Or – “Quickly Approaching The Point Of No Return…”

WWH5.jpg

Let’s be honest for a moment: The Incredible Hulk has never been a capital-h Hero in the conventional sense. His actions have always been driven by his flailing emotions, usually the need to be left alone Even during his Defenders days the Hulk was more of a force of nature, a living weapon that Doctor Strange simply pointed in the right direction and let the wackiness ensue. An old chestnut of Marvel said that the green guy had the gentle mind of a five-year-old, but many people forget that while five-year-olds can be joyful, gentle souls, they can also rage out of control when they don’t get what they want or when life is unfair. Ratchet that rage up to eleven, add in gamma-powered muscles as powerful as the heart of hurricane, and we’ve a recipe for disaster. And the Hulk has one more thing in common with a child: he doesn’t think about the consequences of what he’s done until something precious is broken…

Previously, on Incredible Hulk: Blah blah blah Illuminati, blah blah rocketed into space, blee blah de blah alien gladiator, blah blah overthrew the Red King, yakketa schmakketa WWH1.jpggathered Warbound allies, blah blah big ol’ Boom, flibber blibber headed home with a mad-on and fists like Kentucky hams. Since arriving on Earth, The Hulk has devastated Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man (as well as slapping around Ant-Man, confronting Charles Xavier, fighting Ghost Rider, and many other crossovery happenings) and has found himself, strangely, a popular figure. Many of his old comrades, including Hercules, Rick Jones, and even Thunderbolt Ross have popped up to greet him (though some have been less friendly than others) and even though New York has been evacuated, hundreds of disenfranchised souls have followed his lead. This issue takes place partly during one of the lacunae in WWH #2, mere seconds after Hulk punches Hercules two issues ago. That sentence oughtta be fun to try and diagram… Anyway, having taken the hardest blows that Green Scar can deliver, Herc tells him like it is. “If [you were a monster] my skull would be as broken as my pride. You could have killed us, but when you learned that [we] came to help, not FIGHT, you stayed your blows. So stop playing tough, friend…”

IMAGE REMOVED BY MARVEL LEGAL DEPARTMENT

Hulk scowls again, but the Angel steps forward and points out that not EVERYONE supports the complete devastation of the country in retribution for what has happened. Tom Foster (nephew of the late Goliath) disagrees, but Angel shuts him down. “You guys are bourgie kids from the suburbs. You want JUSTICE, not anarchy. Not war… Not murder…” Hulk finally has had enough of talking, and growls “Get away from me. Or you’ll all die.” He stomps his foot to scatter them, and Amadeus cries “We KNOW you, Hulk! And you don’t kill!” “We’re not talking about me, kid!” snarls the Hulk as General Ross’ forces open fire on him… As the Hulkbusters attack (moving us forward to the beginning of WWH #3) Amadeus contacts Ross. “We were talking to him, and he was LISTENING, idiot!” But Thaddeus G. Ross doesn’t take crap off some snotty little punk in a field jacket…

IMAGE REMOVED BY MARVEL LEGAL DEPARTMENT

“…but the Hulk’s warbound just arrived, with one of your missiles on their tail.” The young man occasionally called Mastermind Excello leaps into action, chucking a piece of shrapnel into an oncoming missile, and blowing it up before it can strike the Warbound. “Did that EXTREMELY puny human just SAVE us?” asks Korg incredulously, and Namora confirms his assessment…

IMAGE REMOVED BY MARVEL LEGAL DEPARTMENT

Heh. I love the fact that Namor isn’t at all intimidated by the giant space bug with the ten inch fangs… She’s seen worse things in the Marianas Trench, I’ll wager. Rick Jones watches the carnage from a distance, but finds himself in the clutches of the new Scorpion, commanded by Gabe Jones of SHIELD. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Rick get taken in by SHIELD last issue? The timelines are starting to confuse me in this crossover. Hiroim the Oldstrong manages to save Amadeus Cho’s life in return, and the two men shake hands as comrades in battle. The Hulk crashes to Earth nearby, and leaps up to catch a bomb that would have splattered friend and foe alike. Rick tries to check on him, but Hulk once again snarls. “Leave. Me. Alone.” Rick and Amadeus both step forward to stop him, but Hiroim gently pulls them back.

IMAGE REMOVED BY MARVEL LEGAL DEPARTMENT

“…you’re in enough trouble as it is.” Gabriel Jones has finally caught up with Cho (who wrecked his helicarrier earlier in the crossover) and tells him that he’s not going anywhere. Cho says he wants to save the Hulk, and Rick Jones asks him, “So you think the Hulk’s a hero? The Hulk hit me THREE times in the first three days I met him. He tried to KILL me on the fourth.” Amadeus replies that Rick looks mighty healthy, and Jones exasperatedly responds “Dude, he broke my BACK!” Amadeus starts to leave, but Gabe points out that it’s time for HIM to be the hero he thinks the Hulk is.

