Review – Planet Hulk (2006-2007)
Review – Planet Hulk
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Greg Pak
Pencillers: Alan Lopresti, Carlo Pagulayan & Gary Frank
Inkers: Danny Miki, Sandu Florea & Jeffrey Huet
Colourist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Randy Gentile
Release Date: April 2006 – June 2007
So I just finished re-reading Planet Hulk for review and honestly it was a bit of a slog to get through. I first read this book back-to-back along with World War Hulk when I seriously first got into comics back in 2013 and I remember really enjoying it. The reason that I made sure it was one of the first books I read when getting into comics was because it was so often recommended in a ton of articles and online forums as a highlight for Marvel and as a must-read book. When I read through it for the first time and put it down, I really thought that it deserved all of the high praise and accolades that it received and it has really held a spot in my mind over the years as a prestige of comic book storytelling.
After revisiting it though, I realise that there is a good chance I was looking back at it through rose-tinted glasses. I also wonder if my memory has been somewhat clouded due to my enjoyment of Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, which took a number of elements from Planet Hulk.
In actual fact, Planet Hulk consists of a meandering plot and lacks the punch that’s carried by most other classic Marvel stories. The book starts off by making the Avengers members that decide to send Hulk away, (AKA The Illuminati) look pretty cold and heartless. I appreciate that these characters aren’t totally one dimensional good guys all of the time and have occasionally did some questionable, shady things through the years, but for them to just randomly send away one of their greatest assets without any real motive seems very out of character.
Once Hulk arrives on Sakaar, this could essentially be any random sci-fi comics and there is no real reason for the story to be a Marvel book any longer. The entire plot feels incredibly detached from the Marvel universe to the point that I found it quite hard to care about any danger or peril that the characters were faced with. It also doesn’t help that the one character we follow that we do know is probably the hardest Avenger to relate to since he is a hulking green monster that rarely says more than one word sentences.
I realise that the following statement may be sacrilegious to some comic book geeks, but I have never really been a fan of when the Hulk speaks. I am okay hearing him say the occasional throwaway word or short phrase, but when he is speaking in long detailed, articulate sentences, I struggle to buy it and by the end of this book, he is strategising and governing like he has studied the Art of War. It makes him feel even less like the Hulk character that we know from Marvel comics and makes this story feel even more detached, like some kind of Elseworlds tale, but no this is all still apparently taken place within main Marvel 616 canon.
I have heard a few people argue that this book works as a set up for the more exciting follow up, World War Hulk. However I really don’t think that 330 pages of set up were necessary to tell that story. Reading the book felt like somewhat of a chore this time around and dragged on far more than I remembered which resulted in me really struggling through it.
The artwork in the book is decent and is consistent throughout. I really enjoyed the pencils and inks throughout the book. Honestly the only issue that I had was that I felt that Alan Lopresti’s, Danny Miki’s and Chris Sotomayor’s talent were wasted here to a certain extent. Somewhat similar to how I felt when witnessing Jim Lee’s stunning artwork in All Star Batman and Robin, although maybe not quite to that extent.
Frankly, this is a book that I wish I had never revisited. It really let me down in terms of it’s level of quality in my mind and I would actually recommend against revisiting it if it is a book that you enjoyed a number of years ago.
Buy tickets for BGCP Comic Con in and around Glasgow Scotland – BUY TICKETS
Check out all of our Comic, Movie, Television and Videogame Reviews HERE and our Podcasts/Interviews HERE