Greetings from the Odinson,
DC Comics invented the sidekick with Robin the Boy Wonder. With more additions like Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, Wonder Woman’s Wonder Girl, Flash’s Kid Flash, Green Arrow’s Speedy and many more, they definitely defined the role of the sidekick. But of all the teenage sidekicks in the history of comic books there’s one that stands out among the rest and he doesn’t reside in Gotham City. No, the greatest sidekick in the history of comics resides over at the House of Ideas and his name is Rick Jones!
Rick Jones has been the right hand man to not one, not two, but no less than five major heroes in the Marvel Universe! He has saved the world on several occasions and he may be responsible for making comics history for his part in the assemblage of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Readers were very first introduced to this intrepid teenager way back in Incredible Hulk #1. With a knack for always being around the center of Marvel History, Rick Jones, on a dare, found himself on a government bomb testing area in New Mexico. It just so happens that the military was testing a new Gamma Bomb that day. Scientist Bruce Banner rushed out and pushed the clueless teenager into a trench just as the bomb exploded. Bruce Banner was forever transformed into the Hulk and Rick Jones will forever feel responsible for the man’s curse.
Rick Jones stood by both Hulk and Banner’s side for many years helping to guide and protect his friend whom he feels great responsibility for. Along the way, Rick himself was even transformed into a Hulk and battled his own friend in a duel of Hulks (see Incredible Hulk #324-326). However, Rick’s curse was short-lived as the Grey Hulk was manipulated by an old enemy to use Jone’s Gamma-fueled blood to orchestrate the return of the Leader (see Incredible Hulk #332). Hanging around an emotionally imbalanced, Gamma-charged powerhouse like the Hulk can sometimes lead to injuries, serious injuries. One time during one of the Hulk’s tantrums, Rick’s spine was shattered, but thanks to the super science of Bruce Banner, Iron Man, and Mr. Fantastic, he was able to walk again (see Incredible Hulk #465). In the far flung Future Imperfect, it is a senior citizen Rick Jones who brings the Hulk from the present through time and space to face off against his evil Maestro self in the future. His long turbulent friendship with the Hulk has been full of many ups and downs. However, the Hulk isn’t the only Marvel legend with whom Rick Jones has had a partnership.
In the pages of Avengers #1, it is through the radio broadcasts of Rick Jones and his Teen Brigade that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Thor, Iron, Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp – assemble and stop the evil machinations of Loki. Then Captain America, the legendary hero from World War II, returned and Jones and the Living Legend formed a powerful friendship (see Avengers #4). Steve Rogers was a man out of time and felt great guilt over the death of his wartime partner, Bucky, whom Rick Jones bared an uncanny resemblance to. Rick stuck around and accompanied the Avengers on several adventures (see Avengers #5-6). For a short time, Rick even took to dressing up as Bucky and was Cap’s crime-fighting partner (see Captain America #110-111). Rick’s two best buds once got into a bit of a physical disagreement over their young friend (see Incredible Hulk #406).
Perhaps Rick Jone’s most unusual partnership is his strange connection to the Kree superman – Captain Marvel. Mar-Vell and Jones found themselves connected and actually merged into one being by the cosmic power of the Nega-Bands (see Captain Marvel #17). Whenever one of them was on Earth, the other was trapped in the Negative Zone, for they could not occupy the same space at the same time. This partnership lasted for years until they were finally separated (see Captain Marvel #50). But during that time, the Captain Marvel/Rick Jones partnership played a major role in the cosmic campaign known as the Kree/Skrull War.
After Mar-Vell’s death (see The Death of Captain Marvel), Rick Jones found himself pulled into the secret war of the invading Dire Wraiths. He fought the alien monsters side-by-side with the greatest spaceknight – ROM. It was during this time that Jones met up with the nigh-omnipotent Beyonder and was cured of Gamma-spawned cancer which ravaged his body (see ROM #72).
Years later, a team of Avengers was assembled from across the time-stream by Jones in order to prevent a madman from tearing the Marvel Universe asunder (see Avengers Forever). At the end of this time-spanning campaign, Rick Jones found himself bounded with Mar-Vell’s son Genis-Vell in much the same manner he was to the original Kree hero and a new Captain Marvel was born (see Captain Marvel by Peter David). This time, the Captain Marvel composite took on a more Firestorm-like feel to it with Rick Jones taking on the experienced mentor Professor Stein role and Genis-Vell in the inexperienced but full of potential Ronnie Raymond role. This partnership lasted until the end of the series and Genis-Vell’s sanity.
The role Rick Jones has played as a professional sidekick has made him a very important figure throughout the history of the Marvel Universe. When the world thought Captain America dead, Rick Jones served as a pallbearer at the Sentinel of Liberty’s funeral (see Fallen Son). When the mighty Hulk returned from his exile in space, it was the words and friendship of Rick Jones that helped the enraged behemoth to come to his senses before he destroyed the world (see World War Hulk). And in case more proof is needed to show just how beloved this guy is in the Marvel U, just checkout the guest list for his bachelor party (see Incredible Hulk #417). This issue also featured the last in-continuity appearance of ROM in the Marvel Universe. These days, Rick Jones fights injustice alongside the Agents of SMASH as the Gamma-irradiated hero known as A-Bomb.
The Odinson celebrates Rick Jones, King of the Sidekicks!
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell