Have you ever stopped to consider the strangely fortuitous life of Rick Jones? To say he is at the right place at the right time is quite an understatement. He has led such a charmed life that it begs the question is there more to it than simple coincidence? Writer Jim Shelley thinks he has an explanation that explains Rick’s incredible good luck. Borne out the dark, dismal days of the 2000’s era of comics, Jim and artist Pierre Villeneuve vowed to create comics that would hearken back to the glory days of Marvel and DC – comics that were bright and colourful, fast paced and fun. They also felt that digital would be the wave of the future, so they made their comics available for free in cbr format on his website www.FlashbackUniverse.com. That was back in 2005 when digital comics were dismissed as a mere novelty, but they have since grown into an entire industry. As a result Flashback Universe comics have been adapted for both iPhone and Android platforms and more than 100,000 copies have been download from their site. Currently, Jim and Pierre are working with a gaming studio to bring the Flashback Universe characters to game consoles as well as working on other publishing projects. Now before we jump into Jim’s explanation, let’s refresh our memories with some of the more notable high points on the Rick Jones Timeline:
1962 – Somehow he slips by military police and sneaks onto a nuclear testing facility (whereupon he is the catalyst for the origin of the Hulk.)
1963 – Sends out a random ham radio message that results in the formation of the Avengers
1964 – With absolutely no powers or training, becomes an honorary Avenger fighting alongside Captain America
1969 – Is “Drawn” to the Nega Bands which allow him to bond with Captain Marvel
1971 – Somehow becomes a conduit for the Destiny Force which he uses to end the Kree/ Skrull War
1984 – Teams up with Rom Spaceknight
1986 – Is cured of cancer by the Beyonder
1986 – Becomes a Hulk-like creature
1994 – Marries Marlo Jones (who he will later bring back from the dead). At their wedding, both Death and Mephisto will be in attendance.
Let’s call that the first phase of Rick’s life. I’m going to try and condense the second phase here:
After that, Rick’s fate would have him assisting the Pantheon, Wolfsbane of X-Factor, Genis-Vell, the son of the original Mar-Vell and The Runaways.
During World War Hulk Rick is impaled in the chest and the last we see of him he is being loaded into an ambulance. The very next time we see him, he has escaped from a secret base in Alaska.
Currently, Rick has been transformed into an Abomination analogue called A-bomb by the supervillain team called The Intelligencia
Here’s what we know:
Rick doesn’t know much about his past.
We know this because when serial killer Jackie Shorr shows up in Hulk 390-391, Rick accepts her as his mom.
We later discover that Shorr was supposedly a day care worker who worked at an orphanage Rick grew up in. She was fired for being mentally unstable and became obsessed with tracking down all the children she once cared for and killing them. Rick is captured by her and taken down to her basement which is filled with the withered corpses chained to the walls.
After a battle with Marlo and Betty, Rick is rescued and taken to a mental institution.
Later, Shorr is released(?) from the mental institution because of a case of mistaken identity. She just happens to cross paths with a recent acquaintance of Rick Jones at a diner. She is eventually found out and stopped by Moondragon.
When Rick questions how Jackie managed to get the sealed adoption documents from the orphanage, her only reply is that she stole them because dangerous people were after her. She also mentions that she spent time in Europe hiding from “some men.”
Rick has some powerful untapped potential within himself
While associated with Genis, Rick encounters an older version of himself who has become a super-villain named Thanatos. Thanatos is obsessed with creating the “ultimate Rick Jones” but he is stopped by another incarnation of Rick who is wielding Thor’s hammer.
How did a mentally unstable woman managed to stay undetected by the authorities for so many years? Her targets all had a very easy to see commonality (orphans from the same facility.) How did no one spot that when investigating the other missing persons cases?
- Who were the “some men” Shorr had to flee America to hide from?
- How did she escape her mental facility so easily?
- What was Ultimate Rick Jones that Thanatos wanted to create?
- Why would both Death and Mephisto up at Rick’s wedding?
- How did Rick slip onto the military base during the Gamma bomb test?
- How has been able to command the Destiny Force and Cosmic Awareness at various times in his life?
His latent psionic powers are the result of genetic tampering with the human race that goes all the way back to prehistoric times by a villain from the future.
To understand the secret origin of Rick Jones, we must look at the machinations of Michael Korvac aka The Enemy.
When Korvac was originally discovered by the Collector, it was determined that he would one day be more powerful than either the Elders or the Eternals. The Collector sent his daughter to try and trick Korvac, but she fell in love with him instead. She would have undoubtedly revealed her father’s plans at that point. I suspect that is when Korvac realised he would have to take precautions against the Eternals and the Elders.
