Good news for fans of artist Dale Eaglesham: he’s coming back to the Hulk, and bringing Alpha Flight - and some other friends - with him to battle the Mayan prophecy of 2012. Writer Jeff Parker, who’s been chronicling the exploits of everyone’s favorite non-mustached Red Hulk for the past few years brings us the blockbuster story, which teams Rulkie, Alpha Flight, Machine Man, and a slew of other Hulks versus Mayan Gods threatening to destroy the world.
We chatted with Parker in advance of the announcement this past weekend at WonderCon, and found out that he hasn’t watched a certain John Cusack vehicle nearly enough times:
MTV Geek: This storyline deals with the Mayan prophecy about the world ending in 2012… Are you at all worried about incurring the wrath of the gods by writing this? And will the storyline wrap up before the world actually ends for real at the end of the year?
Jeff Parker: It is a race to the finish - can our story be more entertaining than the reality of the Mayan End of Days? Will Kukulcan and Camazotz be happy with how Dale Eaglesham imagined them? This is a hazardous job, Alex.
Geek: How familiar are you with the Mayans? Did a lot of research go into this, or was it just watching “2012” a few times in a row?
JP: I never saw 2012 actually. But I did watch Apocalypto, Mel Gibson craziness aside, which had a lot of attention to detail throughout that was helpful. Most of my research was reading though.
Geek: Okay, enough ridiculousness: how does a military man like Ross deal with the idea of gods? Or is this now just par for the course for him?
JP: What perplexes him the most is that the Mayan gods refer to HIM as one too. We're playing a lot with the idea that there's little difference between the modern superhero and what ancients considered gods. After all, there's Thor on a team with other modern heroes, with which Red is affiliated.
Geek: Someone like the Red Hulk has to be pretty desperate to ask other people to help him out… What drives Rulk to assemble his team?
JP: It actually goes the other way, A-Bomb (Rick Jones with muscles and body plates) comes to Red Hulk. And from there Alpha Flight are brought in because Ross follows international protocol and alerts his counterparts in another involved nation, Canada of course. More heroes you haven't seen in quite a while get pulled into all this before it's over.
Geek: Will he be taking the role of General here, strategizing and leading the attack? Or is this more a “punch every god you can” free for all?
JP: This showdown will ultimately involve him having to do more seat-of-the-pants strategizing than anything so far. But don't worry, there's plenty of enormous punching. And Machine Man doing crazy robot mess.
Geek: The cast list also seems like it’s a bit of a culmination of a lot of what you’ve been working on with the title, bringing all the gang back together – is that accurate at all?
JP: Yes. We're also picking up from what we seeded in the A-Bomb backups last year- this whole thing is Rick Jones' fault, or so Rick feels. In truth, the Mayan gods would have gotten out by manipulating someone, it's better that it was somebody with good connections like Rick, so there'd be a force to oppose them.
Geek: Dale Eaglesham is on the book now, and he’s drawn some faboo Hulk art before… What’s it like working with him on this?
JP: Dale is a blast to work with. His mighty imagination is fired up, and he's making this thing bigger and more awe inspiring than I saw it in my head. Have you seen the covers he's doing? We're going to have some cool inventive images on the racks like you don't see every day. Also, Dale can do Horror really well, so the scary parts have real impact. It's not all gorgeous superladies and big brutes, though there's a fair amount of that too. In short, Eaglesham is the man.
Geek: Finally, what can we look forward to in this storyline? I imagine a lot of punching and double page splashes, but anything beyond that?
JP: It may be weirder than what you expect. Though these gods have been taking in what's been happening in the world- their minds were free to roam while imprisoned- they are from a very different past and traditions than the pantheons we usually see in comics. It doesn't feel like a threat from a Norse or Olympian source. And that makes less predictable. A good thing we have a Hulk who can think on his feet, but he's going to face some debilitating loss.
Dale Eaglesham smashes onto the Hulk later in 2012! You can check out the covers to #53 and #54, as well as two interior pages below: