in the raging waters like a children’s toys in a bathtub. The woman holds her left hand into the air, metallic claws attached to her fingers, she tells the people ‘Your ancestors once worshipped us. They knew me as Ixchel, the Jaguar Goddess. In the thunderstorms, you hear me voice. When I want to move you, the floods come. The time of the Mayapan is now. You will come to greatness with us’.

Meanwhile, at Gamma Base, in Death Valley, Rick Jones, in his form known as A-Bomb and General Thunderbolt Ross stand before a monitor, linked up to a hospital where three members of Canada’s premiere super heroes, Alpha Flight, are recovering from injuries. James Macdonald Hudson a.k.a. Guardian lies in his bed, while Dr Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen sits up in his. Rick reports that Doc Hudson has a pretty nice concussion from the slam he received from Sasquatch, while Shaman is a little better, and starting to eat. Suddenly, Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck appears on the monitor, his broken arm in a sling, he exclaims ‘Look, where are you guys? I’m patched up here, I want to go after these people! They’ve got most of Alpha Flight!’

A-Bomb tells Puck that they are taking in a lot of stuff now, and will move on it right away. ‘I promise I’ll let you -’ he begins, but Puck interrupts him, ‘C’mon, Jones! I don’t even know how to contact you, don’t tell me to wait! Where are you? I’ll take a transport there now!’ Judd declares, but A-Bomb quickly announces that he has to check some stuff and will get back to him, before ending the transmission. Rick tells Thunderbolt Ross that he hates this, that he knows Puck is worried. ‘But his friends might still be alive’ he adds. ‘Maybe not just his, Rick. Let’s go to the lab’ Ross replies.

Entering the lab, they see Jennifer Walters and Lyra, both known as She-Hulk, in tanks of fluid, hooked up to monitors. Machine Man explains that their metabolisms have been slowed down to a near imperceptible point, and that his equipment perceived it, though he immediately put Jen and Lyra into a nutrient bath, and has been using electro-stimulus.

‘You mean…there’s still a chance - they’re alive?’ A-Bomb asks, to which Machine Man tells him that it depends on his definition of living, which seems to come up a lot around here. ‘I’ve made no progress with this, but as the saying goes…it couldn’t hurt’ Machine Man remarks. General Ross touches the tanks and asks ‘How did they do this to…Hulks? And why?’, adding that if he doesn’t get Lyra back in shape, her mother, Thundra, will come through time and kill him. The LMD called Annie puts a hand on Ross’s shoulder and reminds them that they asked her to run down any reference to Mayan gods, and explains that it wasn’t necessary, as all she had to do was turn on the telemundo. ‘To the briefing room, please’ she tells them.

Everyone gathers in the briefing room, and observe the recordings of what is happening in El Salvador. Annie explains that the first to appear was this character calling herself Ixchel, and that last night, she flooded several hectares of El Salvador. Annie reveals that the name is of a figure in the Mayan Pantheon, and she had the aspect of a jaguar, and controlled storms and waters. ‘That’s the woman!’ A-Bomb exclaims angrily, adding that she lured him out and got him to free them from the crystal prison. ‘Okay, that may help’ Annie remarks, before changing the recordings to another: ‘This handsome devil’ she begins, as a monkey-like being appears on screen. Annie declares that he was spotted in Guatemala, calling himself Camazotz, and went straight for more prominent figures and leaders, helping himself to their necks. ’They’re not turning into vampires or anything, generally just falling over dead from a lack of blood’ Annie adds, while the monkey-creature snarls, it’s deadly teeth bared, ’Soon we all return! Remember your loyalty, your gods!’ he snarls.

‘What is it with these people? No wonder someone locked them away’ A-Bomb exclaims. ‘They finally get out again and start killing and destroying?’. General Ross decides that it is “shock and awe”, that they are shaking up the populace and upsetting order, and then they will provide their own order, and people will accept t. Annie explains that Ixchel and Camazotz only stuck around for a few hours, but that after the encounter yesterday, a temple returned to Chichen Itza. ’The pyramid, good! The other Alpha Flight members are in there. Let’s go crack it open!’ A-Bomb suggests. ‘We don’t just show up and hope hings break right. But we have a few hours to plan in flight’ General Ross orders, asking Annie to warm up the war bird, and tells Rick to power down so they can fly light.

