World War Hulk by Greg Pak

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World War Hulk by Greg Pak is one of the better Hulk stories around, and with the recent killing of Bruce Banner, this version of the Hulk is the one that is very much worth remembering.

“…This is the story of the Hulk. A monster who fell from the sky to the savage planet of Sakaar. A whole world of monsters. But while they stabbed him, burned him, and ate his very flesh, he never forgot the real monsters.
The puny humans who sent him here. Doctor Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Black Bolt. They shot him into space. They thought they were saving their world. They thought he was finally dead.
But he survived. Because he is the Green Scar…the Worldbreaker…the Eye of Anger…The Hulk.
And now he’s coming home…”

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The Hulk is sent into exile, betrayed by the friends he trusted and had fought alongside of. His friends who having just won their own Civil War, a war in which they hunted down those who disagreed with them and sent them into a dimensional prison, a war in which they learned the art of betrayal in the pursuit of their own justice and sense of right. These friends would now sent the Hulk into space to save their own world. Even if it meant his death. But on this world of exile, this place called Sakaar, the Hulk rose up and became a ruler. He found new friends, gladiators like himself and a queen to love. The Hulk found peace. Until the vessel he was sent into exile in exploded, killing a million of his people, killing his queen, killing his unborn child. Now the Hulk is returning to Earth. To the friends who betrayed him. To the friends he holds responsible for the murder of his people, of his wife, of his unborn child. The Hulk is returning home and he is very, very angry.

On the heels of the Civil War, the murder of Captain America and the imprisonment of a great number of Marvel’s comic elite, came Planet Hulk. A tale of the banishment of the Green Goliath and his rise to power and love. Only to have it all taken away in a heartbeat with the explosion of his ship. An explosion he believes was engineered by those that had sent him away. Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt and Doctor Strange.

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Though called World War Hulk, except for a brief battle on the Moon where Black Bolt gets his ass handed to him, the entire book takes place in New York. It is at the height of Iron Man’s reign as Director and Head of Shield. It also shows the abuse of power by the four friends of the Hulk, though mainly in the arrogance of Tony Stark.

With the current slew of movies out and the awesome portrayal of Tony Stark by Robert Downey Jr., we forget that Iron Man really is an asshole. Mr. Fantastic is shown up for the weakling he is and Black Bolt, well he literally hardly gets a word in. The one in all this that is hard to figure out has to be Dr. Strange. He, you can believe, may have actually thought he was doing a good thing by sending the Hulk away. Saving millions of Earth lives. But if so, why not just exile the Hulk into another dimension? Why send him to a world that he can actually return from?

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What we see in World War Hulk is what we always knew, that given enough incentive, the Hulk can tear through anyone in the Marvel Universe.

Oh and that Tony Stark really is an asshole.

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