Marvel's Hulk-Wolverine may be a comic fan's dream, but that's NOT the reason he was created. That's according to the monstrosity's creator, Greg Pak, who insists that the invention is being driven by story first. The affectionately-dubbed 'Hulkverine' is the latest in the long legacy of Marvel's Weapon X Program, designed to turn mutant abilities and soldiers into weapons for military use (morality or ethics be damned). And for the fictional scientists, like the character's creators, there's no denying that merging the powers of Wolverine with the gigantic body of the Incredible Hulk is some truly mad science.
On the surface, it might seem like a cross of the Hulk and Wolverine is an obvious way to merge fandom desire with outlandish storytelling. Honestly, who would ever think that creating a Weapon H (for 'Hulk') would actually be more valuable than disastrous? It was that very thinking that earned the character, and his newly announced comic series, Weapon H some raised eyebrows and scorn among the comic community. Long before they ever met the man beneath the monster - which is all about to change.
Speaking with CBR, Pak explains how the new Hulkverine came about through story developments, and not the obvious bit of mash-up marketing some might assume it to be. It turns out putting the same writer in charge of the Weapon X and Totally Awesome Hulk comics can have only one outcome...
"As a Wolverine/Hulk hybrid, Weapon H looks like a marketer’s dream, right? But the character developed organically through the story. Back when we were developing the 'Weapons of Mutant Destruction' storyline, we established that the Weapon X scientists were collecting DNA from various mutants to turn people into killing machines. I said, 'Well, we’ve got the Hulk in the book now. Seems like they’d want to collect Hulk DNA, too.' Suddenly, we had a Wolverine-Hulk hybrid on our hands."
And so, Marvel's unbeatable Hulkverine was born. The coming issues of his very own series may promise incredible action, due to the two mutated heroes who now make up his superhuman physiology. But it's the man entrusted with those skills (or given them in an attempt to transform him into a weapon) is the most compelling part.
The man named 'Clay' may still be a bigger mystery than either Logan or Bruce Banner, but fans can rest assured: that's entirely by design:
"We eventually revealed this Wolverine-Hulk hybrid as the ultimate weapon that Weapon X had been developing. And in the subsequent story that Fred Van Lente and I cowrote in Weapon X, we revealed that the man who was turned into this Wolverine-Hulk hybrid was Clay, a former soldier turned Eaglestar military contractor who’d been drugged and shipped out to Weapon X when he started challenging Eaglestar’s brutal operating procedure.
"I loved all of this because it was a chance to explore familiar tropes of Wolverine and Hulk through a different kind of character. The big danger of both Wolverine and the Hulk is, traditionally, that they can lose control, go berserk. But Clay was chosen for this procedure because he has intense military discipline. The idea is that he’s the perfect weapon because he can control this tremendous power. But now Clay’s free from Weapon X — so the question is what a person with this tremendous discipline is going to do with this terrifying power?"
Those who witnessed Clay's story unfold throughout Marvel's "Mutants of Mass Destruction" story know that his allegiance isn't yet clear. Will this Hulkverine be a hero? A villain? Fittingly, given his Weapon X origins, Clay seems to fall closer to Logan's own origins as a lone wolf intent on keeping his head down and nose out of trouble. But it won't be a retread of that same story for one very specific reason. Where Logan and other Weapon X subjects spent the days and years after their escape trying to uncover the past that had been taken from them... Clay is working just as hard to not find out what parts of his mind are missing:
"Clay was partially lobotomized by Weapon X — they wanted to keep the parts of his personality that gave him his discipline and control, but remove any pesky memories or morality that might prevent him from doing their bidding. But our brains aren’t quite so easily sectioned off like that, so Clay had bits and pieces of memories of his past. His tremendous healing factor has reassembled his brain and made it possible for him to sort out more of his memories. But he doesn’t remember everything — and most importantly, he doesn’t want to."
Fans will be able to find out for themselves just what direction Clay will head, and what friends or enemies he'll make of his fellow adamantium and super-healing mutant colleagues when Weapon H a.k.a. The Hulkverine joins the main Marvel Universe as the star of his own series in the new year.
Weapon H from Greg Pak and Cory Smith will be arriving in local comic book shops and through digital download in March of 2018.