Recently, I had the opportunity to ask some questions of writer/artist Scott Reed, who began his pro career as an inker at Malibu Comics, then came to prominence in his webcomic series, The Last Odyssey, as well as Image Comics' The Overman. Editor Mark Paniccia brought him aboard the Hulk's corner of the Marvel Universe to write this year's Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk - The Conquest of Jarella's World, alongside artist Miguel Munera, and he's not looking back. The Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force #1, the first in a three-issue limited series, was released this Wednesday at comic shops everywhere, and Scott was happy to talk about the project. Here we go!
DELUSIONAL HONESTY: How did the plan for Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force and, for that matter, its predecessor Son of Hulk: The Conquest of Jarella's World come about?
SCOTT REED: Conquest of Jarella’s World was a tie-in with the Realm of Kings storyline, but it sort of broke away from that toward the end and helped set the stage for the current "Dark Son" story happening in Incredible Hulks. Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force helps serve the "Dark Son" story, but like the Son of Hulk mini-series before it, Enigma Force has a life of its own.
DH: For those picking up Enigma Force cold, tell us a little about what's been happening with these characters?
SR: The Enigma Force are a new incarnation of the familiar Microverse heroes from the original comic book series. They are still cosmic freedom fighters of the Microverse. The team still lives aboard the gigantic Homeworld Microship Endeavor, and they're still led by Commander Arcturus Rann. But there's been some changes over the years. Arcturus and Princess Marionette are divorced, and literally at war with each other. The newest member is Carl, a quirky Deaths Head 3.0 who’s not your run-of-the-mill killing machine. And then there's Jentorra, a young sorceress-in-training from the planet K’ai, who happens to be completely infatuated with Arcturus. As for Arcturus, he not only has women problems, but he must find a way to save planet K’ai from Hiro-Kala, even if it means revealing a horrific and deadly secret from his past. And that truth could do more than destroy his heroic reputation, but could actually obliterate the planet itself.
DH: It sounds like you are really building upon the history of the characters. It had been a while since Commander Rann and Marionette last appeared...Peter David's Captain Marvel, perhaps. Whose idea was it to bring them back to the Marvel Universe?
SR: Mark Paniccia brought the idea to me about the Microverse characters, and that he wanted to use them as a component in the Son of Hulk mini-series. It was a thrill to write those characters, but to do it again in this Enigma Force mini-series is a great opportunity to further expand the characters. The Enigma Force are really put to the test this time around, and as a result, we learn a lot about who they are and what they are capable of.
DH: Will we be seeing any other familiar faces in Enigma Force? On the first issue's cover, it sure looks like Rann & Mari's old friend, Bug, is there.
SR: Yep, he's back. But you'll have to find out for yourself the how's and why's of that one.
DH: That's interesting. So, how much will Enigma Force be crossing into "Dark Son" in Incredible Hulks?
SR: This mini-series is an additional layer to the Incredible Hulks' "Dark Son," and as I mentioned, it’s designed to serve that larger story arc. But there's something unique and pretty startling in this mini-series, a threat that only the Enigma Force can face. The team are forced to rely on the help of a deadly enemy to survive, which calls into question all sorts of doubts and suspicions.
DH: If the first issue's any indication, that's some interesting enemy. The last miniseries and this one contain certain elements from the Harlan Ellison/Roy Thomas Jarella tales, and Commander Rann & co. from Bill Mantlo's work. Were you a fan of those stories and characters before writing these series?
SR: I'm a big fan of Bill Mantlo's work, period. It’s densely packed with sci-fi greatness, and you really have to do a double-take on some of it, because they weren’t typical super-hero concepts.
DH: Amen to that--I know [Incredible Hulks writer] Greg Pak also has great affection for those tales. What's it like reuniting with Miguel Munera, your artist from the previous Son of Hulk miniseries?
SR: It's the way it should be, I think, because in some ways, Enigma Force is the second act of Conquest of Jarella's World. I'm really happy to see Miguel onboard to keep the story looking so consistently great.
DH: You've helped build up Hiro-Kala, the son of Hulk's legacy a bit, in the previous miniseries, plus the back-up stories in Incredible Hulk, and now co-writing parts of "Dark Son" with original "Planet Hulk" architect Greg Pak. Can you describe how this experience has been for you as a creator?
SR: I came into all of this at Marvel completely ready to not only do my best possible work, but to learn as much as possible in the process. I can certainly say I'm getting an invaluable education as a writer, working with Mark, assistant editor Jordan White and of course Greg.
DH: It certainly looks like you're enjoying yourself in the process. Do you have any other projects on the horizon?
SR: I'm still hip-deep in writing Enigma Force, and it's almost impossible for me to look too far ahead. I’ll be at the New York Comic Con in October, though, so I may have something new to talk about by then.
DH: I'll keep an eye out. Thanks for talking Enigma Force with me!
Scott was also gracious enough to supply this site with some exclusive preview artwork by Miguel Munera & inker Greg Adams for the next issue of Enigma Force, on sale 10/13/2010! It's peppered throughout this article. Meanwhile, Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force #1 is now on sale at comic shops everywhere, so be sure to grab a copy! Especially if, well, you might want to see these heroes of the Microverse in a regular series of their own again, after all these years...?