Soon, the plane streaks across the cloudy sky, with Annie piloting, General Ross, Rick Jones and Machine Man gather around a map. Machine Man explains that on a hunch he has been monitoring Middle East and North African news, and that there has been another development with the Mesoamerican pyramids, revealing that the pyramid from Uxmal in the Yucatan has now appeared in Western Egypt. ‘This is not gloating, but I did hypothesize this just yesterday’ Machine Man states. Rick announces that is the pyramid Jen went to, while General Ross points out that it is not far from Sharzhad, and adds that Dagan Shah will probably blame him for that. Machine Man states that he believes they are rebuilding a network that allowed for this level of teleportation, while Annie announces that they are coming within range, thirty miles from Chichen Itza, and that there is enough room for her to land. ‘That‘s what they‘d expect us to do. Show up hitting. That‘s why we‘re going to launch‘ General Ross replies, as he fires a missile from the jet down towards the temple.

‘What are you doing, Ross? The captures are probably in there!’ Annie exclaims. General Ross replies that it is just a wall buster, not enough to nuke the place, as he wants to see what they are up against. Machine Man detects no countermeasures, and an instant later, the missile strikes the temple, directly - before vanishing. ‘What happened? Did they disintegrate it?’ General Ross asks. Various images flash before him, and Machine Man announces that he has tracked the missile, to Egypt, and that it has emerged from the Uxmal pyramid and detonated. ‘A portal defense. Flawless’.

Suddenly, a massive fiery form appears to rise up from the temple below. A large face can be made out in the fiery form, and a voice booms: ‘You trespass in the world of the Maya!’, to which Annie tells her companions that they got someone’s attention. The fiery form boasts that no military in the world will stop them from taking back the land that is theirs. ‘All who come will burn in the infinite fires of Tohil, God of the Flame!’ he booms. The jet flies towards Tohil’s gaping mouth. ‘Whoa-heck! Ross!’ Rick calls out, while Thunderbolt Ross fires another missile, this time into Tohil’s mouth. But, Tohil reaches up and strikes the side of the jet. ‘We are compromised!’ Machine Man exclaims as he falls to the floor. ‘Really?’ Thunderbolt Ross mutters as he transforms into the Red Hulk. He then seals off the cockpit, leaving Annie inside it, and telling her to separate the ship.

Rick turns into A-Bomb, while Red Hulk asks Machine Man how fast he can make the fuel tanks explode. Machine Man, alias Aaron Stack, replies that he may need upwards of five seconds. A-Bomb looks out the window as the part of the ship they are in has been separated from the cockpit, and informs Red Hulk that Tohil is reaching out for Annie, indeed, the cockpit is dangerously close to his gaping, flaming mouth. Red Hulk leaps from the ship, and tells Machine Man to get clear so he can do his thing. ‘I’ll deal with Toenail or whatever’ Red Hulk adds as he attempts to punch the flaming behemoth. There is a mighty boom, as the plane explodes over Tohil. ‘Three seconds…good work, Machine Man’ Red Hulk calls out as he drops to the ground below. ‘Keep going, Annie…’ Red Hulk calls out, and proceeds to make his way through the dense bush, ‘Now I can -’ he begins, only for a tree-like Mayan god to appear in front of him: ‘Now you can feel the wrath of the forest!’ the god exclaims.

‘Another one of you? Good’ Red Hulk declares, while tree roots suddenly wrap themselves around his legs. ‘There are many more to come, red devil. We will replace all of your gods of this age’ the Mayan god adds, as he extends a tree-like hand and wraps it around the Red Hulk, who roars. ‘Why would we be replaced by obsolescence?’ Machine Man enquires, as a chainsaw extends from one of his arms, and he cuts away at the tree-like god, in an attempt to free Red Hulk - but an instant later, Tohil appears, and breathes fire down on Machine Man, knocking him backwards. Tohil tells the tree-like god, Yum Kaax, that he could always be withstood, only for A-Bomb to leap into the air, and bust through Tohil’s flaming body, ‘See you got yourself back together - but you shrunk a little in the process!’ he exclaims, suggesting they keep going that way.

