Was the Hulk have to do with Rom? Well, kids, Bill Mantlo was writing both, and Sal Buscema was drawing both (and other stuff besides). Man was a machine. Shame on you today's late books, shame.
So parallel with Rom #22, a back-up tale appeared in Incredible Hulk #262 in which the Green Goliath met, no not Rom, but a Dire Wraith. "Foundling" is that story.
And it starts when Bruce Banner comes across a boy running from his evil parents. Evil? They're just trying to administer his Ritalin.
Well, like me, Bruce is against medicating children, but seeing as they ARE his parents, he doesn't have much choice. That and he's coincidentally applying for a job at the dad's clinic.
Turns out the kid is severely deluded and believes himself adopted, and that his parents are evil aliens. Sound familiar? The twist: The parents aren't Wraiths - the kid's a Wraith! In fact, he's the Superman of all Wraiths:
They decided to raise him as their own and now that he's hitting puberty, he's hearing voices. The Black Nebula beckons! And Bruce Banner discovers that the only thing worse than a shape-shifting Dire Wraith is a TEENAGE shape-shifting Dire Wraith (remember Hybrid?). And this one has a lot of imagination.
They haven't pulled THAT trick on Rom yet, but subtlety is lost on the Hulk. Cuz yeah, Bruce doesn't stay Bruce after that sucker shows up. Rock monster to porcupine...
...to giant eagle...
...to ugly snake. The Hulk can't stop it, but maybe Ritalin can!
Hate can't do a thing, but maybe love can!
Oh you're not serious! Those folks are quite dead indeed. Their kid is a monster!
Uhm. Yes. Well. They're BOTH monsters. That's a possibility too, isn't it? Ah well, with that, the Hulk leaps away with a broken heart. As the man(tlo) says: "... he can never change the nightmare of his own existence."
Tomorrow: It's Saturday for realz!