Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #392

Issue Date: 
April 1992
Story Title: 
War and Pieces: Conclusion – Fortunes of War

Peter David (writer), Dale Keown (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Bobbie Chase (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

In Trans-Sabal, Farnoq Dahn has taken Havok prisoner and tied him to a missile. He also has drugged Val Cooper to be his slave and kills Zack Galvin. Meanwhile, the Hulk manages to sneak into Dahn’s palace and proceeds to have a discussion of morality with Havok. While they do, the Pantheon battles against X-Factor and Dahn’s troops. When the Pantheon begins to win the battle, Dahn unleashes his contingency plan and fires off two missiles that hold a young child and his mother. However, thanks to the combined efforts of X-Factor and the Hulk, the civilians are saved. After threatening Dahn, Dahn holds a press-conference and declares that his will is right and that the “liberators” have lost and begins to laugh maniacally. At that moment, he is shot by a Mandroid, who turns out to be Rick Jones. Once he exits the Mandroid, Wolfsbane is there to comfort him and tells him that she understands.

Full Summary: 

In shackles, a battered and beaten Havok yells out to get him the heck out of there; this isn’t the least bit amusing. Standing in front of him Farnoq Dahn says to him that he sees he’s awake and trusts that he’s resting comfortably. Havok asks him what he thinks and angrily says to him for crying out loud, there supposed to be allies. X-Factor is supposed to be on his side. What is he playing at there?

Dahn tells him to kindly address him as “Farnoq” Dahn. He must insist on the use of the title. Etiquette requires it there in Trans-Sabal. As for his current situation, well, he’s afraid the stakes have shifted somewhat. He saw what his unleashed power is capable of achieving – very impressive. The explosion that resulted when he unleashed his full power at the Hulk hurled him a considerable distance. His people found him and brought him back there. There was no sign of the Hulk. Quite possibly, he’s dead. It doesn’t matter though. For with the power of Havok at his disposal…

Havok asks “at his disposal?” He’s his prisoner. Does he think he’s going to cooperate with him? Dahn informs Havok that he is a valuable weapon. They do not have nuclear armament, and the blasted agreements they’ve signed, along with U.N. watchdogs, are making sure they continue to be without them. But he’s made no agreements barring warriors with nuclear bombs for hands. He, his mutant friend, will be the living embodiment of a new age for Trans-Sabal’s nuclear strike capability. This plan has been revealed to him by God himself. He is merely the vessel of his will.

Havok yells at him that what he “merely” is is nuts. He demands to see Val Cooper immediately. She’s their boss there, not him, a loon. Dahn replies as he wishes and snaps his fingers. When he does, Val Cooper enters the room wearing a rather revealing white outfit, much like a slave girl. Upon seeing her, Havok calls Dahn a pig and asks him what he did to her. Touching Val’s chin, Dahn states that they had drinks and she is now beginning to see things his way. And soon, he will begin to see things his way as well. As he leaves with Val, Dahn orders his the guards to watch Havok carefully. If he tries to escape, shoot him in the leg.

Once the door closes, one of the guards jokes that the American girl has no meat on her at all, eh? At that moment, two of the guards disappear into the shadows. One of the guards tells Gamal and Stahn to stop screwing around and to come out of the shadows. After the remaining two guards are abruptly pulled into the shadows, Havok asks who it is, is it Guido? Emerging from the shadows, the Hulk tells him nope, but he’ll give him a hint. “In the valley of the jolly… ho ho ho…” Does he remember how the rest goes?

Out in the corridor Zack Galvin yells at Dahn that they’re gonna talk right now. Walking between two Mandroids, Dahn tells Galvin softly. CIA or not, remember whom he’s addressing. Turning to Valerie, Dahn mentions to her that the bonds she brought to secure the Hulk are doing an excellent job of restraining Havok, wouldn’t she say? Val replies yes, I… I… and begins to ask what she’s doing in… Dahn calls his followers idiots and says she’s coming out of it, the dosage was too small. He then orders them to drug her again, can’t they do anything right?

