The Incredible Hulk versus Wolverine is one of the Marvel Universe's most enduring and popular superhero rivalries. The two heroes met in Wolverine's first appearance in 1974's Incredible Hulk #181, and have gotten into a host of savage scuffles since then. It's only natural that some sinister organization would be inspired by those fights and try to endow a test subject with the traits that make those combatants so lethal. In the recent “Weapons of Mutant Destruction” crossover between Weapon X and The Totally Awesome Hulk, the villainous Weapon X program created just such a test subject by transforming a man named Clay into the Marvel Universe's most dangerous hero: Weapon H.
The Weapon X program didn't count on its test subject being a strong-willed ex-soldier with a conscience, though. In the most recent Weapon X arc, Clay broke free from the program's control. Now, he'll use the massive physical power of the Hulk and Wolverine's healing factor, unbreakable skeleton and razor sharp claws to protect the citizens of the Marvel Universe from a whole host of villains. The next phase of Clay's life begins in March, when Pak and artist Cory Smith kick off the Weapon H ongoing series.
CBR: As a reader, it's been interesting watching the development of Weapon H as he moves from mysterious character to antagonist to hero of his own story. What can you tell us about the evolution of the character from a creative and editorial standpoint? When you were first working on the character, did you ever think you'd be writing him in his own series?
Greg Pak: As a Wolverine/Hulk hybrid, Weapon H looks like a marketer's dream, right? But the character developed organically through the story. Back when we were developing the “Weapons of Mutant Destruction” storyline, we established that the Weapon X scientists were collecting DNA from various mutants to turn people into killing machines. I said, "Well, we've got the Hulk in the book now. Seems like they'd want to collect Hulk DNA, too." Suddenly, we had a Wolverine-Hulk hybrid on our hands.
We eventually revealed this Wolverine-Hulk hybrid as the ultimate weapon that Weapon X had been developing. And in the subsequent story that Fred Van Lente and I cowrote in Weapon X, we revealed that the man who was turned into this Wolverine-Hulk hybrid was Clay, a former soldier turned Eaglestar military contractor who'd been drugged and shipped out to Weapon X when he started challenging Eaglestar's brutal operating procedure.
I loved all of this because it was a chance to explore familiar tropes of Wolverine and Hulk through a different kind of character. The big danger of both Wolverine and the Hulk is, traditionally, that they can lose control, go berserk. But Clay was chosen for this procedure because he has intense military discipline. The idea is that he's the perfect weapon because he can control this tremendous power. But now Clay's free from Weapon X -- so the question is what a person with this tremendous discipline is going to do with this terrifying power?
One of the interesting twists about Weapon H is that he's sort of the opposite of characters with missing pasts, like Wolverine, in that he's trying to erase info about his past life rather than recover it. That begs the question of how much Clay remembers of his past as a mercenary and family man.
Clay was partially lobotomized by Weapon X -- they wanted to keep the parts of his personality that gave him his discipline and control, but remove any pesky memories or morality that might prevent him from doing their bidding. But our brains aren't quite so easily sectioned off like that, so Clay had bits and pieces of memories of his past. His tremendous healing factor has reassembled his brain and made it possible for him to sort out more of his memories. But he doesn't remember everything -- and most importantly, he doesn't want to.
Clay's smart as hell -- he knows that any enemies he might make will go after his family or loved ones if they can find them. So Clay's done all he can to destroy any traces of his family from the Eaglestar servers. And he's determined not to go searching for his past. Which isn't to say his past won't come searching for him...