Thanos’ snap was a traumatic event for most people – but one of his victims actually had a great time in the afterlife, meeting his heroes in heaven.
Thanos ruined plenty of lives when he snapped his fingers in the original comic-book Infinity Gauntlet saga and killed half of all life in the universe. In the MCU movie version, Thanos’ victims remained dead for five years, while in the comics they were brought back much quicker. In most cases, however, none of these people remembered being dead, but there was an exception.
One Marvel hero not only remembered being dead; he actually claimed he had a great time! While his experience was probably not typical, the Incredible Hulk’s longtime sidekick and rock music enthusiast Rick Jones claimed he met several of his heroes while dead and saw a hockey game with Elvis Presley!
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This weird experience began in The Incredible Hulk #383 when Rick and the newly-created “Professor Hulk” were tracking down the Hulk’s old enemy the Abomination. It was during their adventure that, elsewhere, Thanos snapped his fingers, and Rick disappeared before the Hulk’s eyes. Oddly enough, while most people seemed unaware of what was happening to them, Rick realized he was dying, appearing to know who was responsible. He even grumbled, “I can’t die now! I got a gig on Thursday!” as he faded away.
The Hulk was later summoned by the Avengers and recruited into their war against Thanos. Hulk managed to survive to fight in the final battle against Thanos’ granddaughter Nebula, who stole the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos and reversed his genocidal actions. Upon returning to Earth, the Hulk was pleased to see all of Thanos’ victims, including Rick Jones, had been restored to life. When Hulk asked Rick what he saw in the afterlife, Rick simply stared at the Hulk and whispered, “I saw… Elvis. And he looked great, man.” Rick went into even greater detail, claiming that he saw all the rock ‘n’ roll legends who died in plane crashes (like Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly), that the afterlife was a giant airport where suitcases never showed up in luggage carousels, and that he got to hang out with Elvis at a hockey game.
It’s a hilarious scene that seemingly contradicts many of the events of the “official” Infinity Gauntlet story. In the main storyline, Nebula reverses time to a point before Thanos snapped his fingers, allowing all the people he killed to be restored with no memory of their ordeal (since it technically never happened). Rick, however, appears to retain full knowledge of how he died and even what he did while he was dead. So, how is this possible? While it would be simple to state that writer Peter David was simply having fun with the story, in a later comic book, David revealed that Rick Jones has the power of “Comics Awareness” – he knows he’s a comic book character in a fictional world and can even tell when his comic book is getting cancelled. Given all of this, it’s possible that Rick Jones’ special abilities gave him a unique perspective during Thanos’ snap, allowing him to sense that he was dying but also enabling him to actually enjoy his time being dead with rock ‘n roll legends!
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