By Matt D. Wilson
In the second issue of "Indestructible Hulk," Bruce Banner and Tony Stark met up and went off into the arctic to test one of Banner's inventions. Things went South from there.
Now, the two heroes and intellectual rivals are coming together again at the behest of an old professor of theirs in the "Indestructible Hulk" annual, coming this December. Writer Jeff Parker and artist Mahmud Asrar took some time to explain how the rivalry between the two science giants will continue.
MTV Geek: This issue will be the first time we've seen Bruce Banner and Tony Stark meet up in this book since they got into it back in issue two. That issue set up an immediate, mental-chess-game dynamic between the two, and some mutual jealousy now that Bruce is part of SHIELD. How will you be exploring that dynamic again here?
Jeff Parker: Banner recruits Iron Man again, but this time he doesn't have the hidden agenda. He's going into a dangerous environment, knows he will Hulk out, and still needs someone else who can make sense of it all and stay alive with him. But it is an unknown and likely deadly scenario. You can argue that this is Bruce's clumsy attempt to connect with Tony. As Science Bros.
Geek: That issue introduced an invention of Bruce's, a gamma-fracker. It didn't make it, but will a version of that invention make an appearance here? If not, some other invention?
Parker: They're essentially in the invention this time, not a gamma cracker. But it's big and weird. And each man wants to figure it out before the other.
Geek: The solicitation copy says a professor from Bruce and Tony's pasts brings them together again in this. What can you say about him?
Parker: Dr. Zadian is one of those influential figures they both looked up to in their school days, and we show a brief time at a young thinker's forum where they're listening to him. It's one of those conferences where students from different schools are brought together, I'm not saying Banner and Stark went to school together.
Geek: It also says a new villain is introduced here. What can you say about that mysterious person?
Parker: It's a great big villain. It's not quite a person.
Geek: We're also told that the Hulk and Iron Man are turned into "weapons of mass destruction." They already sort of are that, so how are they further made...well, destructive?
Parker: It's more about examining that view of them, and it takes into account the recent revelations in "Iron Man" that Gillen and Eaglesham have been bringing us about Tony Stark's history. That explains why Tony can't seem to help but make weaponry- but what about Bruce? The first thing he's known for is making a bomb. What led to that?
Geek: Mahmud, I assume you got to design some new characters for this issue, and maybe even do some redesigns for the Hulk/Iron Man. Anything in particular you were aiming for with those designs?
Mahmud Asrar: I haven't particularly made any new designs for either character, save for the cover. Creatively we decided to go for an action cover with a futuristic science theme of the 1950's combined with war propaganda posters. For this I've looked through some magazines, illustrations and images from the period to give a certain look and feel for the characters. The decision to use lots of weapons, bombs and rockets here was to reinforce the idea that these characters themselves are weapons of mass destruction.
Geek: Can we expect to see some lasting ramifications from this issue in Mark Waid's ongoing Indestructible Hulk book?
Parker: I can't speak for Waid! But it would be cool.