When Bruce Banner introduced the Marvel Universe to the Gamma Bomb, he had no idea how much destruction he would cause. As Marvel fans know, most of that destruction didn't stem from the bomb itself, but from Banner's transformation into the emerald hued engine of destruction, the Incredible Hulk. Soon Banner will be responsible for destruction on an even grander scale, because there isn't just one Hulk anymore - there are several, and they will be going to war. It starts in December with the one-shot "World War Hulks: Alpha" by writer Jeff Parker ("Agents of Atlas") and artist Paul Pelletier ("War of Kings"). CBR News spoke with them about the one-shot, which was announced today at the Marvel Cup 'O Joe panel at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto.
While next year's "World War Hulks" event will certainly involve the many gamma powered characters currently roaming the Marvel Universe, "World War Hulks: Alpha" is primarily about the Intelligentsia, a think tank made up of some of the Marvel U's most brilliant and depraved minds. "You know these men. The collective are: The Leader. Dr. Doom. Modok. Red Ghost. Egghead. Wizard, and Mad Thinker," Jeff Parker told CBR News. "What they have in common is their super minds. Each are so smart that they tend to feel like a different thing altogether than the rest of humanity. Like the laws of man shouldn't apply to them."
Given that sense of arrogance and entitlement, the dynamic between the various members of the Intelligentsia is often an uneasy one. "The Leader is the instrumental one in bringing them together, and he realizes that their own massive egos and self-interests make such a group near-impossible," Parker said. "They connect largely to amass stores of information thought lost to the world in ancient times. They aren't teaming up in the Masters of Evil sense. This is almost like a running experiment they occasionally gather around to observe.
"There is a bit of a pissing match between Doom and The Leader that keeps surfacing," Parker continued, "and it certainly galls them that their heroic mental counterparts can team together with much less trouble. Sticking to the agreed upon goal of recovering the lost knowledge helps give them a purpose that defrays their natural conflicts, at least. Leader did figure that out pretty well."
In "World War Hulks: Alpha," the Intelligentsia steal some lost knowledge that directly pertains to the major players in the coming clash of the gamma powered goliaths. "'Alpha' sets up many of the players that are going to be crucial in 'World War Hulks,' and gives the backstory of why things are going to go down the way they will," Parker explained. "This is really a story from the villain's perspective. Though we do see a lot of other Marvel characters and references to Marvel history, this is all from their unique point of view And largely, The Leader's. He's about so much more than just hating The Hulk. For instance, he hates Banner too!"
"I want this to feel big in scope and to strike a balance that shows how freaky and menacing these guys can be," Parker continued. "A lot of chaos is about to happen fast in 'Incredible Hulk' and 'Hulk,' and the history of where that comes from is in here and the other prelude, 'World War Hulks: Gamma'. These two books set everything up very clearly for what's coming, even if you haven't been reading either Hulk title. They are the fuse that sets off the explosives."
Parker is very happy to have Paul Pelletier bringing to life all the massive and ominous action of "World War Hulks: Alpha." "He's perfect for this story - something about his art taps into that primal feeling Kirby imbued everything with; there's just power erupting from every page. You feel like you're holding a book where things are happenning," Parker remarked. "At the same time, his storytelling is very modern - it's clever and subtle, even when being big and brassy. I hope to get to work with him some more. Paul is simply an art dynamo!"
Fans of Pelletier's work will be happy to know that he's employing his signature style for "World War Hulks: Alpha." "As you can see over my career, my style doesn't change too much. I'll just be doing my thing," Pelletier remarked. "However, this time around, I'll be working with a completely different inker than what I'm used to. Vicente Cifuentes will be inking my pencils,and from the results I've seen from a cover piece we did together, he definitely brings something different to the table. It's kinda exciting to see a different approach used on my stuff, so we'll see how it works out!"
For the past couple of years, Pelletier has been doing his thing on the various titles that make up the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe. His most recent work, the sci-fi epic "War of Kings," means he's got plenty experience bringing to life scenes where massively powered combatants collide. "This is really not too much different than 'War of Kings' -- just different backgrounds!" the artist explained. "As long as there's muscle-bound heroes punching and fighting, it's all good!"
Jeff Parker feels Hulk fans should strap themselves in because they're for a long and wild ride that starts in December with the preludes "World War Hulks: Alpha" and "World War Hulks:Gamma" and continues well into the New Year when the "World War Hulks" crossover spills over into the titles that make up the Hulk family. "The Hulk Summit we were all at was very Smash-centric, and some great twists and turns were agreed upon," the writer said. "'WWH' is going to be an all-out joyride of revelations and beatdowns!"