SPOILER WARNING FOR CIVIL WAR II #3
Today, Marvel Comics released Civil War II #3 from Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez. The issue included was is sure to be the most talked about casualty of the ongoing conflict between Iron Man and Captain Marvel, as Bruce Banner, the Hulk, was slain by his fellow Avenger, Hawkeye.
With the reveal of Bruce Banner’s death, Marvel is also revealing Civil War II: The Accused and Civil War II: The Fallen. These two one-shots will each explore the ramifications of the Hulk’s death from a different perspective.
Civil War II: The Fallen will be written by longtime Hulk writer Greg Pak (The Totally Awesome Hulk) with art by Mark Bagley (All-New X-Men). The issue will cover Bruce Banner’s funeral, which is considerably less well-attended than that of Civil War II’s first death, James “War Machine” Rhodes. While the Hulk family, the Hulk’s Warbound, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel all mourn, a group of protestors gather outside, determined to make sure the many deaths the Hulk caused in his lifetime are not forgotten.
We spoke to Pak about how the Hulk family mourns, how the superhero community at large reacts to Bruce’s death, and how someone as seemingly invulnerable as the Hulk goes about writing a last will and testament. You can also see Leinil Yu’s cover for the issue, along with variants by Mike del Mundo and the Hulk’s co-creator Jack Kirby, in the gallery below.
Civil War II: The Fallen #1 goes on sale in August 2016.
What can you tell me about the superhero community’s reaction to Bruce Banner’s death? How does it differ from the population at large? Is the reaction from Bruce’s Avengers family different from that of his friends in the Defenders, or the other Hulks (Thunderbolt and Betty Ross, Rick Jones, Amadeus Cho, etc.)?
Greg Pak: Many, many people in the Marvel Universe -- mostly folks who never knew Banner personally -- see the Hulk as a terrifying force of destruction and will welcome or even celebrate Banner's death. On the other end of the spectrum, many of those who knew him best think of Banner as a straight up hero who bore a horrifying curse better than anyone else could have and who time and time again saved the lives of hundreds and thousands of innocents. And then there are all of the heart-breaking and conflicting emotions in between, as some who deeply loved Banner may struggle with both grief and a terrible, unwelcome sense of relief. And of course, his fellow Hulks may plunge straight from grief and denial into anger, with potentially catastrophic results. The Fallen will dig deep into all of the different ways Banner's different family members will grapple with these emotions and hint at where it might all lead over the next few months.
A death can bring a family together, or it can tear a family apart. How does this affect the Hulk family as a unit? Are coming together as a unit, or have they lost the glue that keeps them together? Or is it something even more destructive, given their shared nature?
GP: Those are the key questions, aren't they? The Hulk family -- including Amadeus, Rick, Jen, Skaar, Betty, Ross, and the Warbound -- are the folks who knew Banner the best -- and each will respond to his death in his or her own way. And yes, they're a family, so we'll see them grapple with all of this together, for better or for worse.
What can you say about Bruce Banner's will and the mindset he was in when he created it? It's never been entirely clear if the Hulk is even mortal (and there are stories that suggest the opposite), so acknowledging his own mortality must have been an interesting experience.
GP: Banner's spent much of his adult life desperately trying to account for every possibility in hopes of mitigating the danger that his anger creates. And he's deeply aware of and tormented by the effect the Hulk has had on the people he loves. So it made a huge amount of sense to me that he'd have put a lot of thought into preparing for the possibility of his death. And the more I've written Banner over the past ten years, the more I think of him as driven by love more than anything else. He's cursed with terrible anger. But he's driven by love for his family. You'll absolutely see that come out in the very specific details of his will.
And I'll just say it -- Banner's my favorite Marvel legacy character of all time. So this story means a lot to me. I'm hugely excited that Mark Bagley's drawing it -- he's bringing out all the subtle emotion these pages and panels. This is a huge, emotional book and these are all characters I've loved writing for over a decade now, so I hope it resonates with y'all.
Without giving away too much, what can you say about what Bruce is passing on to his friends, how he chose to divide what is in the will, and how the recipients react to it all?
GP: This is the heart of this story, and we'll explore how each member of the Hulk family reacts to Banner's death and the will. Banner's thought this through deeply and tried to use this moment as a way to reach out, comfort, help and guide in different ways for different members of his family. We'll see if that works.
How do Bruce’s death and Hawkeye’s trial affect the larger conflict between Captain Marvel and Iron Man?
GP: I can't say too much for fear of spoilers, and the Tony/Carol conflict will be explored most deeply in Brian Bendis's books. But Tony's always been one of the heroes closest to Banner and he's got some key moments in THE FALLEN. And Carol plays a huge role in Totally Awesome Hulk #9. So please do keep on reading!