I Am Groot: Hardwood History

Everybody loves him, but nobody really understands him…and not just what he’s saying, either! Quick—where did Groot come from? What’s the name of his species? How did he meet Rocket Raccoon? If you don’t know the answers, you’re not alone.

The history of Groot weaves a complex web. Having started as a minor character, the talking tree finally received more frequent opportunities to shine in the wake of the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film. Now he stars alongside the Guardians, his best friend Rocket—and in his own solo series!

On September 27, writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano present the conclusion of I AM GROOT with issue #5!

But before we reach that ending, let’s go back to where it all began for the character. Groot’s story has to be pieced together—and while it doesn’t come to light chronologically, it’d probably be easier to hear it in the order that it happened to him in.

Okay, are you ready? Say it with me: I! Am! Groot!

Groot’s childhood exile

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #14, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Nick Bradshaw, explained Groot’s origins for the first time. Framed as a kind of nature documentary, the story explained that Groot originated as a Flora Colossus from Planet X. The book illuminated the social order of the planet, with the Flora Colossi ruled by a monarchy and an elite group called the “Arbor Masters.” Together, these leaders teach children—called saplings—via a method known as “Photonic Knowledge.” In this process, the accumulated knowledge and experience of generations of elders gets psychically absorbed by the young through a kind of photosynthesis; this ultra-advanced educational practice provides the Flora Colossi with genius level intelligence.

The planet’s biome gets tended to by subservient “Maintenance Mammals” (small, squirrel-like creatures) forced into slavery in service of the Arbor Masters. In his youth on Planet X, Groot finds an unlikely friendship with these oppressed animals—and even prefers their company to that of his fellow saplings; Groot doesn’t get along with his own kind, as the adult Flora Colossi regularly kidnap and perform harrowing experiments on other life forms to further their study of the universe. The moral implications of these scientific atrocities horrify a young Groot, as do his peers’ harsh and violent treatment of his Maintenance Mammal friends. Acting on his conscience leads to his banishment from his home world; an unseen narrator explains that Groot got exiled from his people for injuring another sapling as he protected a Maintenance Mammal from attack.

Later, in GROOT #6 by writer Jeff Loveness and artist Brian Kesinger, the tree communicates, via psychic link, to Jean Grey to explain that the original story of his banishment has actually been sanitized…because the mammal he protected from the other saplings proved to not be a Maintenance Mammal after all, but in fact a little Earth girl named Hannah. He reveals that he saw her trapped and terrified by his people and sent her home in a rescue pod—then came the consequences.

Doing time

While it remains unknown whether Groot got arrested for unrelated reasons or sent directly to a prison for treason against his people, we next see our heroin this chronology  locked up—in GROOT #2—where his roommate turns out to be a certain anthropomorphic raccoon. Rocket learns to understand Groot and they forge a strong friendship in the process.

Communication between the duo took some time to be established—the result of Groot’s most famous feature: seemingly only being able to say the words “I am Groot.” As explained in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #17 by Maximus the Mad, Groot’s race experiences a hardening of the larynx and vocal chords during adolescence, forcing them to make the same sound over and over.

Angst, Phalanx, and robbing banks

After spending an undisclosed amount of time together in prison, Rocket and Groot receive an offer to join a rag-tag group fighting the Phalanx in ANNIHILATION CONQUEST: STARLORD—written by Keith Giffen with art by Timothy Green. This team becomes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. At this point in Groot’s life, he claims to be the monarch of Planet X while—surprisingly—speaking normal, if somewhat pretentious, English. During this arc, Groot also volunteers for three separate suicide missions—each time saved from a branch clipping by Rocket.

2008’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2, written by Lanning and Abnett with art from Paul Pelletier and Clint Langley, sees Groot’s vocal chords re-harden and his personality settle back into what it had been in his youth: kind-hearted and goofy. The next big change in his life came in the wake of THE THANOS IMPERATIVE in 2011—in a story written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with art by Brad Walker—when the apparent deaths of Star-Lord and Nova cause the Guardians to disband.

In 2011’s ANNIHILATORS bonus story, by writers Abnett and Lanning and artist Tan Eng Huat, Groot returns to Planet X to help liberate his oppressed Maintenance Mammal friends who ran an underground resistance operation. When Groot arrives, though, he’s arrested and tortured for returning after exile and impersonating the monarch. Luckily for Groot, he has the greatest prison breaker in the universe at his side, and Rocket saves him from incarceration. Once the two finish their tearful reunion, they re-start the Guardians alongside Drax—and try to be a force of good in the galaxy.

