At the foot of the Sacramento Mountains, 100 miles from Carlsbad Caverns, in New Mexico, a proud god stands alone as his red cloak hangs thickly in the warm, still air. His eyes raised to the sky, he is quiet, swearing an oath to his father, dead these many years now. The oath was one of victory against his opponent--his implacable, unreasoning foe.
His home was the once-fair Asgard, destroyed in a dozen Ragnaroks, 'til little remained that he remembered from his youth. Balder, Odin, Fandral, his beloved Sif--even his trickster brother Loki had perished in the last battle of gods.
But his warrior's heart was undefeated. In fact, as he had aged, he became more powerful than ever, and the might of his mystic hammer, Mjolnir, was more fearsome than at any time in history. Ten, a hundred, a thousand times stronger than before.
He would need all that power and more.
The creature that was once Bruce Banner began the final leap that would land him in proximity with his enemy. His merest effort brought him a distance of miles, and though Banner's great intelligence wasn't available to the beast, he instinctively understood the mathematics involved in landing exactly where he chose.
Once he had been only a manifestation of the angry and vengeful side of Banner, but as the years passed, Banner's self was absorbed and hidden away. The scientist was simply too tired to fight back against the Hulk, and surrendered. And was devoured, mentally.
Now there was only rage--there was only the Hulk.
And the madder Hulk gets, the stronger he gets.
And it turns out, he could get far more angry than anyone had ever suspected.
"You have arrived, Hulk. Thor doth vow, 'tis unfortunate that we must...,"
"Long Hair talks too much."
"Thor was merely..."
"Shut UP, Long Hair! Stupid talk hurts Hulk's EARS!"
"Do not try the King of Asgard's patience, brute--"
"SHUT UP! Shut up and FIGHT!"
"Time has not increased thy WISDOM, behemoth! Thor shall..."
"UUURRRRRRRRRGH! STUPID GIRL MAN! HULK...HATE!! HULK FIGHT! FIGHT LONG HAIR!"
"Thou shalt not BERATE the SON OF ODIN! I SAY THEE NAY!"
"THOR's MAMA! THOR'S MAMA FAT!"
"Wha...what didst thou SAY?"
"THOR'S MAMA SO FAT, SHE EATS...COW! HERD of COW!"
"I WARN thee, beast-- Ne'er shall THOR allow such...BASE speech regarding fair FRIGGA, former Queen of the REALM ETERNAL!"
"THOR'S MAMA SO UGLY, SHE REALLY SIT AROUND HOUSE! GRRRRRR, STUPID THOR'S MAMA IS UGLY!"
"Yea, VERILY! And it doth ALSO be true that the HULK'S mother suckled SWINE at her breast, as one might a CHILD A'BORNING!"
"LONG HAIR INSULT MAKE NO SENSE! LONG HAIR'S MAMA SO EASY, SHE HAVE QUARTER SLOT INSTALLED IN BELLY BUTTON!"
">sputter gasp choke<"
"SEE HOW EASY THOR'S MAMA IS? ONLY TAKE QUARTER! LOOSE CHANGE FOR STUPID THOR'S STUPID MAMA!"
"No one, no one in HISTORY hath e'er DARED speak thusly to THOR!"
"HA HA HA! THOR'S MAMA UGLY AND STUPID! HULK EXPLAIN TO LONG HAIR, SO THOR UNDERSTAND ABOUT THOR'S STUPID, UGLY MAMA!"
"I say to thee that thy MOTHER is...Thor vows that she..."
"HA HA HA! WHAT? HULK'S MAMA IS WHAT?"
"She...She is so...She doth..."
"HA HA HAHAHA! STUPID GIRL MAN DOESN'T EVEN KNOW BAD THING TO SAY ABOUT HULK'S MAMA. HAHAHA!"
"FAT! I say to thee that thy MOTHER is so FAT, that she...she OFTTIMES, that is..."
"HA, HA, HA!"
"She OFTTIMES eats of the PLATTER, long after the MUTTON is GONE! Aha! Victory belongs to THOR, for his CUNNING WIT!"
