Fall of the Hulks: Hitting Bottom

Jeph Loeb and Greg Pak bring Fall of the Hulks to its conclusion in HULK #21 and INCREDIBLE HULK #608

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By Marc Strom

The Fall of the Hulks descends to its conclusion on March 17, as Bruce Banner leads a team of hand-picked Avengers in INCREDIBLE HULK #608 from Greg Pak and Paul Pelletier while the mysterious Red Hulk brings the fight to the evil masterminds behind his recent troubles, the Intelligencia, in HULK #21 by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness.

While Bruce Banner, one of the Avengers' founding members, hasn't counted himself amongst Earth's Mightiest Heroes for a number of years, he recently showed them just why he can still hold his ground with some of the best.

"Banner just might be the smartest good guy kicking around after the climactic events of INCREDIBLE HULK #607 and HULK #20, which might be one reason why the leaders of the Avengers give him a Quinjet and a mandate to pull together a crack team of his own to take on the enemy,"

INCREDIBLE HULK #608 cover by John Romita Jr.
explains Pak. "But as we revealed in the last few pages of INCREDIBLE HULK #607, Banner has chosen the members of his team for very specific reasons which have more to do with the heart than the mind. Every 'Bannervenger' has lost a loved one, and [because of that they] might be open to whatever craziness Banner's about to pull to save his wife Betty from the Intelligencia."

So far, every key player in Fall of the Hulks has played their own agenda, and as fans will soon see Banner proves no exception.

"Banner's working angles that he hasn't fully revealed to anyone," teases Pak. "We know he wants to save Betty above all. But exactly what he's done and is willing to do to achieve that will only be revealed in the shocking conclusion to Fall of the Hulks."

His recent actions, however, have made Banner's motivations somewhat suspect in the eyes of his peers, and Pak explains that only a few heroes truly trust him.

"His hand-picked team? Yes. The rest of the Avengers? Um. No. Would you?"

INCREDIBLE HULK #608 preview art by Paul Pelletier
The main difference between Bruce's first tenure with the Avengers and his current involvement with the team, of course, comes down to a significant difference in his personality-or rather, the lack of a Gamma-irradiated personality.

"I don't think any Avenger who was there would give the Hulk any extra Brownie points for his first stint with the team," Pak argues. "But this time around, Banner's in charge. And while this particular incarnation of Banner may be as dangerous as the Hulk in many ways, he can out-think and probably out-talk anyone in the room, which can go a long way in getting what you want-at least in the short term."

While Banner pursues his own plans, the Red Hulk pays a visit to former allies as he storms the Intelligencia's secret base in the pages of HULK #21.

HULK #21 cover by Ed McGuinness
"Some of it has to do with the Intelligencia making their move," says Loeb of Red's decision to take this action now. "This is a war. And the one thing we know about the Red Hulk is that military strategy is one of his strengths. He's formed an unlikely alliance with Banner and now we'll see how that plays out. It's very much a 'once and for all' moment for both of them."

Loeb also promises readers that this chapter will give greater insight into the group of insane genius' larger plans.

"As you'll learn at the end of HULK #21, there's a really good reason why it's called 'Fall of the Hulks,'" says the writer. "The Intelligencia are brilliant men who do not see themselves as villains. In their world, Banner and Red Hulk are trying to stop what could be the solution to all of mankind's problems. They will do everything they can to stop them, and as you'll see, it's going to have devastating results."

"Incidentally, if you're wondering about just exactly how the Intelligencia are planning to transform the world, you absolutely don't want to miss INCREDIBLE HULK #609, the first chapter of World War Hulks," adds Pak.

INCREDIBLE HULK #608 preview art by Paul Pelletier
As Fall of the Hulks morphs into World War Hulks, both Loeb and Pak look back at the storyline as the beginning of something even larger.

"Fall is very much the battle, and World War Hulks is the escalation that builds to the conclusion," notes Loeb. "Greg and I have been working for more than two years on this story and want to bring the biggest, most fun Hulk adventure told thus far. Great villains. A star-crossed romance. And some very big reveals to mysteries that have driven both our books for a long time!"

"The big emotional story we've been laying out for Banner reaches its tipping point at the end of Fall of the Hulks," vows Pak. "From that point on, it's nothing but insane climax after insane climax, with massive emotional repercussions that pay off stories years in the making."

"All the answers are coming," guarantees Loeb. "Who is the Red Hulk? Will the Green Hulk return and who will it be? Will Skaar kill the Green Hulk if he returns? Where is Jen Walters? What is Red She Hulk's secret? Who will survive World War Hulks?! We're having a blast and so are Ed McGuinness and Paul Pelletier, our artists extraordinaire!"

 

INCREDIBLE HULK #608 preview art by Paul Pelletier
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Comments

4 comments
bds197485
bds197485

[quote@Windblast [quote@bds197485 And what's up with the intelligencia taking Reed Richards and seven other people in the universe? What's the agenda? Is it a skrull thing? We'll soon know.[/quote] It's already been confirmed that the Intelligencia are capturing the 8 smartest people on earth (Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Doom, Beast, Black Panther (T'Challa), Wasp (Henry Pym), Amadeus Cho, Iron Man, & (obviously)Bruce Banner). & from looking at (preview)covers for the coming months' issues, it looks like the Intelligencia's plan is to turn everyone (or at least the heroes) into hulks.[/quote] Yeah, supposedly Banner is trying to save the heroes while Red Hulk disrupts the other teams. Do these two want to join up and defeat the intelligencia to have the rule the intelligencia has now? Maybe they're trying to forge the Hulk world together to have the dominating powers over earth.

Windblast
Windblast

[quote@bds197485 And what's up with the intelligencia taking Reed Richards and seven other people in the universe? What's the agenda? Is it a skrull thing? We'll soon know.[/quote] It's already been confirmed that the Intelligencia are capturing the 8 smartest people on earth (Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Doom, Beast, Black Panther (T'Challa), Wasp (Henry Pym), Amadeus Cho, Iron Man, & (obviously)Bruce Banner). & from looking at (preview)covers for the coming months' issues, it looks like the Intelligencia's plan is to turn everyone (or at least the heroes) into hulks.

Windblast
Windblast

I'm loving this story! When WWH ended I thought I [i] knew [/i] the Green Scar was the best/most dangerous Hulk of all, but now, after seeing Banner in action lately, I'm not so sure... :hulk: