PARADISE AND THE CITY OF DEATH
Usual means of access: The Crossroads
Dominant Life Form: Formerly the Iron Knights, Currently The Greens (unclear, see Comments section)
First Appearance: The Incredible Hulk II#302 (December, 1984)
History: This world was once known only as "Paradise" by its peaceful inhabitants; The Greens. Eventually, a violent and powerful race known as the Iron Knights appeared, ravaging the world and slaying all the Greens they found and using the Greens bones to build their immense City of Death. Eventually, the Green Sorcerer (leader of The Greens) used his magic to raise a thick wall of thorned roses to keep the Iron Knights out of Paradise. New generations of Greens were born and raised without any knowledge of the world beyond the Rose Wall. The Sorcerer soon had a daughter- Nalee -who was born with magical powers. Nalees tears would turn into flowers whenever the struck the ground (and were capable of turning into other things as well, as Nalee learned much later).
One day, as the Green Sorcerer went on a journey to inspect the Rose Wall, his apprentice Vartu took Nalee to a different section of the wall. In order to impress the curious girl, Vartu used his magic to dissipate a section of the wall. One of the Iron Knights waited on the other side. As the wall opened, the knight easily overcame Vartu, and spirited Nalee away to the City of Death. Soon after, Vartu attempted to conjure forth a demon to save Nalee. Instead of a demon, the Hulk appeared, and his arrival on the world caused a series of events that would change the world once more (The Hulk did not appear because of Vartus magic, see below).
(Hulk#302) Banished to the Crossroads by Doctor Strange, the Hulk enter this world after seeing an image of Nalee prisoner atop a tower of bone via the Puffball Collectives map. Spotting the City of Death amidst the barren landscape, the Hulk headed for the city, briefly encountering Vartu on the way.
Once the Hulk reached the city, he spotted Nalee atop the tower of bone. The gates to the city swung open, and three of the powerful Iron Knights charged the Hulk. Hulk was quickly defeated by Maktu; leader of the knights. Before Maktu could kill the Hulk however, Nalee appeared and begged for mercy. Instead of being slain, the Hulk awoke in chains with his wounds bandaged. Nalee appeared again, this time to change the Hulks bandages. She told him of how she had been captured and that she was being forced to wed Maktu, however the Hulk could not comprehend her alien speech. Still, the Hulk could send the girl was in trouble, and his urge to help her stopped Doctor Stranges failsafe spell from transporting him back to the Crossroads.
(Hulk#303) The Hulk was put to work using his strength to turn a large machine, which ground the bones of the Greens, rendering them suitable for building the ever-expanding City of Death. His overseers were a race of orange-skinned dwarves. The Hulk briefly stopped his work at one point as he spotted Nalee watching him from above. One of the dwarves whipped him, and for the first time since his defeat at the hands of Maktu, the Hulk fought back. Maktu watched the scene, and sent his young page to deal with the green goliath. The page struck the Hulk from behind and soon the Hulk was beset upon by a mob of dwarves.
Meanwhile, the Green Sorcerer had returned to Paradise from his inspection of the Rose Wall and learned from Vartu of how his daughter had been kidnapped. The sorcerer, furious, told Vartu of the origins of the enmity between the Greens and the Iron Knights, and how he had created the Rose Wall to protect them.
Back in the City of Death, the dwarves beat the Hulk senseless and tossed him back into the dungeons. Nalee showed up once more to tend to his wounds. As she fed the Hulk, the hopelessness of her situation made her furious. She realized that she had been weak and needed to now unleash her rage in order to win freedom for herself and her people. She cried "tears of rage", and instead of flowers, thick green vines sprung forth, freeing Nalee and the Hulk from the City of Death.
The Greens saw this from afar, and charged the City of Death. The Iron Knights and their dwarf underlings met the Greens charge and began to slaughter them. The Hulk joined the battle as well, but was soon beaten into submission. Nalee cried once more, this time spawning giant sentient trees whose bark was impervious to the Iron Knights weapons. They quickly slew all of the Iron Knights, including Maktu.
After the battle, the trees wandered into the barren wastes of the world. Nalee commanded the Green to do the same. Seeing that Nalee had changed dramatically, and that she no longer needed his help, the Hulk no longer had any desire to stay in the world. Doctor Stranges failsafe spell transported him back to the Crossroads.
(Hulk#305) As Ironclad and the Hulk battled in the Crossroads, the force of their impact sent shockwaves throughout the many worlds connected to the Crossroads. The City of Death was shown, with the dwarves of the city shaking as they carted about the bones of the Greens.
Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.
It was never revealed why, in Hulk#304, the dwarves were shown to be carting around the bones of the Greens, after they had apparently been defeated along with the Iron Knights. Its possible that they were actually dismantling the city under orders from the Greens. Time sometimes fluctuates in the Crossroads, so that may have been a factor (Realistically, it was probably just a minor artistic goof, but sue me, I like making up theories).
