Immortal bigamists, a doggie groomsmen, and the Electric slide – let’s face it, the latest episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law had a lot to unpack. However, while we were all watching the She-Hulk vs Titania rematch, or laughing at Mr. Immortal’s divorce proceedings, the episode 'Just Jen' may have introduced the season’s big bad. Unbeknownst to Jen, she is being watched by a group called Intelligencia. What is this mysterious group, and what does their presence mean for the MCU?
What is Intelligencia?
Intelligencia is a supervillain team consisting of some of the Marvel Universe’s most intelligent villains. In some ways it can be considered a dark mirror of the Illuminati, the think tank of Marvel’s smartest heroes. Intelligencia was first introduced in the 2009 comic Fall of the Hulks: Alpha. The group was led by the Leader, a Hulk villain dating back to the Silver Age. The Leader reasoned that by combining all these villains' intel, there would be no limit to what they could accomplish, hence the name Intelligencia.
The original incarnation of the team consisted of the Leader, Wizard, Red Ghost, M.O.D.O.K., Egghead, and Mad Thinker. Flashbacks throughout their first appearance reveal that the group has been pulling the strings behind the scenes in the Marvel Universe for decades. For example, Intelligencia played a hidden role in the origin of Venom, making sure the alien symbiote was able to survive on Earth. Hulk #23 (2010) revealed that the group was also responsible for transforming General Ross into the Red Hulk.
Most of the Intelligencia’s schemes involved the pursuit of knowledge. One of their earliest missions was a quest to recover the fabled lost Library of Alexandria. After numerous defeats caused the original group to disband, the Leader formed a new incarnation of the group in Monsters Unleashed #1 (2017). This version of the group was called New Intelligencia and consisted of the Leader, Mad Thinker, Awesome Android, M.O.D.O.K. Superior, and Mister Sinister.
How Intelligencia fits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Although the latest episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law put Intelligencia in the spotlight, the group has actually been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2015. During the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron a reference to Intelligencia can briefly be seen in Ulysses Klaue’s dossier. According to the briefing folder, Klaue was once associated with the group but left sometime before the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. This was the last reference to the mysterious group until the She-Hulk episode 'Just Jen.'
She-Hulk’s associates Nikki Ramos and Mallory Brook first become aware of Intelligencia when one of Mr. Immortal’s many ex-wives mentions their website during divorce negotiations. Nikki and Mallory get curious and check out the website for themselves. At first, it appears Intelligencia is less of a supervillain group and more of an internet hate message board. The website is filled with angry memes about She-Hulk, with some anonymous users plotting ways to harm or kill her. This alarms Nikki, who calls Jen to warn her.
The final scene of the episode reveals that Intelligencia is far more dangerous than it originally appears. One of the users can be seen spying on Jen through a hidden camera. This figure then packs up what appears to be a syringe, presumably to steal She-Hulk’s blood. This ties into episode 3, where the Wrecking Crew attacked Jennifer, and unsuccessfully tried to steal her blood with a syringe. The broken syringe from that encounter can be seen on the desk of this mysterious Intelligencia member.
Since we can’t see this Intelligencia member’s face, it’s possible they might be a notable member from the comics. Could this be the return of Tim Blake Nelson as the Leader? Nelson previously played Dr. Samuel Sterns (aka the Leader) in the 2018 film The Incredible Hulk. Nelson is set to return in the 2024 film Captain America: New World Order, but maybe we’ll be seeing him in She-Hulk first. Whoever this unseen figure is, they seem to be very interested in Jen’s blood. This tracks with Stern’s characterization in The Incredible Hulk, where he studied Bruce Banner’s blood.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law may be a comedy, but it’s clear that Intelligencia is being set up as a serious threat. In fact, it’s possible the show might have just revealed its big bad, and this may even have major ramifications for the greater MCU. With 3 episodes of She-Hulk left this season, we’ll be watching for Intelligencia with great interest.
Want to learn more about She-Hulk Comics? Check out this Popverse article: The Sensational She-Hulk: Metafiction in the Mighty Marvel Manner