Comic Book Review: World War Hulk #3

So far this mini-series can be best described with a quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing…” Hulk is an idiot and this tale has been nothing more than a boring one-sided slugfest. Hopefully, Pak will be able to get me to change my opinion of this mini-series with World War Hulk #3.

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

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 General Ross thinking back about how the Hulk has been alternately praised as a hero and condemned as a villain ever since he first appeared. Ross then orders his military forces to attack with their adamantium laced rockets and bullets. The Hulk gets pounded by Ross’ military forces.

We cut to Dr. Strange finally gaining access to the Hulk’s mind. We see the Hulk suddenly stop battling Ross’ forces. Dr. Strange tells Hulk that he is the Sorcerer Supreme and that Hulk’s anger means nothing to him. That Dr. Strange could snuff our Hulk’s feeble mortal life with the merest twitch of a finger. But, Dr. Strange is the Hulk’s friend. Strange calls for Bruce to take control. The Hulk then transforms back into Bruce Banner.

Dr. Strange tells Bruce that they never meant for the rocket ship to explode. That they had nothing at all to do with the explosion that killed the Hulk’s wife and unborn child. Dr. Strange tells Bruce that he has always been his friend and always will be. Strange places his hand on Bruce’s shoulder.

Bruce then suddenly Hulks back up and the Hulk grabs Dr. Strange’s hands and breaks them. We then see the Hulk rampage his way through Ross’ forces. Hulk destroys all the helicopters and tanks. Hulk then grabs Ross and captures him.

We shift to the President of the United States contacting the Sentry. The President reads the Sentry a scripted speech to get him fired up to face the Hulk. The President then ditches the script and speaks frankly with the Sentry. The President says that he knows that the Sentry is nuts, but that it is time for him to be a hero and to shake the schizo act and do what needs to be done. The Sentry just stands there staring at the phone. The President hangs up the phone and says that they are screwed.

We cut to Madison Square Garden where the Hulk has created his own arena for gladiator fights. One of Hulk’s Warbound, Korg, tells Hulk that they got revenge on the people they came for. That the world knows what monsters those people are. That the Hulk and the Warbound could now leave if the Hulk wanted to. The Hulk looks at Korg and responds that they must never stop making them pay.

We zip to Rick Jones outside of Dr. Strange’s mansion trying to get inside. Suddenly, some of Hulk’s Warbound appear including the priest Hiroim. Iron Fist, Ronin and Echo exit Strange’s mansion and fight the Warbound. And predictably enough, the three Avengers get their asses kicked by the Warbound. Obedience Disks are placed on the three Avengers and they are lead away.

Hiroim uses his mystical powers to break through Strange’s shields. Dr. Strange tells Wong to go as far away and as fast as he can. That Strange says that Zom must live once more. Strange then drinks some magical potion and then faces off against Hiroim.

We cut to Rick Jones being brought before the Hulk who is sitting on his throne in his new arena. Rick tells the Hulk that gladiator fights are insane. That the Hulk is acting like a monster and not a hero. Suddenly, Hiroim’s broken and beaten body is dropped before the Hulk. Zom stands before the Hulk and says “Strange smash!” End of issue.

Comments
The Good: World War Hulk #3 has tons and tons of action. If you are an action freak then you will be in hog heaven while reading this issue. This is a fast paced issue that goes pages at a time with no dialogue and nothing but destruction and mayhem.

Pak does a nice job handling General Ross’ character and his long history with the Hulk. Surprisingly enough, Ross comes across as a rather sympathetic character. Pak gives us a heroic and kick ass Ross who realizes that the Hulk is far too untrustworthy to be allowed to roam free on Earth. Ross makes a valid point about how Hulk will act heroically one day and go on a mindless rampage endangering innocent lives. Pak continues to surprise me by casting the Hulk in a rather villainous role even against a character like Ross.

The scene between Bruce Banner and Dr. Strange was well done. I actually liked the aggressive and brash side of Dr. Strange that we see in the beginning of this scene. Dr, Strange rarely rubs his powers in the face of other or acts in such a harsh fashion. Pak has Dr. Strange come across as a stern but loving parent who flexes their power to get the attention of a wayward and misbehaving child.

I liked the scene where the President calls the Sentry in order to plead for his help against the Hulk. The best part was the President ditching the scripted speech and basically shooting from the hip and telling Sentry that it was time for him to man up and act like the hero that he is. It is interesting that this entire mini-series is going to revolve around the conflict of two of the most physically powerful and mentally unstable characters in the 616 Universe.

Pak delivers a pretty cool hook ending with the appearance of Dr. Strange imbued with the powers of Zom. Talk about doing your research and bringing back an old-school villain! Kudos to Pak for taking the effort to use an old character like Zom to throw a nice curveball at the reader. Zom first appeared back in 1967 in Strange Tales #156. I believe that a version of this character was last seen in Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #20. Evidently, Zom is insanely powerful and makes Dr. Strange’s power level look insignificant.