As Dahn’s men hold Val and prepare to drug her again, Val asks Galvin to help her, don’t let them do this… Galvin exclaims that she can bet her blonde butt he won’t let them. He then tells Dahn that he doesn’t care if they are supposed to be “fully cooperating.” This is way over the line! He demands Val’s immediate release. Dahn warns him again that his word is law in his country and to have a care. Grabbing Dahn by the collar, Galvin threatens that they’ll pull out everything – Mandroids, equipment, everything. He again tells Dahn to let her go or so help him God…

At that moment, one of Dahn’s men comes up behinds Galvin and jams his sword into his back, killing him. Walking away, Dahn tells Galvin that his God cannot help him here, only his rules. He then orders his men to clean up the mess. Upon watching what has occurred, one of the Mandroids expresses their shock as to what has transpired.

At the front lines of Farnoq Dahn’s holy defenders, X-Factor makes their way inside a vehicle. Lorna mentions to her teammates that she’s tried reaching Val on the comm link but she’s not responding, maybe the Pantheons jamming communications somehow. But they’re going to have to report back to her and let her know they can’t find Alex and that they have to organize some sort of search. Pietro, running next to the vehicle, remarks that he can be there and back inside of a few minutes. Lorna tells him no. With Alex missing, she doesn’t want to cut their strength more that it already is, even for a few minutes. Guido warns Lorna to watch it. Give Quicky a sense of importance, he’ll be even more insufferable than usual.

Turning to Rahne, Guido asks her wassamatter. With her head down, Rahne tells him that she’s a terrible person. Guido replies her? Booshwa, she’s a doll. Just then, Dahn’s troops call out to look up ahead, they’re coming. Looking out the side of the vehicle, Guido asks what he gets the feeling that “they” isn’t gonna be anyone he’s happy to see. Looking through his binoculars, Guido sees the Pantheon forces charging towards them and tells his fellow teammates that he was afraid of this. Looks like the Pantheon’s bounced back for more, a lot more.

Inside the missile warehouse, Hulk asks Havok if they’re having fun yet. When Havok doesn’t answer, he tells him not look so upset and to count his blessings. He could have been involved in Operation Galactic Storm. Talk about your logistical nightmares, now there was a... Havok proceeds to cut him off and asks him if he would mind telling him how in the blazes he got there. Hulk replies that was simple. He admits he was kind of a mess after his little gamma-powered blast. But he heals very, very quickly; quickly enough to catch up with him (Havok) and see him being loaded onto one of Dahn’s trucks. So when the thing started rolling, he just snuck up behind it and hitched himself a ride underneath. He couldn’t resist the opportunity to get right into Dahn’s stronghold without having to fire a shot. The truck is parked way down below them somewhere. They are in a big place wherever they are.

Havok tells him swell and asks him if he minds getting him down from there. Hulk asks why, so he can try and attack him again. So he can defend the monster who runs this country. Havok tells him that obviously, he’s not the guy’s biggest fan right now. But just going in with heavy armament and strong-arming someone you don’t like out of power isn’t the way to get along in the world. Hulk asks what, and defending this cretin, and letting him go on doing whatever he wants to do, that is the way to get along. Havok says he doesn’t have all the answers but whatever the answers are, force of arms isn’t one of them.

Turning around, the Hulk angrily tells Havok that Dahn is abusing his own people, he’s stomping on human rights. Havok says he believes that and he’s no happier about it than he is. But where’s he going to draw the line? Hulk replies that he draws it at what’s right and wrong. Havok asks him what’s next for him then. Take out every ruler on Earth who doesn’t measure up to his definition of morality. And where does he stop, until he and the Pantheon are running things? By what right does he decide who’s in charge and who’s not?

By force, the guy doing the most good is the guy with the biggest gun? Hulk remarks that he makes it sound like it’s wrong to do something about evil. Isn’t it more wrong to do nothing? Havok tells him he doesn’t know. But he does know this: he can’ start setting himself up as a one-man judge of international affairs. Overthrowing governments isn’t right. He then tells the Hulk to look into his heart, he knows it isn’t. Hulk replies that leaders have to be held accountable. Someone has to pay for atrocities. Havok tells him perhaps, but he can’t set himself up as bill collector.

