Marvel’s incredible Hulk will soon go from smasher to smarty-pants, thanks to the ongoing shakeup in the Avengers line of comics. It’s a change that will see the Hulk trying to do some good for the world, by taking himself out of it.
In an interview with USA Today, Marvel senior vice president of publishing Tom Brevoort and senior editor Mark Paniccia confirmed that the Hulk would not go untouched by the wave of changes sweeping through the Avengers universe. The past week has seen announcements of massive alterations to Marvel’s status quo, including the first African American Captain America and the revelation that a woman would take up the mantle of Thor.
So where does the Hulk fit in? Hulk No. 5, out next month, will see Bruce Banner dealing with the aftermath of Tony Stark’s decision to inject him with the Extremis bio-technology to save Banner from brain damage caused by a gunshot.
(If you’re wondering, yes, that is the same Extremis that Stark treats himself with that leads to Stark becoming the Superior Iron Man. We won’t go into that, here, but you can read our take on it over here.)
The introduction of Extremis into Banner’s system turns him from a super genius into an even more super-er genius, and it doesn’t just do that for Banner. The next issue of Hulk will show that Banner’s alter-ego has also gotten a super-intelligent brain. No more giant rage monster, just a super-strong, super-smart Hulk that’s now on a mission.
Hulk decides that his purpose on earth is not to smash, but to rid the world of gamma energy, the same energy that gave him his powers. That also means ridding the world of gamma-enhanced beings like himself, She-Hulk, Red Hulk, Red She-Hulk, the Abomination, and a bunch of others. That might not go terribly well, according to Brevoort and Paniccia
“Some of these people are addicted to the power,” Paniccia told USA Today. “They’ve been enhanced long enough that they’re used to it and don’t want to give it up. Hulk fans love seeing big smash-ups and superhuman fights, so we’re going to have some pretty epic battles.”
Of course, this wouldn’t mark the first time Hulk has gone smart. Previous incarnations of the character have seen the clever and sarcastic Grey Hulk, and there have been other times that the Green Menace was something more than a monosyllabic smashing machine.
The addition of a smarter Hulk will mean that just about every one of Marvel’s main Avengers will be seeing some sort of massive change, and the House of Ideas promises that more changes are in the works. While the Hulk goes smart, Iron Man will be going rogue. Meanwhile, Thor will be going “Unworthy” and consequently also going femme, and Captain America will be going black. Whether or not any of them goes back to how they were before will likely depend on fan reception, comic sales, and whether or not there’s a movie tie-in coming out soon.