Hulk might be going back to his original numbering and we might have missed the milestone issue #700 but hell, it’s still cool to be in the 700’s. That said, the coolest thing is the fact that Greg Pak is taking the character back to Planet Hulk territory, or in this case “The Return to Planet Hulk.” If you’re like me that was one of the best Hulk story arcs, heck even the novel is excellent, so giddyup because this is going to be one hell of a ride.
So what’s it about?
Why does this matter?
This might be a return to “Planet Hulk” but this Hulk isn’t Bruce Banner but Amadeus Cho. That’s a compelling thing considering the Hulk that broke worlds was a monster and Cho has a serious control problem. When he’s dropped into a lawless land with the only law being death he’s going to be tested.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
That is a cool ship.
If you’re looking for that “Planet Hulk” magic fear not because Pak and Land bring it in droves. That’s because they thrust Cho onto the old planet — only a lot has changed. There’s a new leader who rules by enslaving the weak and rules by having the strongest fight in a ring to show their power. This really isn’t the kind of game Cho is usually coming up against, which makes for an exciting look at the character who has to push himself in new ways. Meanwhile he’s still trying to fight off the screaming monster that is Hulk deep inside his psyche. Pak is putting him in a situation where the monster is more needed than ever. That’s pretty cool and is surely going to bring back those badass feels we all had with “Planet Hulk.”
There’s also a heck of a lot of Mad Max homage going on in this book. The planet has become a desert wasteland and the people who inhabit the place are driving tricked out looking cars and even banging drums. Make no mistake Land and Pak are not holding back with the Mad Max aesthetic. Which is totally okay, and actually pretty cool, and since this isn’t Earth it’s totally fair game.
Speaking of Land, his art is quite clean (as always) and fun here. The spaceship Cho flies in is incredibly cool as well as the hot rods that zip by him on the planet. When Hulk ends up doing some battling there’s some incredible art to see like a full page spread of baddies zipping on what looks like hover engines (no wheels!). The quick cut away to Cho’s mind is fantastic too as he tries to drive a fast looking car and Hulk insists on taking the wheel. The book is also quite violent and Land does well to capture the blood splattering goodness that is the gladiator ring.
Welcome to Mad…I mean…
It can’t be perfect can it?
The retreading nature of the story is hard to ignore. The Mad Max look is cool, but we’ve seen it before, and the setup is similar to “Planet Hulk” too. The saving grace is Cho’s shock and deep desire to help those around him and it’ll be fun to see how he does it differently than the previous Hulk.
Is It Good?
I had a lot of fun with Incredible Hulk #709 and can’t wait to see how Pak changes the “Planet Hulk” vibe with a sprinkling of new twists. It looks sharp as hell too. Make no mistake, if you loved “Planet Hulk” you gotta read this.