Jeff Parker has taken the past few years to redefine Marvel Comics' Red Hulk... And now he's going to do the same thing with another Hulk, as the title changes into Red She-Hulk with issue #58. Formerly Betty Ross, Red She-Hulk has shown up in a few titles, including Hulk itself - but this is her first time anchoring a book solo. We chatted EXCLUSIVELY with Parker before the announcement at SDCC 2012 about all this, what's going to happen to General Ross, and what makes his take on Betty unique:
MTV Geek: Well, looks like old Rulkie doesn’t get out of “Mayan Rule” unscathed, huh? What can you tell us about Thunderbolt’s fate when Red She-Hulk #58 kicks off?
Jeff Parker: Alex, Red Hulk has to go all the way out of Hulk because his expertise is required in another place. And I think if I tell you that, I'll get smashed. I bet it announces any minute now!
Geek: You know, Jeff, when you changed the title of Thunderbolts to Dark Avengers, I thought we were done with the T-Bolts forever; and that lasted for about an issue. I hope you’re not fooling me twice here...
JP: Are you starting to see a pattern? Okay, I'll admit, it does have some of the same supporting cast BUT THAT'S IT! Dark Avengers is unfolding the way it is because it's being borne out of Thunderbolts - what happens to end our Thunderbolts heavily affects what Dark Avengers will become. And Red She-Hulk will grow out of some ideas we were exploring in Hulk.
I think when you have a good narrative happening, you let it grow into the new thing instead of cold stops and starts, it gives the book roots. At least that's the story theory I'm really into now.
Geek: Let’s talk Red She-Hulk then... What’s your take on her? And what’s your take on the Betty Ross/RSH relationship?
JP: She may be the first Hulk who isn't just angry, but is righteously angry and chooses to AIM her anger. She doesn't resent her human side, she still thinks of herself as the same person when she transforms, like her father. But her Hulk form has no inhibitions or worries that she might be doing the wrong thing. Red She-Hulk acts upon what she wants, usually as soon as the idea or emotion hits her.
Geek: How about her relationships with everyone else? For most of the character’s history, she’s been Bruce Banner’s girlfriend or wife, or Thunderbolt Ross’ daughter. Is this title letting her become her own person, with her own supporting cast? CAN she even do that?
JP: She can do it, and she's going to. As you'll see in issue one, Betty comes out swinging and lots of people are going down. And you'll see that she's not interesting because of The Hulk, she's a force to be reckoned with or get stomped by.
Geek: Where is she when this issue starts... Clearly, she needs something, or she wouldn’t need to be hired for... Whatever happens, right?
JP: It starts with her on the attack.
In our book she's taking up a cause that she's the living embodiment of humanity versus super-humanity. She's not rationalizing or coming to an acceptance with her dual identity, on some level she knows she was always supposed to be the very human Betty Ross- and she's lost that. And a clear look around her reveals that we're all losing what used to be normal, and extra-potential people may be pushing that out.
Our premise examines some possible ugly truths under the surface of the Marvel Universe that put her up against... everybody. She's literally one woman against the world here, and you may agree with her, you may hate what she stands for. But you will see a lot of fighting.
Geek: She’s of course played a very large role in Defenders. Will we see any of those characters showing up, or relationship with those team members developing any way?
JP: That connection isn't abandoned- they don't show up right away but she still has the bond with the team that isn't a team. Whether she likes it or not!
Geek: You’ve had a knack in other titles for picking up B characters, or discarded bits of continuity and making them work... Are there any back issues we should be scouring for clues to what will happen in Red She-Hulk?
JP: Reading MY stuff may work well for that! Actually I'm pretty diligent about not requiring you know past history, but I think you'll get a little extra if you read our run on Hulk and the recent Dark Avengers issues.
The way this is set up, almost anyone can appear in this book and likely will - it's her against the Marvel Universe.
Geek: Anything else you can tease? Anything you’re excited for fans to see in the book?
JP: I think a lot of readers are waiting for a woman character who goes for what she thinks is right and absolutely does not give a s**t how she's perceived or what anyone thinks of her. Betty is really refreshing that way. Some will see her as a hero, some as an out and out villain or menace. She could not care less, she is here to kick ass.
Red She-Hulk #58 hits comic book shops from Marvel in October!