Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #454

Issue Date: 
June 1997
Story Title: 
Best Intentions

Peter David (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Lovern Kindzierski and Digital Chameleon (colorist), John E. Workman, Jr. (letterer), Bobbie Chase (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

In the Savage Land, the Hulk has joined up with a tribe after escaping military pursuit and killing a Tyrannosaurus rex. The tribe’s purpose is to use the Hulk to crush a rival tribe that has normally bested them in battle. After discovering that the Hulk is aligned with the other tribe, Ka-Zar and Wolverine lend their services. During the battle, the Hulk faces off against Wolverine. When the Hulk has the advantage, another Tyrannosaurus rex arrives and attacks the Hulk. Realizing the situation, the two rival tribes join together and take the T-Rex down. At the celebration later that night, the leaders discover that they have poisoned each other, thus ending the two tribes’ existence. At the same time, Wolverine has a conversation with the Hulk and, after slapping him on the shoulder, is shocked when the Hulk collapses.

Full Summary: 

As the Incredible Hulk sits atop a makeshift throne in the jungle, the pounding of the drum matches the thudding of his powerful heart and he finds, in them, something with which he identifies at a primal level. The shadows of the flame leap and dance along with the tribesmen known as the Locot.

While they dance around a bound Tyrannosaurus rex over a flame, the Locot prepare to go to battle against their archrivals, the Nowek, hoping to settle disputes that go back generations. And they will do so with the aid of the being whom a hunting party discovered, having single-handedly killed the vicious dinosaur upon which they know feast. The being who followed them as they hauled the beast he had slain back to their village. The being who seems to have no intention of leaving. The being who is their new weapon, their new ally, their new god. But they know all too well that gods can be mercurial in their disposition. And when the powerful being impulsively descends from his throne, they quickly prostrate themselves, quaking in fear. It both amuses him and saddens him.

Approaching the Hulk, the Shaman of the tribe calls him “great one” and tells him that he does not know if he understands his words but they have saved the most sacred portion of the kill for him. By consuming the heart of the creature, he acquires the gift of its savage spirit. Offering it to the Hulk, he tells him to eat it; he’s more than earned it. After grabbing it out of the medicine man’s hands and devouring it, the Hulk surrenders to the ferocity within him and his roar echoes in the night sky.

High atop a mountain top, Leesha, a Nowek tribe member informs the mighty Ka-Zar in her native tongue that the Locot intend to move on them soon. Ka-Zar asks her how she knows that and then tells her to please lose the “mighty” part, just plain “Ka-Zar” will do. Leesha replies that she can smell it in the air “plain Ka-Zar,” she can tell it by the drums. Ka-Zar starts to tell her not “plai..” but decides to forget it. He then mentions that he thought the border disputes had been settled. Leesha says only because they had beaten them back. But now, with the great green monster aiding them, they believe they can conquer them and the entire Savage Land.

Turning to Wolverine, Ka-Zar asks him if he’s following this. Wolverine tells him mostly; the local lingo’s pretty easy to pick up. Ka-Zar then asks him that he’s sure this “green monster” is the Hulk? Wolverine replies reasonably, he knew he was in Antarctica. He, Wolverine, was there ‘cause he’d heard “monsters” were tromping around. Shocked, Ka-Zar asks if he means besides the Hulk. Wolverine tells him yeah, dinos and such. But since he knew the Savage Land was hidden away in Antarctica, he figured there was a connection and came to check it out. Why the Hulk was there, that’s sketchier.

Near as he can tell, he’s playing some sort of cat-and-mouse game with an Army colonel named St. Lawrence. His guess is that he decided to pick the most inhospitable climate he could think of and he found it. Shortly thereafter, they found him. Amidst the snow, a number of Army planes and military personnel on snowmobiles charged towards the Hulk. When the plane informed Colonel St. Lawrence that the target was acquired, St. Lawrence ordered launch of the operation “down the drain.” Apparently, what they’d whipped up was a mobile version of something they’d already tried. The missiles carried specially-designed warheads which didn’t explode. Instead, they created an energy-draining field in hopes of siphoning off enough gamma radiation to make him vulnerable.

St. Lawrence was shocked when she saw that the Hulk was shaking off the control. Just then, she looked up and saw what looked to be a pterodactyl harassing their planes. The pilot up above confirms that they do indeed have a refugee from Jurassic freakin’ Park on their tail. Before long, St. Lawrence couldn’t believe it. The Hulk had skewered a pterodactyl that was chasing one of her planes. The Hulk saving the bacon of his pursuers, it didn’t seem to track. But then she saw his face and realized that maybe he hadn’t been aiming at the ‘dac. Maybe he’d been aiming at the plane and the ‘dac had just gotten in the way. And she further realized that she’d never been closer to death than at that moment.

When the Hulk had the missiles pointed directly at her, nothing sort of a deus ex machina could save her. At that moment, a Tyrannosaurus rex emerged from the ground below and knocked the Hulk down into the hole below, away from the military. Peering into the hole, one of the military personnel says to St. Lawrence that a dinosaur pops outta nowhere and he and the Hulk fall down some sort of tunnel. What does she call that? St. Lawrence simply tells him deus ex machina. When Wolverine showed up half an hour later, the military was still wondering what their next move should be. When he volunteered to follow him down, they weren’t exactly begging him not to.

