Hulk Smash Avengers: Joe Casey

Hulk Smash Avengers: Joe Casey

By TJ Dietsch

The Hulk and the Avengers have a complicated relationship.

Hulk helped found the team in 1963’s AVENGERS #1, but abruptly departed by the second issue following a misunderstanding with his would-be allies. Ever since, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Green Goliath have clashed more than they’ve teamed, and weekly this May, HULK SMASH AVENGERS, a five-issue limited series with a quintet of creative teams and standalone stories set in different eras, will explore the dynamic between the two sides through the years.

Hulk Smash Avengers #2 preview art by Max Fiumara

The second issue of HULK SMASH AVENGERS features a story written by Joe Casey and drawn by Max Fiumara that chronicles a never-before-seen run-in between The Hulk and a group of Avengers. The challengers to ol’ Green Genes this time around include Iron Man, Beast, Vision and The Wasp.

Continuity buffs might wonder when this story belongs in Avengers lore—Casey knows the answer.

“This story fits in very specifically with Avengers continuity, right between issues #182 and #183,” he says. “For anyone who's as obsessive about their Avengers continuity as I am, they would know that those were the members that would be hanging around the mansion at that point. Captain America's in there, too, but there's a reason why he's not directly involved in going after The Hulk.”

Casey also kept what supporting characters and guest appearances to expect to himself, but did offer a hint at how many familiar faces might appear:

“A few. I won't spoil all the fun here, but I will say one word: Gyrich.”
The writer will share which incarnation of The Hulk shows up for the fight as “The classic 'Hulk smash'-version; The one everyone knows and loves.”

An admitted fan of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes' stories history, Casey notes the importance of making sure the story fit in well with the existing issues written by David Michelinie and drawn by John Byrne.

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“Like I said, I can be a nut about Avengers continuity, so I wanted to make sure this story fit perfectly into the timeline of a period that's probably my favorite run of AVENGERS comics, the Michelinie/Byrne issues from the late 1970s,” he notes. “Those are the comics that really hooked me when I was a kid, so to find a way to fit our story into that continuity was extremely cool.”

One of the biggest questions surrounding Hulk and his relationship with the Avengers, remains how someone so powerful—and at times brilliant—continues to have non-fatal run-ins with his former teammates and why the Avengers never successfully put a stop to the Jade Giant.

“For better or worse, The Hulk is a founding Avenger, so the team is much more likely to cut him a little slack,” Casey says. “It's a complex relationship, particularly for Iron Man and The Wasp, since they were there at the beginning, too.”

Speaking of working together, Casey greatly enjoyed collaborating with series artist Max Fiumara who worked with Casey's Man of Action partner and fellow helmer of the “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series Joe Kelly on the creator owned Four Eyes.

“Max is so unbelievably good, as anyone who's seen his work on Four Eyes can attest to,” Casey says. “But to see him draw these childhood favorites of mine was a blast. He really nailed their personalities, which, for me, is the most important thing about the Avengers. Not to mention, his version of The Hulk is one of the best I've ever seen.”

Stay tuned to over the next several weeks for more HULK SMASH AVENGERS

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