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World War Hulk is the comic book equivalent of a summer action movie: long on action and fun, but short on plot. If that appeals to you, then grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy! Pretty much the same thing happens in all 5 issues: a succession of Marvel's heroes all line up to stop the Hulk, who's madder than he's ever been -- and one by one, they all fail. Up until the last issue, which seemed a little cliched (see spoiler alert below).
The Hulk has always been one of my favorite characters, and it was nice to see him in a big "event" comic which affects other Marvel characters. Then again, it doesn't really affect other characters much, because, by the end, lots of people have been beat up, and lots of property damage has occurred, but nothing else really changes. Nobody dies, nobody's life is changed, and the status quo is pretty much the same at the end as the beginning.
The fact that the Hulk is prepared to wipe out the entire eastern seaboard makes it a little hard to root for him. And the fact that no heroes have any success at stopping him makes the storyline seem a little repetitive -- like it doesn't really matter what anybody tries next, because the result is only going to be the same as with the last hero who tried. That is, until the last issue, when ...[SPOILER ALERT]... the Sentry fights Hulk to a standstill, and the Hulk finally calms down. Sentry is referred to all throughout the book as one of the Hulk's closest friends, and the one character who could always calm Hulk down, which does build up anticipation for the final battle, but to me it also raised another question: Who in the world is the Sentry?Read more ›
After the tragic events of the spectacular Planet Hulk, Marvel's green goliath returns to Earth with revenge on his mind in World War Hulk. Setting his sights on the ones that tricked him and shot him into space: Tony "Iron Man" Stark, Reed "Mr. Fantastic" Richards, Doctor Strange, and the Black Bolt, the Hulk takes on all those that stand in his way (including the New Avengers, the rest of the Fantastic Four, and more) as he and his Warbound turn New York City (and Madison Square Garden) into a total warzone. While the overall story of World War Hulk is great fun, the story as a whole just feels short. While there are a number of tie-in's to the event (but thankfully not as many as there were with Civil War), the main World War Hulk story just feels like there is a lot missing, especially the involvement of Hercules, who you will find plays a pretty big role in other featured tie-in's. While it isn't the classic that Planet Hulk was, writer Greg Pak still continues to be the best Hulk writer since Peter David (and Bruce Jones to a lesser degree), and the artwork from the great John Romita Jr. and veteran inker Klaus Janson impresses, even in the cataclysmic final battle between the Hulk and the Sentry, which is the comic art equivalent of an exploding sun. All in all, World War Hulk may be too short, but it is an enjoyable Marvel event, and ends up being more satisfying than Civil War ever ended up being.
Although it was short (especially in comparison to the year-long "Planet Hulk" epic that preceded it), "World War Hulk" is a very satisfying, action-packed read. This is exactly the kind of story that long-time Hulk fans will love: one by one, Hulk wipes the floor with almost all the other Marvel heros. Been waiting to see the jolly green giant peel Iron Man's armor off like a grape? That's the first big fight. The Avengers, FF, Doctor Strange and others follow. Black Bolt is a mere footnote to the main action. Particularly satisfying is a bare-knuckles smackdown with the Thing that has some of the best action art I've ever seen in a comic: John Romita Jr.'s use of computer-enhanced effects, particularly blurring effects, is stunning, and gives these issues a kinetic texture that we used to have to dream about. I thought this was a completely satisfying action epic. Not sure what the end meant, but I'm ready for the next graphic novel, so I can find out! (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain book reviews)
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Hulk was sent away from Earth in a spaceship by Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Dr Strange, and Black Bolt, because he's too dangerous/unstable. He winds up on an alien planet where he goes from being a gladiator to their king, falling in love and becoming a father (all of these events take place in "Planet Hulk"). That is until the spaceship he arrived in blows up killing a million of his alien chums along with his pregnant wife. Oh Hulk is maaaaaaaaaaaaad. So here he goes, on a new spaceship headed straight for Earth to begin... World War Hulk!
Whenever I meet people who snort and turn their noses up when I mention that I'm a grown man who enjoys reading comics, I make the argument that comics are more than simply men in tights flying around the place doing impossible things (though a Superman book here and there is great fun); comics are a more sophisticated, complex, and infinitely artistic medium than to be dismissed outright as serious literature. Superhero comics too have come a long way since the Golden Age and are more than just toy figures fighting one another - just look at the work of Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, and so on.
But books like "World War Hulk" undermine my argument because in this book Hulk batters one hero after another until it becomes representative of the worst excesses the medium offers. It is the stereotype that people who don't read comics think of when you mention comics. Hulks fights Black Bolt and wins; he fights Iron Man and wins; he fights the Fantastic Four and wins; it's just so tedious to read. Hulk smash, blah blah blah, who thought this was a good idea? Is the Hulk literally invulnerable? It seems so.Read more ›
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