Chapter 2: Ravaged

I worry for one pants-pissing moment that he didn’t even feel the blasts, and then Ravage stumbles forward, letting out a deep howling sound, a sound I recognize from the Hulk. I’d like to think that it’s pain, but experience tells me it’s just confusion, and I instantly regret getting out of the car. Ravage’s stumble stops when he catches himself on a street light, which uproots itself under his weight.

God, he’s fucking HUGE. He didn’t seem this big from inside the car.

“Um,” I say loudly, to nobody.

Ravage turns on me, hurling the street light like a javelin. I guess it’s luck that he’s too out of his mind with insane fury to aim accurately, the sort of shitty tainted kind of good luck that only us villains have, for example “He’s too busy stabbing me to notice me reaching for my gun!”

“RGGRAAAAAAA!” screams Ravage, and yes, now I know this was a bad idea; the thrown streetlight impales my car through the windshield, and the force of the impact flips it upside-down onto the roof of the Porsche parked behind me. And all I can think is: He broke my fucking car! So of course I say:

“My car! You broke my fucking car!” My shrieks of anger and sorrow nearly rival those coming from the sidewalk to my left, where a father is kneeling next to his crushed son. The police sirens are getting louder now, and again, my body tells me: Go! Run! Forget the car! Just go! But I hold firm, and raise my arms again as Ravage starts to stalk towards me.

I hear someone scream “The Hulk! It’s the Hulk!”, and I’m slightly disappointed they don’t mention me; hell, they don’t even get Mr. Olive’s name right. For a moment I wonder if this is some new incarnation of Banner, but clear the thought from my head. No Hulk I’ve ever seen has been this violent; destructive yes, violent and murderous? No.

“Ravage SMASH!” he says. Oh, that’s wonderful; I haven’t heard shit like this since the old days with the Hulk, before he got smart. Did you know that? The Hulk talks like a normal person now. He’s a bit of a bastard, but other than that he’s basically just another hero now; no more random Hulk-Smashing. The public sort of lost interest in him after that, but it’s looking like Ravage is into being retro.

It also looks like he might possibly eat me alive; he’s practically frothing at the mouth, now maybe only ten feet away, as he swats a mailbox into the air for reasons known only to him, and here I am still standing in the middle of the street like a jackass. I can smell him now; sweat and burnt hair, the smell of the Hulk. I choke a little; throwing up inside the mask would be so truly fucked up I can’t even ponder it. My mouth is covered, so the fabric would force the vomit back into my mouth and …

Okay, I’m panicking now. Take a breath. The direct blasts from the gauntlets aren’t going to work, so you’ve got to change tactics; easy-peasy japanesey. So, change tactics to … Change tactics to … Um …

I yelp and leap behind the smoking heap that was my car as he grabs at me with a hand the size of a beer-cooler. He doesn’t skip a beat, just brings an enormous fist down on the wreckage, folding it in half, and leaving me squatting on the sidewalk in open view of view of anyone interested seeing a grown man in what looks like a heating blanket get smashed to chunks by a giant, furious olive.

Between him and me: the parking meter. He’s leaning down at me. Too easy. It’s just too easy. I raise an arm and hit the squeeze trigger, and the parking meter explodes into his face. Lucky me, it’s nearly full; traveling at one hundred and twenty miles an hour, coins makes pretty effective shrapnel, even against this guy.

A penny flies into his mouth and severs his tongue, whilst a nickel hits him squarely in the left eye. It pops like a balloon, and I’m sprayed with a healthy amount of green blood as Ravage recoils, swinging his head away.

“Grrrrraaahhh!” he yowls, and I feel a brief moment of victory before he blindly me bitch-slaps me, a solid backhand that would easily break every bone in a normal man’s body. A normal man not equipped with my suit. As it stands, a non-direct hit from this guy feels like an intensely strong shove; my gear dissipates the impact almost immediately.

Which sounds all fine and dandy, but now I’m rolling at forty miles an hour down a city street. Hitting the tree is an impact worthy of global extinction. I bounce off like a rubber ball and smash through the floor-to-ceiling windows of a pawnshop.

