Writer:Sam Humphries / Artist:Marc Laming / Marvel
Well, a solid five minutes have gone by at Marvel, so we all know it’s past time for another big event. Secret Wars is turning out to be a reasonably effective event that takes an old Marvel crossover and puts a uniquely sci-fi shine on it. The result is an ambitious retooling of the Marvel Universe on a level they’ve never really attempted in the history of the company. This week, the first of the Battleworld related tie-ins rolled out with Sam Humphries’ Planet Hulk among them.
This is book is cool, concept-wise, because it takes the name of an existing classic Marvel event and turns it on its ear to tell a completely different story from what we know. Steve Rogers, the greatest gladiator in the Killiseum, is tasked by God Emperor Doom to team up with Devil Dinosaur (holy fuck, you HAVE to appreciate any comic that goes into the vault and digs up Devil Dinosaur) and venture into a territory populated entirely by Hulks and eliminate a special target. The premise is so outlandish and ridiculous, it almost has no choice but to work.
Granted, I know I said the same thing about Cowboys and Aliens (which was terrible to a degree I didn’t know literature and film were capable of), but it’s actually true in this case. Humphries does a commendable job of establishing the status quo as well as what’s truly at stake for Steve. Marc Laming turns out to be pretty adept at building a unique world in a world basically built of unique worlds. His semi-cinematic approach is more than deserving of this gladiator epic. Also, there’s a small bonus story at the end written by Greg Pak that serves as a bit of a prequel, delving into the origins of this gamma irradiated world. It’s great to see yet another story with Amadeus Cho, an underappreciated Hulk (and Hercules) mainstay back in action.
Bottom Line: An unusual twist on the classic Hulk story, Devil Dinosaur, great artwork and the return of Amadeus Cho all make for a first issue that’s worth the juiced up price point. 8.5 out of 10.