Rocket and Groot then embark on a road trip to Earth where Groot finds his friend Hannah, now an old woman. This story—in writer Jeff Loveness and artist Declan Shalvey’s GROOT—further delves into the tree’s mind. We hear his psychic words, “Life is not about the shadow you cast on your enemies, but the shade you provide to your friends.”

Most recently, Groot has been spending an unusual amount of time attempting to re-generate from his “baby” state—even missing out on Rocket’s bank heist team in writer Al Ewing and artist Mike Mayhew’s recent ROCKET #1 due to his vulnerable condition. As witnessed in ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Aaron Kuder, the nature of this form and the unique abilities that makeit so are explored in this year’s I AM GROOT series—written by Christopher Hastings with art by Flaviano—where a tiny Groot finds himself trapped on a strange planet in another dimension where no one can understand him. And the finale of this series, issue #5, drops on September 27!

I am Groot

He certainly says an answer enough, but, really, who is Groot? Find the long answer above, but here’s the short one—proven by years of moments and stories, trials and adventures: he’s a friend.

Check out Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano’s I AM GROOT #5 on September 27!

Introducing Miles Morales to the ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man’ Team

The animated series “Marvel’s Spider-Man” is one big, happy, spider-family. This new original series on Disney XD features Peter Parker and friends coming into their powers while also navigating the life of a typical teen.

We spoke with Nadji Jeter about the impact of voicing the newest Spider-Man team member, Miles Morales. Jeter talked about how Miles’s new powers come with new responsibilities. Now why does that phrase sound so familiar?

Marvel.com: What’s it like being a part of the Marvel’s Spider-Man team?

Nadji Jeter: It is such an honor and such a blessing to be a part of Marvel because Marvel has such an impact on kids. So when I got cast, I was speechless. To be a part of this family is such an honor.

Marvel.com: What does the character of Miles Morales mean to you?

Nadji Jeter: I love this kid because he’s one of the smartest kids at Horizon High—but the youngest. And that gave me the opportunity to channel my inner kid, to really go back into that mindset of being a young boy again. At the same time, the difference between me and Miles is he has a great responsibility—to grow with him and watch him learn—and to see the world that he’s in, is crazy.

Marvel.com: In the episode, you get to see how Miles realizes his powers as they’re happening, how do you think he feels about this new responsibility?

Nadji Jeter: He’s definitely handling it, he has a lot of mentors around in his school that are teaching him the ways of growing up and being a teenager. But with this responsibility he has the blessing of being Peter Parker’s friend, and Peter’s gone through the same exact thing. I just love seeing the growth of Miles.

Marvel.com: Miles gets a lot of super hero advice from Peter, how do you think that dynamic works for someone just coming into their powers?

Nadji Jeter: With Peter having these powers prior to Miles, I think it’s going to make Miles ten times better than who he is as a super hero and a person. Peter is teaching Miles the mistakes that he made, so it’s a blessing because Miles is going to learn so much more, with having the knowledge and wisdom from a legend and veteran in the world already.

Marvel.com: Miles seems a little reckless—in that he can’t wait to tell his friends, he wants to avoid tests to make sure he’s ok—do you think Peter is jealous of Miles impulsiveness?

Nadji Jeter: I don’t think he’s jealous; I just think he’s trying to have more control. In telling Miles with great power comes great responsibility—that is Peter’s main message to Miles—he really wants to get that through to his head. I mean he is 13-years-old, with a lot of superpowers—more than Peter has endured—so the world is going to see a lot.

He’s taking matters into his own hands and learning and growing. We’re going to see the impact it has on little kids now—with Miles being an African-American Spider-Man—we’re going to see a lot of diversity and change, and it’s going to be amazing.

Marvel.com: It’s nice to see Miles interact with his dad, it’s a funny dynamic as well since the father doesn’t know who he’s a super hero. How do you think their relationship factors into Miles developing his powers?

Nadji Jeter: Eventually Miles’s dad is going to see the effect that Miles has on the world. You’re going to see their connection—how he actually reveals to people who he is—at the same time he’ll have some struggles.

Marvel.com: Miles was throwing out names for his super hero, like Spider-Kid and Kid Arachnid. If you could choose a name for a new team member of the Spider-Man family, what would it be?

