It’s time once again for our Post-Game on Hulk of Arabia with writer Jeff Parker, this time on the recently released Hulk #44. For those of you who haven’t read it? Do so. But as a brief recap, Hulk and Machine Man killed a manticore, walked in the front door of Sultan Magus’ new desert paradise, and things just got worse from there:
Requiem for a manticore...
MTV Geek: To start off, can we have a moment of silence for that poor manticore? What was it like to kill such a majestic creature?
JP: I take my hat off. At least he died in the most metal way possible, getting his head ripped off by Red Hulk. Poignantly Hardcore.
Geek: Let’s talk about Sharzhad, which I’m sure we’ll find out more about in the next few issues… But what’s the model here? What’s the idea of the city?
JP: It's an Oasis-opolis. The ideal of a people who have never been allowed to put down roots anywhere and who now have unlimited power and resources to build their own promised land. Sure, it's an Arabian equivalent of Dr. Doom's Latveria, but considerably less fascist. Patrick Zircher designed the hell out of it, didn't he? It's a modern wonder that feels ancient at the same time. The populous are eternally grateful to the Sultan Magus for building a place they're finally safe. And they're not going to give that home up.
Geek: Given how happy everyone seems there, it almost seems like maybe Sultan Magus – other than dealing weapons and killing people – maybe isn’t such a bad guy? Or is he?
JP: He's certainly not a bad guy to his own people, but he can be the Bringer of the Apocalypse to someone else, that's what makes him interesting. I'm always fascinated by how our perceptions of warriors, heroes, criminals- changes when you go into their circle and see their lives as they do. Sultan Magus isn't a villain, he's an enemy.
Geek: There’s that neat twist at the end of the issue, which (spoilers) certainly recontextualizes a lot of Arabian Knight’s dialogue in the issue… How much of that is Sultan Magus truly saying what he believes, and how much is pretending to be Arabian Knight?
JP: Yeah, did you go back and reread it once you saw the twist? I think Sultan Magus was choosing the opinions he felt he and Arabian Knight would share, there's only one point where he's being specifically dishonest, and it's a close up on him.
Geek: Lastly, next issue, what can we look forward to? Hopefully some action with Magus, I’m guessing?
JP: Now is where it starts to get weird, and you find out how all this came to be. And Magus starts to really exert his presence on the world stage. He's been holding back!
Hulk #44 is currently on stands, with the last part of Hulk of Arabia - Hulk #45 - hitting stands on December 7th!