This post contains spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode six
Six episodes in, the greatest strength of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has been its relatively low stakes. Instead of focusing on universe-destroying villains found in the movies, or even the wayward gods and crime kingpins found in Moon Knight or Hawkeye, She-Hulk‘s most consistent antagonist has been Titania, a superpowered influencer who does evil for the likes. But in episode six, the show introduced a team who may be a driving force in Phase Five of the MCU.
At first glance, “Just Jen” follows the model set by previous She-Hulk episodes, splitting time between Jen contending with a bridezilla and Nikki and Mallory dealing with another legal case with a goofy superhero. But the B-plot also reveals the existence of a website called Intelligencia, which has greater implications for the rest of the MCU.
Intelligencia initially seems very much like the type of fan website that would exist in a world filled with superheroes: an unpleasant gossip site that posts rumors, videos, and unattractive photos of them.
But in the episode’s final scene, we dissolve from Jen enjoying a flirtatious moment to a computer monitor where her interaction is being recorded. At first, it seems like the mysterious watcher is waiting to upload the next bit of buzz to the website, but a look at the open windows surrounding the video reveal DNA analysis and other biological info, complete with a message from someone called “HulkKing,” asking about “the next phase.” A pullout reveals the computer to be in a lab filled with scientists analyzing green blood. And in case anyone missed the intent of these scientists, the scene ends with a thundering ominous music sting.
While not the most well-known group in the Marvel Universe, the Intelligencia have played a significant role in the comics. First introduced in 2009’s Fall of the Hulks: Alpha #1 (written by Jeff Parker and drawn by Paul Pelletier), the Intelligencia are a collection of super-geniuses and evil scientists. Think the Illuminati, but evil and more sciencey (and not the Cabal). The Intelligencia’s members tend to include Fantastic Four villains Red Ghost, the Mad Thinker, and the Wizard, M.O.D.O.K., and Hulk baddie the Leader.
To anyone who’s been following recent MCU announcements, that last name should stand out. Scientist Samuel Sterns appeared in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk played by Tim Blake Nelson, a man who takes a deep interest in Bruce Banner’s radioactive blood. When we last saw Sterns, samples of Banner’s blood had leaked into a wound on his head, which began to change size as Nelson looked at the camera with a sinister grin. Nelson will be returning to the role soon as the Leader, a master strategist and genius, for Captain America: New World Order. As of yet, we don’t know what his plan will be or how it involves new Cap Sam Wilson. But it appears that he’s getting a head start by experimenting on Jen.
Fans might also take note of M.O.D.O.K., though not from his short-lived Hulu show. M.O.D.O.K., the Mental Organism Designed Only For Killing, usually appears in comics as the leader of Advanced Idea Mechanics, last seen in the MCU in Iron Man 3. He’ll be one of the bad guys in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, rumored to be played by a returning Corey Stoll as mutated version of Yellowjacket.
While both of these characters will be major players in the MCU’s fifth phase, the others seem like a better fit for She-Hulk‘s sense of humor. The Mad Thinker is a guy in a green jumpsuit who does indeed think and is indeed mad. He creates lackies called Awesome Androids, one of whom became a delightful partner to Jen in the comics. Red Ghost is a scientist whose attempts to replicate the Fantastic Four’s transformations leave him with the ability to control “Super-Apes.” Both of these characters seem well-suited to a bizarre lawsuit, while M.O.D.O.K. and the Leader are more major threats.