Comic Book Review: World War Hulk #2

The Revolution is neutral on World War Hulk at this point. I am impressed at how well Pak has handled Tony Stark’s character. This is the first time Tony has come across as truly heroic outside of his own title in the past year and a half. On the other hand, I found the Hulk to be one-dimensional and not a very engaging character. Still, Pak is a good writer and I expect that World War Hulk #2 should be a solid read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciler: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Klaus Jansen

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Dr. Strange attempting to pull of a complex incantation in order to search for a hero who is only one who can defeat and redeem the Hulk in the same instant. However, Dr. Strange’s spell only works if he lets him in and Hulk seems to hate them all so much.

We cut to New York City where Hulk and his Warbound allies square off against the Secret Avengers and the Mighty Avengers. Ares is ready to attack, but She-Hulk asks him to wait and let her talk to her cousin. She-Hulk tries to reach Bruce deep inside Hulk’s mind. Unfortunately, her efforts are in vain and Hulk attacks She-Hulk. Hulk quickly kicks She-Hulk’s ass and then Hulk takes down Ares with one punch. (That’s right the God of War.) Hulk and the Warbound quickly overwhelm the Secret Avengers and the Might Avengers.

We cut to Reed and the rest of the Fantastic Four frantically working to finish some type of weapon to use on the Hulk. The Hulk and the Warbound finish off the combined Avengers and then arrive at the Baxter Building. Storm and the Human Torch combine their powers to blast the Hulk. Of course, it doesn’t work and the Hulk takes out the Human Torch. The Hulk then brawls with the Thing and naturally he defeats the Thing.

Suddenly, The Sentry appears. The Sentry’s glowing power calms the Hulk. The Hulk then reaches for the Sentry’s hand and grabs it. The Hulk then crushes the hand and the illusion of the Sentry disappears. It was just the weapon that Reed had been building that was designed to mimick the Sentry’s calming powers.

The Hulk proceeds to take out Reed Richards. Sue then contacts the Sentry and tells him that they failed and that they need the Sentry’s help. We cut to Hulk and his crew walking back to their ship with the broken and beaten bodies of all the Avengers and Fantastic Four in their grips.

Rick Jones then appears on the scene and confronts the Hulk. Rick tells the Hulk that he almost always ends up hitting the right people and that Iron Man and Reed Richards have made many mistakes lately. But, Rick says that Hulk is going about it the wrong way. That this war isn’t right.

We then see Dr. Strange find his opening and casts his spell into the Hulk’s head. Hulk fights off Dr. Strange’s spell. Dr. Strange mentions that for his spell to work he must open the door, but he is so angry and everything he sees just makes him angrier.

We see Hulk stand up and look at Hercules, Angel and Namora. Hulk and Hercules begin brawling again. (And I don’t know why.) Suddenly, General Ross and the U.S military appear on the scene. General Ross says the costumed goofballs have had their chance to stop the Hulk. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: World War Hulk #2 has tons of action as we get brawl after brawl from start to finish. This issue moves at a fast pace and certainly is as entertaining as your typical big budget summer blockbuster movie.

My favorite brawl in this issue would be the one between Hulk and the Thing. This fight makes Thing seem even cooler. I dig that even in the face of an impossible opponent to defeat, that the Thing shows no fear or hesitation. The Thing is a fighter all the way down to his very core. That the Thing is willing to go and slug away at anyone if it means helping his friends.

It appears that the hero who can stop and redeem the Hulk that Dr. Strange references would be Bruce Banner. Dr. Strange makes his attempt to access Hulk’s mind and use his sorcery to bring Banner to the surface. It is an interesting plan, but of course, it predictably fails. Pak does use this failed plan to show to the reader just how far gone and completely consumed by rage the Hulk is. This drives the point home that the Hulk is fueled by more rage than he ever has been before.

I dig that Pak is keeping the Sentry on the sidelines. It is becoming quite obvious that the Hulk is going to blow his way through every hero in the Marvel Universe until he finally makes his way to the big boss in the Sentry. Pak is wise to delay the appearance of the Sentry in order to create some excitement in the reader and to build up the hype of the impending showdown.

The Bad: World War Hulk #2 was a pretty mindless issue and not all that engaging. World War Hulk #2 doesn’t advance any plotlines at all. Nor does it introduce any new plotlines. Instead it is just more mindless and extremely predictable brawls. This issue was basically just a series of brawls tied together by standard issue dialogue. While Pak gave us some nice dialogue in the first issue, we received nothing but rather generic dialogue in World War Hulk #2.

The character work is practically non-existent. Everyone seems rather one-dimensional. The story itself is coming across as rather shallow and transparent. I was hoping we would get something more than just seeing the Hulk walk all over everyone until the Sentry eventually shows up to defeat the Hulk. Pak simply has to have more in store for us than that.