Nadji Jeter: That’s a really good question. I would want to say…well, there’s already a Black Widow. That’s ironic! Maybe she should just hop in because she’s already in the spider-family!

Be sure to check out Nadji Jeter as Miles Morales in a brand-new episode of “Marvel’s Spider-Man” titled ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ this Saturday, September 23, 8:00 – 8:30 AM EDT on Disney XD!

VFX Supervisor Jake Morrison Tells the Special Effects Secrets Behind ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Director Taika Waititi has a vision for “Thor: Ragnarok” and the visual effects department are a huge part of helping him tell his story. With motion capture, advanced special effects, and more, technology is as much a part of the movie as the actors themselves.

Marvel.com spoke with VFX supervisor Jake Morrison about how he and his team brought the Asgardian battle story to life.

When asked which of the movie’s scenes or effects was the most challenging to create. “All of them,” the visual effects supervisor replied. “It’s literally one of the most involved pictures I have ever been on. It’s visual effects heavy. All Marvel pictures do rely on visual effects to help tell the stories. But this one is absolutely enormous. The scope of the picture and the amount of elements in it is incredible.”

Advancement in technology now allows for instantaneous feedback. For an actor, motion capture can enhance the performance, making the surreal into reality. When an actor puts on the marker suit, the images are streamed into the control room allowing operators to view the image, just as if an 8-foot tall Hulk was standing right before their eyes.

Morrison explains, “What that does is that allows us to frame the shots more accurately, so we know that what it will do at the end of the day.” Seeing as how Hulk is massive—as is his stride, “Where Mark Ruffalo takes 4 or 5 steps, those steps when they’re Hulk-size steps are actually like 3 times as far.” Technology allows the ability to feel as if the scene is seamless. Morrison describes how it’s done, “The operator actually will make the center point of the move—the end of it. So the operator, the camera approach, actually sees the Hulk 10-feet over that way and as Mark walks—we go through—we actually catch up with Mark and then we land at the final moment where we see him on mark, as Hulk. It’s pretty cool.”

The special effects team used tricks to put Ruffalo into a Hulk state of mind. Morrison recounted, “We got these cool tricks that we picked up over the years where he puts on this heavy hands thing that you use when you work out. So it makes his body a bit heavier for him. It slows down his motion a little bit.”

By setting up a virtual world, Ruffalo is able to view his performance in a mirror actually as the Hulk, “It’s amazing watching the transformation as he does each circuit of the room—gradually you see him loosen up and then he goes into a slight pose—and then he hunkers down and you can see him just watching the mirror as he’s going  past. The character gets more and more Hulk and then after that—after you know a half an hour—he’s found the Hulk again.”

When it comes to Cate Blanchett carrying the weight of Hela’s headgear—technology has come a long way, “In the 80’s or 90’s you would actually have to put the big headdress on to know exactly what that looks like.” Morrison details, “The key is we base it upon Cate’s physical performance. The reason we got the motion capture stuff on her is we’re now recording literally like 120 samples per second of where her body is.”

This allows the actor to not have their motion restricted by the costume, “How her wrist moves or elbow moves or whatever. That’s all captured in the system. So if she does a pirouette or a turn or anything, actually the stuff you see her do here—we then have the option to make her costume behave in symphony with her action.”

“Thor: Ragnarok” is incredibly visual effects heavy. Morrison spoke about the huge influence that creator Jack Kirby had on the production, “The amazing thing about Jack Kirby is his artwork is dense. One of the anecdotes about Kirby is that he never erased anything.”

“So what that means is an incredible amount of light and dark and that means it’s a very thick frame.” Regarding bringing the Kirby Krackle to life, “If you look at the original Asgard there are these massive riffs in the sky like dimensional breaks, with a whole lot of pop all the way around them. What he’s doing is really just filling the frame. So for us what that means is we can be very dense with the visuals.”

These images helped give a Kirbyesque tone to the movie. “You’ve already seen what the Art Department had done with putting that into the buildings, but it also means we can add stuff into the sky,” said Morrison. “Any travel that we do, we can thicken things up a great deal because the original Kirby idea was not to start forward lines, but really just a lot of dynamic light and shade contrast.”