At the entrance of the temple, Ixchel and Camazotz appear, alongside a ghoulish figure clad in rags. ‘They still have not brought back our noble sacrifices?’ Ixchel remarks. Taking flight, Camazotz suggests that ages of imprisonment have dulled their warrior skills. ‘Even in the time of our rule…we rarely had to face other gods in battle’ the ghoulish being points out. Annie is crouched behind a tree and watches them. When they leave the area, she rushes into the temple, and makes her way down one of the corridors.

‘Holy hell…what are you supposed to be?’ Red Hulk asks as the ghoulish figure appears over him. A skeleton can be seen underneath the flowing rags, and the god introduces itself as Ah Puch, explaining that the Mayan people would see him at the end of life. ‘They would feel my touch’ Ah Puch adds as he touches Red Hulk on the shoulder. Red Hulk cries out in pain, to which Ah Puch asks ‘It feels no better to you, little god?’, when suddenly, Ixchel arrives on a stream of water, telling Ah Puch to stop. ‘You would waste one the founder needs!’ she exclaims. ‘I am inevitable, I do what I do’ ah Puch replies. ‘You do what is good for the pantheon!’ Ixchel declares, reminding Ah Puch that his touch saps life without storing what is needed.

Ixchel, Tohil, Camazotz, Yum Kaax and Ah Puch now surround Red Hulk, A-Bomb and Machine Man. ‘We have them!’ Tohil announces. ‘Surround the gods of the northern lands, Mayapan!’ Ixchel declares. ‘They are powerful, but we have the numbers!’ she ads. Red Hulk picks up a large rock, and tells Ixchel to stop calling them gods. ‘We may be freaks of nature, but we’re not delusional, like you’ he adds. ‘They wish to hide their nature from us!’ Camazotz exclaims, while Yum Kaax asks ‘Who can hide from the earth itself? All must return to me!’, while Machine Man wraps a tendril around Yum Kaax’s wrist, and as A-Bomb breaks through some tree roots, Ah Puch looms over him and declares ‘All must feel the final embrace of Ah Puch’.

‘Embrace? If I’d known it was going to be that kind of party…’ he begins, before clenching his fists. He shouts ‘You think you’ve got enough? Bring it! I’m going to make you look worse than you did Lyra and Jen‘. A-Bomb asks the Mayan gods what they did to his friends. At the same time, Annie raises a torch in the temple as she continues her search. Suddenly, Machine Man pulls A-Bomb away from Ah Puch and tells Rick and General Ross that they need to get away from here. ‘No way, Aaron! These fools are going down!’ A-Bomb replies, while Red Hulk asks him what is going on. ‘I just did simple math’ Machine Man replies. Looking up at Camazotz and Ixchel, Machine Man states that they arrived when the two She-Hulks went missing, then the pyramid vanished with three of Alpha Flight, and now, there are three more - Tohil, Yum Kaax and Ah Puch.

At that moment, inside the temple, Annie comes across the withered bodies of Jeanne-Marie Beaubier a.k.a. Aurora, the goddess Narya a.k.a. Snowbird, and Dr Walter Langkowski in his form of Sasquatch. The three founding Alphans are laid on slabs and are unmoving. ‘They’re draining lives to resurrect themselves!’ Tohil tells Machine Man that he is right, but that with modern gods such as the hairy one, they can revive two. ‘It always takes loner for Jacawitz to arrive, as he comes from so far down’ Tohil declares, as the ground beneath Red Hulk, A-Bomb and Machine Man suddenly splits and cracks, and there is a mighty rumble, as a huge god rises from below, ‘He is the brother of Tohil…Volcano Lord of the Maya!’ Ixchel declares , while Red Hulk, A-Bomb and Machine Man plummet to the flowing lava beneath them….

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Guardian, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird (all Alpha Flight)

Red Hulk
She-Hulk II
Machine Man
Annie the LMD

Ah Puch, Camazotz, Ixchel, Jacawitz, Tohil, Yum Kaax (all Mayapan)


Story Notes: 

The “Mayan Rule” storyline is penciled by Dale Eaglesham, who also penciled the fourth series of Alpha Flight.

Dagan Shah is the new Arab nation under rule of Sultan Magus.

Notably absent this issue is Alpha Flight’s Marrina, who was neither captured nor injured last issue.

Written By: