In the World War Hulks event, the heroes of the Marvel Universe have gone "Hulked-Out" crazy, and the battles between them are just as insane.
But in World War Hulks: Wolverine vs. Captain America, a prior confrontation between Logan and the then-Winter Soldier comes into play, making this gamma-infused battle all about confronting the past.
With solicitations that were kept secret until the release of last week's Hulk #22, two World War Hulks tie-ins that start in June are finding out just what happens when these Hulked-Out Heroes clash. One of them, World War Hulks: Wolverine vs. Captain America is being written by Paul Tobin with back-up features by Brian Clevinger that pits several other Marvel characters against each other in their Hulked-Out forms. We talked to both writers to find out more.
The whole thing begins with the Intelligencia setting a trap for some Marvel superheroes. In the main story, that means Wolverine and Cap end up in a rather agitated state of mind.
"It makes them go a little crazy, and it leads to a tussle," Tobin explained of his two-issue mini-series. "I’m currently deciding who’s crazier — a guy that wants to fight Captain America, or a guy that wants to fight Wolverine. Big time crazy, either way."
Tobin, who said he's been begging editor Nate Cosby for the chance to write some Hulk characters, jumped at the chance to explore what gamma radiation does to characters like Wolverine and Cap. And despite what readers might expect, it's not just about muscles.
"After a huge dose of gamma radiation, these boys are nearly Hulk-like, both in body and mind," Tobin said. "Luckily for Logan, he’s a bit more clear of mind than Captain America, due to his healing abilities kicking in and trying to deal with the poison of the radiation. Still, even on a normal day, Wolverine isn’t a guy that it takes very long to talk into a fight, and certain memories of the past come to the fore, making him all the more willing to drop cars on Captain America’s head."
But the mini-series doesn't just explore one battle. The story looks at deeper issues between the two characters that can be traced all the way back to the distant past. "We see two stories," Tobin said. "One of them is a look at the current battle between the two heroes, but it also plays out with some memories of the past, back when this incarnation of Captain America was the Winter Soldier. Wolverine and a friend are hunting down a crooked politician, and it culminates in a rather tortuous battle for Logan.
"We’re seeing how the past influenced the present, and also seeing if Wolverine is enough of a man to put his past behind him," Tobin explained. "Not an easy thing to do in any circumstance, let alone with the ghosts of the past are punching you through a wall."
Tobin said it was challenging to come up with a way to make the story more than just two characters fighting, but "that's always the challenge for any story... how to make it work and how to make it interesting. Too often a story is only one or the other —just a showcase for “neat” moments, or an otherwise solid story where nothing happens. The challenge is to put the interesting events in an interesting framework."
In the back-up story said "everybody's Hulkin' Out," he's not kidding. His first story pits Monica Rambeau against Ms. Marvel, War Machine, Thing and the Human Torch -- only she thinks she's battling agents of Nextwave.
"For Monica, the transformation affects her perceptions. In reality, she's fighting other Hulked Out Heroes. But she experiences it in a non-linear dream-like state somewhere between memories and hallucinations. And it all revolves around her worst nightmare: she's back in Nextwave!" Clevinger said.
And as if that weren't crazy enough, Clevinger is writing the battle between Human Torch and Thing for the second issue's back-up feature.
"My favorite rivalry in Marvel Comics is between Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm. There's a lot of love there, but also a lot of anger," Clevinger said. "I figured, hey, what if we saw Ben's usual reaction to one of Johnny's pranks juxtaposed with how he'd react when amped up by the power of Hulking Out? Basically, the Thing and Human Torch fight just derails what's going on with Monica because when you take Ben Grimm and multiply him by the power of a Hulk, well, things have a way of getting derailed when he's around."
Tobin said the main thing that readers should know about his issue is that the heroes are at their absolute extremes, in both good and bad ways. "This is Wolverine at his absolute deadliest, and action at it’s absolute apex, and the Winter Soldier at his absolute coldest," Tobin said. "And did I love telling this story? Absolutely."
Come back Thursday to find out more about the other tie-in beginning in May: World War Hulks: Spider-Man vs. Thor.