Fans will get to see the effects of the Kirby influence for themselves when “Thor Ragnarok” hits theaters in November. Get your tickets now for “Thor: Ragnarok” now!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for the latest on “Thor: Ragnarok,” and follow @ThorOfficial on Twitter and like Thor’s official Facebook page!

Follow the History of Spider-Man Pt. 19

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe, and this year, the web-slinger swings onto the silver screen once more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! In celebration of his memorable history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story!

After wading through watery warfare from Hydro-Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #212, and helping Nighthawk fend off an old flame who tried to kill him in MARVEL TEAM-UP #101, everyone’s favorite neighborhood Spider-Man confronted a clutch of would-be aliens and his old foe Mysterio in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #50 and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #51.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #50

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #50

What is Marvel Unlimited?


Spidey devoted all his attention to an attack by the wingless Wizard in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #213, but even with the help of Namor the Sub-Mariner against the villain’s full-fledged Frightful Four in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #214, it still took the Fantastic Four themselves to turn the tide against the baddies in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #215. Later, our young hero fought alongside Doc Samson versus the Rhino and A.I.M. in MARVEL TEAM-UP #102, and with Ant-Man against Taskmaster and his school for super villains in MARVEL TEAM-UP #103.

The wallcrawler appeared alongside mutant singer Alison Blaire in DAZZLER #1, mastered Gideon Mace in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #52, tussled with the Tinkerer and his raucous robot Toy in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #53, and held his own against a swarm of samurai meted out by the Maggia in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #54.

Dazzler (1981) #1

Dazzler (1981) #1

  • Published: March 10, 1981
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Writer: Tom DeFalco
  • Penciler: John Romita

What is Marvel Unlimited?


The mysterious Madame Web reappeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #216 to vex Spidey, but his name really became mud when Hydro-Man teamed with the Sandman in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #217 to merge into the weird wonder known as Mud-Thing, as seen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #218. How the webslinger found the time to take on both Captain America and the Scorpion in MARVEL TEAM-UP #106, and She-Hulk and the Man-Killer in MARVEL TEAM-UP #107, the world-at-large may never know.

The nutty Nitro blew into town in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #55, as did Jack O’Lantern in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #56, but when Killer Shrike kidnapped Dr. Marla Madison, the love of J. Jonah Jameson’s life, in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #57, Spidey felt the deck stacked against him. This became quite evident the Grey Gargoyle showed his stony face in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #219, and Moon Knight seemingly wanted to kill him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #220.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #220

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #220

What is Marvel Unlimited?


A new criminal called Thermo frosted Spidey and Paladin’s cookies in MARVEL TEAM-UP #108, so Dazzler shed some light on the situation in MARVEL TEAM-UP #109. The dastardly debuts continued in MARVEL TEAM-UP #110 when first-time super villain Magma decided to go all molten on the wallcrawler and his pal Iron Man.

The Ringer made the webslinger jump through hoops in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #58. The Beetle crawled out of the woodwork again in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #59, but got squashed by the combined efforts of our hero and the Gibbon in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #60. Not to be outdone, Ramrod, another first-time foe, butted heads with Spidey in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #221, the Squadron Sinister’s Whizzer adopted a new and improved codename and costume as the Speed Demon in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #222, and the Red Ghost’s so-called Super-Apes monkeyed around to drive the wallcrawler bananas in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #223.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #222

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #222

What is Marvel Unlimited?


The day grew longer and weirder in MARVEL TEAM-UP #111 when Devil-Slayer enlisted Spider-Man’s aid in slashing away at Serpent-Men and Spider-People, and the new Moonstone enacted a scheme to steal Dr. Curt Connors’ “enervator” in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #61 to re-energize her criminal pursuits.

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy: Recruiting Drive

Can you keep your cool in a sticky situation? Do you know how to turn anything into a weapon? Do you view the law as a loose guideline? Then writer Gerry Duggan and artist Rod Reis may have just the job for you!

On October 18, the Guardians begin interviewing for a brand new position on the team in ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #12! Explains Duggan, “As the Guardians conclude their adventure on Earth to free the planet from Stevil Rogers, they encounter several characters in search of an exit from this planet. One will make the trip. However, even though this issue has its feet on the ground, there will be a very important cosmic encounter that affects the quest for the Infinity Stone.”

Check out this job application for more info about the position…

Team Searching For Celestial Chaperone

Job title: Guardian of the Galaxy

Salary: Glory and a share of the score

Job summary: The Guardians of the Galaxy are a rag-tag team of assorted criminals who travel from world to world stealing from the highest level security facilities in the universe…and occasionally, saving the galaxy.

