Angry about his so-called friends shooting him into space. The Hulk is stronger than he has ever been, and now, he has finally returned to Earth with vengeance on his mind, and a rage that can rip the planet in half. After invading the Moon and smashing Black Bolt, he hovers his ship over New York City, and demands that Ironman, Mr. Fantastic, and Dr. Strange surrender in 24 hours, or he's going to destroy the planet. Earth's heroes as well as the military scramble to find any means possible to either stop or kill the Hulk. -summary
World War Hulk written by Greg Pak is the consequences of the final events that took place in Planet Hulk. The Hulk had become king of the planet Sakaar, and found happiness together with his new queen Caiera. Tragedy struck and the entire city was destroyed killing millions due to a bomb planted inside of the shuttle he was shot off in. Hulk is convinced that the Illuminati were behind it. The plot is pretty straightforward as it follows the Hulk battling one threat after the other. It feels like a typical rampaging Hulk story, except this time, his attacks are planned and he's fully aware of what he's doing. During all of this, one question constantly arises; who can stop the Hulk? There's only one man who can possibly do it, and it happens to be the most powerful being on Earth... The Sentry.
Before this story took place, the Sentry was pretty well built up as a serious powerhouse; as he managed to take down one of Spiderman's most dangerous foes Carnage, and he did with it ease, by taking him into Earth's orbit and ripping him in half. It was also said that he once stalemated Galactus. Numerous times through out the story, he's approached by someone almost begging him to stop the Hulk's assault, because he's supposedly the only one who was ever able to calm him down, and can probably even beat him.
The story builds on the inevitable encounter with Sentry mainly as a side plot just screaming for resolution. While the main plot sees Hulk taking on Ironman, the Fantastic Four, and together with the Warbound, the Avengers. The military led by General "Thunderbolt" Ross takes a huge crack at the Hulk, and they try to shoot him to oblivion with adamantium laced bullets.
Greg Pak doesn't shoot for the intricate form of storytelling found in Planet Hulk. Oh no, there's nothing really thought provoking here, it's just in your face mindless fun, and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way because this is the Hulk's true element. Despite the feel of the summer blockbuster action movie, there are plenty of traces of character development, with the heroes realizing this is a problem they created and they must put an end to it. For some reason, the story just has this "it's going to end right here and now" feel. The only real problem I have is with the Sentry really. Now don't get me wrong, it's an epic battle between the two, but it just felt like something was missing.
John Romita Jr.'s artwork is really good and the colors are so vivid. I like the attention to detail with the darker colors to compliment the night time. There's also very good direction in the use of bold and lighter lines, everything appears to be a nice fit. Character designs are very good with focus on facial expressions. The Hulk truly appears to be a monster on a mission with a bone to pick. The action panels can be very good, and the blows are very brutal, however, the gore isn't very graphic.
There are moments in the narrative were it's clear that this story contains crossovers, in which it does. I won't say that they're all necessary, but there are several stories out there that either feature more action, or adds to the character development. I had fun with some of them, while others are skip material. Thankfully, the crossovers are not as vast as let's say Civil War. It's still very possible to read this story, and move on to something else unless you're a serious fan of the Hulk and this particular storyline.
Overall, World War Hulk is a solid follow up and for the first time in years, the Hulk really does have a good damn reason to be enraged. I really enjoyed this storyline despite the serious comic book critics panning it for being simple. In some cases, simple is actually good, and in the case of Hulk, you can take the brainiac storyline but so far. The book does try to be newbie friendly here and there, by adding some background in small places mentioning Civil War moments, explaining why some of the public hates Ironman and his pals. This bit of info is useful. In any case, it's a fun romp and I've read it several times. Recommended.
-Fast paced story, action, artwork
-Not too crazy about some elements playing into the ending
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