Hulk Smash Avengers: Tom DeFalco

Hulk Smash Avengers: Tom DeFalco

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 #1 preview art by Ron Frenz

To kick off HULK SMASH AVENGERS, Marvel turned to veteran writer and former Editor In Chief, Tom DeFalco to tell a tale of the Jade Giant meeting up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes soon after they first parted ways. Joined by artist Rob Frenz, DeFalco enjoyed the opportunity to deal with a more brutish and cunning Hulk as well as an Avengers team that had just thawed out the legendary Captain America.

“I have always referred to this version of The Hulk as a verbal thug,” DeFalco says. “This Hulk is as crafty as he is brutal—a very deadly combination!”

As if defending themselves from such a dangerous version of their ex-ally did not offer enough of a hassle, Earth's Mightiest Heroes will also have to deal with a trio of nefarious foes in Baron Zemo, Enchantress and The Executioner. Even so, a Hulk with hurt feelings might prove to be more threatening.

“In AVENGERS #1, Loki tricked The Hulk into destroying a train track and that ultimately led to the formation of the team,” DeFalco reminds. “In AVENGERS #2, The Space Phantom impersonated The Hulk and started a fight with the other Avengers. Believing that the others secretly hated him, Hulk quit the team. He later allied himself with Namor in AVENGERS #3 and attacked his former teammates. Needless to say, the Hulk’s relationship with the Avengers continued its downward spiral.”

Considering the hard feelings held by Hulk in regards to his former teammates, it comes as a surprise that he did not simply and truly smash them into multicolored bits and pieces. DeFalco explains that the reason why not comes from the more communal feelings Bruce Banner felt in his brief time as an Avenger.

“Aside from Rick Jones, the individual Avengers are the first heroes who ever accepted the Hulk,” DeFalco notes. “They offered him forgiveness for his past misdeeds and welcomed him into their group. I believe that The Hulk has secretly longed for their companionship ever since. He wants to belong, again.”

Hulk Smash Avengers #1 preview art by Ron Frenz

Even though the team featured in HULK SMASH AVENGERS #1 recently came across and defrosted Captain America, the star-spangled hero will not join in on the fight. However, given his past experience, he does comprehend how the team could have been co-founded by what many would consider a monster.

“As the living legend from WWII and a former teammate of Namor, Cap realizes that drastic times call for drastic measures and he understands that certain alliances were never meant to be permanent,” says DeFalco. “Cap is, however, very concerned with Rick Jones and fears for his safety.”

Captain America might need to worry about the safety of his teammates as well, considering the additional evil attacking them.

“The original Baron Zemo, The Executioner and The Enchantress often pitted themselves against the early Avengers,” recalls DeFalco. “Classic super villains battling classic heroes—seemed like a lot of fun to me!”
Working with frequent collaborator Frenz proved another fun element of the process for DeFalco.

“Ron Frenz is one of the most dynamic and dramatic artists this media has ever seen,” the writer says. “It is always a pleasure to team up with Ron because I know that together we’ll tell a story full of action and angst in the merry Marvel style!”

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

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