This ending certainly hooked me into wanting to read the next issue to see what kind of damage Zom can do against the seemingly unstoppable Hulk. I’m sure that Hulk will emerge victorious over Zom. But, maybe we might actually see the Hulk struggle just ever so slightly in a fight for the first time in this mini-series.

The Bad: World War Hulk #3 is basically just a repeat of the first two issues of this mini-series. It is a re-hash of the same dialogue and tired speeches and arguments. This story is still rather mindless and shallow. These three issues have consisted of nothing more than watching the Hulk and the Warbound and the Hulk plow their way through everyone in the Marvel universe like a hot knife through butter.

I like action as much as the next guy and I can deal with a story that is thin on character development, plotlines and dialogue. However, if a story is going to be nothing but action and fighting then I at least want good drama and psychology in my brawls. We haven’t gotten that at all with all the continual fighting on World War Hulk. All we have gotten have been extremely one-sided fights as the Hulk and the Warbound are able to put down any and all Marvel heroes regardless of their power level.

One-sided fights are boring. The only fight scenes that are exciting is one where both combatants struggle and the reader is left wondering who is going to win. It is exiting when one character looks like they are going to lose, but sticks in there and pulls out a surprise victory. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten that with World War Hulk. Instead, we get unexciting and painfully predictable fights where every other character in Marvel universe gets unceremoniously jobbed out to the Hulk and the Warbound.

And I’m beginning to wonder if this mini-series is going to turn out as predictable as it has been and as it seems it will be. I’m sure the Hulk will plow his way through Zom with little effort. We will then see the Hulk run gladiator contests and use the Obedience Disks to pit the heroes who have wronged him against each other in battles to the death. Then the Sentry will show up in the final issue, stop the gladiator fights, save our heroes and kick Hulk’s ass. I really hope that isn’t all that Pak has in store for us. I keep hope alive that Pak has something cool and unexpected in store for the reader in the last two issues of this mini-series.

Personally, I’m just not crazy about Romita and Janson’s art. It isn’t bad; it just isn’t anything that great, either.

Overall: Overall: World War Hulk #3 was an average read. There isn’t much substance to this story at all. However, if you are an action fan then you will absolutely love this mini-series. And Hulk fans will obviously love this mini-series. However, non-Hulk fans who were thinking of giving this mini-series a try since it is a big event in the 616 Universe may not find this story all that interesting. World War Hulk is good mindless fun and as long as you know that going in then you might get a kick out of this mini-series.

5 Comments

  1. Hello, Rokk! A few comments from a fan of the Hulk:

    This was the first issue that wasn’t a complete smash-a-thon, the characterization was spot on (Ross turning out to be a hero rather than the cliched villain he has always been portrayed), the story took a left turn with the obscure 70’s character Zom, and the art was fantastic (especially the throwback panels, they actually seem dikto-ish). 🙂

  2. As a Hulk fan and an action fan, it’s no surprise that I somewhat disagree with your review of World War Hulk. But I couldn’t quite figure out what it was I didn’t agree with until it just hit me. You put far too much importance into the outcome of the fights. Don’t get me wrong not knowing the outcome of a fight can definitely add value, but it’s not the only way.

    IMO, that misses most of what actually makes a fight entertaining. It’s not the destination; it’s the journey. All the little things that add up to make a great fight.

    For instance in this issue, you have Ross claiming he was too nice in his previous encouters with the Hulk, the military using adamantium ammunition (from a statue that was featured prominently in the last comic where the Hulk took on the Marvel U), the Hulk suplexing a helicopter in mid air, General Ross putting a bullet through the Hulk’s eye, what may have been the Hulk pretending to be Banner just to get in close to Dr. Strange, and Doc Strange electing to go the route of kicking the crap out of the Hulk (as opposed to some random arcane spell) after his hands got crushed.

    All the small unexpected moves and strategems are what elevate WWH. While the outcomes have been far from surprising, it’s everything in between them that I have been enjoying.

  3. Marvel has basically been marketing this as a mindless smashfest, so there’s something to be said for truth in advertising.

    I’m really not sure what to make of the ending. Strange has channeled (or whatever) Zom, who is a cosmic villain who had to be banished by the Living Tribunal; using his power against the Hulk is like trying to kill a flea with an atomic bomb.

  4. This was the first issue that wasn’t a complete smash-a-thon, the characterization was spot on (Ross turning out to be a hero rather than the cliched villain he has always been portrayed)…

    Uhhhh… :-p

    It pains me that I haven’t been able to pick up any of these issues. These reviews give me strength.
    Oh yeah, breathe it in… Mmmm!…

  5. Frankly, WWHulk is no more and no less than what I expected. Hulk is angrier than ever and he’s smashing anything in his path. The Warbound don’t seem to be doing much this issue, where they actually hiding behind shields until Hulk regained his purpose?? I agree with you Rokk that characterization has been lacking, but overall this mini series should please Hulk fans.

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