Did A Major Monsters Unleashed Character Debut In Totally Awesome Hulk?

Marvel will kick off 2017 with an all-new event series -- "Monsters Unleashed." The five-issue series will see a host of Marvel monsters old and new descend upon Earth, with every superhero on the planet standing between the monsters and total mayhem. We already know the series will feature a large cast, including the heroes of the Avengers, X-Men, Inhumans, Champions and Guardians of the Galaxy. Other heroes, like Elsa Bloodstone and Moon Girl, will also play a part in the series. There's also another character, one included on Leinil Yu's cover for "Monsters Unleashed" #3, that will have a part to play -- and readers may have already met him.

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During a live call with the press, “Monsters Unleashed” writer Cullen Bunn, editor Mark Paniccia and Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso all taking part revealed new information about the series and this mystery character.

"On the cover of 'Monsters Unleashed' #3, you'll see a boy there who will remain unnamed at this stage, but this boy factors into the story in a major way," said Alonso. "What, if any, link he has to the monsters is something you'll see in the course of the story. But he is a very important part of that puzzle, and understanding where these monsters are coming from, what controls them and what they want." Alonso then added that readers will meet the boy early on in the series.

Monsters Unleashed #3
"Monsters Unleashed" #3 cover by Leinil Yu

But what if we've already met the boy? During the Q&A portion, the gathered creators were asked if the boy on the cover was the same teen boy/monster character that was introduced in last week's "Totally Awesome Hulk" #11. The question was met with silence, until editor Mark Paniccia -- who edits both "Totally Awesome Hulk" and "Monsters Unleashed" -- chimed in.

"That's very, very astute," said Paniccia. "I'm impressed... I love that, though. I love that you caught on to that, picked up on that!"

The unnamed character was introduced in the "Totally Awesome Hulk" issue, written by Greg Pak with art by Mahmud Asrar, wandering the streets of Austin.

"Totally Awesome Hulk" #11 interior art by Mahmud Asrar and Nolan Woodard

The character, a bored teen bemoaning the happiness of others, cuts a baby's balloon free before unleashing the monster within himself.

"Totally Awesome Hulk" #11 interior art by Mahmud Asrar and Nolan Woodard
"Totally Awesome Hulk" #11 interior art by Mahmud Asrar and Nolan Woodard

Referred to only as the Austin Monster, the creature begins attacking everyone within sight. The monster seemed to feed on the emotions of those around him, and also proved to be resilient to fire and other forms of attack. The creature even stood up to the Hulk when Amadeus Cho arrived on the scene.

"Totally Awesome Hulk" #11 interior art by Mahmud Asrar and Nolan Woodard

The Austin Monster fed on Hulk's pride, eventually besting him with a massive slice to the young jade giant's back. The new monster then made a quick exit, snatching a fearful baby in the process.

Whether or not the unnamed Austin Monster is the same character seen on the cover for "Monsters Unleashed" hasn't been explicitly confirmed by Marvel, but it does seem likely in the wake of the press call.

"Totally Awesome Hulk" #12 will arrive in stores on November 30. "Monsters Unleashed" #1 hits stores on January 18, 2017.

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