It's the sequel to Planet Hulk
(comics), in which an insanely enraged Hulk returns to Earth to declare war on it. We're screwed.
Keeping track of this one sounds insane. I've read the World War Hulk graphic novel, which collects the prologue and the core five-part mini-series. However this was a major Marvel crossover event, also running through Avengers: The Initiative, Ghost Rider, Heroes for Hire, Incredible Hulk, The Invincible Iron Man, The Irredeemable Ant-Man, Punisher War Journal, World War Hulk: Front Line, World War Hulk: Gamma Corps and World War Hulk: X-Men. Whew. I'll stick with this, I think.
In summary, it's a rush. It's not aiming at either intelligence or ambition, unlike Planet Hulk
, but that doesn't matter. Instead we're seeing what feels like every superhero out of Marvel's toybox, so that the Hulk can pound them into pate. That's it. That's the story, at least until he graduates from mere carnage to being a surprisingly sadistic tyrant. Fortunately it's as fun as ever to watch the Hulk smash, especially when the biggest guns come out. Hulk starts by achieving the impossible (taking out Black Bolt), then just keeps getting more ridiculous. Dr Strange, whoah. The Sentry, holy cow. If you want an adrenaline blast, this is it. Iron Man, the Fantastic Four... they're all stepping into the firing line. There are some famous faces who don't show up (Thor, Captain America, the X-Men) but presumably they're either in one of the books I didn't read or else currently out of the picture in the 2007 Marvel universe.
Mind you, in some cases there would have been no point in having them show up. Daredevil, for instance. The Pulverised Corpse Without Fear?
There are a few story elements that aren't just insane violence. She-Hulk is poignant. She's sticking up for her cousin and taking his side in arguments with other heroes, only to be forced into a choice she doesn't want to make when she's on the front line and gets broken just like all the others. "God help us." She's also the most important person in the thirty-page prologue, which is the calm before the storm and as such makes the book a much more satisfying read. Meanwhile the other superheroes are being portrayed rather well, with genuine courage and even a few mental problems, courtesy of the Sentry. He's the most powerful being in existence, but he's also an agoraphobic schizophrenic.
There's a story development that makes this a must-read if you've already done Planet Hulk
. Seriously, after reading World War Hulk, you'll realise that that graphic collection is incomplete on its own.
I really liked this one. It's aiming way lower than Planet Hulk
, but having chosen that target, it's hitting it like a surface-to-air missile. I don't know how well the story's momentum would stand up to a blitz on every single issue of this monster crossover, but part of me wants to find out. Besides, it's always fun to see the green guy going nuclear on his enemies (i.e. the world) and if nothing else, this is a solid primer on who's who in the Marvel universe these days. I'm more of a DC boy, so the last time I saw a Marvel mega-crossover like this, it was 1984 and Secret Wars. It has a cliffhanger ending, as usual for this medium, but don't worry since it's more of a teaser really. It's the lead-in to a sequel, Skaar: Son of Hulk. If you wanted to hook someone on Marvel superhero comics, this would be a pretty good place to start.