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Indestructible Hulk NOW!: SMASH

Mark Waid gets psyched to have Banner visit Thor in Asgard and team up with artistic great Walt Simonson along the way!

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Indestructible Hulk #6 cover by Walt Simonson

By Jim Beard

Since its debut in November, INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK has delivered an entirely new ballgame for everyone’s favorite not-always-jolly green giant. At the book’s helm stands veteran writer Mark Waid and through its first story arc readers discovered a new wrinkle on the relationship between the Hulk and Doctor Bruce Banner, the creature’s connection to S.H.I.E.L.D., new allies and new foes.

This April will bring INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK’s second big storyline and we asked Waid to fill us in on what to expect when the Hulk makes his way into a world that’s not his own, journeying to the realm of Thor with legendary artist Walt Simonson depicting the adventure.

Marvel.com: Mark, what were the most important lessons of the first arc, and what of that may carry over into the second?

Mark Waid: Bruce Banner learned a lot about his new crew of assistants; as he points out, their common denominator is that they all have a big secret in their lives—a "hidden self," if you will –and the secret one of them is harboring is what makes the mission to Jotunheim, land of the Frost Giants, a priority for Bruce.

Marvel.com: Where’s Banner’s head as he goes into the second arc? And how’s the Hulk dealing with the new set-up?

Mark Waid: The Hulk's pretty easy to please, honestly. In the words of Archimedes, give him a place to stand and fists to smash with, and he will move the world. Wait, Archimedes just wanted a lever. Sorry. My bad. But you get my point; Hulk's not chafing at being a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Banner, on the other hand, is starting to see the downside; he's not used to being told no, as in "No, you can't go to Asgard." That kind of talk makes Bruce angry. And you can image how smoothly that goes down.

Hulk vs. Thor

Marvel.com: What kicks off the Hulk’s sojourn into Thor’s homeland?

Mark Waid: On the face of it, Banner claims that he's taking his crew to Jotunheim in search of a specific element that exists only at Frost Giant temperatures. But Bruce has a hidden motive, as well. The real fun of it is how Bruce and his team get to Jotunheim in the first place; it's a nifty piece of applied science, if I do say so myself.

Marvel.com: How would you describe Banner’s current relationship with Thor? What about the Hulk’s own outlook on Thor and his brethren?

Mark Waid: [Laughs] You've hit upon one of the aces we have up our sleeve, so I can't say much without spoiling things—other than to say that, for the purposes of this story, Thor is quite delighted to see Hulk, oddly enough. And there's something about Thor that's puzzling Banner to the point where his brain is beginning to melt. That's all you're getting from me right now.

Marvel.com: Okay, so what’s S.H.I.E.L.D. want here? What are the stakes and who stands to gain the most—and lose the most—in this new arc?

Mark Waid: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s buying in to Bruce's search for the Frost Giant metal—the scientific applications are myriad—but it's one of Bruce's assistants who has the most to lose or gain, and you'll be surprised at the who and the why.

Marvel.com: Any other guest-stars we can look forward to in the near future?

Mark Waid: Hey, Remender, when's Captain America coming back to Earth?

Thor by Walt Simonson

Marvel.com: Now, last question and it’s a doozy…second arc of INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK and the artist is…Walt Simonson?!?!

Mark Waid: I know, right?! God, I've been dying to work with Walt forever, at least since he was in, what, his early 60’s? Kidding. I have been begging Walt to honor me with collaboration for years, but it was editor Mark Paniccia who took one look at my pitch for a Hulk versus Frost Giants story and said, "Call Walt."

And he's been amazing. Not only is the art spectacular, but he's really into it. Originally, it was a two-parter, but Walt asked if he could do three because he was having fun, and heck, yes. He asked if he could put Thor in the story. Yes, please. And then he asked if Thor could be—oh, wait, that's telling too much. Just read issues #6-8 to see Walt Simonson drawing all the things he draws best, all the things we love seeing him draw. I'm slackjawed at what he's doing!

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