Why You Should Read: PLANET HULK

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Posted by inferiorego (24763 posts) - - Show Bio

Hulk is a character that, if not done right, comes off as brutish and boring because that's the nature of the character: to smash and destroy. He's had a few decent stories here and there, but aside from Peter David's run, there really hasn't been a "must have" story from this character. In 2006, writer Greg Pak took over the INCREDIBLE HULK book to tell one of the greatest, redefining stories of this character's career: Planet Hulk.

Since Hulk has been around in the Marvel Universe, there's been one thing he's consistently proven time and time again: he smashes very well. In fact, he was so good at it that the Illuminati decided to blast him into space to an inhabited planet where he could smash and hunt and be the Hulk he's always wanted to be. Obviously, things don't do the way they're supposed to, and Hulk's ship finds itself in a wormhole, and Hulk crash lands on the planet Sakaar.

Hulk quickly finds that because of his travel through the wormhole, he's vulnerable. The Hulk is dubbed by the inhabitants of this tyrannical planet as The Green Scar, and Hulk is forced to fight as a gladiator, in the ring. Hulk battles his way to the top with the Warbound (the beings he fights along with), and the goal is to take down the leader of the planet, The Red King.

One of the coolest cameos in any comic.

This story has a lot going for it. First and foremost, as long as you know who the Hulk is, then this arc is extremely new reader friendly. It's a stand-alone arc that anyone can read. Hulk lovers also won't have a problem with this arc since it introduces so many new ideas and characters.

New and old readers alike will both have the same sense of unfamiliarity as they dive right in. You don't even need to read the issues prior to it. Sure, you can pick up INCREDIBLE HULK #91, but issue 92 does such a fantastic job at setting everything up.

Planet Hulk, in itself, is this fantastic three act story as Hulk arrives on Sakaar and fights for Red King's amusement, Hulk takes over the planet, and Hulk carves out a life for himself there. It's a really engaging story that isn't just a brilliant stand-alone piece, but it leads into a couple of other fantastic story lines in the future: World War Hulk and Dark Son.

Pak's story is a world builder, and one that shapes a small chunk of the Marvel universe for years to come. Pak introduces a brood (pun intended) of new characters that are well developed and incredibly interesting: Caiera, No-Name, Miek, Hiroim, Korg, Elloe, the Warbound etc. We also get to see Silver Surfer in one of my personal favorite roles as the enslaved Silver Savage. In addition, the events of this story lead to the creation of my favorite 21st century character, Skaar.

The ideas of brotherhood and coming together for a common goal drive this story. It's really about Hulk coming to terms with being the Hulk and putting the life of Banner behind him. Hulk finally finds peace on a world that seems as barbaric as he is. It's a world that Hulk can't just smash his way out of because there are people that are stronger than him in this world and much more technologically advanced. This is the book where the reader finally gets to see Hulk settle down and be in a role that just makes sense for the character: "King."

For some reason, Hulk in a gladiator outfit is one of my favorite things in comics...

This book is not only my favorite Hulk story, but it's also one of my top 5 comic stories of all time. And while you could spend your time searching through the back issues for all 15 of the issues in this story arc, it's a much better idea to head down to your LCS and spend $35 on the TPB. You could also hop online or find this book at a con for cheaper. In addition to the 15 issues, you also get the Planet Hulk: Gladiator Guidebook and some material from Amazing Fantasy #15. What this book really needs is the "Deluxe Edition" or least the "Hardcover" treatment.

In 2010, Marvel turned the first half of this story into a straight-to-DVD animated story. This hour and twenty minute film tried to capture the story of Hulk taking down the Red King to some mixed reviews. While it's a fun complimentary piece to the original story, it doesn't have the scope or epicness of the original. The main problem is that it misses out on half of this story: Hulk as a leader and his eventual return to Earth. Also, Silver Savage is replaced by Beta Ray Bill.

It's all about Miek!

Yes, this is a fun little piece, but by no means should you think that watching this film is the same as reading the actual story. You're missing out on a ton of stuff. This is a book you should read because it redefines who and what the Hulk is, and Planet Hulk is something new. It takes a step away from traditional comic book storytelling and it throws in a bit of Roman gladiator fighting. It's a story that sets the world stage for Hulk for the next generation and starts a series of events that keep getting more and more intense. It's brilliant as a stand alone book and as the beginning of something bigger. Planet Hulk is new and old reader friendly as well.

If you say you've never read a good Hulk book, then you haven't read Planet Hulk.

Mat "InferiorEgo" Elfring is a comedian, idiot, editor of the comedy website Crap Trap, and the host of the podcast Mat & Lewis Vs The Internet.

