Every so often, there comes a tale -- with equal parts passion and pathos, with equal parts pride and prejudice -- that not only redefines what a character has meant throughout the already visited pages upon pages of illustrated storylines but also re-establishes the hero as a dominant force for storytellers, readers, the company's universe, and (arguably) the entire comic book industry. PLANET HULK is such a masterpiece.
It's difficult to talk about the adventure without giving too many elements best left revealed and explored by the reader. This trade paperback -- collecting issues of the HULK's monthly run as well as a few additional installments from other sources -- has more welcome twists and turns than any good piece of literature could hope for. Briefly, earth's (Marvel) superheroes have reached the breaking point in their inactions with the Hulk; fearing that the 'monster' could eventually turn the immeasureable dark fury against mankind, they construct a spaceship to send him to an unpopulated world in deep space where the Hulk can live out his days in isolation. The problem: not only does it make the Hulk angry ("you won't like me when I'm angry"), but also he's delivered to the wrong planet ... this one ruled by a 'Ming-the-Merciless' type who forced his citizens to fight-to-the-death ritualistically in huge arena. Think of the movie GLADIATOR ... only in space ... with dozens of alien creatures ... and with an even unhappier ending with the smoothest cliffhanger this side of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Really, that's all I should say. To reveal more would truly spoil the surprise, the PLANET HULK is full of them. This is one story for the ages, and it's best experienced by the audience.
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