In Unbeatable Squirrel Girl II#30 the name of the Iron Knights is partially seen on a whiteboard used by Squirrel Girl in her quest to fix the relationships of 75 extraterrestrial races. Ir can be clearly seen and the third letter could be an o. ights was seen in another panel.
Profile by Mick Martin, the Anti-Grimm
No known connection to:
The Dwarves have no known connection to:
The "Greens" of Paradise have no
known connection to:
The Iron Knights have no known connection to:
Nalee: The daughter of the Green Sorcerer, and presumably the new leader of The Greens. Nalee is able to create magical plants with her tears, and the particulars of the plants depend on the emotions Nalee is experiencing as she cries.
Vartu: The apprentice of the Green
Sorcerer. Vartu possesses low-level magical ability. He is very
curious, which leads him to sometimes obey his master, and he is
somewhat taken with the Green Sorcerers daughter, Nalee.
Maktu: The leader of the Iron Knights. Considering the ease with which he defeated the Hulk, Maktus strength level is probably well above Class 100. Maktu is cold, sadistic, and confident. He was killed when Nalees sentient trees attacked the Iron Knights.
The Green Sorcerer: The former leader of The Greens. The Green Sorcerer is presumably a powerful wizard, though apparently most of his magic is defensive (otherwise, you would think he would have found a way to defeat The Iron Knights without Nalee). It was the Green Sorcerer who created the Rose Wall to protect The Greens from the Iron Knights. He is very protective of his daughter Nalee, who he believes is the only possible salvation for The Greens. The identity of the Green Sorcerers mate was never revealed.
The Dwarves: A subservient race to the Iron Knights. The dwarves are certainly not as powerful as their red-skinned masters, but apparently do possess some degree of super-human strength (while the Hulk was able to prove himself stronger than the dwarves one-onone, a group of them were able to hurt him after he was weakened by the Iron Knights; which would take at least some degree of enhanced strength- my personal guess would be somewhere between Class 1 and Class 10, probably closer to Class 1). It is the Dwarves who do the actual work of building the City of Death, grinding the bones that make up the citys walls, guarding slaves and prisoners, etc. They did join the battle when the Greens attacked the City of Death, but the assumption is that this was because it was an assault on the city itself, though it is possible the Iron Knights sometimes use them as cannon fodder in other battles. It is not clear whether or not the Dwarves were all killed along with the Iron Knights when Nalees sentient trees attacked the city.
The Iron Knights: A powerful race that,
until recently, ruled over the world of Paradise and the City of
Death. It is not known where the knights came from, for they
seemed to appear abruptly on the world and caused a great deal of
destruction in a short amount of time. The knights all apparently
possess a good deal of super-human strength. Their leader, Maktu,
was able to make short work of the Hulk with little effort.
However, considering their warlike society, it is probable that
the other knights are not necessarily as physically powerful as
Maktu (i.e., its more than likely that Maktu would have to
be much stronger than the other knights in order to lead them).
However, even a lowly squire was able to smack
around the Hulk.
SECRET WARS III HAPPENED
(Unbeatable Squirrel Girl II#29 (fb) - BTS) - The Iron Knights were blackmailed by a fake Silver Surfer and his two fellow space-hunks. The Iron Knights complied with their demands.
(Unbeatable Squirrel Girl II#29) - The Iron Knights joined a fleet of 76 extraterrestrial races to get revenge on the Silver Surfer.
(Unbeatable Squirrel Girl II#30) - After it became clear that the Silver Surfer that screwed them over was actually not the real Silver Surfer, the alliances between the 76 races crumbled and their grievances with other were reignited.
Squirrel Girl worked out a plan to fix the problems between the many races, including the problems the Iron Knights had with the Mephitisoids, Procyonites, Vegans and Yrds.
The Greens: A peaceful people whose numbers dropped dramatically when The Iron Knights appeared in their world. The Green Sorcerer is the only Green old enough to remember when the knights laid waste to his people. They were finally spurred into action when Nalee freed herself from the City of Death. Now, they are apparently the dominant life-form on the planet.
The Trees: A powerful race of sentient trees Nalee magically created to defeat the Iron Knights. Considering the power of the Iron Knights and how easily the Trees defeated them, the Trees strength and durability must be well above and beyond even the Marvel Universes most powerful heroes. Due to the Iron Knights ravage of the land, the Trees are now the only living plant-life outside the boundaries of the Rose Wall.
Incredible Hulk II#303 (January, 1985) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Talaoc (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#305 (March, 1985) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Talaoc (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl II#29-30 (April-May, 2018) - Ryan North (writer), Erica Henderson (artist), Wil Moss (editor)
First Posted: 04/02/2002
Last updated: 02/06/2022
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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