IMAGE REMOVED BY MARVEL LEGAL DEPARTMENT

Amadeus agrees, using his skills and knowledge to help with the relief effort, recovering wounded, and shoring up the damaged city infrastructure. As night falls, they finally have the situation mostly under control, but during that time, The Hulk has defeated both the Avengers and Fantastic Four. By the time the job is done, the Warbound have taken over Madison Square Garden for the final phase of their horrifying plan…

IMAGE REMOVED BY MARVEL LEGAL DEPARTMENT

Angel and Amadeus aren’t sure what “Arena of Death” means, but Hercules and Namora point out that if it was THEIR family that was killed, they’d be happy to watch their enemies die horribly. Amadeus points out that they’re from different cultures, and hands each a beeper. “If it starts buzzing, something’s gone wrong. That’s your signal to grab every civilian in sight and get the hell out of Dodge,” Cho says. “No,” replies the son of Zeus. “That’s our signal to come save your skinny mortal behind.” Heh. Amadeus tells them that he’s expendable, that it’s the only plan that makes sense. “Amadeus…” the Angel reminds him, “nothing we’ve EVER done together makes sense.”

IMAGE REMOVED BY MARVEL LEGAL DEPARTMENT

Later that night, as the young Cho slips behind enemy lines and heads for MSG, he’s surprised to hear a sound behind him. He turns to see the Scorpion, having just knocked out a sentry who was about to capture him. He tells her he doesn’t need help, and stops for a candy bar. “Dude, can that wait?” asks the girl in green, but Amadeus tells her that when the brain needs food, he has to feed it. She calls him weird, and he biting responds “I’m not the one in the ninja belly dancer suit.” Touche, Amadeus… touche. They sneak into the garden, only to find the capture Avengers chained up, and General Ross being fitted with an obedience disk (with a great deal of obvious physical pain.) Cho is stunned, and can’t believe that his idol would do this, but an offscreen voice tells him that it’s true.

IMAGE REMOVED BY MARVEL LEGAL DEPARTMENT

The shadow of the Hulk falls across the lad, and he gruffly snarls “Wanna bet?” The awful truth of Hulk’s revenge plot are revealed, and even Amadeus doesn’t want to believe it. The story cliffhangs there, with the Hulk’s actions unclear, but I hope he doesn’t do anything stupid. Yes, the others attacked him, and no, I don’t condone his actions, but this is a 13 year old kid with no physical powers at all. If Hulk tries to attack (or worse, conscript him into his Arena) I think there may be little hope for redemption.

This issue works MUCH better for me than the last, with a more straightforward story and less psychological intrigue. I like the interplay between Rick Jones and Amadeus Cho (Rick wants to save Bruce Banner, Cho wants to save The Hulk) and I especially like the team dynamic among the renegades. I wouldn’t be heartbroken to see them stay together after the big crossover event, actually. The art, by Carlo Pagulayan is a bit sketchy in places, but manages to keep most of the likenesses similar to Gary Frank’s previous work (is he leaving the book?) Still, it’s an effective issue, and I’m looking forward to/dreading the moment where Hulk has to decide whether he’s actually going through with his horrible plan. Incredible Hulk #109 ranks 3.5 out of 5 stars, a more than respectable grade for a well-done, gripping issue…

35stars.jpg

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

Previous post

Peter Segal Still on Shazam

Next post

Dynamo 5 Price Drop

7 Comments

  1. Josh
    August 13, 2007 at 2:24 pm — Reply

    I think Gary Frank left due to his exclusive with DC, and will be drawing one of the Superman books. I believe that Carlos Pagulayan will finish off the arc.

  2. Sean Curley
    August 13, 2007 at 2:56 pm — Reply

    Frank is gone. He’s signed a DC exclusive and will be the regular artist on Action Comics come October.

  3. August 13, 2007 at 7:44 pm — Reply

    My only hope that after the dust settles in WWH, that The Green Scar’s Warbound are not discarded to the outer edges of the Marvel Universe. I’m really digging these characters, especially Korg’s yarn in Frontline. Maybe they’ll become part of the Initiative?

  4. Kienan
    August 14, 2007 at 9:58 am — Reply

    Having just yesterday finished reading the Planet Hulk trade and going back and reading the recaps of these stories, I can say that I no longer feel any sympathy for the illuminati. We all have heard the story and no how planet hulk went down, but without actually reading and seeing those last few pages where Caiera turns to dust in his arms, Hulks warpath doesn’t mean as much. The Hulk is justified in his motives. He deserves his revenge. If that makes him a villian, then so be it. I will follow the villanious Hulk on this one. No amount of posturing and pleading can make up for what they did. My humble opinion.

  5. Anonymous
    August 15, 2007 at 1:59 am — Reply

    Well, of course you’ll feel sympathy for the Hulk and the destruction of his kingdom, which had finally made him and his people prosper in their greatest times, but the fact that Marvel would for some reason decide to destroy it is beyond me. The arc that results of the destruction of Sakaar is even worse than the end of Hulk’s planet itself.

  6. Batman2024
    August 27, 2007 at 12:56 pm — Reply

    f*ck how can be iron fighting with Thor and is captured by hulk at the same time, a clone or a skrull ? or different timeline with Thor#3 ?

  7. mosdef
    August 29, 2007 at 10:06 pm — Reply

    INFINITY GEMS, WHY DONT THEY USE THOSE, I KNOW THAT IRON MAN HAS THE YELLOW ONE, XAVIER HAS THE MIND ONE, RICHARDS HAS THE STRENGTH ONE, DR STRANGE HAS THE MAGIC ONE OR REALITY ONE I THINK. USE EM, HULK WOULDNT STAND A CHANCE….

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section