Dark Reign: The List - Hulk
Written by: Greg Pak
Drawn by: Ben Oliver
The world has never shown much love for the Hulk, but his stock has only fallen in the dark days since World War Hulk. Though Hulk has lost the savage intelligence that made him such an unstoppable opponent, he still represents a clear and present danger to Osborn's regime.
But Hulk isn't the only gamma-powered monster on the loose. The brutal Red Hulk continues to follow his own mysterious agenda. And recently, Hulk's son Skaar crash-landed on this planet. Skaar has already had a first-hand taste of Osborn's wrath. Writer Greg Pak indicates that The List: Hulk will focus "on the two with the greener hue", suggesting that Red Hulk is sitting this one out.
But Osborn has been content to leave Hulk alone up till now. What changes? Pak says, "I'll tip my hand just a bit and reveal that on page one, Norman messes with a key friend of the Hulk. And on page three, Banner picks a fight. And everything explodes in every direction from that point on."
Another fair question is just how Osborn expects to take down the Jade Giant, especially considering how tall an order that was for Tony Stark's Initiative to fill. Pak hints, "He's going to send an unlikely ally into the thick of the fight who's survived a gamma-powered assault in the past -- and who might just have the perfect innate qualities needed to take out the Hulk in the present."
Much like The List: Daredevil, this one-shot fits neatly between two issues of Pak's Hulk run. "The issue fits right into the chronology between Incredible Hulk #601 and #602. It's actually a great entry point for anyone interested in seeing just what's up with the Incredible Hulk book. Incredible Hercules won't be directly affected by this particular story (but since you mentioned it, you definitely won't want to miss Incredible Hercules #136, which ships the same month and features the biggest guest star the book has ever seen!)".
Pak also teases, "I'll just say that this ain't your typical meet 'n' fight 'n' part ways between superhero powerhouses. There will be a definite win at the end of this issue, with genuine repercussions for these characters in the future."
IGN Comics: Is this the culmination of everything Dark Reign has been building towards? Will the Dark Reign story direction continue past this point?
Brevoort: Dark Reign: The List does function as the final act in the broader Dark Reign saga, but it's also the bridge that gets the Marvel Universe into position for what immediately follows. And just to hint a little further: it'll involve the Cabal in a big way.
NRAMA: Probably should've been asked earlier, but what Hulk will we be seeing in this one shot?
GP: You'll see a lot of green. And you'll see the smartest of all of Banner's incarnations
While each side of the story's equation remains pretty mentally unstable in general, what drives the clash between the Green Goblin and the Green Goliath is Osborn's hopes to use gamma-irradiated heroes for his own ends. "The idea of a Hulk in your back pocket must be kind of attractive," said Pak, noting more than just Bruce Banner's alter ego will pop up in the pages. "Three strong women play huge roles in this book. Keep your eyes open for someone incredibly close to Banner, someone incredibly close to Norman, and the wildest of the wild cards who might just have the ability to get under the Hulk's skin like no one else."