I Don't Hate This: a review of World War Hulk (thus far).
Whatta surprise: World War Hulk has been kinda awesome thus far. I mean, not the greatest thing ever, and perhaps not even truly great in and of itself, but compared to the other big crossovers Marvel and DC have hoisted upon the public in the past couple of years, it’s really damn good. I’m sure most of the tie-ins and ancillary miniseries will blow, but the core stories, written by Greg Pak and appearing in Incredible Hulk and the World War Hulk mini and prologue, have been tremendous fun. It’s completely goofball, of course, but it fully commits to the goofballery, which is vitally necessary.
But yes, based on the track record of these things, and the fact that I’ve never cared for the Hulk (outside of the Defenders, when he was dumber than shit, like a big green Jim Thome), I totally expected WWH to suck. It definitely got off on the wrong foot, over a year ago, when they started laying the groundwork for both WWH and the preceding storyline Planet Hulk. In 2006 the overrated writer Brian Michael Bendis introduced the concept of “the Illuminati”, basically a group of Marvel’s smartest and most powerful heroes who each represented a different faction of the Marvel universe. Iron Man represents the main body of costumed heroes, Mr. Fantastic is the top scientist around, Dr. Strange is the greatest wizard since Doug Henning, Professor X clamps the lid down on them mutants with his mind
, Black Bolt’s just kickin’ it on the moon, and Namor the Sub-Mariner is the unrivalled champ of all the dicks and assholes in the realm (plus Atlantis too or something.) But so they start having these shadowy meetings after major universe-shaking events, going all the way back to the end of the first Kree-Skrull war, which happened in like 1970, real world time. They think they know what’s best for everybody, and since all their meetings have been written by Bendis, almost all of them are written horribly out of character. But so after the Hulk goes on some rampage somewhere, and blows up a refinery or something with the Abomination’s head, these dudes decide it’s time to get the Hulk the hell away from America by blasting him into outer space. Prof X ain’t at that meeting, though, and Hulk’s old Defenders teammate Namor angrily storms off from the meeting in question, making Iron Man, Fantastic, Strange, and Black Bolt the major culprits in the plot. So Hulk’s shot into space, where his ship lands on some crazed gladiator planet somewhere, and over the course of the next year (our time; probably be a day in comics time by 2050) he fights his way up from slave to emperor, just in time for the planet to get ‘sploded along with his new wife and unborn Hulk-child. Apparently the ship he arrived in had some sort of nuclear core reactor failsafe plot point detonator thing, destroying all that Hulk knew and loved and enjoyed and doted upon, and thus sending him into a fit of apoplectic fury unseen since this thing here
. He flies his ass back to Earth (through SUPER HULK MAGIC) and decides to batter the four guys responsible into complete and endless death, along with however many billions of random dudes get in his way while going to get themselves a burger, or whatever. So there’s your background, all you non-comics-reading ignorami who frequent this site.
This would be a good idea for a story, actually, if it didn’t make some of the smartest dudes around look like soulless assholes. Even if Dr. Strange is involved, Genocide is NOT cool, whether it's inadvertent or not, and turning the GREATEST FICTIONAL CHARACTER OF ALL TIME (his name rhymes with Proctor Flange) into even a sorta possible bad guy is some hopeless horseshit. So hopefully you can understand my hesitation and dismay at the prospects of World War Hulk.
But yes, that dismay has been unfounded! At least through the first four parts of the story, the first four of like fifty, or only 12 or so, if you discount all the non-Pak written crossovers. Basically these first four parts have seen the Hulk smashing the holy hell out of stuff, knocking down skyscrapers in New York with Iron Man’s limp body, somehow beating the terrigen out of Black Bolt (whose slightest whisper could rend worlds), etc., all while wearing a metal tiara and some leather sandals with elaborate calf-straps. In the latest issue of Incredible Hulk (which I guess is the fourth part, coming after the WWH Prologue, Hulk #105, and WWH #1), Hulk finds out he’s got some folks willing to help him out, including Hercules, the most incomparably awesome dude that almost no comics fans seem to like (repeat: 99% of comics fans are hopeless retards). Angel (who for some reason is no longer blue and metallic) is also on Hulk’s side, making for a nice little mini-Champions reunion, along with Namor’s long-thought-dead-but-recently-revived-in-the-awesome-Agents-of-Atlas cousin, Namora. So I guess these four, along with Hulk’s “warbound” (a bunch of alien jokers who followed him from deadsville to kick human rump) and a demographically diverse group of angry and indigent humans, are gonna help Hulk pummel Mr. Fantastic, or something. Oh, there’s also some Asian boy genius named Amadeus who keeps a coyote puppy in his leather jacket 24-7. I have no idea what the fuck is up with that kid.
So I whole-heartedly endorse these first four installments of Marvel’s latest overblown summer kerfluffle. But that endorsement will be revoked the instant they don’t have Dr. Strange wearily dispatch Hulk and whoever else with an idle twitch of his right hand, without even looking up from the Thaumaturgic Tome of Tatoombah.