21 August 2008

Hulk: World War Hulk (Marvel, 2008)

What is it: All five issues of the World War Hulk limited series collected in one book.

What is it about?: Hulk returns to Earth and inflicts grievous bodily harm to a lot of Marvel superheroes especially those whom he blames for his forced exile, namely Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Dr. Strange and Iron Man.

Is it any good?: Tastes vary, obviously. Plus, you need to know what the hell Hulk's angry about. Go read the excellent Planet Hulk first. But if you expect nothing from your superhero comics other than mindless face punching and ass kicking then this book was written for you! Plus, if you sided with Captain America's team during Marvel's Civil War then WWH is your wet dream come true. Sure, nothing changes in the end (c'mon, that's a given) but the side that won during the Civil War gets Hulk-smashed so bad that it has to be a reader with no emotions at all who would not shout, "Who's the bitch now, Tony? Huh?" while reading WWH.

Newbie friendly?: I'm gonna go with "NO". This is the main problem with crossovers from Marvel and DC but that's for another thread. If you want to enjoy World War Hulk, I'd recommend reading the aforementioned Planet Hulk first. Also Civil War, but only if you have money to burn and/or a masochist.

But I can't afford Planet Hulk and the rest. Can't you give me a brief recap here instead?: Oh, all right. You see, it turns out that Black Bolt, Iron Man, Dr. Strange and Mr. Fantastic all agreed that the Hulk is a menace and for his and Earth's own good they decided that Hulk should be shot into space. So they tricked Hulk into entering a shuttle and blasted him off the planet. He subsequently landed on the planet Sakaar where he was enslaved, escaped, became a resistance leader and finally became king. He made friends and even had a wife. Made her pregnant too. But the shuttle that brought him to Sakaar exploded and bye-bye pregnant wife (and about a million other inhabitants). Hulk mad. When Hulk mad, Hulk smash. Hulk and friends board new shuttle and fly to Earth.

Who are the talents?: Greg Pak wrote it. He also wrote the Planet Hulk storyline so the whole damn show was his baby. John Romita Jr. handled the pencils with Klaus Janson inking. I'm not a huge fan of JRjr (I don't hate his style, just not a big fan) but he's perfect here. His pencils suit a dark story which World War Hulk surely is.

Anything good came out of this series?: Yes. The Incredible Hulk comic was re-titled Incredible Hercules (but the numbering was not reset to #1). When they heard that, fanboys went "Whu?" as per usual and rolled their eyes even before reading the darn thing. And when they did, they found it to be good. I'll probably review the Herc' book soon.

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