Over the course of the character's history, the Hulk has been involved in some truly epic slugfests, but his most memorable battles are usually against other heroes like the Thing, Wolverine and his former teammates, the Avengers. In October's Immortal Hulk #7, by writer Al Ewing and artist Joe Bennett, the titular Jade Giant will once again face off against Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but this confrontation promises to be their most brutal battle yet.
That's partly because the Avengers are facing off against a smarter, stronger and much more cunningly vicious version of the Hulk then they're used to. When a previous incarnation of the team faced off with the newly Immortal Hulk in Avengers: No Surrender, they were unable to stop the Gamma Powered Goliath from achieving his goal. For this second match-up, the Hulk has home court advantage since it's occurring in his own title, which features a distinctly creepy and horrific feel.
“We wanted to do a big fight - really give Joe some meat to get his teeth into. This Hulk is stronger than before, he's more merciless, he's crueler, willing to deal psychological damage - and there are some metaphysical aspects we'll get into as well,” is how Ewing described the coming battle to CBR. “Also, we wanted to consider a classic hero fight from a horror perspective - what's horrific about a good old hero brawl? - and I think we found a way to do it that brings out the queasier elements of that, and of the Avengers themselves. These are the Avengers through the lens of Immortal Hulk - hopefully that means they end up a little disturbing.”
That doesn't necessarily mean the Avengers are destined to be demolished. In fact this version of the Hulk is in for the fight of his life because he's facing off against a team that includes his cousin Jennifer Walters, who recently dropped the “She” portion of her heroic moniker and is now just known as Hulk.
She's also the recent recipient of a huge power upgrade to go with her new codename. The first few issues of the new Avengers series have shown her accomplishing physical feats that rival her cousin's and exhibiting a more primal intellect and demeanor. In Avengers #9, Jen Walters learned her body is capable of storing massive amounts of gamma energy and releasing it in explosive ways. What makes Jen a truly dangerous foe though is that in this battle she's fueled by the most volatile emotion a Hulk can feel, rage.
“As we saw last issue, she's got a lot of anger in her at Bruce, and it comes out in her Hulk role,” Ewing explained. “It's been interesting seeing what Jason's [Aaron] been doing with her [in Avengers], and we ended up using a lot of that - her new mode of speaking, her more monstrous form. There's a moment between the two Hulks that I think fans of both will be interested to see.”
Immortal Hulk #7 is available October 10. Check back later this week for our full interview with Ewing about the Jade Giant's upcoming Avengers clash, and more.