Hulk Knows Best: Interview With Greg Pak
The family of Hulks recently united with the reconciliation of father and son, Hulk and Skaar, in Incredible Hulk #611. Unbeknownst to the green-skinned Patriarch was the fact that the seed he planted on Sakaar, during Planet Hulk, not only produced two World Wars -- but two sons of Hulk!
As the more Hulk-like of the two, Skaar has come to terms with his origin. Hiro-Kala, resembling more his mother Caiera the Oldstrong, bares an inner turmoil, one that can only come with being a Hulk. This could result in the destruction of not only the Hulk family, but the Earth itself.
The Steve Rogers-led Secret Avengers have taken notice as Hiro-Kala makes his way to our world. His offer to the Hulk of assembling was turned down by the Gamma-Irradiated Green Scar which has put the two super-powered groups at odds.
Cosmic Book News caught up with Incredible Hulks writer Greg Pak to find out more about Hiro-Kala, the family that is Hulk, the Secret Avengers, his thoughts on the Red Hulk and what comes next.
CosmicBookNews: What can you tell us about Hiro-Kala? We have seen him come face to face with Galactus and shake the very foundations of worlds, just what sort of power does he wield?
Greg Pak: As we've just learned in Incredible Hulks #613, he's terrified of using the Old Power -- his mission is to destroy it at all costs. But he's amped up with the power of Planet K'ai's Worldmind, which is essentially the cosmic/mystic power of the soul of a planet. So he'll pack a punch.
CosmicBookNews: Would you say Hiro is a “villain” in the classic sense of the word? You could argue trying to destroy the Old Power to save the Universe is a noble cause; however he seems to go about it in a rather “aggressive” way. Just what exactly is the Old Power?
Greg Pak: Some say the Old Power is simply the tectonically-based power that the Oldstrong of the Shadow People are able to channel from the planets they're standing on. But Hiro-Kala is convinced that the Old Power is a corrupted version of the Power Cosmic that is destined to one day consume the entire universe. Hence his interest in eradicating it.
So yes, if you take him at his word, Hiro-Kala seems to have heroic motivations. But there's something about his murdering millions of innocents that puts a different spin on things, wouldn't you say?
CosmicBookNews: While his father and brother undergo physical transformations, does Hiro undergo the same or are they more internal (and leading to his awesome power)?
Greg Pak: Can't say anything here for fear of spoilers. Keep on reading!
CosmicBookNews: Speaking of transformations, how is the relationship between Banner and Hulk, after the recent return of the Green Scar? It seems to be one of less opposition and more mutual acceptance.
Greg Pak: Yes and no. We'll see Banner and Hulk working together in critical ways -- they both seem to share a commitment to this new family of Hulks. But we'll also see the tension between the two -- which may have shocking repercussions as the story reaches its climax. Incredible Hulks #615 is a must-read issue for more on all of this.
CosmicBookNews: With Incredible Hulk #611, we not only saw the return of the Green Scar, but also the formation of the “family of Hulks” with the reconciliation between Banner and son, Skaar, -- with Betty as Red She-Hulk present as well. These father-son (and extended family) issues will be present and continue with Hiro, I take it? How will Banner react to having another Hulk son? How will Hiro appearing affect Banner and the rest of the family’s relations?
Greg Pak: Those are exactly the key questions we're tackling in this story. And I can't say anything more about them without spoiling the story right now! But yes, yes, and yes!
It's also worth noting that Banner and the Hulk may have very different ideas about Hiro-Kala and how to deal with him...
CosmicBookNews: What can you say in regards to Betty and her role in “Dark Son?” Will we see her take on a maternal Step-Mother role or Red She-Hulk smashing?
Greg Pak: The Betty/Bruce/Red She Hulk/Hulk relationship is an absolutely key part of the extended emotional story we're telling over the next few story arcs. Betty and Bruce are learning a huge amount about each other -- not all of which they might have wanted to know. Then again, they say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger... There's a definite end game to all of this -- but you'll have to keep on reading to find out what it is!
CosmicBookNews: We see Steve Rogers and his Secret Avengers take notice of the Incredible Hulks with Incredible Hulks #614. What can you tell us about that issue?(Might take a couple of Hulks to take down the Human Rocket, Nova!)
Greg Pak: Incredible Hulks #614 is when the world learns about what's coming their way -- and the Hulks step into the middle of everything and end up in a massive throw down with the Secret Avengers. It's a heck of a fight -- on one side, you have Steve Rogers' unmatched strategic genius and the insane might of War Machine, Valkyrie, and Nova. On the other, you have Bruce Banner's massive intellect -- and a bunch of freaking Hulks.
CosmicBookNews: Speaking of Avengers, we learned that General Thunderbolt, Red Hulk, Ross will be assembling in Avengers under the guiding hand of Brian Michael Bendis. Thoughts on that?
Greg Pak: It's going to be awesome. It's always a blast when characters who have been spending most of the time in their own books get to bust out big time in a core title like the Avengers. As an added bonus, Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman are continuing the Hulk book starting with issue #25 -- add it to your pull lists, folks!
CosmicBookNews: Scott Reed, who is co-writing “Dark Son” with you, is also penning Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force. Can you tell us how that ties into “Dark Son?”
Greg Pak: Scott's a wild worldbuilder who laid much of the groundwork for Hiro-Kala and Planet K'ai in his Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk miniseries. Now he continues the saga in the Enigma Force book as Commander Rann and his crew tackle the second front in the Dark Son war.
CosmicBookNews: I read you were a Bill Mantlo fan, will we be seeing any more from the Bill Mantlo “Space” library?!
Greg Pak: That would be telling!
CosmicBookNews: Obviously, without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the Hulk family after “Dark Son?”
Greg Pak: Whoever survives will take on the worst the Chaos King has to throw at them in Incredible Hulks #618-620, our tie-in to the Chaos War epic. Hulk fans won't want to miss the return of two (count 'em, two!) of the worst enemies Bruce Banner has ever faced. And cosmic fans may be intrigued by the involvement of one of Marvel's abstract entities. I should also say that this may be the most brutal Hulk story I've written so far. It's supernatural super-hero horror action, and Paul Pelletier is drawing the heckity heck out of it.
CosmicBookNews: This six issue arc is being drawn by Barry Kitson, what can you tell us in regards to his Hulk?
Greg Pak: Actually, the first two issues of "Dark Son" were drawn by the phenomenal Tom Raney and Brian Ching. Barry comes on board for #614 to #617. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to work with all of these artists. They each have their own way of drawing the Hulk, but all of them deliver that insane smash while bringing out the emotional character moments that are so important to the book.
One thing to look out for in #614 is the sleek redesign Barry did of the Hulks costumes. The Hulk's sporting a slightly different look that reflects his focused mindset.
CosmicBookNews: Anything you want to add?
Greg Pak: I just want to thank you again for all your coverage of all things Hulk and Hercules! We really appreciate it and our doing our darnedest to deliver the crazy, epic stories you're hungry for.
CosmicBookNews: Greg, thanks for your time! Looking forward to more of "Dark Son" and of course, Chaos War!
Be sure to look for "Incredible Hulks" #614 and #615 on sale in October; "Incredible Hulk: Enigma Force" #2 hits October 13th and "Hulk" #25, by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman, is currently in stores!
RELATED: Be sure to check out our interview on "Chaos War" with Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente!