Comic Book Review: World War Hulk #5

World War Hulk continues to leave The Revolution thoroughly unimpressed. If you dig mindless one-sided brawlfests then this would be a fun title to read. And certainly fans of the Hulk have to enjoy watching him punk out the entire 616 universe. However, for non-Hulk fans, this title has really been a miss. I’m not too sure Pak can turn in a satisfying enough of an ending to get non-Hulk fans to start collecting the Incredible Hulk or the two other new Hulk titles that will be spinning out of World War Hulk. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for World War Hulk #5.

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

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin the assembled heroes in the arena pleading with the Hulk to spare Tony’s life. Hulk yammers on for the hundredth time about how Reed and Tony killed Hulk’s people. Suddenly, Reed swings for Tony, but hits the ground next to him. The Hulk had a change of heart at the last minute.

The Hulk tells the assembled heroes that he came for justice and not murder. That the Hulk wanted to expose the Illuminati as the liars, traitors and murderers that they are. The Hulk says that he will raze New York City to the ground and leave the heroes in their shame. Miek, the bug alien, is pissed that Hulk is not going to kill everyone.

Suddenly, the Hulk’s ship blows up. The Sentry is on the scene. The Sentry locks horns with the Hulk and starts laying a beat down on the Green Goliath. Sentry tells Hulk that he wants this fight because the Hulk is the only person that he can unleash his full power on during a brawl.

Hulk yells out to Tony, Reed and the others that whatever happens next is all on their heads. (Well, no actually, you could surrender and not fight the Sentry and no one would get hurt.) The Hulk and Sentry start smashing away at each other. I think the Sentry hits Super Saiyan form and blasts away at the Hulk.

Miek is happy since he knows the Sentry can’t kill the Hulk, but that the collateral damage from the Sentry’s powers will be the destruction of this world. One of Hulk’s allies, the Brood, shields Tony from Sentry’s solar power. The Brood says that they didn’t come here to watch another world die. (Umm, wait, but you did actually. That was the whole point of coming to Earth.)

Tony works frantically to use his Extremis virus powers to control some satellites with gamma ray soaking lasers to take out the Hulk. During their brawl, the Sentry comments that all these years he has tried to calm down the Hulk and now it is the Sentry who cannot stop himself. Hulk tells Sentry that they can call Sentry whatever they want. Savior or destroyer. All that matters is what Sentry chooses.

At this point, Sentry has to be at Super Saiyan 4. We then see the Hulk transform back into Bruce Banner and Sentry transforms back into Robert Reynolds. Both men and bloody and bruised. Robert tells Bruce “Thanks” and then passes out.

Miek demands to know where the Hulk went. Heroim comments that within each of us lives a world breaker, who destroys all..and the Sakaarson who redeems the world. Today, the Hulk finally knows who he is. (*Groan.* This is so cheesy.)

Rick Jones shakes Bruce’s hand and says welcome home. Miek is outraged and yells that they aren’t done yet and demands for the Hulk to come back to him. Miek stabs his spear at Bruce, but Rick Jones pushes Bruce out of the way and takes the spear to his gut.

The sight of seeing Rick Jones getting stabbed triggers Bruce’s transformation back into the Hulk. Miek is pleased. The Hulk pounds away at Meik. Miek tells Hulk to not stop. That this is what Hulk was made for. That the Hulk said to never stop making them pay. That is what the Hulk taught Miek. And that is why Miek killed “them.”

Miek says that he always has to remind Hulk, because the Hulk always forgets. Like when all the Hulk and his queen was wanted was peace. The the Hulk conquered Sakaar and killed the Red King. Then they should have slaughtered the Red King’s people. But, the Hulk let them live. So, Miek watched some of the Red King’s people load an old warp core onto the shuttle. They thought it would kill the Hulk. Miek knew that it would simply remind the Hulk what he was made for.

The Brood then attacks Miek for what he did. Miek responds that they all must die so that the World Breaker can finally make an end. The Hulk powers up and yells that without the Illuminati that none of this would have happened. (Sheesh, he is still blaming them for this? Without Bruce trying to save Rick Jones on that fateful day then none of this would have happened. You wanna blame Rick for all your problems?)

Hulk yells that he will hate all the heroes in the 616 universe forever. He will hate them almost as much as he hates himself. Hulk cries out for Tony to do it now before he breaks this world. Tony then commands the space satellites to blast the Hulk with the gamma ray soakers that takes the Hulk out. We then see a huge explosion. When the smoke clears we see a large crater with a passed out Bruce Banner lying in the middle.