Follow him on twitter to yell at him. Then unfollow him after he smashes you with his foam Hulk-hands.

#2 Posted by HellknightLeon (74 posts) - - Show Bio

I didn't like the movie... Planet Hulk never did anything for me. (and no I dont mean like got me a beer or did my laundry) I will pass... but thats just me... maybe.

#3 Posted by longbowhunter (9056 posts) - - Show Bio

Speaking as a non Hulk fan I gotta say that I consider this a must read story.

#4 Posted by dondave (40623 posts) - - Show Bio

Definitely going to pick this up

#5 Edited by theTimeStreamer (2845 posts) - - Show Bio

movie kinda sucked but the comic was and still is one of the best hulk stories.

#6 Posted by ccraft (12069 posts) - - Show Bio

The movie was good, I should get the series. Is Greg Pak writer or the artist for Batman/Superman?

#7 Posted by lvenger (26480 posts) - - Show Bio

I really need to pick this up at some point. Seems like it's one of the quintessential Hulk stories and since he's in my top 10, I should give this a read.

#9 Posted by lvenger (26480 posts) - - Show Bio

@lvenger said:

I really need to pick this up at some point. Seems like it's one of the quintessential Hulk stories and since he's in my top 10, I should give this a read.

This still sits top on my hulk stories :P

I thought you'd pick me up on that :P

@ccraft: Greg Pak is the writer for Batman/Superman.

#11 Posted by talia (363 posts) - - Show Bio

simple becasue the graphic novals are awsome

#12 Posted by lvenger (26480 posts) - - Show Bio

@theacidskull: You already told me why you love Greg Pak's writing but yes I do :P

#13 Edited by fodigg (6233 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm always a little uneasy when people talk about Planet Hulk and don't mentionEdgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stuff, on which it is clearly and lovingly based (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barsoom). Like, this article makes great points, but none of that great stuff was created in a vacuum.

Incidentally, all the Barsoom novels are public domain, so go get the ebooks and read them. They're excellent if a little "of their time" at certain points. Also, Burroughs' Tarzan stuff? Crazy-pants. The first book starts with him being worshiped by the local villagers he murders for violating his territory and ends with a car chase in Wisconsin. Disney that.

#15 Posted by mcbean (308 posts) - - Show Bio

Totally agree Planet Hulk was so good.

#16 Posted by lifeboy (1717 posts) - - Show Bio

What are your other fav hulks? World war hulk? I've always wanted to check it out (as the only time I'd ever step out on my dc babe)

#17 Posted by cbishop (10683 posts) - - Show Bio

Planet Hulk was so good, it was surprising. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and by the way, it has been released as a hardcover - I have it.

#18 Posted by fodigg (6233 posts) - - Show Bio

@lifeboy said:

What are your other fav hulks? World war hulk? I've always wanted to check it out (as the only time I'd ever step out on my dc babe)

World War Hulk was sub-par, especially after Planet Hulk. It did offer some catharsis to Hulk fans who resented his treatment in the original Sentry run however.

#19 Posted by QuantomMan (221 posts) - - Show Bio

This was a great, great read

#20 Posted by saoakden (1256 posts) - - Show Bio

This was the very first Hulk story I read and it was really great. Man I want to go back and read this story now.

#21 Posted by StMichalofWilson (5392 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool story, so was the sequel.

#22 Posted by BlueLantern1995 (3237 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved the movie and heard the book is better of course I'm going to read this someday :D!

#23 Edited by Doomnaut (2442 posts) - - Show Bio

Planet Hulk is a must read for any comic book fan.

#24 Posted by The Stegman (32718 posts) - - Show Bio

Not a Hulk fan, to me, this is the only really good Hulk story.

#25 Posted by NICKXH (367 posts) - - Show Bio

Marvel should do a film adaptation as one of the Phase 3. Porbably...

#26 Posted by therainmaker (119 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article! I definitely agree this is the greatest Hulk story, on of my favorite comic arcs too~

#27 Posted by The Average Bear (2259 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd really like to see this made into a film. It could be done.

#28 Posted by johnkmccubbin91 (3897 posts) - - Show Bio

Best Hulk story I've ever read

#29 Posted by Onemoreposter (4308 posts) - - Show Bio

I remember thinking how cheesy i thought this was going to be when I saw WWH issue 1 at my LCS. Shocked was I to find how good the series was.

#30 Edited by PATTX (128 posts) - - Show Bio

i want the MOVIE!!!!