On the battlefield, Ajax, in his metal suit yells at X-Factor “You hurd Adlanna! I’ll gedyoo!” As he rushes towards them, Polaris asks if someone wants to translate that. Multiple Man tells her that he thinks he’s angry about them hurting someone, he’s not sure who. Polaris replies that she’s not sure she cares. But with all the armor he’s wearing, he should be a pushover for her magnetic…

Shocked her powers aren’t working on Ajax, Polaris informs Multiple Man that he’s resisting. He’s like the Juggernaut. At that moment, someone from the Pantheon side yells incoming and fires a round in the midst of Ajax and X-Factor. Using it to her opportunity, Polaris is able to raise Ajax into the air and proceeds to ask Multiple Man if he’s okay. Each of Jamie’s dupes admits that they are. As the Pantheon continue to fire upon them, Wolfsbane points out that there’s nowhere to go, they’re surrounded. Seeing a mortar heading towards her, Strong Guy tells her to take cover but notices that she’s just standing there and wonders where her mind is at. Standing between her and the mortar, Strong Guy tells Quicksilver to get Wolfsbane out of there. When he does, Strong Guy remarks that Fed Ex would love that g…

Just then, Strong Guy takes the full brunt of the mortar’s blast. At that moment, Dahn’s loyalist troops call out to fall back, the Pantheon are bulldozing right over them. Continuing to battle the oncoming forces, Polaris thinks to herself that the whole thing is falling apart. For every tank she takes out, there are two more she can’t stop in time. They’re getting massacred. Rising up from the blast area, Strong Guy states that he has to release energy he absorbed from the mortar fast. Driving a transport vehicle, Prometheus informs Hector that he’s closing in on the one code-named Strong Guy. But their files on him would indicate his strength level is no serious danger to…

Upon seeing the hulking Strong Guy standing before him, Prometheus stops his thought mid-sentence. He then tells Hector that he believes it’s time to update their records. Jumping onto the vehicle, Strong Guy slams his fists into the top of it and picks it up with ease. He exclaims that he’s feeling much better now and tosses the vehicle away. As the bashed up vehicle flies through the air, Prometheus informs Hector that Strong Guy caught him completely flatfooted. Systems wide shutdown, afterburners are out. He’s trying to reroute to emergency power, it’ll only take him a few sec…

Before Prometheus can finish his thought the vehicle crashes. When it does, Prometheus, ablaze, is able to get out of the vehicle and rolls on the ground. Rushing over towards him, Wolfsbane remarks that the driver got out. She cannae believe he survived that wreck. Seeing the driver’s badly scarred face, Wolfsbane says blessed virgin. Making his way over there as well, Hector tells furry one side, that’s his big brother. Wolfsbane proceeds to ask him if he can help him, he looks so…

Grabbing hold of Prometheus and flying off, Hector asks does she mean his face. He was born looking like that. Dahn’s forces yell out that the liberators are breaking through. Seeing the forces reach closer and closer, Polaris thinks to herself that there’s way too much armament for her to stop. The whole thing’s coming apart at the seams. She then wonders where the devil Alex is.

In Dahn’s palace, his assistant informs him that it doesn’t go well. The so-called liberators are literally steamrolling over their front lines. Dahn replies that perhaps his killing Galvin was premature. Oh, bother. His assistant states that the troops are in disarray. Many are surrendering on their own, what should they do? Dahn informs him to use the contingency plan.

Inside the missile silo, Havok asks the Hulk if he admits that he has some valid points. Hulk tells him they could go around on this all d… Just then, Hulk asks what all that rumbling is and witnesses Havok and the missile heading skywards. After he asks him where he’s going, Havok informs the Hulk how would he know, he just works there. Leaping onto the missile, Hulk says to Havok that he wouldn’t shoot off his mouth if he were him. Havok then realizes that he’s hogtied to a missile. Hulk states that he kind of noticed that and tells him that he looks like he has company. Nearby, a young boy and his mother are tied separately to two missiles.

Back on the battlefield, Ulysses takes a swipe at Quicksilver with his sword to no avail. Just then, he sees missiles emerging from the ground. He then calls out to Hector and ‘Lanta that Dahn’s got his stronghold ringed by at least two dozen missiles and people are tied to every one. Quicksilver remarks that even for a human, that’s low. Inside his fortress, Dahn requests to be put on the public address system. He then orders the invaders to retreat immediately or the civilians will die. He has hostages at other hidden locations, attack at their peril. And in case they think him too squeamish – observe. Dahn then gives the order to launch two of the missiles but not the one with Havok, he’ll need him later.