"HA! HULK SMASH PUNY FAT MAMA JOKE!"
"TO BATTLE, THEN, OAF! MINSTRELS SHALL SING OF THIS DAY!"
"Hey, hey. Long Hair. Listen. Hulk sorry for what he say. Hulk go over line."
"Eh? If this is a trick, knave...!"
"No, Hulk sincere. Hulk full of regret. See Hulk's sad face? Hulk sorry he say Thor's mama so fat she eat herd of cow."
"...Very well then, Hulk. I accept your..."
"HULK MEANT THOR'S MAMA SO FAT SHE IS HERD OF COW! HAHAHAHA! STUPID THOR'S MAMA! HA HA HA!"
And so they fought...
Thor, fueled by his own doubts regarding his mother's appearance and virtue, was enraged by the hurtful remarks of the Green Goliath, and threw Mjolnir towards the brute's face. The impact was so severe, glass was shattered later that same day, as far away as Hong Kong.
"NOT BAD HIT FOR LITTLE GIRL, HULK GUESS. OH, WAIT! GIRL NOT HIT HULK, STUPID LONG HAIR HIT HULK! LONG HAIR COMPLETELY PUNY, IN THAT CASE."
The Hulk then slapped his hands towards Thor so powerfully, with an impact so devastating, that Thor's hair changed color and his helmet began singing German opera.
"Oh, forgive me friend Hulk-- Thor realized NOT that the battle had BEGUN, so inconsequential was thy strike!"
With all the fury of the Norse pantheon behind him, Thor dealt the Hulk a vicious uppercut at speeds far beyond what the human eye could perceive, hitting the beast so hard that all prime numbers disappeared from the universe, and the planets reversed their orbits.
"HEY, GIRL MAN! HULK ALMOST FEEL THAT! STUPID GIRL MAN SHOULD DRINK MILK, LIFT TRUCKS, JOIN HEALTH CLUB, MAYBE SOMEDAY ACTUALLY HURT HULK! YEAH, AND MAYBE SOMEDAY, STUPID THOR'S MAMA EAT A CARROT!"
Enraged, but desperate not to show it, the Hulk leapt into the air, landing directly on the sworn protector of Midgard, the astonishing force of which hurtled Thor directly through the bowels of the Earth and into a geostationary orbit, until Thor returned, with his skin seared from the speed of his descent, and his nostril hairs inexplicably turned into perfect macrame.
"By the gods, what a blow thou hast struck, Hulk! Thor hath not been hit so hard since this new morn, when a lowly FLY landed on Thor's shoulder!"
And it went on like that. They hit each other until they traveled through time. They hit each other until they changed species. They hit each other until Joan Collins won an Oscar and loud talking was encouraged in libraries. They hit each other until fish could knit and the sun wore pants. They hit each other until the Earth froze, caught fire, and froze again. They hit each other until humans got so good at using their tails, they couldn't imagine life without them. They hit each other... well, they hit each other until the Watchmen sequel finally revealed that Kid Ozymandias did it.
It was a long time.
"...Well...urk.. sentient puddle of Hulk with no... arms or legs...dost thou yet... yield?"
"Stupid...eighth dimensional...quadratic equation Thor...come here. Sentient puddle of Hulk...is weary. Sentient Puddle of Hulk...will surrender. Puddle Hulk will...say ...just one thing. Stupid...eighth-dimensional...quadratic equation Thor's mama...so...so...fa...urgh."
"...Rest well...my ages-long enemy. Thou has earned it. And e'now of battle--for my wounds are too great, and my fire ...is too dim. Thor shall join thee in Valhalla...aaaaahggh!"
And the three remaining panels were used for character development.
Gail would like it to be known that she loves Marvel Comics and big long fight scenes, and that her columns do not necessarily reflect reality or anything she actually thinks, since she's pretty much always heavily medicated. God knows what she's thinking at any given moment. In fact, someone else probably wrote this and not Gail at all, I'm almost positive.