In the current arc of Indestructible Hulk, Marvel’s Green Goliath has fought everything from cowboys to dinosaurs, dragons, gorillas, space marines, samurai and even medieval knights. But in October’s Indestructible Hulk #14 he faces something he’s never had to face before: his origin.
Since he became the Hulk’s scribe in 2012, Mark Waid has crafted the Marvel NOW! title Indestructible Hulk into being one of the most accessible Hulk titles in decades – but that doesn’t mean he’s pulling any punches. In the thirteen issues and counting, he’s put Bruce Banner and his alter ego through the paces – and in this current arc “Hulk, Agent of T.I.M.E.” through time. Although Marvel Comics is no stranger to cross-time capers, this arc had Hulk cut a swath through time – figuratively and then literally at one point in the last issue. When asked how this arc came about, Waid said it was all about timing, aptly enough.
“[“Hulk, Agent of T.I.M.E.”] came up during the last writers' retreat, “Waid tells Newsarama. “Brian Michael Bendis was explaining how time was broken in the aftermath of Age of Ultron, and someone at the table started joking that Marvel needed a "time policeman" to control the chaos and protect the timestream. As a joke, I volunteered Hulk--the least likely candidate for precision missions--but we all liked it!”
In case you were wondering, T.I.M.E. stands for Temporal Irregularity Management and Eradication, a splinter branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. created to deal with timestream-related events. After the events of Age of Ultron #10 where a temporal shockwave echoed through the Marvel multiverse, creating cracks between realities; cracks that brought forth Angela, but also a group of time-traveling opportunists who call themselves the Chronarchists.
After he and his team chased them to and from seemingly every corner of the Marvel timeline, in the cliffhanger finale of last month’s Indestructible Hulk #13 we saw Hulk being brought back to square one – literally as he stands at ground zero just before the Gamma Bomb blast that turned Bruce Banner into the Hulk. As far as reader expectations go, Waid says it’s the classic origin – but in a new way.
“The origin of the Hulk--but not the way you remember it. Or, frankly, the way Bruce Banner remembers it!” says Waid.
Readers have had hints and some misdirection in Indestructible Hulk as to who these Chronarchists actually are, but when pressed for more information Waid was reticent to say anything just yet.
“They're not what they appear to be,” the writer says, ”let's leave it at that.”
Speaking of appearances, since Indestructible Hulk launched last fall, Waid has been privy to quite the list of A-List artists and up-and-comers, with everyone from Leinil Yu to Matteo Scalera and coming up the interior debut of cover artist Mukesh in November’s issue #15. Given the ground this series cover with this series in space and time, Waid says the collaborators he’s had to work with are invaluable.
“It's incredibly refreshing. It keeps me on my toes, writing to each artists' strengths, but it's a blast,” reveals Waid. “Yu and Scalera were great storytellers with a sense of power to their work, and Mukesh is someone I've had an eye on for a while--his figure work and his subtleties are really impressive.”
And before we let Mark Waid off the hook, being that he’s been such a revelatory addition to the Hulk franchise Newsarama couldn’t help but pick his brain about the possibility of Marvel Studios’ doing a new Hulk movie given the success of Marvel’ The Avengers and Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the Green Goliath. For Waid, it’s a no brainer.
“Oh, please, yes! He's tailor made for a film adventure,” Waid gushes. “Wasn't he the breakaway star of Avengers? He was in my theater, I'll tell you that!”
Although Bruce Banner and the Hulk have been played famously by three other actors in live-action outings, Waid says that Ruffalo brings something new to the classic behemoth.
“[Ruffalo is] spot-on. I love how he’s more driven than tormented,” Waid points out,” and the Bruce Banner/Tony Stark bromance is positively inspirational.”
Waid says that there’s “many great runs” that a new Hulk film could pull from, but admits that the original Tales To Astonish would be his best bet. But given the previous Hulk movies and the classic television series, some might say it would be hard to fight people’s preconceived notion of a new movie. When Newsarama asked Waid about this, he channeled a little bit of his Indestructible Hulk star for his answer.
“Hulk smash puny preconceptions.”