Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Axel Alenso took to Twitter this afternoon to casually drop an ominous new image of scientists working on something called “Batch-H”—which is clearly a hybrid between the Incredible Hulk and Wolverine, given the frame of the unrevealed figure inside and, well, the honking-great adamantium claws sticking out of its hands.
The idea of experimenting with recreating Wolverine in different forms is hardly new to the Marvel comics universe—after all, that’s how we got X-23 in the first place. And both Hulk and Wolverine have a long history together, considering Wolverine himself first appeared in the pages of The Incredible Hulk #180 in 1974, making his first full appearance an issue later.
But what the hell is going on here? In current continuity, neither Bruce Banner nor Logan are around (sort of). Bruce himself, after seemingly curing himself of Hulkouts, was killed during the events of Civil War II. Meanwhile, Logan himself has been dead since 2014's aptly titled Death of Wolverine storyline—and not only has X-23 stepped up to claim the mantle of Wolverine herself, there’s an alternate version Logan, from Marvel’s Old Man Logan reality, running around with the current X-Men to boot. This isn’t even the first time we’ve seen a Hulk/Wolverine fusion: in the Secret Wars spinoff miniseries Civil War, which imagined a world where the original Tony Stark/Steve Rogers conflict never ended, Logan had at some point transformed himself into a Hulk character too:
So what is Marvel teasing with this new image—a return to that Civil War reality? An entirely new amalgam character? A return for either one of these fallen heroes? Something else entirely? Since we literally have no other information beyond Alonso’s tweet, it’s time to begin wildly speculating in the comments below.