World War Hulk: Aftersmash

Red Rage: Jeph Loeb's Hulk

Jeph Loeb and Mark Paniccia drop the bomb on a very red Hulk

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By Ben Morse

HULK #1 cover by
Ed McGuinness

WORLD WAR HULK may have ended with an explosion of emerald, but the Aftersmash will have Marvel's most unpredictable force of nature seeing red. Spinning out of the dramatic finale of WWH, which left Bruce Banner apparently depowered and imprisoned, Rick Jones possibly dead, and other major changes to the status quo solidly in place, the blockbuster creative team of writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuinness reunite for a smashing new HULK ongoing series starting in January featuring a Hulk of a decidedly different color. "In the world [HULK] takes place in, people have seen first hand the potential for destruction [during WORLD WAR HULK] and know they can't afford to underestimate the Hulk," lays out the book's editor Mark Paniccia. "But the new Hulk just might be deadlier than they can imagine." Did he say new Hulk? Loeb's not so sure:

Hulk gets ready
for Christmas

"I'm not sure I'm comfortable saying there's a new Hulk," the writer asserts. "That's not to say there isn't, but we'll have to keep some of that secret for now." Regardless of whether or not the ruby ruffian starring in HULK goes by a familiar name or a new one in his private life, he'll be facing a new kind of challenge by the end of his first issue: a murder rap. "There's a murder and it's pretty gruesome," reveals Loeb. "The number one suspect is the Hulk, but that can't be right—or can it? That's how the story opens. Then it gets wilder." "It's a mystery and a thriller and you'll be surprised and shocked at what this Hulk is willing to do," adds Paniccia. "It's a dark story that pushes the limits on the title we know and love."

Doc Samson
heads up the hunt
for the Hulk

Leading the investigation will be a familiar face to Hulk fans: the not so jolly green giant's one-time personal shrink, super-psychiatrist Doc Samson. "I liked the idea of [Samson] taking his shrink knowledge and applying it as a profiler," says Loeb. "Whether or not anybody else thinks that a good idea, you'll see. Leonard's got some respect issues that will make his story particularly interesting." Samson won't be the only link to Hulk history as Loeb also promises She-Hulk, General Thunderbolt Ross, S.H.I.E.L.D.—notably Iron Man and Maria Hill—and "a few surprises" will all be present. But the primary focus remains on the angry looking red dude with the crazy hair. "This is a being I fear no one will be able to take down," warns Paniccia. "The very fabric of the Marvel Universe is in terrible danger!"

She-Hulk
makes it a
family affair

While it certainly sounds as if HULK will give Marvel's heroes plenty to fear, one thing fans need not worry about will be waiting for answers. "I can tell you that everything started in issue #1 will be answered by #6, and a lot before then," vows Loeb. "One thing I've learned [working on] 'Heroes' is that your audience wants the answers and wants them now. And if not now, soon. So it will be soon." HULK #1 smashes into all places comics are sold on January 2nd, 2008.

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