The positions of comic relief, crazed weapons specialist, former assassin, adorable mascot, and metaphorically-challenged muscle have already been filled. But don’t worry, Editor Jordan D. White details, “They tend to gather new members as they go, like a space snowball rolling downhill. And yeah, I did just say the Guardians are heading ‘downhill’—they have no idea what sort of trouble they’re in for.” Despite the foreshadowing there, the position does promise to be a great opportunity for anyone looking to get the heck off Earth and take on what White mentions could be called an “Infinite” quest…

It’s the Infinity Stone. They’re questing for the Infinity Stone. That’s the quest.

Responsibilities: You will be responsible for assisting the team on each mission while helping keep the peace between senior members. You will familiarize yourself with the targets of each mission and be ready to fill in wherever needed—that means getting comfortable in each team role and being prepared to fake it ‘till you make it when the plan inevitably falls apart.

You will follow any and all orders given to you by a senior Guardian. If you receive conflicting instructions, use your discretion to determine which will prove most profitable to the group. This position will also play a role in caring for—or “babysitting”—a recently regrown juvenile Flora Collossus. What can we say; it can’t all be gun slinging, explosions, and glamour.

Qualifications:

  • Music lover; particularly ‘60s and ‘70s Earth music
  • Mystic powers (ideal, but not required)
  • 2+ years of criminal and/or hero experience
  • Ability to regenerate a plus
  • Advanced combat and weapons capabilities
  • Experience time traveling (preferred)
  • Ability to cope in high stress situations
  • Chemical enhancements accepted
  • Willingness to follow orders but skilled improviser
  • Comfortable around talking woodland creatures and semi-communicative trees
  • Actually, if you could just be an ex-Avenger, that’d be great

So who might the candidates be? Take a look at the cover! White teases, “Any one of the five folks on there would make a fascinating addition to the team, would they not? And yeah—I did say five.” He clearly knows something we don’t—given that Dr. Strange, Deadpool, Cable, and Man-Thing seem to be the only newbies in the image…

Send your application in today! Email pquill@dangerousfuncoolguy.org or try reading your resumé to a raccoon and hope you get lucky.

Find out who clinches the job on October 18 with ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #12, by Gerry Duggan and artist Rod Reis!

Incredible Hulk: Interstellar Infamy

On October 18, Amadeus Cho makes an unexpected interstellar trip as writer Greg Pak and artist Greg Land head back to a brutal world with INCREDIBLE HULK #709!

Marvel Legacy begins with “Return to Planet Hulk: Part One,” as the young genius goes where another Hulk has gone before—Bruce Banner. But the planet Sakaar has changed since the Doctor visited years ago. And Amadeus finds himself in unfamiliar territory—on the continent of Filia, halfway around the globe from where The Hulk landed before. Thrust into a conflict he didn’t expect, The Totally Awesome Hulk will have to use every ounce of his intellect and power to survive.

We grabbed a few minutes with Greg Pak to see what’s in store for Amadeus on Planet Hulk.

Marvel.com: Amadeus Cho has learned a lot about himself and his Hulk persona recently. How does this new self-awareness influence his experience on Sakaar?

Greg Pak: Amadeus started off as the Hulk a couple years ago with this big, loopy idea that he could be the best Hulk ever; he never saw being the Hulk as a curse. He doesn’t think of himself as a tortured soul like Banner. He figured he’d become the Hulk and show the world how awesome the Hulk could be. But over the last few storylines, Amadeus has come closer and closer to the darkness within himself. To be specific, he’s got a Dark Hulk inside that’s fighting to get out—and he’s terrified of what he’ll become if that happens.

So as this new storyline begins, Amadeus gets pulled into the brutal world of Sakaar at the absolute worst time—when he’s trying to suppress the brutal monster within.

Marvel.com: How does Amadeus find himself on Sakaar?

Greg Pak: The story took place in TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #23, which just hit stands, so I don’t want to spoil it too much. I’ll just say that Amadeus ends up deciding he’s too dangerous for planet Earth in his current state, so he exiles himself to try to figure out what’s going on with this Dark Hulk inside. But then he gets a signal from Sakaar—someone desperately needs help from The Hulk. And he’s still that cocky kid who thinks he’s going to be the best Hulk ever, so he can’t stop himself from responding.

