By Eric Drumm
We're posting live from the World War Hulk Panel at Wizard World Philadelphia 2007! Keep refreshing this page to get the updated report, complete with news, announcements, jokes and photos. Visit Marvel.com's Wizard World Philadelphia 2007 News Hub
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Now, for the panel report!
WORLD WAR HULK #1 is flying off the racks, and the crater it's leaving on the Marvel U. is monumental. At Wizard World Philadelphia, Marvel EIC Joe Quesada, editors Bill Rosemann and Tom Breevort, WORLD WAR HULK writer Greg Pak, WORLD WAR HULK: GAMMA CORPS writer Frank Tieri, Marvel creative consultant C.B. Celbuski and marketing colossus Jim McCann sat down in the war room to go over the battle plans.
After inspiring an uproarious cheer from the crowd, Quesada got down to business and kicked off the discussion. Projecting slick covers from the upcoming WORLD WAR HULK tie-ins, Quesada and crew showed the crowd where they can get the full story. At the forefront of the monstrous mayhem is WORLD WAR HULK itself, described by writer Greg Pak as a "smasherific smashfest." Editor Tom Brevoort then filled us in on WORLD WAR HULK: FRONT LINE tie-in title. Much like the CIVIL WAR tie-in of the same name, this book will serve as an everyman's perspective on the chaos Jade Jaws is causing in New York, more specifically through Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich. McCann chimed in dropping a little suspense saying, "There's a murder mystery as well!" Korg fans unite--you'll see plenty of the rock man in this book.
Moving down the list, the panel went down the line and listed off the other tie-in books to be on the lookout for as well as the superstar talent assigned to bring us the carnage. Projecting covers for each series, the crowd was wowed as each title was proudly announced. Nightcrawler and Wolverine were shown taking on the Hulk in WAR WORLD HULK: X-MEN written by fan favorite Christos Gage. In addition to writing the merry mutants, Brevoort let us know that Gage will also be writing two IRON MAN tie-in issues as well. These issues should be heavy, Brevoort stating the story will be about S.H.I.E.L.D. "dealing with their lead guy being missing and presumed dead." Also announced was a HEROES FOR HIRE tie-in dealing with Hulk's special Brood friend written by BATTLIN' JACK MURDOCK and regular HFH scribe Zeb Wells.
It was with the announcement of the INITIATIVE tie-in that brought out the gasps. Brevoort said to be prepared for young heroes stepping up to meet the threat of a super-pissed Hulk as well the debut of the mysterious Initiative black ops team. Very covert, indeed! Revealing other books to bear the WORLD WAR HULK banner, Joe Quesada gave it to us straight about GHOST RIDER #12. "Hulk fights Ghost Rider. 'Nuff said," sending shockwaves of fanboy giggles across the room. Finally, Greg Pak said that if we get a little lost in the melee, that WORLD WAR HULK: THE GAMMA FILES would serve a handbook to the mega event.
Moving onto the Q&A portion of the panel, the crowd went for the big questions first. The first question fired at the panel was why Ghost Rider would be fighting the Hulk. C.B. Cebulski said the answer was simple--"Well, this is a story about vengeance, and he IS the SPIRIT of vengeance, so..." he said matter of factly. The next question was one that has been the topic of public outcry after WAR WORLD HULK #1 hit shelves: Will we ever get to see the fight between Hulk and Black Bolt on the moon? Quesada and Pak looked to each other and shrugged. "It was a great fight, sorry you missed it," joked Joe. Staying on the topic of what we will and won't see, the question was posed as to whether Bruce Banner, the human counterpart to the monstrous Hulk would be making an appearance in the series. Greg Pak smiled wide and said that we most certainly would, and that "minds will blown" when we do. With all the world's heroes trying to take down the Hulk, it seems that the obvious choice to put the kibosh on the Green Goliath would have to have the power of a thousand exploding suns. Lucky for us, the Sentry has just that power.
Joey Q. addressed this saying "The Sentry is very important to WORLD WAR HULK. We couldn't leave him out of this. He plays a crucial role." Speaking of folks who stand a chance against the Hulk, who better to throw fists with him than his own gamma-powered cousin, She-Hulk. When asked what her role in WORLD WAR HULK would be like, Pak said we will by all means "not want to miss WORLD WAR HULK #2." Will this family reunion turn sour? Only time will tell. Another obvious question that was presented to the panel was how the Hulk's return will play into Iron Man's big plan, the Initiative. "The Hulk will be the first test of Tony's new initiative," said Joe. And what a test it will be. Pak alluded to this being a threat that could have some deadly repercussions. "Every punch in the book is personal," he said, and that "he is more focused and powerful than ever." With his mind set on revenge, this spells trouble for the remaining members of the Illuminati.
The next topic up was GAMMA CORPS. Writer Frank Tieri said that this will be the "enemy book" of "World War Hulk," using new gamma-powered characters that have a serious mad-on of for Hulk. Led by classic Hulk character General Ryker, each member of the Gamma Corps was created using a Marvel gamma-powered character as "templates," as Tieri put it. Citing classics like Abomination and Doc Samson as examples, Tieri said that each other these characters could pose a serious threat to Hulk's smash campaign.
Sneakily slipping into panel late, editor Bill Rosemann took his seat as he waved to his adoring fans. On the topic of WORLD WAR HULK: FRONT LINE, he reinforced the fact that this is a very human book, using the evacuation of New York City in preparation for Hulk's return as the landscape. "Who gets out first? Who gets special treatment? Oh, and there's smashing," he joked. Moving onto Iron Man, Rosemann praised Pak for making the recently jerky Tony Stark likable again--"Iron Man is a hero. He sacrificed himself to take on the Hulk. It's great to read him being so heroic," to which Pak blushed.
Adding to the Pak lovefest, Joe jumped in to publicly thank Pak for doing such a bang up job. "The Hulk Universe is really expanding thanks for Pak--he is introducing new characters and bringing him into a whole new world."
With time running out, Joe kicked the Q and A into the lightning round. A fan quickly asked if the legendary patriot and keeper of Captain America's shield Stephen Colbert would be making an appearance in WORLD WAR HULK, to which Joe denied over his laughter. The last shot from the crowd asked if one-eyed tough guy Nick Fury would be showing his cigar chomping face. Tom Brevoort looked confused, pausing for a moment before finally saying "...no."
And there you have it, folks. WORLD WAR HULK is busting up the Marvel Universe, and this is only the beginning! Look for Hulk to continue his smashtastic ways again and again in WORLD WAR HULK #2 on sale in July.