Peter David on Hulk: Destruction and More
Tuesday, May 10, 2005

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Hulk #85 cover - click to open larger image by Benjamin Ong Pang Kean

To say that Peter Allen David (that’s where the “PAD” comes from, by the by) is an incredible writer would be an understatement.

While there’s no doubt that the prolific writer has written Marvel’s Green Goliath for 12 years previously, and that many longtime Hulk fans remembered (and still do) his first smashing run that featured and included, among others, the Mr. Fixit Gray Hulk, Merged Hulk, the Pantheon saga and the first appearance of the Savage Banner, the death of Betty Ross, the wedding of Rick Jones and Marlo Chandler and the groundbreaking AIDS issue.

Incredible? Nah… more like visionary.

The PAD guy returned to the monthly Incredible Hulk series with issue #77 in January of this year, and he’s since announced that he’s writing the further adventures of the Hulk at least until the end of the year.

Hulk #83 cover - click to open larger imageIn July, he joins other creators and plays in Brian Bendis’ epic playground, the reality-changing “House of M” mega-crossover event that runs through the various Marvel titles this summer. Issue #83 starts off the four-part “Terra Incognita” (formerly called “The Last Refuge”) arc for which he’ll be joined by artist Jorge Lucas. From the solicitation information, the arc follows the Hulk as he reaches Australia, and, among an Aboriginal tribe, finds peace.

Of course, when you’re the Hulk, peace is short-lived, and the end of the Hulk’s comes in the form of an Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) sect battling the totalitarian mutant government (spinning from the House of M storyline). As a result, the Hulk is forced to intervene, and take a stand against the “House.”

While preview images have shown that the Hulk seems to be a tribal leader of sort, David said that is not the case. “Bruce is simply a member of the tribe,” he told Newsarama. “If you know the history of the way that Aborigines have been treated in Australia, you'll realize that Bruce would have a natural affinity for them. All the Aborigines want is to be left alone, to live their lives on their own terms. Who better to sympathize with that than Bruce Banner? And they, in turn, understand and accept his green-skinned alter ego. The question, of course, is what happens when the ‘House of M’ events overtake Bruce's new, peaceful life.”

Hulk #83, pg. 2 - click to open larger imageHulk #83, pg. 5 - click to open larger image

In the same month, he kicks off Hulk: Destruction with artist Jim Muniz, promising to reveal the new, definitive origin of Emil Blonsky, otherwise known as the Abomination. “Basically, of all the main Hulk villains, the Abomination is the one who's the most all-over-the-place,” he said. “There's the original Abomination who was a straight up Soviet spy and all around evil guy. Then I handled him as a tragic-villain, Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast-type of character. Subsequently writers handled him in yet another manner. And in the upcoming video game incarnation, there's still another version of him. And I think the feeling was, 'Enough already.' Let's have one defining limited series that states once and for all who he was and where he's going. Am I going to be able to make all of the different version dovetail perfectly? Of course not. Comic hero origins are always being updated or modified over the years, so there's no reason we can't do it with a villain. I'm basically going to pick and choose and synthesize something that satisfies all interested parties, and that will ideally be the definitive Abomination story.”

Emil Blonsky first appeared in Tales to Astonish #90, where readers learnt about the origin of one of Hulk's greatest enemies. In his first origin, Blonsky was originally a spy who stumbled upon some gamma equipment used by Banner and he had then purposely exposed himself to gamma radiation, turning himself into the Abomination. As mentioned by David, since then, there’ve been numerous takes on the character and he plans to tell the definitive Abomination story.

“The origin will actually be different from what's gone before,” he stressed again. “It'll establish a different dynamic between Blonsky and Banner, and also between Blonsky and Ross... and also provide an origin for another character in Hulk continuity who's always been a bit nebulous in terms of origins. Personally, I don't see any reason for doing the series at all if it's simply going to rehash precisely what happened before. Star Wars III aside, I don't see why people should pay money to see the origin of a villain when they already know how it turns out.”

While the solicitation copy revealed that the new, definitive origin of the Abomination serves as a backdrop against Blonsky’s unwilling return to Mother Russia, David pointed out that “The solicit info was based upon a rough story idea which has since been heavily revised, so Russia doesn't really factor in anymore. Basically the concept wound up overlapping with story elements of [Warren Ellis’] Ultimate Nightmare which I didn't know about when I first worked on the plot for the [limited series]. When they were pointed out to me, I kinda went "Oh crap" and headed back to the drawing board, but it was too late to change the solicit info.”

Daid added that “Banner plays both a subtle and overt war, but I guarantee there will be some serious Hulk/Abom slugging action.”

Other than the Abomination, what other characters from the Hulk mythos that he’d love to tackle next? “Believe it or not, I'd love to bring back the Harpy,” he said. “Just haven't quite figured out how yet. Also wouldn't mind trying to do a different approach with the U-Foes, although I know they're currently in play elsewhere. Basically, I'd just love to bring in some characters who are heavily messed up. I feel as if the Hulk should be walking the outer reaches of the Marvel universes, encountering the most f'd up villains/monsters in the MU, the ones that no one else knows how to deal with. That's one of the reasons I had him taking on Fin Fang Foom. The great thing about the Hulk is that nothing should faze him because he's utterly confident that whatever it is he encounters, he'll be able to hit it until it stops moving. Which means that the bigger, the more pompous, the more insane the opponents he encounters, the better the Hulk will work in contrast.”

Now that he’s also doing Marvel’s new upcoming Spider-Man title with artist Mike Weiringo, could there be a meeting between two of Marvel’s most well-known superhero icons? “I'd certainly like to work it in.”

As for what’s coming up next for the writer? “I'd say stay tuned to for future announcements.”

Incredible Hulk #83 and #84 are scheduled to be in stores on July 6 and 20, respectively, followed by the first issue of Hulk: Destruction on July 27.

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