I know that the Hulk is angrier than he has ever been before. And I know that his power level is higher than it has ever been before. But, I’m just not buying the Hulk being this powerful. I know that evidently the Hulk is strong enough to take down a god, which makes no sense to me. But, c’mon, taking down Ares with one punch? Totally unbelievable. Not only is Ares is a god, but he is the God of War! You would think that when it comes to ass-kicking that a God of War would pretty much be undefeatable. Or how about at least being able to take more than one punch from the Hulk?

I’m not too sure if Pak wants the reader to root for or against the Hulk. At this point, I am finding the Hulk to be more annoying with each issue. The Hulk also comes across more like a monster villain than the wronged hero of the story.

The ending fell totally flat for me. Yeah, I know General Ross is a classic Hulk villain. Ross has been chasing the Hulk since the green goliath first appeared. But, after watching the Hulk defeat a demi-god in Hercules, the God of War in Ares, Wonder Man, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Luke Cage, Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing, Iron Man and Black Bolt, I just can’t be tricked into thinking that an old man backed up by the U.S. military will be able to do anything at all to the Hulk. Given by what we have seen already, the Hulk should be able to defeat the U.S. military just by farting at them. This ending completely failed to get me excited or interested in the next issue.

The art team of Romita and Jansen just isn’t working for me. The art looks dull and drab.

Overall: If you are a Hulk fan then you will love World War Hulk as Marvel jobs out every hero to your boy. Other than Hulk fans, I would imagine that most action fans will also enjoy this mini-series. The writing isn’t anything special and if you enjoy nuanced characters, well crafted dialogue and complex and compelling plotlines then World War Hulk might not be for you.

6 Comments

  1. I have to say, I’m baffled by this attitude that Ares and other Gods are automatically bad asses. Ares has been an idiot brawler in canon and mythology for some time.

    Hell, Ultron dismissed him out of hand. Just because he’s got a bad attitude doesn’t mean he’s all that 😉

  2. Well, for one thing Hulk’s amazingly pissed. For another, Hulk isn’t an idiot brawler. World War Hulk: X-Men 2 shows his cunning alot better than the main mini series, but since Joe Chill Hulk’s always had a cunning side 😉

  3. The Hulk/Hercules fight at the end is the one from Incredible Hulk #107 seen from a distance (maybe a footnote would be useful there, but those have long since fallen out of fashion).

    I wouldn’t think the military would be much of a challenge either, but according to writer Pak in an interview Ross is going to give him a real “run for his money.”

    My biggest problem with the fights isn’t that the Hulk wins, but the portrayal of the Warbound in battle; in particular, there’s no way Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man should have lost to a single Brood (she’s beaten several at once in the past) and Elloe, and even Korg vs. Wonder Man should have been tougher than it was (of course, Simon has a history of being portrayed as less powerful than he should be). The only victory for the other side is when Storm beats Miek and Brood (implied, since she fights them, then shows up to help the Torch fight the Hulk).

    As for whose side the reader is meant to be on, there’s very little here that would make me sympathize with the Hulk; I don’t know if Pak is doing this intentionally (he’s said the central issue of this crossover is whether the Hulk is a hero or a monster), or if he’s just counting on people who’ve read “Planet Hulk” to sympathize (which is only about one-fourth of the people who bought the first issue). But, as set up here, the real heroes are the Avengers and the Four, facing overwhelming odds and yet charging in anyway (the Thing’s fight being the highlight of the issue).

  4. Actually to answer Rokk’s question on Why the Hulk brawls it out with Hercules is that because Pak wanted everything to connect to the Incredible Hulk title and the various other storylines within Marvel Comics.

    Anyhow check out this connection to get more information on what is going on in WWH: http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=121663

    You see if you look very closely, the appearance of Hercules and co is taken from Incredible Hulk #107. I hope that clears things up.

  5. This entire story just doesn’t interest me. I think that is mainly because of the reliance on Hulk being on another planet to tell a story that should technically be based more in reality.

    When Star Trek starts doing all the time travel stuff, I stop watching because while time travel stories are a novel storytelling tool, that is all they are: novelty. I don’t want novelty, I want great stories.

    Countdown intrigues me far more than World War Hulk does and since the Marvel universe is currently screwed up to the max, I don’t really think this was a good time to bring the Hulk back. Basically, the Illuminati aren’t united anymore and they can’t properly fight back while Hulk (my guess is he is currently considered the strongest force in the universe?) is easily laying out Gods.

    Make mine DC.

  6. is the gamma corps with general ross? if they are then that is probably why ross will give hulk a good fight. cant wait for the talbot grey to fight hulk

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