We see SHIELD agents cleaning up the scene. We get some cheesy monologue that this is the story of the Hulk. That all that matters is not what they call you whether it is savior or destroyer. All that matters is what you choose. We see Bruce Banner in a special containment unit in an underground base in the Mojave desert. The monologue continues with “Bear witness to his choice, children. And give thanks to your gods.”

We cut to Planet Sakaar. We see Son of Hulk rising out of a pool of lava or something like that. The monologue continues “And then pray for their mercy. For tonight the Hulk may sleep…but his rage will never die. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: I guess I have to find something nice to say about World War Hulk #5 in order to satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. Let’s see, well this certainly was not a slow issue. Pak throws tons of action at the reader. If you dig chaotic massive brawls then you will definitely enjoy this issue.

I did enjoy the fact that Tony got to deliver the final blow to the Hulk at the end of this issue. And that is about all I can say that is positive about this issue.

The Bad: World War Hulk #5 was a fitting end to a disappointing and unimpressive “big event.” What surprised me was that Pak’s dialogue was average at best. Some of it was downright cheesy. And the monologue at the end of the issue? Oh, it was simply groan inducing awful. Much of the dialogue was way to ham handed and over the top. I imagined Charlton Heston in all his over dramatic glory narrating this issue. And I was shocked since, for the most part, Pak has impressed me with his dialogue on the previous issues of this title.

The fight between Hulk and Sentry was a chaotic mess and a serious disappointment. Why? Because it was essentially a draw. And I despise draws. I’d much rather see either the Hulk or the Sentry emerge from this fight as the undisputed winner. I guess Hulk fans will argue that since Robert Reynolds passed out and Bruce Banner didn’t that the Hulk was the undisputed winner.

Nice try, but, that doesn’t do it for me. It seems that both characters simply mutually decided to power down and stop fighting. That they both agreed that they would choose what they are and not let others tell them what they are or use them as instruments of destruction. So, I saw it as a mutual agreement to power down and stop fighting and, therefore, this fight was a boring and anti-climactic draw.

What an unsatisfying ending we get after the draw between Hulk and the Sentry. We learn that, surprise, surprise, the psycho alien bug was the one behind it all. Who cares? I guess if you are a regular Hulk reader then the revelation of Miek being the bad guy would have had a ton more impact. But, for non-Hulk readers who hopped aboard this big event with World War Hulk #1, this revelation had little to no impact at all.

This ending was such a letdown. It also lacked any internal consistency at all. Suddenly, the Hulk goes from a bad guy who is threatening to destroy New York City and kill all the heroes in the Illuminati to being the nice guy who graciously spares everyone’s life. The Hulk goes from the monster endangering the world to being the good guy who is going to stop the Sentry from killing everyone. The Sentry goes from an unsure hero reluctant to save the world to an uncontrollable engine of destruction. We even have the Brood claiming that they didn’t come here to watch another world die. He is right. They came here to actually destroy this world. Not watch someone else destroy it.

Pak makes the Hulk come across like the biggest hypocrite in this issue. Pak has the Hulk go from mindless raging monster to a wise man dispending sage advice to Sentry on how to take control of his rage, his life and his powers and do what he wants and not what others around him want him to do. Okay, this is the same character that has been on a mindless rampage for four issues with tons of different characters trying to give him the same advice that Hulk gave to Sentry during their fight.

Even after Miek claims responsibility for the death of the Hulk’s Queen and his people, the Hulk still blames the Illuminati for being the root cause of all of this. Why doesn’t the Hulk just blame Rick Jones for being the root cause of everything since he is why Banner became the Hulk?

And Pak furthers his inconsistent logic by then having the Hulk state that he hates himself more than anyone and asking Tony to stop him before he breaks the world. If Hulk hates himself more than anyone else and realizes that he is such a danger to the Earth then why in the world would he blame the heroes for launching him into space in order to protect the Earth from him? According to Pak’s logic, the Hulk to be in complete agreement with that the Illuminati did.

And what about that incredibly convenient plot device of the gamma ray soaker that Tony employs at the end of this issue to take down the Hulk? C’mon, why didn’t Tony just break that device out at the beginning of the first issue and end this entire conflict before it even started. That just came across as an entirely too convenient and lame way for Pak to quickly and neatly end this story.

The ending with Banner being placed in an underground base in some special containment unit was a boring and predictable ending. And the appearance of the “Son of Hulk” on Salaak does nothing to capture my interest. I’m sure Hulk fans will be excited to purchase the new Hulk titles that Marvel is trotting out soon. But, I would imagine that Marvel’s desired goal with World War Hulk was to pull in new readers who didn’t already collect the Hulk. And then to hook those new readers into collecting the new Hulk titles that are spinning out of the ending of World War Hulk.

