In February, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso set off a storm of speculation when he tweeted out a piece of art depicted what appeared to be a genetic hybrid of the Hulk and Wolverine in a pod labeled "Batch-H."
Now we have some answers. In June 2017, Marvel Comics will launch Weapons of Mutant Destruction, a crossover between Weapon X, one of the new books launching as part of the X-Men's ResurrXion, and The Totally Awesome Hulk.
Weapons of Mutant Destruction will be written by Greg Pak, who writes both series for Marvel and is a veteran of both Marvel's Hulk and X-Men lines.
The story gets started in The Totally Awesome Hulk #19, a prelude issue guest-starring the cast of Weapon X: Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, Domino, Warpath, and Lady Deathstrike. The crossover begins in earnest in the Weapons of Mutant Destruction Alpha one-shot and continues with chapters alternating between issue of The Totally Awesome Hulk and Weapon X.
ComicBook.com spoke to Pak about what fans should expect from the Weapons of Mutant Destruction crossover.
So, in the broadest sense, what is Weapons of Mutant Destruction?
Greg Pak: Well, we've got our heroes and villains who are hunting down the new Weapon X and end up teaming up with Amadeus Cho, the Totally Awesome Hulk. That in itself is fun because you've got very different dynamics here where the Hulk is this young cocky dude who thinks he knows everything and the Weapon X team is this hardened group of mercenaries and killers and criminals basically. There are some fun contrasts there but they've teamed up because they found out that Weapon X is hunting the Hulk. The Weapon X Program has a very specific mission in mind and it involves the Hulk, and so now our heroes and the Hulk are teaming up to try to thwart it. Over the course of this story, things are going to get bigger and bigger and bigger and there are a few mysteries that will unspool, and much slashing and smashing.
You mentioned how this story has very different personalities coming together, but it is also very different tones in terms of what readers expect fromWeapon X vs. Totally Awesome Hulk. How do they mix together in Weapons of Mutant Destruction?
GP: Those two things together provide great story and character fodder. The fact is that the Hulk, Amadeus Cho, is not a killer and he is not a hero who ever plans to kill anybody. That's not in his repertoire of finishing moves. He is an optimist who thinks that he can always find the right solution to any problem and doesn't believe in the lesser of two evils. He thinks he can always find a way to do the right thing and have the right outcome.
The team led by Logan is considerably more jaded. Maybe they've seen more. Maybe they just have a different way, a different ethos and attitude towards the world. But that conflict between them as they team up is absolutely going to feed into the story. It's going to be a big part of that emotional journey for these characters going both ways.
The tone I think will be darker than your average Totally Awesome Hulk story, as you can imagine, but those contrasts are part of what is going to raise the stakes for all these characters and also just make it a ton of fun in terms of character interaction.
How did you conceive of this story? You were already writing Totally Awesome Hulk. Did you have this story in mind when you pitched for Weapon X, or did you start working on Weapon X first and then try to figure a way to bring both books together?
GP: It's more the latter. I mean I'd been working on the Hulk. I got the call from Mark Paniccia about working on Weapon X and loved it. Many, many years ago when I was pretty early at Marvel there was a point when I had actually submitted a pitch to work on a Wolverine book. I've always loved that character and I love the Old Man Logan character, and you know, a chance to work on a book starring that character seemed like a huge amount of fun.
Then as we developed the Weapon X storyline and kind of realized where this thing was going I think it became apparent that the Hulk could play a very interesting role here. It makes total sense given the motivations of the heroes and villains in these stories, and what the heck? I'm writing both books. My editors came to me and suggested, "Hey, why don't we try this?" It just made a lot of sense to me immediately.
What can you tell me about the new Weapon X program and why they're interested in Logan, his team, and the Hulk?
GP: I should be very careful here for fear of spoilers. I can say that Weapon X has gone through a number of different incarnations over the years, and so it's a new incarnation of the group, of this nefarious organization, but its mission is to exterminate mutants, which is, of course, a classic mission for many X-Men villains. Weapon X has not always had that as its central focus. At different times that's not been its primary goal but that absolutely is the focus here and now. We are eventually going to learn that a surprising character is in charge of the program, a classic X-Men villain who will be revealed in the fullness of time.
What makes it even more interesting is that there is another villain who is involved in all of this with parallel but slightly different motivations. Even as the heroes are figuring out how to work together and what to do there is a very interesting villain story going on during the course of this crossover and I love that. People talk all the time about the idea that a story, a great action story or a great adventure story, often depends on how good its villains are. If you have really great villains then your main characters get tremendous challenges and the story just improves by leaps and bounds, and I'm very excited about these villains in this story. I think we're doing something kind of special.
We've been work-shopping and coming together and having big discussions about things, and brainstorming and everything, and I think - I don't want to jinx it, knock on wood - but I think we've hit the sweet spot here. I think we've got something really special going on with these amazing bad guys. I can't reveal too much just yet but you're not going to want to miss it.
An organization that’s challenging both Logan and the Hulk must have some significant firepower to do so. Can you say anything about the kinds of threats Weapon X has in its arsenal?
GP: Oh yeah! It's Weapon X, right? The whole mission of Weapon X is to create super soldiers or killing machines of some kind or another, and this Weapon X is bigger and badder than ever so they've learned from all of the undertakings that various Weapon X programs have taken in the past and this is the next generation, and it will take everything our heroes have to tackle it. If you know the characters you can imagine that say, for example, Sabertooth and Amadeus Cho might not get along at all, that Amadeus Cho may be exactly the kind of person Sabertooth hates most on the planet. But when you're facing the enemies they're facing it makes sense that they would need each other and have to team up.
In recent issues, Amadeus has become part of a group of superhero friends, not exactly a team, that includes Ms. Marvel, Silk, and Shang-Chi. Will they have any role to play in Weapons of Mutant Destruction?
GP: Probably not in this story, no, but you're going to see there's a big story under way right now with that team, with those heroes, that goes to issue #18 of Totally Awesome Hulk. It's a four-issue story that started with issue #15 and that's definitely a team that's near and dear to my heart and I expect we'll see them again in the fullness of time.