By Marc Strom
Ultimate Hulk's setting out on a road trip straight to Ultimatum.
While Jeph Loeb already writes the original Jade Giant on a monthly basis, the writer will take on his Ultimate counterpart in ULTIMATE HULK ANNUAL #1 on January 2, featuring art by Marko Djurdjevic and regular HULK artist Ed McGuinness!
The Annual will co-star Zarda, a member of the Squadron Supreme who made her way into the Ultimate Universe at the end of last year's ULTIMATE POWER limited series. According to Loeb, something a little unusual brings Zarda and Hulk together as they set out on their road trip across the country:
cover by Brandon
"Breakfast. I kid you not. At a local Appletites in Kansas."
Since ULTIMATE POWER, readers haven't seen Zarda appear in any of the Ultimate titles. But Loeb tells us that he always intended to let fans in on what she's been up to since her arrival.
"This is a story I always planned to tell to explain where she went after ULTIMATE POWER," Loeb explains. "She's out to find America. Sort of 'Easy Rider' meets 'Bonnie and Clyde.'"
While the Annual will follow up on a previous Ultimate crossover, it will also lead into another, the Loeb-written Ultimatum.
"You get to find out about her, so it's a great set up for her appearance in ULTIMATUM," says Loeb.
And while she hasn't had much of an Ultimate presence so far, Loeb promises that will change in the near future.
"Check out ULTIMATUM #3 and #4 and then NEW ULTIMATES," the writer teases, pointing readers to where Zarda will next appear. "She's great fun because she's insane."
#131 cover by
The Ultimatum mastermind also says readers should check out one of the series' tie-ins for Hulk's further rampages.
"You should check out ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #131 which picks up right after the events in ULTIMATUM #2," Loeb suggests. "I teamed up Spidey and the Hulk and [series writer Brian Michael] Bendis ran with it—quite brilliantly, I might add.
"And I have a very specific place in mind for Ultimate Hulk. It's cool as hell and no one is going to believe it!"
Finally, given that Loeb has now tackled both versions of the Hulk, we asked him if he saw any similarities or differences between the two.
"Both are incredibly strong and have a limited vocabulary," Loeb notes. "[But] Ultimate Hulk—as Mark Millar envisioned him—is sort of big frat boy. He's horny and doesn't want to wear pants. That's a problem for Appletites."
ULTIMATE HULK ANNUAL smashes its way into Ultimatum on January 2. While you're waiting, see Ultimate Hulk battle Ultimate Iron Man in ULTIMATE HUMAN on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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