Korvac knew that his enemies might try to wipe out his bloodline starting with his first human ancestor, so he went even further back to the ape-like humanoids known as the Small Folk. He choose Moon Boy as the herald of his bloodline. Using his incredible cosmic powers, Korvac gave Moon Boy the power to subconsciously alter reality (much in the same way as Wanda’s Hex power works) which Moon Boy has often used to unwittingly travel through time and preserve his youth.
Moon Boy’s unique abilities did not go unnoticed by others however. In the Devil Dinosaur mini-series, he is captured and studied by aliens. This happened on numerous occasions usually ending with Moon Boy escaping. Most recently, he was captured and held in the custody of SHIELD until a rescue attempt by Stegron and Reptil (from Avengers Academy) returned him to the Savage Land only to be recaptured by Reed Richards.
Sidenote 1: The last appearance of Korvac was in Avengers Academy after they had just been involved in an adventure with Moon Boy. In that conflict a newly revived Carina aged all of the young heroes into older versions of themselves to fight Korvac. However, after the battle, she was unable to de-age one of them. Reptil. Coincidence? I think not.
How Arnim Zola found Moon Boy’s DNA we may never know, but it is possible it was among the notes, devices and other thing he found when he discovered the Deviants lab which set him on his career as a bio engineer. It is entirely possible that the Deviants had already started experimenting with Moon Boy’s DNA and Zola simply picked up from where they abandoned the project.
Sidenote 2: In Earth X, Moon Boy’s skeleton is discovered on the Blue Area of the Moon and it is revealed that he is an ancestor of Wolverine.
After World War II, as one of Germany’s top scientist, it seems likely that the American government would have tried to recruit him during Operation Paperclip. It’s also likely that his early experiments would not have been as ambitious as those Captain America discovered in the jungles of Central America.
I believe that Zola was asked/ allowed to create clones of Bucky Barnes (which explains why Rick Jones resembled Bucky so much.) During this cloning process Zola mixed in the Moon Boy DNA (recognising it had had certain extraordinary recombinant properties) which resulted in a successful batch of Bucky clones.
While raising the clones in a government facility some of their latent psionic began to manifest. Jackie Shorr was a nurse in this facility. She underwent psionic training to protect herself from the children’s errant mental blasts. The training was crude but effective. As a result she became a bit insane. Later when Moondragon encountered Shorr, Moondragon finds herself unable to read Shorr’s mind.
As the clones grew older, their psionic powers seemed to dissipate. Still, the government kept an eye on them occasionally calling one or two of them in for testing and medical check ups. As a result, military police become accustomed to the sight of Bucky Barnes looking teens driving in and out of military gates. It is because of this that Rick Jones is able to enter the military base when a Gamma bomb is about to be tested.
As time goes by, and the government catches wind of how many times Rick Jones has been at the centre of some major super hero origin or battle, it becomes apparent that his psionic powers are altering chance. News of Jones using the Destiny Force to end the Kree/ Skrull war only makes matters worse.
The government decides to take drastic steps. A clandestine program to brainwash the already mentally unstable Jackie Shorr into killing the Bucky Barnes clones is begun. Aided quietly by the government, Shorr begins capturing and killing the clones. She is quite successful until she encounters Jones whose latent powers cause all her efforts to fail.
After the Shorr project failed, the government has taken on a nervous wait and see approach to the Jones Problem. Even higher powers (Mephisto and Death) are interested in Jones. While they do not realise that his powers stem from Korvac’s bloodline, they know he has untold potential and they are a little afraid of him. It was this potential God Jones that Thanatos was trying to create. In that timeline, it is possible that Rick Jones discovered the truth about his origins and was able to unlock his powers.
Since Avengers Disassembled until Avengers vs X-Men, Rick Jones seems to have fallen off the map of government concerns. It is possible he is no longer a cosmic level threat.
Unless there is something they don’t want you to know.
Filed under: Marvel's Avengers | Tagged: A-Bomb, Arnim Zola, Avengers Academy, Bruce Banner, Bucky, Captain America, Captain Mar-Vell, Carina, Collector, Destiny Force, Devil Dinosaur, Earth X, Elder of the Universe, Gamma Base, Genis-Vell, Hulk, Incredible Hulk, Incredible Hulk #1, Incredible Hulk #390, Incredible Hulk #391, Intelligencia, Jackie Shorr, Kree, Kree Skrull War, Loners, Marlo Chandler, Marvel 2099, Michael Korvac, Moon-Boy, Moondragon, Nega-Bands, New Mexico, Operation Paperclip, origin of the Hulk, Pantheon, Reptil, Rick Jones, Rom, Rom Spaceknight, Runaways, Small Folk, Spaceknight, Supreme Intelligence, Teen Brigade, Thanatos, The Enemy, Wolfsbane, World War Hulk, X-Factor |