It has been a few years now, but Marvel is returning to the Planet Hulk narrative, and thankfully Greg Pak is leading the charge. A five-issue miniseries, Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 promises to show us what has happened to Sakaar one thousand years into the future. It’s a big jump, but when it comes to Hulks time doesn’t apply – at least not physically. Enter a narrative involving both unfamiliar characters and familiar ones, as Sakaar doesn’t see the Hulk as a savior but as a doom-bringer.
Right off the bat, Greg Pak makes it clear the curse of being Hulk continues in Sakaar one thousand years into the future. They see him as a monster, and priestess Venkiera is bringing folks together by demonizing Hulk. Some know the truth, including a young green-skinned boy named Balo and a 20-something green-skinned woman named Tala. The world is barren and dangerous, yet they’re on their own. They’re outsiders, and soon we learn they’re also being tracked.
Enter Amadeus Cho, who is now older and possibly profoundly connected to these strangers. The story moves along quickly, detailing Cho’s stance on the world and himself while informing us of how bad things have gotten on the planet. Hulk may have been the ruler of Sakaar at one time, but Pak seems to be revealing with time, even the greatest heroes can be used as weapons to manipulate the people.
The art is by Manuel Garcia, with inks by Cam Smith and colors by Chris Sotomayor. The environments look good, with details showing how barren the world has become. It’s not unlike Mustafar in the opening, though we soon see green spaces and trash heaps. The bottom line is it’s an alien world that has seen better days. The enemies the characters face off against are also intriguing, like a riff on Sentinels, which indeed harbors some hint at who is behind things. You can also see Cho in the face, but he’s also a bit weary and tired from being alive so long and living in such a desolate place.
While reading this first issue, I kept pondering what the meaning of it all was. Why did it need to be told, and why are we getting this story now? I’m not sure the first issue answers that, although it’s interesting to see Marvel explore far-future narratives in canon. Likely the villain will reveal its purpose, but if you weren’t a fan of Planet Hulk, or missed it and plan to read it, much of the draw to this series isn’t evident yet. There’s a promise for a key figure to pop up next issue, but save for Cho, most of these characters are unfamiliar, and since it’s so far into the future, it’s hard to know why we should care.
Fans who loved Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk and the stories that spilled from that must read Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1. It continues the story of Sakaar while exploring the dangers of vilifying a person for political gain. The series hasn’t quite yet hooked me as far as why it must be told, but likely it’s coming soon.
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