#31 Posted by Kesho_Ronin (242 posts) - - Show Bio

Speaking as a non Hulk fan I gotta say that I consider this a must read story.

what he said :)

#32 Edited by lightsout (1885 posts) - - Show Bio

read it & watch the movie - you shall not regret it

#33 Edited by JamDamage (1195 posts) - - Show Bio

actually I preferred World War Hulk over Planet Hulk.

#34 Posted by Alex_Hayden (3 posts) - - Show Bio

I was never a huge Hulk fan but this blew me away... so yeah, I agree with it all :)

#35 Edited by Dabee (2421 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll be rereading it, now sooner rather than later.

#36 Edited by nerdork (4055 posts) - - Show Bio

The first time I read Planet Hulk, I couldn’t believe how exciting and new it was. It is one of those stories that is completely original, has amazing characters with separate and intricate backgrounds and the panel-to-panel action is way above par. I think I am going to dig out these issues and read it again…thanks for the inspiration. :P

#38 Posted by Necrotic_Lycanthrope (2501 posts) - - Show Bio

The artwork is great, but I've never been prone to a "Hulk in SPAAAAAAAAAACE" scenario, regardless if it's a Spartan war planet or not.

The best example I know of that actually made that scenario badass was in the Justice League cartoon when Superman gets captured by Mongul and forced to fight in an arena against the warrior Drega.

#39 Edited by Narok24 (49 posts) - - Show Bio

I've never really been a Hulk fan, and I'm still not, but I am DEFINITELY a Planet Hulk fan. It made me see a new side of Hulk, getting a chance to almost start over. It's also what triggered my hatred toward the Illuminati. Near genocide isn't exactly something I see as "okay" for a group of superheroes, particularly a group trying to rule/protect the world from evil, which is exactly what that genocide was: evil.

#40 Edited by Mucklefluga (2653 posts) - - Show Bio
#41 Posted by ManlyScream (18 posts) - - Show Bio

This is my favorite Hulk storyline I have ever read. Because of that, I was really excited for the Planet Hulk movie, but it was such a let down. Marvel's animated movies should take a look at what DC is doing and the way they are adapting their comics.

#42 Posted by ManlyScream (18 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_average_bear: I can't remember where I read it, but if you search for "Planet Hulk Live Action" you will get many sites reporting rumors that Marvel may be in the midst of trying to adapt this storyline into a live action movie. Here's hoping.....

#43 Edited by hyenascar (200 posts) - - Show Bio

@lifeboy said:

What are your other fav hulks? World war hulk? I've always wanted to check it out (as the only time I'd ever step out on my dc babe)

World war Hulk came after planet hulk and might have been the most anticipated comic at the time . Tony Stark had grown more and more of a dick. I hated, hated Tony. Tony was written as a jerk and he was responsible for sending Hulk into space and then blowing up Hulk's wife. So Hulk was coming for Tony. It was the whole Illuminati who did this to Hulk but, Tony felt more at the head of the decision. So much anticipation.

#44 Posted by ImNemotheGemini (874 posts) - - Show Bio

I wonder what story arcs Mark Waid has under his sleeve ? Indestructable hulk is going well, and I should step up a notch with thor in the upcoming issue !

#45 Edited by Lone_Wolf_and_Cub (6901 posts) - - Show Bio

If you are a Hulk fan you owe it to yourself to read this arc. Even if you aren't a Hulk fan check it out. Great story with great art.

#46 Posted by shadowpdf1 (19 posts) - - Show Bio

Read it once and didn't like it. Too obvious. No pathos. All Smash and no Bang. Hulk works best when he's the misunderstood monster hunted by those who would cage him or use him.

#47 Edited by rouder (57 posts) - - Show Bio

Miek and his relationship to Hulk is what makes Planet Hulk for me. The bug develops a lot throughout the time and while the green monster drives the story forward, Miek is IMO the star of the show.

Never stop making them pay.

#48 Posted by wolverine1610 (257 posts) - - Show Bio

planet hulk was so freakin good, especially the part where you can tell that hulk has made a gradual change from savage to green scar. world war hulk was pretty good to me too

#49 Posted by andy_117 (92 posts) - - Show Bio

I literally just finished reading Planet Hulk.

Now all I see is people talking about Planet Hulk. On DeviantArt, pictures of Planet Hulk. On Comic Vine, article about Planet Hulk. On Facebook, everyone saying how I should read Planet Hulk. I just did. Now Planet Hulk is stuck in my braaaaaain

#50 Edited by Danial79 (2538 posts) - - Show Bio

According to Amazon, there is a hardcover version available for around $80. I would love to get it, but $80 is way out of my comic price range.

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