Donny Cates reveals the passion and madness of his new Marvel series

There’s a new Bruce Banner in town, and he’s cranking up his engines to take Marvel fans into one of the strangest, craziest Hulk stories they’ve probably ever read. Donny Cates, author of Venom, Thanos, and the current Thor run, brings his brand of metal madness to the not-so-cheerful green giant, with the help of acclaimed artist Ryan Ottley. The start of the series, Hulk # 1, not only represents a departure from Al Ewing Immortal hulk series; it’s a complete sprint in a totally different direction. Gothic horror and classic monster tales are swapped for action-packed, blood-soaked sci-fi pages and a brilliant mind on a dangerous mission.

Cates was never afraid to forge his own path with a beloved character – the man just turned Eddie Brock into a true god. Hulk is no exception. This new series is something of its own, a bloody and deeply personal feverish dream that sees Bruce Banner taking control of the Hulk’s body from within, locking the actual Hulk spirit into a mental prison and using it. as the most powerful engine in the world. It’s madness, of course, but madness has always been Cates’ MO.

“I knew I had always had this idea,” Cates said. in an exclusive interview. “Bruce is a scientist, and he started this journey. It started with this idea of, ‘Well, now I have an indestructible green spaceship. I’ll do whatever I can do. “It takes the idea of ​​being the strongest you can be, but also the protection that comes with it, and the endless possibilities if you literally couldn’t get hurt, you could do whatever you want. You can go wherever you want. want. “

Banner’s vision is cold, calculated and above all determined. We’re not used to seeing this side of Bruce. After arming the being with whom he shares a body and battling Iron Man, it’s easy for readers to see Bruce as the villain of the story. But that’s not how Cates sees his protagonist.

“No, I don’t see him. I don’t see him like that at all. I think he’s a deeply troubled and flawed man, like all of us,” the author explained. “And he’s at a point in his life where he’s trying to regain some control and some autonomy, and sometimes that can be very self-destructive. And so, I think the only victim right now is himself. And you. see it with the vision of Betty acting as her subconscious moral center. Obviously, she’s not real, right? But if you actually look at her, Ryan Ottley put her in her exact outfit that she looks like when of her first appearance. Because that’s how Bruce sees her in his mind as that girl he hasn’t ruined his life yet. “

Patience is a virtue. There is something more important here that will help clarify Bruce’s particular situation. In the town of El Paso, West Texas, between the end of Immortal hulk and the start of this new race, Bruce Banner lived it. We don’t yet know what “it is,” but Marvel isn’t following Netflix’s binge pattern. There is more story to come.

“Something happened in El Paso. Between the end of Al’s run and the start of mine, something happened that obviously had a profound impact on Bruce,” Cates said. “It’s something he can’t get rid of. And for lack of a better term, he just runs away from that sin instead of embracing it and working on it and working on himself. And so, there is a lot. psychology in that of him, suppressed anger. He’s literally put his rage on, he’s buried it deep in his belly. The belly of the ship is the Hulk’s rage, and he’s trapping her right there. “

“It’s a very comfortable space for me to write because these are things that I’ve dealt with in the past. And I’ve never been shy about my past and stuff like that,” a- he continued. “And sure, people know I’ve struggled with things in the past, right? So the idea of ​​someone who can’t really deal with the things they’ve done in past, and running away from them, and fully knowing well that he’s essentially committing suicide in fast-forward. And he knows he’s going to hit a brick wall, he knows he’s going to explode, but he’s don’t care, because for him it’s safer than dealing with the past. And so, that can make someone very dangerous, to say the least. “

Pontoon is daring. Pontoon is bloody, Pontoon is exciting and surprisingly introspective. A thing Pontoon is not, however, is written by Al Ewing. If you’ve spent any time following Cates on Twitter, you probably know how many “fans” feel the need to remind him of this fact every day. Immortal hulk is a classic race for the character, and Cates is one of that race’s biggest fans and loudest cheerleaders. This is why this Pontoon zigzag when Immortal zagged. He’s Cates’ Hulk through and through, a fact he’s immensely proud of.

“It’s no secret. I’m not Al Ewing. Al is fucking brilliant,” Cates said. “He’s up there with some of the smartest, most unique guys writing comics right now. He’s going to be considered one of the biggest, that’s for sure. But I don’t write like. Al. I take pride in the work I do. Do, and I’m really good at a lot of things that other people aren’t. And sometimes I’m not good at other things. I know where my weaknesses are and my strengths. But if you get into the book while waiting for Al Ewing’s Immortal hulk, well, you might not like it.

“I think if you’re like, ‘I wonder what Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley would do on a Hulk book,’ I like to think we’re hitting that expectation just fine.”

Throughout our conversation – and countless other interviews – Cates referred to his series as “Starship Hulk.” It’s not the official name of the book, but it’s the one Cates has used whenever he talks about it. Ask Cates why, and his answer will tell you everything you need to know not only about the unofficial title, but the motivation behind the whole series.

“Sometimes the answer to the question is that it sounds just fucking rad.”

Pontoon # 1 is on sale now.