As the missiles carrying the young boy and his mother launch the Hulk leaps towards them. When he does, he realizes that they are splitting off; he’ll never get both of them. Focusing on the boy, the Hulk is able to save him. Watching the other missile heading off, Polaris remarks that she couldn’t nag it with her magnetic power, it was too big and too fast. Just then, Quicksilver tells her big he can’t help her with, but fast… With that, he rushes up, grabs her and runs off towards the second missile. After the missile explodes, Quicksilver returns carrying both Polaris and the child’s mother. He then says to Lorna that he thinks she’s put on some weight, are her buttocks larger? Lorna replies by telling him to shut up.

Inside his palace control room, Dahn is furious that they saved them. How dare they? He declares their lives forfeit. Who do they think they are? Smashing his way through the wall of screens, Hulk quips that they interrupt this program to bring you a special bulletin. Farnoq Dahn, two-bit petty tyrant of Trans-Sabal, brought before his people and made to answer for his crimes. Grabbing a frightened Dahn by the collar, Hulk adds film at eleven.

Later, Farnoq Dahn stands before the people of Trans-Sabal, flanked by members of the Pantheon, X-Factor, and the Hulk. Ulysses informs Dahn that they accuse him of high crimes against his people and asks how he pleads. Dahn states that he does not recognize his authority unbeliever. They understand nothing. Alex whispers to Val and asks her how they play this. Val whispers back that Dahn promised to institute democracy. She thinks they’re seeing it in action. Alex replies his thoughts exactly.

Dahn announces that his people have a belief in their leaders that transcends their paltry notions. “High crimes” implies he owes his people something. He does not. They owe him and have pledged him their very lives. Just as an earthquake is an act of God, so are his actions taken on behalf of God. To attack him, to accuse him, is to challenge God. The unbelievers do not understand this and so they disparage it. But his people do understand. He then asks if any among them dare attack him face to face. Irrevocably turn their back on a lifetime of teaching. Here is their chance.

Seeing Dahn’s people bow to him, Ulysses becomes enraged. He exclaims that he’ll kill him himself. Stopping him, Hulk tells him no. He won’t let him cut him down in cold blood. It’s not what his people want. Ulysses replies that it’s what he wants. Hulk tells him tough luck. Standing triumphantly, Dahn asks do they see. They still love him, they’re still his. He informs the pathetic “liberators” that he wins. Laughing maniacally, he says he always wins and there’s nothing they can d…

Just then, Dahn’s body is riddled with bullets by a nearby Mandroid. As Dahn lies dead, Ulysses tells the people of Trans-Sabal that the people have spoken. And look, the sun shines, the air smells of freedom, their God still loves them.

As he exits the Mandroid, Wolfsbane asks Rick Jones why he did it and asks if he’s proud. Rick informs her that he snuck into the castle using the armor and saw up close what he did, what he was. And he was just laughing, and… But he never thought he could, he… Giving him a hug as the Hulk looks on, Wolfsbane tells Rick that it’s okay. Believe her, she knows.

Characters Involved: 

The Hulk (green-skinned)
Rick Jones
Ajax, Atalanta, Hector, Prometheus, Ulysses, and other unnamed individuals (members of the Pantheon)

Havok (Alex Summers), Multiple Man (Jamie Madrox), Polaris (Lorna Dane), Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff), Strong Guy (Guido), Val Cooper, and Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair) (all X-Factor)

Farnoq Dahn (leader of Trans-Sabal)
Zack Galvin (U.S. diplomat to Trans-Sabal)
Various Trans-Sabal troops (Gamal and Stahn are the only ones named)
Various unnamed residents of Trans-Sabal

Story Notes: 

The Incredible Hulk became a member of the Pantheon back in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #382.

The Hulk and the Pantheon started their crusade against Farnoq Dahn in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #390.

X-Factor was called in to assist Trans-Sabal in their battle against the Hulk and the Pantheon in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #391.

In X-Factor #76, Rahne was captured by a religious zealot who followed the rule of Farnoq Dahn. After she escaped, Rahne killed the zealot after he had killed his own sister.

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