This week’s ‘She-Hulk’ sets up some big Marvel villain debuts

This week’s She-Hulk is so unimportant in the short term that it actually made fun of it being a minor, standalone episode. Even before the opening credits, Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) breaks the fourth wall to announce that she’s taking an inopportune break from the show’s ongoing stories to attend an old friend’s wedding.

In a way, it was a fake. While most of the episode was indeed a light-hearted lark, the show ended with a tease that could end up introducing (or in one or two cases reintroducing) live-action versions of some of the most famous and powerful villains in all Marvel Comics. They would be the “Intelligencia”, another group of supervillains previously featured in Marvel books and name-checked at the end of episode 5 of She-Hulk: Lawyer.

SHE-HULK: LAWYER
Marvel

In the show, Intelligencia is the name of a Reddit-like website where internet trolls gather to exchange mean GIFs and memes about She-Hulk. Jen’s colleague Mallory (Renee Elise Golsberry) dismisses the site as yet another pointless source of internet hate. But Jen’s best friend Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga) isn’t sure it’s all so innocent. And she’s right, because at the end of the episode we see glimpses of some mysterious villains preparing a giant syringe to take She-Hulk’s blood for an experiment.

It’s possible Nikki knows not to trust Intelligencia because she’s read Marvel Comics, where it’s the name of a group of genius supervillains who occasionally get together to share information and often use it against Hulk. Here they are on the cover of the 2009 miniseries Hulk’s fall.

Marvel.com describes the group thus:

They are some of the most brilliant minds on the planet, and some of the most dangerous criminals too. United, they can achieve things denied to them on their own, and the world would be at the mercy of Intelligencia.

The group was the brainchild of Leader, Hulk’s most persistent antagonist in Marvel Comics. It’s him in the orange pantsuit and the giant green knuckle at the top. He has been exposed to gamma radiation just like the Hulk, but he made his brain stronger instead of his muscles. The other members of the crew, from left to right, are Doctor Doom, MODOK, the Red Ghost, the Mad Thinker, Egghead, and the Wizard. (The giant gorillas are “Super-Apes” who have been exposed to the same cosmic rays that gave the Fantastic Four their powers. Now they serve Red Ghost, who also has cosmic powers, because comics are the absolute best.)

Although it is too early to say which if any of these evils we will see in She-Hulks version of Intelligencia, there is one who seems like a very safe bet: The Leader. Not only is he the character with the biggest chip on his shoulder when it comes to Hulks, but also because Marvel has already announced that the character who first appeared on screen way back in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk will return to the MCU in the near future. Tim Blake Nelson, who played the leader (or at least his human alter ego, Samuel Sterns) in the Incredible Hulk has been announced as villain by Captain America: New World Orderwhich will be in theaters on May 3, 2024.

She-Hulk seems ready for a surprise re-debut of the leader, in much the same way Loki concluded on a surprise cameo from Jonathan Majors’ Kang ahead of his official first appearance in the MCU in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Some of the other members of the Intelligencia are pretty unlikely – although it would be cool to see She-Hulk fight some Super Apes.

New episodes of She-Hulk premiere weekly on Thursdays on Disney+. Sign up for the service here.

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