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Byron Brewer

What The D'ast? Jarella


(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of He welcomes both raves and opposing views.) By Byron Brewer [[wysiwyg_imageupload:80:]]It was the early 1970s and one of my favorite science fiction writers, Harlan Ellison, had broken media and was contributing plots to Marvel Comics. His first foray was a doozie and would forever change the world and life of the Incredible Hulk. In this two-part novella, running in connecting issues of Avengers and Hulk and written by Roy Thomas, long before the actions of the Illuminati some of its members (Reed Richards, Professor X and Tony Stark) trapped and shrunk the Hulk into the Microverse to stop his rampages across the U.S. An Avengers adventure featuring the villain Psyklop intersects here, but really has little to do with our column subject until the close of Chapter I. As the Hulk shrinks, he finds himself on the sub-atomic world of K’ai ruled by the Princess Jarella. Jarella's city is threatened by a number of menaces ranging from attacks by the gigantic warthos (warthog-like beasts larger than elephants) to the armies of the Warlord Visus. The Hulk appears during an attack of the warthos and drives the huge monsters away. When the people came out to greet him, the Hulk was startled, noticing that they were green-skinned like him and that they welcomed him rather than ran away. The Hulk is especially taken with Princess Jarella. The lovely blonde leads him into a city and calls on her sorcerers to help the Hulk learn their language. The spell succeeds and also allows the human personality of Bruce Banner to emerge in the Hulk's jade hide. Hulk/Bruce and Jarella fall in love and she proclaims him her husband. (Being a Thomas-written soap, he still pines for the memory of Betty.) After Visus attempts to assassinate Jarella, she exiles him from the city, and Hulk/Bruce and Jarella seem ready to live happily ever after. However destiny in the form of Psyklop interfers, and the Hulk – the true Hulk – starts growing, away from his forever-love, away from K'ai, away from a world that exists in a mote of dust on his ragged purple pants. The love is too strong for universes to keep them apart, and Jarella is soon transported to Earth by the Pantheon of Sorcerers (Torla, Holi and Moli) to retrieve the Hulk. This act inadvertently causes solar storms; she battles Fialin and then returns to K'ai. After a while, it is revealed Jarella has lost another war against Visus and has been taken captive. The Hulk returns to the Microverse and to K'ai, and the couple defeat Visis and the assassin Krylar. Alongside the Hulk, Jarella battles Psyklop once more. They are then returned to Earth by Doc Samson. During a battle between the Hulk and Crypto-Man in New Mexico, Jarella saves a child from being crushed to death from a collapsing wall, but was crushed to death herself. The Hulk took Jarella's body to the Gamma Base, but the doctors were unable to revive her. The Hulk rampaged in search for his friend, the magician Doctor Strange, but the latter was also unable to restore her, and he finally accepted that Jarella was dead while being comforted by the Valkyrie. Eventually the Hulk was able to return Jarella's body to K'ai for a proper burial. After being put to rest, her spirit took farewell by creating a single green flower. Jarella was unique in the series in that she accepted the Hulk unconditionally. She came to know Banner's mind in the Hulk's body but was equally accepting of the “Hulk” personality and Banner's body. I was sorry to see her die, because she brought something to the saga of Banner and the Hulk that has never quite been replaced, something Betty could never give. But this is one cosmic princess I hope is never revived, for her mere memory makes her a strong and beloved character indeed.