I wish I didn’t feel it, but I do, and now I can’t move; everything hurts. This is not going as I planned. The plan was so simple, too; find a super-villain in the midst of a super-villainy-related outing, blast him with the gauntlets, get some pictures taken of “The Shocker-VICTORIOUS!” and pow, I’m a hero. I thought I’d gotten lucky by bumping into this guy; I was dreading having to take down one of my … ahem … “friends”, like Aleksei or … or … shit.

Well, it turns out I wasn’t lucky.

More banging and booming, coming down the street. Ravage has recovered from the parking meter, and he’s coming to give me a very stern talk about the dangers of vigilante behavior in the modern world. My eyes are doing that fun thing where everything fades to a violently bright white, and nothing is focused; just a faded mess of colors.

A gigantic olive green blob appears, blocking out everything else.

“RAVAGE SMASH PUNY HUMAN!” it roars, and lifts up a gigantic foot; he’s going to stomp me like a cockroach. This is NOT how I wanted to die. But then again, maybe it’s fitting; what was I in life but a cockroach? An insect crawling across the sleeping face of humanity, not biting or stinging, just being vaguely annoying to anyone who took the time to notice me.

Obit: Herman Schultz: the Shocker. Petty Super-Criminal. Squashed by a huge half-naked olive man.

For a second, it seems kind of beautiful. I’m at peace. And then …

As per usual, I heard it before I saw it. You always hear it before you see it because of that damn little noise it makes, like a loose wire suddenly being tightened and snapping back into place: “thwip.”

Please, God, no. Please, dear fucking God, don’t let this happen.

But when I see the red and blue flash pass by behind the olive blob, there’s no denying what’s going on. It’s burned into my brain. It’s something I’ve seen so many times before. That faggy spandex. That perfect body. Those stupid, stupid, STUPID big white eyes.

It’s motherfucking Spider-Man. Great. Hallelujah.

“Hulk, you look different; have you lost weight?”

Oh, he’s sooooooooooo funny. Ravage grunts, and turns away from me, looking out at the street. My vision is clearing up now, and I see that there are two enormous purple bruises on his back from where I hit him with the gauntlets. Score one for the Shocker, I guess.

“New hair? New tan? I like the beard, very Grizzly Adams-chic.”

He does this to everybody. Never shuts up. So funny. So fucking funny.


“coughripoffcough” I hear as flesh impacts against flesh again and again, those solid THWUD sounds. I’m being rescued.

Rescued. By Spider-Man.


I start crawling out onto the sidewalk; nothing’s broken, but everything hurts. He’s riding around on Ravage’s back, repeatedly punching him in the back of the head. Ravage grabs hold of him, and instead of just crushing him to death with his bare hands (what I would’ve done), he throws him up and punts him like a football.

Well, I guess that’s good, too, but the crunching sound the Webhead’s bones would’ve made would’ve been worth more to me than any heist.

But no. Spider-Man does that horrible twisty thing of his in mid-air and lands on his feet; he must notice me out of the corner of his eye, because he turns, and those big white eyes are completely blank.

“Sh–… Shocker?” he says, and I hear it; something I’ve never been able to instill in him before. It’s a sort of manic confusion; he suddenly has no idea what’s going on. My mere presence has thrown him so entirely off his game that not even his goddamn spider-psycho-senses can prevent Ravage’s fist from hitting him straight in the face.

I let out a little cheer before I can stop myself; fuck, look at me, now I’m rooting AGAINST the guy who saved me.

Spidey flies like a superball, and goes through a wall down the street. Of course, a normal human couldn’t have survived either of the impacts, but Spidey will. That fucker will NEVER die.

“RAVAGE KILL YOU! RAVAGE WILL …” He falters, and stumbles forward, touching his head. “Ravage will … Ravhgah … Rah … Rrr …” His remaining eye rolls up into his head, and he collapses forward. I don’t need to be a doctor to tell you he’s deader than Dickens. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know why it happened, but it’s all I need. I drag myself to a sewer hole, vibrate off the hub and drop in. The smell and the sensation, that slippery, chunky, slick sensation can make you pass out. Hell, I passed out the first time I had to escape into the sewers. And the second.

But not now, on the tenth. Now, with the bugs and the leeches and the rats and the filth, I’m right as rain.

I belong here.

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