Incredible Hulk #709 Cover by Greg Land
Lenticular Homage Variant Cover by Mike Deodato Jr. & Marcelo Maiolo

Marvel.com: You’ve said before that we’ll see a different side of Sakaarliterallyin this story. What new friends and foes will Amadeus find in his time there?

Greg Pak: During the original PLANET HULK story, the Hulk fought the evil Red King of Imperia, freed the slaves and gladiators he’d oppressed, and united the different people of the continent in a new alliance. (Whoops! Spoiler alert!)

This time ’round, Amadeus lands on a different continent on Sakaar—the land of Fillia, which had been at war with the Red King. So you’d think the Fillians would be happy that The Hulk took out the Red King…but once The Hulk disappeared, a thousand new murderers arose in the chaos and now Fillia’s a blasted wasteland where a terrible warlord hunts small clans for sport. One of these clans has put out a call for The Hulk—and they’ve gotten Amadeus.

So we’ll meet a stalwart headman, a scrappy insectivore hiver, an eerie priestess, a manic lackey, and a brutal warlord. It’s a big, epic battle-axes-and-blasters sci-fi fantasy, and you’re going to love it.

Marvel.com: Should we expect to see familiar faces from the original PLANET HULK story?

Greg Pak: Since we’re on the other side of the planet, we won’t see exact characters from the original PLANET HULK. But this fits right into all that worldbuilding we did for PLANET HULK, so you’ll see folks from the various species we established during that story. And you’ll see a disturbing perversion of the myths and legends we introduced there too.

You’ll see a Marvel hero you might have wished appeared in the original PLANET HULK. I’ll say no more, but definitely don’t miss issues #711 and #712!

I’d also like to plug the gorgeous work of Greg Land, inker Jay Leisten, and colorist Frank Darmata. They’re taking the original designs and worldbuilding for PLANET HULK and putting their own spin on them in this new part of the world—it’s just gorgeous stuff.

Marvel.com: What has been most exciting about this return to Sakaar?

Greg Pak: I absolutely loved working on PLANET HULK back in the day. It remains one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had making comics, and I’m thrilled to have a chance to dig back into that world whenever the opportunity presents itself. With this particular story, it’s a kick throwing Amadeus into the mix, because he was famously one of the few heroes crazy enough to side with the Hulk during WORLD WAR HULK. So there’s a bit of a comeuppance here—a chance to see how Amadeus handles the kind of brutal world that the Banner Hulk endured. There’s a lot of delicious and scary stuff to dig in with that kind of set up, and I’m having a blast.

I should also note that if you’re digging this vibe, please do check out the “Planet Hulk” prose novel that hits stores on October 4! I got pulled on board to write it last year, and if you dug the original PLANET HULK, I think you’re going to love the prose novel. We got a chance to dig a lot deeper into all kinds of aspects of the story and try some surprising new things. Check it out!

INCREDIBLE HULK #709, by Greg Pak and artist Greg Land, crash lands on October 18!

Meet the Super Heroes of Marvel Day at Sea: Thor

The premiere of Marvel Day at Sea is just around the corner! Marvel fans will want to join us as we count down to this epic celebration on select cruises aboard the Disney Magic.

In the coming weeks, we’re featuring some of the mighty Marvel Super Heroes you can meet onboard during the daylong event, giving you insights into who they are and how you can get some face time with them.

Today, we’re making way for the god of thunder… Thor!

Hailing from the mythical realm of Asgard, Thor wields one of the greatest weapons ever made, the enchanted hammer Mjolnir. Thor is smart, compassionate and self-assured, and he will never, ever stop fighting for a worthwhile cause. Often at odds with his half-brother Loki, Thor is a self-proclaimed protector of Earth and a founding member of the Avengers.

During Marvel Day at Sea, you may have a heroic encounter with Thor as he wields his powerful hammer Mjölnir around the ship or see him in another epic battle with his brother Loki in the nighttime deck show.  In Marvel’s Avengers Academy, young guests can come face-to-face with the mighty Thor to discover what it takes to become a true hero. In a special youth activity, Thor teaches kids the path to becoming worthy through strength, knowledge and compassion.

Stay tuned to meet more Super Heroes assembling for Marvel Day at Sea, which premieres on select 7- and 8-night Disney Cruise Line sailings from New York this fall, and returns on select 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in early 2018.