Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk TP

Greg Pak, Carlo Pagulayan, Aaron Lopresti, Gark Frank, Takeshi Miyazawa & Juan Santacruz
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This massive 400+ page paperback collects the entire story surrounding Greg Pak's Planet Hulk. That's issues 92-105 of Incredible Hulk, Giant-Size Hulk #1, a story from Amazing Fantasy #15, and a gladiator guide and various extras. I was thoroughly entertained by this comic. It was pretty, well, incredible. The book begins with Banner being sent by the superheroes of Earth to an "uninhabited" planet, where he could be alone and cause minimal damage. But things don't go according to plan as Hulk is dragged through a wormhole to a different planet, one inhabited by various creatures and ruled over by a cruel king who loves nothing more than to see bloodshed in the gladiator arena. While Hulk's strength is initially tapped by his travel through the wormhole, it soon returns to him and he earns his freedom alongside a group of various gladiator-slaves who survive a fight-to-the-death match, including a creature made of rock, a brood, and several natives. As Hulk instills hope in those around him, the Red King gets nervous and sends assassins and bombs alike after the Hulk in underhanded ways to wipe him off the map, at the same time that Hulk begins to fulfill local prophecies about one who will unite the world (and perhaps destroy it). Inevitably, Hulk begins to usher the world into a new era of peace and prosperity alongside his queen Caiera, who was initially his enemy. This story is really neat. Pak builds a complete world with really riveting characters and interesting prejudices between the land's peoples. And it all comes to a satisfying, devastating conclusion that will eventually lead into World War Hulk. But I was completely with this great story the entire way. It plays out like a great, epic fantasy and never really drags. All of the characters involved in the thrust of the story are really wonderful and ultimately made the book for me. Everyone has their own motivations and it's great to see them butt heads and make compromises with one another as the world spins toward its end. A great superhero fantasy. Greg Pak has done some really great work recently and I hope to see more along these lines from him.

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