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Monday, June 02, 2014 

Mark Waid and Kieron Gillen speak about their plans for Hulk and Iron Man in Original Sin

CBR interviewed these two would-be writers about what they're doing to the green goliath and Shell-head in the Original Sin crossover, and at the start, the interviewer says:
[...] When he discovers he may have been responsible for the creation of one of the world's most destructive weapons, the Incredible Hulk, [Tony] Stark is faced with the realization that he has to remedy his mistake.
How? It's not like Bruce will be free of the alter ego once and for all.
This is the set-up for "Original Sin: Hulk Vs. Iron Man," a four-issue tie-in to Marvel's "Original Sin" event (solicited as "Original Sin" #3.1-3.4), by writers Mark Waid and Kieron Gillen, who pen the Hulk and Iron Man's solo titles, respectively.
Disrespectably, I'd say. And it's just like them to ensure there'll be plenty of tie-ins to this crossover in hopes the unwitting will waste a lot of money on their trash.
Let's talk a little bit about where each character is at mentally when the series begins, and how the "Original Sin" revelation impacts those things. One of Tony Stark's heroic traits is, when realizes he made a mistake, he goes out of his way to rectify it. How does he initially handle the revelation of the part he played in Bruce's transformation, especially considering some of the other things he's been dealing with of late, like the fact that he's adopted and has a half brother in Arno Stark?

Waid: Tony is not confronted with all the truth at once. You've got to remember that there are two things going on. One is that, because of the nature of the revelation and the way it plays out, some of his memories are filtering into Hulk's, and some of Hulk's are filtering into his at the same time.

We're telling our story very much from Tony's point of view. He's getting little flashes, but you also have to remember there are times in Tony's past that he doesn't remember quite as clearly thanks to his good friends Jim Beam and Jack Daniels. For Tony, it's not so much that he's learning things as he is remembering things.

Now he's in a desperate race against time to find out the absolute, unvarnished truth about this series of secrets and exactly what his complicity in Hulk's origin was while trying to get to the answers before Bruce Banner gets to them. Because if Bruce Banner gets to the answers first -- he does not take surprises well.
This whole plot lacked logic eons ago, because Bruce Banner was partly responsible for his own transformation - he developed the gamma bomb - although the real catalyst was Igor Drenkov, the Russian spy who let the explosive countdown run down uninterrupted while Bruce drove out to the testing field to drag Rick Jones off of it. Here, it sounds like an out-of-nowhere setup where Tony had his memory erased of something he'd never even done before.

And if the interviewer's query says something, Gillen's retcon to Stark's background is still in place. Ugh.
So Bruce Banner is thrown off his game, too?

Waid: Oh yeah.

Is he starting to wonder if all the difficulty he's wrestled with over the years is not entirely his fault?

Gillen: That's the big thing. Imagine if this is a thing you carried for so long, and you discovered that your friend and rival might have had a hand in it. Tony Stark is the world's greatest weapon designer. Did he have a hand in making the world's greatest weapon? There's a degree of anger. [Laughs]
Of course all the components for the Hulk, mental or otherwise, weren't Bruce's fault. They were his abusive father and Drenkov's fault. Talk about obscuring past history!
Do you guys get to have some fun with the supporting casts of each other's books like Arno and Pepper Potts or Maria Hill and Banner's lab assistants?

Gillen: We've kept things sort of minimal. I've never actually written Bruce, so it's like, "Hooray! Another one off the list." Arno is in it though. He's quite important for reasons that -- do you want to talk about it, Mark?

Waid: Arno is very important. We can't yet talk about how, but he is very important. Likewise, with the flashback stuff, we get some new insight into General Thunderbolt Ross. If we're lucky, we may even see a little bit of Rick Jones in there.
With these kind of ingredients, it'll be luckier if nobody gets fooled into buying this slop.
What can you tell us about the antagonists of "Hulk Vs. Iron Man?" What kind of opposition are Bruce and Tony up against?

Waid: [Laughs] Each other.

Gillen: Yeah, you don't need much more than these two guys. I think anyone else would be kind of extraneous.

Waid: Yeah, there's no way that having M.O.D.O.K. or Whiplash in our story would have made it any better. This is "Hulk Vs. Iron Man!" And without giving anything away, there's a twist at the end of the second issue that makes it a fight that they've never had before, on a level that they've never had before. And it's very scary.
And it only compounds the assumption this'll be almost entirely about hero vs. hero. But I don't expect this physical/mental clash to be scary as much as it will be atrocious.
How does it feel to say goodbye to "Hulk?"

Waid: It sucks! Because of the recent reboot, there's sort of the illusion that I wasn't here for very long, but two years and 26 issues is actually a pretty good run.

This is the God's Honest truth: There's no hidden agenda here, I just needed more time to catch up on "Daredevil" and to get further ahead on the Thrillbent stuff. I'm also working with Marvel on a few things that are not necessarily monthly comic periodicals. It's sort of behind the scenes stuff. So I needed to free up time for that. It was a tough decision to make, but I had a pretty good run.
Yawn. That's rich coming from somebody who had an agenda running in Daredevil.
Finally, what's it like writing a story that ties into and is launched by Marvel's "Original Sin" event?

Waid: You hit upon something early on in this interview that's key. The first thing that Tony does when he realizes what his complicity in this might have been is, in fact, to investigate and try to make things right. That's what I like about the whole "Original Sin" concept, overall, and this is what sold me on it. It could have been a very cynical "look at what jerks our heroes can be" journey into darkness, but it was never positioned that way by Marvel editorial. In fact, it creates situations where all the characters across the Marvel line have to step up, because that's what they do. They have to take responsibility for some sins, even if they're not of their making. The great hook of "Original Sin" is how it gives our heroes a chance to really show what they're made of, even in their darkest moments.

Gillen: Besides speaking to the classic heroism of the characters, it's also great, textbook drama. You put them in different positions and see what they do, and how they deal with the stakes. That's the heart of this story. There's no real villain; it's a story about two people dealing with some very messed up stuff.

Waid: Right. They're dealing with it like heroes -- well, except for the whole punching part! [Laughs]
Sorry, but when it's this cheap an excuse to have them sock each other's block off, then they're not dealing with anything like heroes. And how does editorial's moves prove this isn't a cynical ploy? When you contrive something this forced, it doesn't speak to heroism, and these two writers certainly aren't speaking to it. Besides, they've said it themselves: no genuine villain, much like Avengers vs. X-Men, and nearly all the MCU is featured, which only proves it's not organic self-contained storytelling.

So after this, Waid and Gillen are leaving Hulk and Iron Man's series. They should never come back. They've only proven that with their politics and other biases, they're not suited for the jobs.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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