A short time later, Ka-Zar addressed the Nowek tribe and tells them not to be concerned; the matter shall be attended to. Fighting for their land, he will not do that for them, but the green monster will be attended to by him and by the one called Wolverine. That he promises them. One of the warriors wonders aloud what the Locot promised themselves.

At their base of operations, the Locot Shaman tells the Hulk, in his native tongue, that his people have promised to destroy the Nowek. They see that the Nowek are greater than they are. They are leaving them behind. With every generation, the gap grows. It angers his people to know this and they would tear down that which they do not understand. As Shaman, he must respect his people’s wishes and give them pride in themselves. But as a human, how is he to condone what they would do. Walking away from the Shaman, the Hulk informs him that he has no idea what he just said.

As the Nowek tribe is perched in the trees, Wolverine tells Leesha that this isn’t going to work, this hiding-in-the-trees thing. Leesha tells him that in the past, they’ve met them on the ground in battle. The Locot are not much for imagination; they will expect another ground war. So this time they will surprise them with...

As they talk, a low rumbling sound gets louder and louder as it approaches their location. When the cause of the rumbling, the Incredible Hulk, emerges; Wolverine knew this wasn’t going to work. When the Hulk makes an entrance, he tends to plow through anything in his way. He’ll mow down the trees just because they’re there and the fact that they’re tree bound is just going to get them mowed down with them. Leaping down at the Hulk, Wolverine notices that something’s wrong though. He seems stronger than ever. Bu there’s something hanging on him, eating away at him, inside and out. Something that tells him he’s vulnerable somehow. And if that’s the case, he’s got a shot at taking him down fast, clean, and right now!

With that, Wolverine slashes the Hulk across the neck. Looking down, the Hulk realizes there is no blood and points out that his claws aren’t metal and asks if they are bone. When Wolverine admits that they are, the Hulk charges towards him.

At that moment, the battle’s truly joined. The Nowek descend to try and help him, and the Locot charge into the fight. With a war cry, Ka-Zar and Sabu leaps downward from on high. The Locot open fire with their arrows, probably thinking he’s easy pickings. They’re wrong as Ka-Zar avoids getting hit and takes out a group of them. Wolverine, unfortunately, is not in a position to stand around and admire him, as the Hulk is pounding on him pretty good. He then decides that since plan A didn’t work, it’s time for plan B. Wolverine tells the Hulk that the Locot are using him, doesn’t he get that? After all the guys he’s fought, the battles he’s won, he winds up as chief stooge for a tribe in the Savage Land.

Dodging the Hulk’s charge, Wolverine says that the strongest, craftiest guy on the planet is willing slave to Neanderthal yahoos just ‘cause they tickle his ego. If he were smart, he’d walk away from this right now, instead of acting like a pitiful dupe. When the Hulk grabs him around the neck, Wolverine realizes thus endeth plan B.

In another location in the jungle, Leesha stands behind the Locot Shaman, prepared to strike with her spear. The Shaman asks her if she thinks he is unaware that she is there. But he sees more than she could know. He then tells her to do what she must. Meanwhile, Wolverine pounds on the Hulk’s hands, trying to pry them free, and then he hears the Locot yelling. The Hulk killed some sort of creature before. That’s how he got friendly with the Locot. Apparently, the creature’s mom, dad, or big brother has just shown up to register a complaint. The monster, a T-Rex, roars and the Hulk proceeds to wince.

Wolverine leaps clear as the thing’s head spears down. Somehow, it’s almost as if is senses that the Hulk was responsible for the other’s death, like it smells the dead one’s blood most clearly on him. It proceeds to grab the Hulk, shake it like a cat worrying a mouse and then punts him halfway to Pangea. At that moment, members of the Nowek and Locot tribes, Ka-Zar, and Wolverine all simultaneously attack the T-Rex. Individually, the tribes could not withstand the beast, but together, they manage to quickly triumph over it.

Later that evening, the Locot and Nowek tribes enjoy their kill together. Sitting at a table together, the Shaman mentions to Leesha that their people seem quite happy together. It will not last, of course. They’ve had brief moments of harmony, but the old ways always return. He does not wish that. Taking a bite of food, Leesha states neither does she; anything but that. Taking a drink, the Shaman says to her that he hopes she will understand why he poisoned the Nowek share of food. By morning, they will all be dead as there is no cure. Leesha says that she sees and that she feels less guilty over having poisoned the Locot’s drink supply. By morning, they will all be dead as there is no cure. After a short period of silence, they turn to each other and bid happy endings.

Out in the woods, Wolverine walks up to the Hulk and tells him that was a smart plan he had there. It would’ve been nice if he’d tipped him ahead of time. Pretend that the monster kicked the snot out of him so that the two tribes unite against the common enemy. Wolverine tells him nice job and then slaps the Hulk on the shoulder. When he does, the Hulk falls flat on his face, much to Wolverine’s surprise.

Characters Involved: 

The Hulk (green-skinned)

Ka-Zar and Sabu

Members of the Locot tribe (all unnamed)
Members of the Nowek tribe (Leesha is the only one named)

Colonel St. Lawrence
Various unnamed military personnel

Story Notes: 

Jurassic Park was originally a novel written by Michael Crichton released in 1990. It was followed up by a film that was released in 1993 and two sequels, released in 1997 and 2001.

Wolverine lost his adamantium after it was ripped out of him by Magneto in X-Men (2nd series) #25. He discovered that his claws were made out of bone in Wolverine (2nd series) #75.

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