She-Hulk: The Intelligencia explained

The Intelligencia in Marvel Comics
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

She-Hulk episode 6 is now streaming, and though the show is still focusing more on sitcom-style episodes than a major superhero plot, the episode introduces The Intelligencia, its second supervillain team so far, following the debut of the Wrecking Crew in episode 4.

As Jenn attends a friend's wedding, her co-workers Nikki and Mallory uncover a misogynist anti-She-Hulk website known as The Intelligencia - which by the episode's end is seemingly revealed as something far more sinister than a simple message board.

In comic books, the Intelligencia are a group of super-intelligent villains, including the Leader, who have an involved history with the Hulks - and are, in fact, the same villains responsible for the creation of the Red Hulk.

With a membership counting some of the greatest Marvel villains of all time, including the aforementioned Leader, MODOK, and even Doctor Doom, the Intelligencia forms one of the greatest but least known threats in the Marvel Universe, with a hidden role in everything from the first Secret Wars event to the creation of numerous Hulks.

Now, with She-Hulk potentially seeding a more comics-accurate version of the group than simply using the name for an anti-She-Hulk website, we've got all the knowledge you need to prepare for the potential reveal of the Intelligencia in the MCU.

Who are the Intelligencia?

The Intelligencia in Marvel Comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Despite the probably intentional misspelling of their group name (the actual word for a group of smart people is technically spelled 'intelligentsia'), the Intelligencia is composed of some of the most diabolically brilliant villains in the Marvel Universe.

Introduced in 2009's Fall of the Hulks: Alpha one-shot, the team was originally founded years in the past in secret by the Hulk's arch-enemy the Leader along with fellow mad scientists the Red Ghost, the Mad Thinker, the Wizard, and Egghead. The Intelligencia's first big experiment involved stealing ancient, lost knowledge from Olympia, home of the Eternals; Atlantis, home of Namor; and Wakanda, home of the Black Panther using technology that allowed them to enter all three places undetected.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The Intelligencia take the stolen discoveries to Doctor Doom's kingdom of Latveria, bringing him into the secret group. But their long-term mission is almost thwarted when Egghead dies in battle with the Avengers - after which the Leader brings MODOK into the group.

Now reformed, the group begins conducting experiments with advanced technology meant to bring Vibranium to Earth from space, much like how it originally landed in Wakanda as a massive meteor. This attracts the attention of the Beyonder, leading to the first 1984-85 Secret Wars event. The Intelligencia's involvement was retroactively added into Marvel continuity similar to the way the Illuminati were retroactively shown to have influenced Marvel history.

From there, the group plays a hidden role in numerous smaller events throughout Marvel history - until Doom betrays them, leading them to later seek revenge on him by temporarily draining his intellect.

But that wasn't the end of the Intelligencia, for it was with the departure of Doom from the group that they began making Hulks, starting with MODOK convincing a dying Leader to take up one last experiment: the creation of the Red Hulk.

The Intelligencia in the Marvel Universe

The Intelligencia in Marvel Comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

When Hulk returns to Earth after the events of Planet Hulk, in which he was exiled to the planet Sakaar, he declares war on Earth's heroes in the 2007 story World War Hulk. At the end of WWH, the Gamma energy that once infused Bruce Banner with the power to become the Hulk is drained from his body by a special satellite weapon designed by Tony Stark.

But unbeknownst to Stark, the Intelligencia are retroactively shown to have hacked into his satellite, allowing them to steal the stored Gamma radiation rather than lettingit to dissipate into space. 

From there, the group figures out how to combine Gamma radiation and Cosmic Energy (the strange force that gave the Fantastic Four their powers) to create their own Hulks, enlisting Bruce Banner's longtime enemy General Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross to undergo a process to turn him into the Red Hulk, who possesses not just Gamma powers, but the ability to absorb and disperse Cosmic Energy.

The group doesn't stop there, however. In their quest to destroy the Hulk once and for all by creating their own ultra-powerful Gamma mutates, the Intelligencia turn Bruce's ex-wife Betty Ross into the Red She-Hulk as well as turning his old friend Rick Jones into A-Bomb, an Abomination-esque mutate with his own explosive powers.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

During the course of the long feud between the Hulks and the Intelligencia, She-Hulk almost dies at the hands of Red She-Hulk, first being caught in a massive explosion, then seemingly having her neck snapped by Red She-Hulk - though Jenn actually survives and is briefly captured by the group.

Though this plan did almost eventually destroy the Hulk, the Intelligencia was defeated, while the Red Hulk was captured and put into the service of the US government. Later, the new-and-improved MODOK Superior formed a new incarnation of the group, killing most of the original members - though he also later revived them.

In the years since, the group has tangled with everyone from Deadpool to Doctor Doom in a brief stint during which he was operating as Iron Man, with their fight against Doom seemingly ending the original Intelligencia for good.

However, a New Intelligencia was later formed including the Leader, Mister Sinister, MODOK Superior, and the Mad Thinker, who fought the short-lived monster commanding hero Kid Kaiju, as well as the teen superhero group the Champions.

The Intelligencia in the MCU

She-Hulk episode 6 screenshot

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Our first introduction to the Intelligencia in the MCU comes in the form of a website, called 'Intelligencia,' which hosts an anti-She-Hulk message board full of misogynist death threats against her. But that just seems to be the surface, as the site appears to be connected to a group of so far anonymous scientists working to get their hands on her blood.

With the MCU return of the Leader now planned for Captain America: New World Order, it's hard not to envision a connection between the introduction of the Intelligencia and the return of the long-lost Hulk villain. 

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Considering the MCU Intelligencia's already established hunt for She-Hulk's blood seemingly driving the series' biggest underlying plotline, and the apparent influence of Planet Hulk/World War Hulk on Bruce Banner's involvement in the show, it's also easy to imagine where the plotline might go - including the possible introduction of the Red Hulk at some point.

And, of course, there's the matter of the group's roster. Though the Leader is the most obvious connection, it's also worth noting that MODOK will appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania - and we can't help but wonder if Doctor Doom could be thrown in there somehow, perhaps even in She-Hulk. She was a member of the Fantastic Four for a while, after all.

Whatever comes of the Intelligencia in She-Hulk, it's impossible to discount all the ways the group's comic book connections could be brought to the MCU.

Read up on the best She-Hulk comics ever.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)