An Obituary for Rick Jones, Hero's Sidekick
Remembering a long-time companion in the Marvel Universe as his fate begins to unfold in 'Immortal Hulk'...
Rick Jones, in many ways, represented us all. While he would rub elbows with some of the greatest heroes of our time and from worlds beyond our own, he remained a very regular guy. Even when he himself received powers, they came through manipulation of forces bigger than himself, of beings seeking to use him as a tool. Who amongst us has not felt the same from time to time?
Rick Jones welcomed the Super Hero age with a direct seat to the birth of the Incredible Hulk. While the gamma-powered behemoth has been called a hero, a monster, and everything in between, Jones never blinked at the one he affectionately called “Jade Jaws” and “Green Genes.” He represented us and, somehow, aware of that responsibility, never let himself falter, never allowed his bravery to slip in the face of mind-bending wonders.
They did not all prove to be wonders, though, and that eventually proved to be what did Jones in. He faced down the most threatening horrors with the same attitude: brave, optimistic, and defiant. Even when he knew his death was coming, even when he recognized that a perversion of America’s best aspects would be the one ordering his death, Jones did not crack. He was all of us. He knew this. And thus, he did us proud. He called out to the heroes he knew and those he did not, inspiring them with his last breath. Jones always saw himself as a part of the larger whole. He had been given so much, experienced so much luck that even when it ran out, he could not stop trying for a better world. And, in time, his dying words proved the spark that gave us that.
There admittedly exists a temptation to hope his death is merely an illusion, a mistake, some kind of trick. And given the nature of the Marvel Universe, it might very well prove to be just that. But for now, Jones is gone. Even if he comes back to life, or never died at all, or turns out to be some kind of clone or doppelganger, we face a world without Rick Jones – the sidekick who served as the conscience, the heart and soul of the age of heroes.
Rest in power, Rick Jones. Taken from us far too soon, but leaving us a map of inspiration to follow in his stead.
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