The Return of the (Green) King: Pak talks "World War Hulk"

This Summer, green won't be the color of envy it will be the color of rage as the Hulk returns from space to wage war on the heroes that exiled him, in the mini-series "World War: Hulk." We spoke with writer Greg Pak about the series. This summer, the heroes of the Marvel Universe's Illuminati will be haunted by a mistake; a massively powerful, rampaging, emerald mistake. That mistake, the Hulk, is coming back from space where they exiled him and the Hulk's declared war on them in the pages of "World War Hulk," a five issue mini-series by writer Greg Pak and artist John Romita Jr., which begins in June. In its continuing feature on "World War Hulk," CBR News spoke with Pak about the mini-series and its tie in issues with "Incredible Hulk," which Pak also writes.

The current "Planet Hulk" storyline is coming to a conclusion in the pages of "Incredible Hulk," and as readers of that storyline have seen it appears the Hulk has finally found peace on the alien world of Sakaar. But with the "World War Hulk" storyline on the horizon and the Hulk heading back to Earth, it looks like the Green Goliath's chance at serenity might be gone. "'Incredible Hulk' #104, which just hit stands on March 7, gives a pretty big hint at what might be up," Pak told CBR News. "All will be fully revealed in 'Incredible Hulk' #105, the shattering climax to the 'Planet Hulk' saga. I'm getting the last pages of art from Carlo Pagulayan for this issue even as we speak, and they're incredibly powerful -- so preorder your copy from your local purveyor of printed materials today, True Believers!"

Disaster may be looming, but "Planet Hulk" fans don't need to worry as the Planet Sakaar and its related characters will continue to play a role in the Hulk's life in upcoming issues. "At least three of his Warbound companions will accompany him to Earth for 'World War Hulk,'" Pak said. "And without spoiling too much, I think I can safely say that we'll see more of the world we created for 'Planet Hulk' in the future."

Very little story times passes between the end of "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk." "'World War Hulk' begins the instant after 'Planet Hulk' ends," Pak explained. "Back on Earth, Marvel's Civil War will have been over for a bit more time before the Hulk arrives -- but the time frame is close enough that the repercussions of the 'Civil War' will definitely affect the way the Marvel heroes respond to 'World War Hulk.'"

On Earth, one person sympathetic to the Hulk has been paying close attention to the outcome of "Civil War." "Amadeus Cho, AKA Mastermind Excello, a genius kid on the run from a nefarious secret agency, had a close encounter with the Hulk back in 'Amazing Fantasy' (v2) #15. Amadeus became a huge Hulk advocate and confronted Reed Richards over the Illuminati's exiling of the Hulk in 'Incredible Hulk' #100," Pak stated. "The end of the Civil War has only confirmed Amadeus's suspicion of and contempt for the government and the superheroes that toe the party line. He'll play a big role in the 'World War Hulk' event -- primarily in 'Incredible Hulk'#106 to #109. His goal is to round up the heroes with the guts to side with the Hulk upon his return. We'll see him confront She-Hulk and Doc Samson in 'Incredible Hulk' #106, find out what's up with Namor in #107, and learn how Amadeus's team of Renegades deals with the terrifying reality of the Hulk's return in #108 and #109. Issue #109 will be particularly significant, with a pretty spectacular Hulk-related revelation -- dontcha dare miss it!"

As Pak mentioned, the events of "World War Hulk" will have a tremendous impact on the life of the Hulk's cousin, Jennifer Walters AKA She-Hulk. "She's facing one of the most difficult decisions of her life as "World War Hulk" begins," Pak stated. "She-Hulk fans absolutely won't want to miss 'She-Hulk' #18, 'Incredible Hulk' #106 and 'World War Hulk' #2."

Another hero that might play a significant role in "World War Hulk," given his past interactions with the Green Goliath, is the Sentry. "The Hulk and the Sentry have an interesting relationship -- in the past, when he's around the Sentry, the Hulk reverts to his child-like savage state and plays almost a sidekick role," Pak explained. "It remains to be seen how the Hulk will react to the Sentry post-'Planet Hulk.'"

The heroes of the Marvel Universe just finished a war where the question of allegiance figured heavily, and some heroes will have a tough time picking a side to align with in "World War Hulk" as well. "Some heroes will make some very surprising choices – 'Incredible Hulk' #106-109 will provide some shocking developments," Pak said.

Some readers might be wondering whose side Bruce Banner will take in "World War Hulk." "I don't want to say too much for fear of spoilers," Pak stated. "But we gave a glimpse of an evolving relationship between Banner and the Hulk in 'Incredible Hulk' #103 -- that will definitely be expanded upon in 'World War Hulk.'"

The Heroes of the Marvel U won't be the only key players in "World War Hulk." "I can't spill the beans -- I'll just say that at least two of the Hulk's old earthbound friends and/or enemies will play significant roles in 'World War Hulk.'"

The Hulk has rampaged across the Earth before, but his arrival in "World War Hulk" will mark the beginning of a vendetta unlike any of the inhabitants of the Marvel U have ever witnessed. "Most Marvel heroes have never seen the Hulk this strong or this angry," Pak explained. "What makes it even more terrifying is during the course of 'Planet Hulk,' he's developed an ethos and a community -- when he comes back to Earth, he's not just rampaging in a childlike, why-won't-you-puny-humans-just-leave-me-alone kind of way -- he's the Green King, a leader of a wronged people, and he knows exactly who he's here to punish and how to accomplish his goals."

The Hulk's goal of vengeance might lead to him taking a bite out of the Big Apple. "New York City is the epicenter," Pak said. "And there are a couple of buildings in Midtown and a certain address on Bleecker Street where the Hulk has some particular business to conduct."

Pak couldn't go into too much detail about the Hulk's business in "World War Hulk" for fear of spoiling what's to come, but did note, "… it's a non-stop rollercoaster of physical and emotional action. Every punch thrown in this book is personal -- and the consequences will be tremendous, for everyone involved.

"Most of my favorite movies -- from 'Seven Samurai' to 'Jaws' and 'Aliens' -- combine insane genre action with totally compelling emotional storytelling," Pak continued. "I'm also a sucker for big scale disaster and invasion movies. 'World War Hulk' is a blast because it combines all of these elements -- in the big picture, it's an enormous story of nonstop destruction and revenge and survival. At the same time, it's a tremendous emotional story of friends betraying friends, of responsibility versus rage, of arrogance versus anger."

When the final battles end and the smoke clears, "World War Hulk" will have left an impact on the Marvel Universe. "Certain characters will clearly be affected by 'World War Hulk' more than others," Pak stated. "But there will be real, lasting effects on both Earth and a certain other distant planet."

"World War: Hulk" has been a fun story for Pak to be part of and one of the reasons has been all the other creators involved in the event. "I practically jump up and down grinning every time I get pages from Gary Frank (who's pencilling 'Incredible Hulk' #106 and #107) and John Romita, Jr. (who's pencilling 'World War Hulk" #1-5). And it's a constant pleasure trading ideas with Editor Mark Paniccia and assistant editor Nate Cosby. And without spilling too much, I'm having a ton of fun talking with the other writers working on the tie-in books for 'World War Hulk' and beyond -- it's a great group of talent and the stories are going to be a blast."

CBR News will continue it's coverage of "World War Hulk" in the weeks ahead. Look for more interviews with creators involved in the event and the first of our "Tale of the Tape" installments where we get Greg Pak to play Fight Doctor and discuss the Hulk's match-ups with the various Illuminati members.

Now discuss this story in CBR's Marvel Universe forum.

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