Few writers have dealt with the fun yet wacky side of the Marvel Universe like Jeff Parker. And now the writer is at it again.
As revealed last week, the secret solicitation for an "H.O.H." comic that was slated to come out in April is actually World War Hulks: Hulked-Out Heroes, a two issue mini-series by Parker with art by Humberto Ramos.
Spinning out of the end of Fall of the Hulks, Hulked-Out Heroes debuts the character known as "Hulkpool," a gamma-juiced version of Deadpool that goes back in time to eliminate... er... himself.
It's all a little twisted, but along the way, characters show up from throughout the Marvel Universe – and throughout time – many of whom are hulked out versions themselves. The cover that Marvel revealed showed everyone from Devil Dinosaur to Spider-Hulk.
Newsarama attempted to get the scoop from Parker about Hulkpool and what other fan-favorite characters might show up in Hulked-Out Heroes.
Newsarama: Jeff, where did the idea for this story come from? Is this something you came up with?
Jeff Parker: The gammafication of Deadpool comes from editor Nate Cosby, and Jeph Loeb brought up the idea of Hulkpool meeting Ben Grimm from when he became Blackbeard, back in Fantastic Four #5. I started cobbling together the plot using "Hulk Logic" because I like plots to be character driven. And if an already insane character were then transformed into an over-muscled Id creature, these are the kinds of decisions he would make.
Nrama: How does this tie into the ending of Fall of the Hulks?
Parker: Red Hulk had a contingency to take Deadpool with him as backup when he went to "The Hellcarrier." It doesn't work out the way Red hoped, and Deadpool gets nuked with gamma energy.
Nrama: When the solicitation was announced, what really stuck out was the name "Hulkpool." Does the story revolve around him? And does he have the powers of both namesakes?
Parker: It's all about Hulkpool! And yes, he has the powers of both- as well as the keen wit of both.
Nrama: What's the idea behind the story you'll be telling in the two-issue mini-series?
Parker: It's very simple – as simple as a time travel story ever is – in that Hulkpool is a lot like the early Hulk. As Hulk always loathed "Puny Banner," Hulkpool hates Deadpool. Just like with Hulk, this doesn't come from nowhere, clearly Deadpool deep down has some issues with himself and it comes to the surface when he gets big.
Hulkpool likes decisive action over pondering, and wants Deadpool DEAD. When he finds his old pal Bob and the recently jacked time machine from Dr. Doom's castle, he comes up with what he says "AM GREATEST PLAN EVER!" to go back in time and kill Deadpool! Bob can't really explain the problems with that, because Hulkpool is very focused.
Nrama: Since this is a time travel story, who gets involved in this story? What are some of the more interesting characters we'll meet across time in the Marvel Universe?
Parker: Thing and Blackbeard I mentioned, and you'll also see Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy, Hawkeye and Two-Gun Kid, Captain America and Bucky – and ultimately almost everybody from the key points of Marvel history. Because if you're going to unhinge time and history, you might as well go all the way.
Nrama: For readers who are familiar with your work, where does this fall as far as tone? Is it on the lighter side and meant to be fun? Or is there a dead serious drama here?
Parker: No, this is more like some of the wilder stories I did a while back with Marvel Adventures, like when everyone became Modoks, or when the Avengers played baseball with Galactus. There's some seriousness buried underneath it all, though, that makes everything else work, I think.
Nrama: Does this tie into the former appearances of Hulked characters like Spider-Hulk?
Parker: Oh, yes. It's all of a piece.
Nrama: How does the artwork of Humberto Ramos fit this story? What does he bring to the comic?
Parker: It's hard to imagine any artist more perfect for this. And when I think I've written an over-the-top scene, Humberto proceeds to show me what Over The Top really means. And you'd be hard pressed to find someone who draws more imposing Hulks! His guys are impossibly strong,
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell readers about Hulked-Out Heroes?
Parker: It begins with a debt in a stripclub and ends with civilization changed. But most importantly, Hulkpool gets to "be pirates!"