Saturday, April 12, 2008

Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk (Hardcover)

by Greg Pak (Author), Carlo Pagulayan (Illustrator), Aaron Lopresti (Illustrator), Juan Santacruz (Illustrator), Gary Frank (Illustrator), Takeshi Miyazawa (Illustrator)
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Sometimes a book comes along at the right time for a reader, as this one did for me. I've never been the biggest Hulk fan around. I read a good portion of the Peter David run, but wouldn't say I was a huge fan of the character. Yet for a while I've been looking for a solid adventure story, with big fights, direct conflicts and a solid direction.

The Planet Hulk HC came into my hands through my library at a perfect time, as it hit all of those needs that I needed.

Writer Greg Pak, has to have been a big fan of Robert E Howard's Conan and Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars stories. Given that this Hulk story of the Hulk on an alien world fighting for his survival in gladiator like conditions hits the same vibes of those stories in elegant ways.

The story itself is fairly simple, the Hulk is blasted off Earth by his so called friends, and finds himself on a harsh alien world where his strength and brutality is needed to survive. On his journey he makes friends and enemies, as he forges a new life for himself.

This type of story is exactly why I wish there could be closures to series, instead of the never ending continue to "milk the cow" approach to comics at DC and Marvel. The story will be forgotten eventually since it doesn't overly rely on anything from the past, or have anything lasting that will last very far into the future.

Which is a shame as in and of itself its a fun adventure story. It also offers a telling theme of an over all current shift of approach to its characters at Marvel. Given that in this story the one we are to feel sorry for is the Hulk, who is hindered by Bruce Banner, not the other way around.

Its an odd change in story type, given that nearly all intelligent Marvel characters are now shown with dehumanized approaches to situations. Seemingly showing that brute strength and unwavering blind faith are things to admire over high intelligence. Which has been shown to lead those characters to ruin and betrayel of their friends.

A fairly big change from the time comics were read by mainly nerdy young boys. For whom stories of escape into worlds where intelligence was shown to win out over might were inspiring.

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