Throughout the ages, men and women have competed in a battle of the sexes, but in one of the Marvel Universe's possible futures, that battle turns into a devastating full-scale war. Next week, one woman travels back to the present day with the hope of averting that dark, post-apocalyptic world. Her name is Lyra, and she's star of "All-New Savage She-Hulk," a four-issue miniseries by writer Fred Van Lente and artists Peter Vale and Robert Atkins. CBR News spoke with Van Lente about the project.
Lyra first appeared in the recent "Hulk: Raging Thunder" one-shot by writer Jeff Parker and Mitch Breitweiser. In that story, Lyria's mother -- an alternate future version of the warrior woman known as Thundra -- time-traveled to the present day Marvel U to steal cell samples from the Incredible Hulk. When she returned to the future, Thundra used the cell samples to impregnate herself with the Hulk's child. Thus, Lyra was born.
"Savage She-Hulk" marks Van Lente's first crack at the character, and he sees the big difference between Lyra and Jen Walter, the Marvel U's other more renowned She-Hulk, as being that Lyra is a soldier. "That's her mindset. She's someone who's going to execute her mission. If you stay out of her way she doesn't have a problem with you, but if you do get in her way you're going down," Van Lente told CBR. "She's also has inherited the tempers of her parents to a certain degree. And for reasons that we reveal in the series, she needs to get that under control."
The plot of "Savage She-Hulk" unfolds both in the present day and in Lyra's possible future. When the series begins, Lyra's immediate goal in traveling back to the present is a mystery. "She's been sent to this specific time period for a very specific reason; to find a very specific person and do something very specific to them. The clock is ticking though," Van Lente explained. "The cross-cutting between the present and future storylines provides clues as to what her mission might be, but it won't be fully revealed until issue #4. The thing that's important to both the present and future stories in this series is why men and women have this animosity towards each other. Where and when did it all come about? And what is the logical conclusion of something like the world of **Dark Reign?** What might happen if the current **Dark Reign** status quo of the Marvel U continued in perpetuity?"
Lyra's mission in "Savage She-Hulk" isn't going to be an easy one. Standing in her way are a number of powerful threats like Jen Walters and Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers. That doesn't mean she's destined to fail, though. "She's very resourceful and has brought some of her own technology from the future with her," Van Lente said. "Plus she's pretty powerful. She's got both the power of Thundra, who was able to singlehandedly beat the Thing and fight the Hulk to a standstill, and the Hulk himself. So you've definitely got a lot of power going on with her."
Also standing in Lyra's way are the forces of A.R.M.O.R., the interdimensional defense and intelligence agency that first appeared in Van Lente's "Marvel Zombies 3." "They detect her arrival into this time and sic everything they've got on her," the writer explained. "Charles Little Sky, Director of A.R.M.O.R., makes an appearance as well as various other agents who are important to the story."
Rounding out the supporting cast of "Savage She-Hulk" are a number of eclectic characters that play roles in both the present day and future sequences of the series. "Lyra has a unique companion named Boudica who is another main character in the story," Van Lente explained. "And in the crazy post-apocalyptic world, there are all sorts of strange characters and beings for her to encounter."
Van Lente sees the tone of "Savage She-Hulk" as being similar to two projects from one of comics' legendary creators. "I hate when people use this adjective, so I'm kind of cringing to use it myself, but it's the first time I'm really confident in saying that this is the most Kirby-esque thing I've ever done," he said. "That's because it's got these big over-the-top scenes of action and because, to a certain extent, Mark Paniccia, my editor, loves 'Kamandi,' Jack Kirby's classic post-apocalyptic tale from DC Comics. I'm a huge Kirby fan but I had never read 'Kamandi,' and a couple years ago Mark's love for the series made me go out and buy a hardback copy of it from the DC Archives collection, and I just fell in love with it too. So you've got both the Hulk smashing-style elements, which are obviously very Kirby, combined with these Kamandi elements, which I love anyway because of the whole post-apocalyptic setting. I'm a post-apocalyptic nut. I love the genre to death. All-time favorite video game series? 'Fallout.' 'Fallout 3' blew me away. In college, we had a whole post-apocalyptic role playing game thing going on, and I actually like 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.' Clearly, I've got some serious problems.
"So when it came to 'Savage She-Hulk,' you had this savage world where men and women are at perpetual war with each other using all this retrofitted technology. And I had the chance to talk about the nature of the Armageddon that caused this world as well as the chance to tell a story cutting between the present day and that dark future, which meant I was incredibly interested."
"All-New Savage She-Hulk" #1 smashes into stores April 1 from Marvel Comics.