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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Suspended Animation for 3-12-2010 - Planet Hulk


The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk
Published by Marvel Publishing, Inc.
416 pages
$34.99 retail

After hearing about it for the last few years, this Johnny-come-lately finally sat down and read Planet Hulk. In my defense, I believe I am part of a growing group of comics fans who are being forced by escalating prices, not only to “wait for the trade”, but to wait for it to go on sale on Amazon or Ebay. Sue me.

You are most likely familiar with the scenario: The Hulk is tricked onto an interstellar vessel by the heroes of Earth in an attempt to relocate him to a planet where he will neither harm nor be harmed. Instead, he lands on a savage planet where gladiatorial games are all the rage, becomes a champion of the arena, wins the hearts of the people, and so on. If it sounds like “The Incredible Hulk Meets Gladiator the Movie”, that’s because it is. If it sounds like I find the plot itself rather simple, that’s because it is. However, being simple doesn’t mean it’s not good.

Writer Greg Pak takes an uncomplicated premise and steps on the gas, infusing it with ground-shaking action and intriguing characterization, as the Hulk forms a bond with a wildly diverse group of warriors. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that the most interesting characters are the guest stars of the book.

Pencilers Carlo Pagulayan, Aaron Lopresti and company clearly had a good time with this story, as the Hulk appears as massive, ill-tempered and formidable as he ever has. Additionally, everything about this world is strange and alien, adding to the atmosphere of the story. And of course, the action breaks on the reader like a sequential tsunami.

“What are you trying to say, oh wordy reviewer?” Just that this was a fun story, from start to finish. And, isn’t that supposed to be what comics are all about?

Planet Hulk is for the big kids and grown-ups, and can be found wherever comics are sold.

Review by Mark Allen