By Kevin Mahadeo
How many villainous super geniuses does it take to fell the strongest gamma-powered behemoths in the Marvel Universe? Give up? Well, worry not, because writer Jeff Parker sets out to answer that quirky query with the December-launching event Fall of the Hulks.
"It's all of the Hulks," says Parker of the targets in this epic. "It's every variety and every color and every gender of Hulk imaginable all figure into this Hulk family event."
|FALL OF THE HULKS ALPHA preview art by Paul Pelletier|
"ALPHA is the story of how M.O.D.O.K and the Leader realize that they have more in common than just bigger heads than everybody else," explains Parker. "It's a movement among the bad guys where they are tired of the whole notion that only the heroes can ever work together to get anything done. And with the Leader leading, as his name would suggest, they actually give it a real go to bring together a bunch of brilliant psychopaths to see what they can achieve. You get to see a lot of characters that you kind of wrote off as being ridiculous as actually intriguing and imposing, like the Mad Thinker and the Red Ghost."
We picked apart Parker's brain to get the details on the villains reader will be seeing in the upcoming crossover and the part they'll play in taking down the strongest-and most colorful-bruisers around.
"He really is brilliant and if he wasn't so overly concerned with the Hulk, who is his personal Moby Dick, he would probably be wrecking havoc on everybody else. He's put in this weird position where, from his point of view, the smartest guy in the world is constantly being beaten by one of the dumbest guys in the world, and it essentially drives him crazy. But he's not unstable. In some ways, he's more normal than a lot of these other villains. He's definitely more human than somebody like M.O.D.O.K."
"It becomes clear how he works with everybody. There is a lot of resentment because Doom won't go on the missions with the rest of them. Doom's claim is that he has to house and defend all the material that they've been collecting because, as Doom boasts, he's the most powerful and the one who can do it. But as you'll see, he as usual clearly has his Doctor Doom agenda. I don't think it's ruining anything to say that he's not really a team player, just like you'd expect."
"He's really kind of inhuman in the way he thinks about things and perceives stuff. He really is like a machine and it's very creepy. Even in the regular continuity, a lot of people don't take him seriously because he doesn't look normal. He's this giant head with little tiny arms and legs. We play him up like that, where a lot of people don't think of him like a real thing almost, but then when you remember [him] it's usually too late. He's been sitting there calculating and plotting against you the entire time with his brain that is three times bigger than yours. And he has no remorse for killing. Once he decides that's the best course, he's just going to kill whoever it is because he is designed only for killing."
THE RED GHOST
"People forget, because he's got two apes and a monkey running around with him, but he's really smart. He's a creepy throwback. He's a communist in a post-communist era. They were the other thing that were transformed the way the Fantastic Four were when they went up through the Van Allen belt, except Red Ghost went there on purpose to get irradiated. He meant for them all to be transformed and they were. The Red Ghost is hard for the other villains to deal with because he's not a regular guy. Red Ghost is sitting around thinking about the Soviet Union, which no one else is really concerned with. But he has a lot of knowledge about cosmic energy and it really comes into play here."
"They're brilliant, but underneath they still want to bite people's faces off. That's the best way to describe them, I think. But they'll think something profound as they do it. They're an extension of the whole thing on bringing chimps into society: they're cute for a while and they ride around on bicycles and stuff, but when they get more mature they turn on everybody and get kind of dangerous. In their own way, that's the Super-Apes. They're just doing it with a nuclear physicist level intelligence."
THE MAD THINKER
"He was always more of a pure scientist. He was always into his androids and a little Doctor Strange-y type stuff, like projecting his consciousness around. Usually you see him [with] the Awesome Android-that name gets better every year-and you'll be seeing a new version of the Awesome Android showing up with him. There is robotics involved coming up and Mad Thinker figures in heavily with that kind of work all the time. But he is still a mad thinker. He's another strange one. That's the interesting thing: they're all very quirky. They didn't all become mad scientists and villains because they were typical people next door."
"Some of what we're doing is going back and seeing these characters teaming up through Marvel history. You find out, not unlike the Illuminati, these guys were from time to time working together and doing things. We kind of account for some of the mysterious rebirths of characters or miraculous escapes that characters pulled off that this Intelligencia was actually behind. Egghead early on was a big part of it. When he died, that's the thing that opened up the possibility of M.O.D.O.K being brought in."
"He figures into the dynamic pretty well because he is one of the established team players. He always has his own team or some version of the Frightful Four. So, he's always trying to make the team concept work. He's not quite [as] megalomaniacal as the others even though he is pretty self-absorbed. But through him they automatically get more very talented henchmen-although they probably wouldn't call them henchmen to their face because they are fairly powerful people. He figures in sort of like a captain in the mob."
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