Maybe it will work with other non-Hulk readers who picked up World War Hulk. But, it certainly failed to work with me. I could care less what happens next and I won’t spend my money on any of the Hulk titles being birthed from World War Hulk. I’ll save my money for truly well written Marvel titles like X-Factor, Daredevil, Captain America and Iron Fist.

I’m just not a fan of Romita and Jansen’s artwork. It is far too rough, sketchy, sloppy and chaotic for my taste.

Overall: I said this before in my review for World War Hulk #3, but it bears repeating since I think it is the perfect summation of World War Hulk. This “big event” 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…”

World War Hulk #5 does nothing other than completely confirm my belief that Pak makes the Hulk look like an idiot and that this tale has been nothing more than a pointless and boring one-sided slugfest that lacks any internal logic or consistency.

I would only recommend this issue to fans of chaotic slugfests or to Hulk fans. I wouldn’t think that any other readers would find much in World War Hulk that is interesting or appealing.

7 Comments

  1. A weird anti-climax. For all its flaws, give me Civil War any day.

    Among other things, the Hulk vs. Sentry fight suffers from what I call the Doomsday Fallacy; that is, when two characters of equal strength meet in combat, the one who possesses powers the other doesn’t have, like superhuman speed, will not use them except to punch the other guy. Superman/Sentry have an incredible speed advantage on their opponent, which could be easily used to, say, hurl them into space, but they don’t do so.

    As for the post-WWH titles, I just might try The Incredible Hercules, because I’m a big Hercules fan (CW, again for all its flaws, reminded everyone how awesome he is; he got the coolest fight scenes in #3-4 and 7), and a fan of Greek mythology generally. It’s been cowritten by Pak and Fred Van Lente (mostly he does Marvel Adventures titles, including MA: Iron Man). The other stuff, especially anything related to the Hulk, I could care less. And there’s apparently going to be an appearance made by the Agents of Atlas in it.

  2. Having not followed any of the Planet Hulk stuff I actually enjoyed the first couple issues of WWH but it got old pretty quick. This last issue was probably the least of the bunch, even if I didn’t dislike it quite as much as you did.

    I thought Rick Jones was particularly wasted here. His character has kind of been in limbo since the end of his Captain Marvel series, which is where I became a fan of his. (Speaking of wasted characters, how about Genis-Vell?). I’d still much rather see him with his quantam bands than with Miek’s spear through his gut.

    I’ve always been a fan of Romita’s art so that was the strength of the issue for me even if the coloring tended to obscure some of the more chaotic moments. He’s been at the top of his game the entire series.

    Not being a Hulk fan myself this did nothing to convince me to get any of the spin-off titles, a decision made even easier with Jeph Loeb attached to the red Hulk series. Too bad McGuinness insists on working with him, since his version of the Hulk does look pretty cool.

  3. The most obvious example of the Doomsday Fallacy is, fittingly enough, Superman: Doomsday, the recent Timm DVD movie. In that, Superman actually does use his flight and superspeed to take Doomsday into orbit, but, instead of throwing him into space, he then reverses course and plunges them both down to the ground like a missile (in the middle of Metropolis, no less), killing them both.

  4. Even after Miek claims responsibility for the death of the Hulk’s Queen and his people, the Hulk still blames the Illuminati for being the root cause of all of this.

    As the old saying goes, never let the facts get in the way of a good argument 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for the summaries of this minseries. Saved me the trouble of actually having to buy and read them myself!

  5. Peter David’s run on Captain Marvel is my definitive Captain Marvel. O-Wha-Tagoo-Siam is still the best battle cry in comics. I was bummed when they turned him crazy which was the beginning of the end. Great stuff though.

  6. Technically, Miek wasn’t the cause of it. He just didn’t stop the servants from loading the warp core onto the ship.

    Otherwise, the entire review is completely true. Disappointing ending to an event that got worse with each subsequent issue.

    Not sure what the delays were for either. JRJr has rarely ever been late on anything adn this issue wasn’t overly spectacular work on his part.

    It’ll be curious to find out someday what the delays were all about.

  7. Wow so much discontent from this book. I just so happen to disagree,not because I’am a hulk fan but through out Planet Hulk up to the present it was a pretty amazing ride. Granted on somethings they could have done better, but it doesn’t warrant the veiw that it is given. You are entitled to your opinion and I respect that, but in mine it was much more than that. I hate the Sentry for a couple of reasons. First and foremost he is a RIPOFF of Supes (and I despise Supes) if anything secondly since his near cosmic powers like supes he can do anything. What’s even worse how people think Supes and Sentry characters outclass hulk. Yeah they have a bunch of weapons at there disposal; but Hulk voids all except one and even that obviously doesn’t work all the time and that is speed.

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