May 13, 2007
Review: The Incredible Hulk, issue #106 and World War Hulk, Prologue #1
Pak, Frank for #106 and David, Rio, and Weeks for #1
2 out of 4 stars (both). WORLD WAR HULK: Weapons of Mass Destruction trying to find themselves.
Planet Hulk is over. I still need to review that. Oh well. Now we have a new arc. Hulk gets his payback. Slowly. Over numerous titles. If revenge is a dish best served cold, then Hulk's certainly will be by the time this arc is finished. Each issue of Incredible Hulk I'll combine the other titles released that week into a part-by-part summary. Read Incredible Hulk #106 first and then World War Hulk #1 .
If you missed the previous Planet Hulk, the current arc does so much referencing that you don't need to go back and read it; yet, there is so little story here, even spread out over two issues. Basically what has happened: Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Doc Strange, Prof. X, and Black Bolt (The Illuminati) all conspired to have Hulk banished to another world; problems happened; Hulk's spaceship lands on an inhabited world. Of red-skinned jerks. While slowly regenerating his power, he is forced to become a gladiator, a rebel, and an emperor. He also gets a new girlfriend; she gets pregnant; then Hulk's world and his new family get wiped out; Hulk gets what few new friends he has and boards another spaceship back to Earth.
Incredible Hulk #106 features not Hulk, but Doc Samson and She-Hulk. This issue re-tells the story from Amadeus Cho perspective as he attempts to convince She-Hulk (a de-gammaed Jen Walters) and us the audience what really happened to Hulk. That is, why he should be allowed to go medieval on his foes. Gary Frank's art is always nice. Good clean work that brings out the personalities of each character. I like his treatment of the old Bruce Jones Hulk (bald and green) from a flashback. Still, there's not much that happens here. A short and sweet fight between She-Hulk and Doc Samson. I am not fond of Pak's characterization of Samson. Ok, he's a doofus. But he comes off as a real jerk. Too much so. He's not the rounded character that we have come to know through Peter David's writing. 2 stars here: it's a lot of talky-talky without much new story.
World War Hulk #1 covers the ship travelling lightspeed to Earth and shows how Hulk's rage is so unfocussed he is a threat even to his friends. Here, Hulk learns how to properly channel his rage. Makes you wonder what good Doc Samson ever did for him after all those years of therapy. Nothing much happens in WWH #1 -- Hulk just slaughters more bug-like aliens and fills in the backstory. He's running an emotional treadmill to get fit for the big battle. We pay $3.99 for this and a goofy "bonus" comics at the end.
Along the way we also get Hulk's perspective on the previous story -- Peter David here takes us all the way back to the late 60s with re-takes on events in Hulk cameoes in early Avengers and Fantastic Four stories. I was surprised this aspect of Marvel continuity was referenced. It is refreshing -- reminds us that Tony Stark and Reed Richards have actually been jerks long before Civil War started. Nevertheless, I just cannot buy into this characterization that the Editorial Board has been pushing down our throats this long. What we're getting here is setup for a long, long multi-issue run where Hulk will battle Earth's Heroes in a Great Big Superhero Misunderstanding. They used to do this in 1-2 issues back in the 70s. Now it takes Marvel all of its resources, and a year of comics apparently, to have a earth-shatterin' fight. It's nice to have Peter David back on the book. He always has the characters fail to realize, through their too-talkyness, what they really feel and should do. That's the humanity of Peter David's writing. It makes a so-so Hulk book here. Why does Hulk have to sit on his hands throughout his own comic book?