Pak and Pelletier Draft the INCREDIBLE HULKS Into CHAOS WAR

The INCREDIBLE HULKS Enlist in CHAOS WAR

When the Chaos King attempts to plunge the world into nothingness during the course of this fall's Chaos War, it's kind of an "all hands on deck" scenario for the Marvel heroes.

Which is precisely why Doctor Strange summons the "strongest team there is," consisting of the Incredible Hulk and the post-"Dark Son" surviving members of his family. And it's not just dead heroes resurfacing in Chaos War — one of the Hulk's deceased villains will be showing up, and even though Marvel Comics hasn't revealed his identity, the promotional image seen here seems to contain a pretty big clue.

All of this isn't happening in a special Chaos War tie-in, it takes place right in the midst of the ongoing Incredible Hulks — yep, still plural — series. The arc takes place over three issues starting with December's #618, and it's a natural fit for some storyline synergy given that Greg Pak writes that title and is also co-authoring the Chaos War miniseries with Fred Van Lente. 

Newsarama spoke with Pak, series artist Paul Pelletier and editor Mark Paniccia about the nature of the threat posed by the story's villain, the title's ongoing theme of family, and making readers say "No, he didn't!"

Newsarama: OK, gotta ask this first: if you can comment on it at this point, who is the dead Hulk villain that's returning?

Greg Pak: Heh. Poking for spoilers, huh? I'll just say the individual in question died in this millennium.

Nrama: On a similarly poking note, who exactly composes the "strongest team" that Doctor Strange summons?

Pak: The Incredible Hulks, natch! Which would be the Hulk and whichever members of his clan survive the "Dark Son" saga that immediately precedes this storyline.

Nrama: So does Doctor Strange play a pretty major role in the story beyond the aforementioned summoning?

Pak: He's huge in this story. I'll say no more.

Nrama: Greg, since you're one of the architects of Chaos War, how important are these issues to the story as a whole?

Pak: This is the key second front in the Chaos War. The Chaos King's attack results in an insanely shocking upheaval in Chaos War #2 — these Hulk issues are where we run wild with the ramifications of that harrowing event. You can definitely read the Chaos War mini on its own and get a complete, monumentally satisfying story. But these Hulk issues explore some epically crazy corners of the Chaos War world that you won't want to miss.

Nrama: Paul, you've been drawing Hulk for a bit now — how much does this storyline elevate things from what you've illustrated on the title before?

Paul Pelletier: Well, it's The Hulk, so it's always going to be epic, but I think this story has a darker and more sinister feel to it. So far, I've penciled #618, and I have to say that things are much more evil in this storyline. Greg's doing a great job cranking up the nasty nature of this Chaos War.

Nrama: Is this going to spill into the main Chaos War miniseries — will we see the "strongest team" in there?

Pak: My lips are sealed. But don't miss the last issue of Chaos War. Whoops, what did I just say?

Nrama: So, the team is summoned by Doctor Strange, but what specifically motivates them against the Chaos King's forces? Is it personal? Perhaps tied in with the identity of the villain?

Pak: The story becomes monumentally personal with the reveal of the villain and the villain's primary target.

Nrama: Paul, are there any characters you're getting to draw in this story arc that are especially cool/fun/exciting for you?

Pelletier: It's great to be drawing She-Hulk again! It reminds me of how much fun I had working on that book with Dan Slott … now I'm having a blast with Greg on this one. Hmmm … what's the common factor? It must be a She-Hulk thing!

Nrama: Greg, one frequent complaint from fans about events crossing over with ongoing titles is that they disrupt the flow of the book, but seeing as how you're also the co-writer of the event miniseries, I'm guessing this flows pretty naturally from what's immediately preceding it in Incredible Hulks, correct?

Pak: From "Planet Hulk" onward, I've been working on a massive theme of family. The Hulk has always said he just wants to be alone. But from the Warbound to Caiera to Skaar to Betty to the Incredible Hulks, our hero has steadily enmeshed himself with friends and family. That fits beautifully with the Hulk's ongoing struggle with anger — because no one can save you from your anger like your family, but no one can drive you crazier. I'm absolutely continuing to develop that theme through these Chaos War tie-in issues — bringing the big theme to its endgame, actually. The attraction of doing the tie-in was precisely because specific developments in Chaos War presented an amazing opportunity to throw the Hulks into a situation that pushed that theme directly to the foreground in a massively disturbing and powerful way.

It's worth pointing out that these are also some of the most shocking and disturbing Hulk issues I've written. My editors are freaking out right now. In a good way, right, Mark?

Mark Paniccia: Yes. Freaking out in a good way as in when I was reading the script I kept stopping and shaking my head in disbelief. It got to a point where I couldn't stop saying "No, he didn't!". There's some of the coolest and shocking moments ever in Hulk history with this arc. When this hits the stands, you'll hear readers' jaws dropping in succession from one coast to the other.

As for Paul's art, he's channeling the dynamics and impact of all the great Hulks artists (Kirby, Buscema, McGuinness to name a few). There's not a lot of time to catch your breath during the story and Paul gives you more bam for your buck in every panel.

Nrama: On that note, Paul, you've now put some serious time in the Hulk side of things, after being closely associated with the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe — how do the two compare for you as an artist? Do you have a preference?

Pelletier: Well, I was a big fan of the Hulk years back (especially the David/Keown period), so there is a sentimental factor for me working on this book. The cosmic stuff was a blast, but working on a character with the history of the Hulk is very cool. There was a lot of room for me to go nuts with the sci-fi books (character designs, settings, various oddities that Abnett and Lanning would throw at me …), but it's so much fun drawing huge, muscled characters like the Hulk. Either way, if it's a well-written story, I'll try to have fun with it!

Which CHAOS WAR tie-in are you most excited about?

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