The New Green: Fred Van Lente on Savage She-Hulk

Van Lente on Savage She-Hulk

All-New Savage She-Hulk #1

Nearly four months into 2009 and the winds of change are blowing up quite a storm in the Marvel Universe. The current She-Hulk monthly title has ended and now, in April, a new gamma-radiated behemoth is taking center stage—and she’s the daughter of Marvel’s mainstay the Hulk to boot.

That’s right, Lyra, the genetically-engineered daughter of the Hulk and Thundra, is the focus of this new 4 issue mini-series written by Fred Van Lente with artwork by Peter Vale. With covers provided by J. Scott Campbell, this story focuses on Lyra’s deadly mission into the mainstream Marvel Universe and how her presence effects a number of characters—ranging anywhere from Norman Osborn to her namesake (and cousin), Jennifer Walters, the original She-Hulk!

Newsarama contacted Van Lente to talk about the particulars of this fresh take on an emerald favorite.

Newsarama: The She-Hulk monthly is winding down and recent events in that other big green guy's book seem to indicate that some big changes are in store for a Jade Giantess...but not necessarily Jennifer Walters; where does All-New Savage She-Hulk pick up?

Fred Van Lente: All-New Savage She-Hulk is a series starring Lyra, the daughter of the Hulk and Thundra that first appeared in Jeff Parker's Hulk: Raging Thunder one-shot a while back, then appeared again with a story in Hulk Family. She received enough of a positive fan response to earn her a try-out in a brand-new mini-series.

But that doesn't mean we've forgotten all about Jennifer Walters—she's not going to let her "She-Hulk" title go without a fight.

NRAMA: For those who may have missed out on how she came to be, not to mention be a young adult in the present day, can you give the quick version of Lyra’s origin?

FVL: In Hulk: Raging Thunder it was revealed that in her post-apocalyptic world, in which women and men are at constant war, Thundra was being sent back to our era to collect genetic material to forge a more perfect warrior. She got her hands –er, tongue—on the Hulk's DNA and the result of that mingling was Lyra, who has the power of her parents combined with extensive military training—a formidable opponent, to say the least.

All-New Savage She-Hulk #1, page 5

The series switches between the world of the United Sisterhood Republic and our own era, where Lyra has arrived on a desperate mission, with the Sisterhood's very survival hanging in the balance. This places her in direct conflict with A.R.M.O.R., the Alternate Reality Monitoring and Organizational Response agency I first introduced in Marvel Zombies. But Lyra isn't going get to let anything get between her and the object of her quest, whether it's A.R.M.O.R. ...or the Dark Avengers.

NRAMA: Does the Rulk's interaction with Thundra in the pages of Hulk have something to do with her involvement in this story?

FVL: Maybe...

NRAMA: There are quite a few heavies being tossed around in the first two issues--including the Dark Avengers--would Norman Osborn like to add some raw savagery to his diabolical line-up?

FVL: Norman Osborn would like nothing more than to rob A.R.M.O.R. and its director, Charles Little Sky, of its autonomy and absorb the agency completely into H.A.M.M.E.R. So he and his Dark Avengers are going to exploit the incursion of this inter-dimensional threat—Lyra— to his greatest personal advantage.

Also, it may turn out that the post-apocalyptic world Lyra comes from...in which sterilized men and women produced by cloning engage in perpetual war with one another... is a logical conclusion of certain other aspects of "DARK REIGN," and this is why Lyra has come to this specific time period in the first place...

NRAMA: Does this story draw upon old Hulk family related plot threads?

FVL: It will continue Lyra's story from her appearance in Hulk Family #1, if that's what you mean... (Not that you need to have read that tale to understand this one. You don't.)

NRAMA: Will this project lead into another She-Hulk monthly book?

FVL: You, the readers, will decide that by voting with your wallets. There's a lot of potential in this character, and lots more stories I want to tell, so please vote early and often.

All-New Savage She-Hulk #1, page 6

NRAMA: As a writer, what lead you to want to work on a She-Hulk project? Is she a particular favorite of yours?

FVL: I love the post-apocalyptic genre, and a while back editor Mark Paniccia turned me on to Kirby's Kamandi, which I really enjoyed. So dealing with the culture, all the back-engineered, scavenged technology, commenting on the state of the current Marvel Universe…all that stuff is right in my wheelhouse. In many ways this is "our Kamandi," and we're having a blast doing it, cutting between that savage era and our modern "Dark Reign".

NRAMA: Is there any chance the Hulk will be showing up in this story?

FVL: His presence will definitely be constantly felt. In a future where everyone is created by cloning, the fact Lyra has an identifiable "father" makes her very different from the other members of the Sisterhood Republic...and makes her a monster in the eyes of many. This sense of isolation from a people you're trying to save is a big theme in our book (and Marvel in general). And although Lyra has never met her dad, she certainly constantly imagines, as many parentless kids do, what he might be like, and what he might think of her.

She has plenty of Bruce Banner in her, so you wouldn't want to see her when she's angry. Although maybe for different reasons...

NRAMA: To close, is there any truth to the statement, "It ain't easy being green"; and if so, what can fans expect from All-New Savage She-Hulk?

FVL: No, it definitely isn't easy, not when you have the heavies of two eras on your heels, A.R.M.O.R., the Dark Avengers, Jennifer Walters...and more!

This is an adjective I generally try to avoid using, but I feel confident in declaring this the most "Kirbyesque" thing I've ever done, with the post-apocalyptic landscape, weird technology, inter-dimensional threats and just the sheer amount of big-budget smashing action we've come to know and love from a comic with the word "Hulk" in it. It's really been a blast, and I hope people enjoy it.

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