Friday, February 12, 2010

Comic Book Report: Planet Hulk

I'll be honest: I was never really into Marvel comics. I don't have anything against them; they just never spoke to me in the same way the mythic characters of the DC universe did. So it doesn't bother me as much when, for example, new writers reboot or retcon characters to explore new storytelling avenues.

In the "Planet Hulk" storyline, writer Greg Pak (auteur of the impressive-if-uneven 2003 anthology film Robot Stories) drops the Hulk--quite literally--into an epic fantasy/space opera. This isn't the monosyllabic "Hulk smash" monster I remember from my childhood; this Hulk speaks in complete sentences, even formulates strategy, and more than anything reminds me of Wolverine.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. As mentioned above, I have nothing invested in these characters, so I was able to go along with the story--which shamelessly recycles a tonne of archetypes, tropes, and clichés in service of a tall tale that gets progressively more ridiculous and unexpectedly touching. Pak doesn't manage to totally pull off the third act, but to be fair, it would probably have required a multi-bookstop novel series to do the concept justice.

There's a lot to like here, and I'm curious to see what happens next in "World War Hulk," and how the movie adaptation plays.

Recommended. Buy this book from Powell's or Amazon.


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