Planet Hulk #1 Review


Planet Hulk #1
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Mark Laming
Published by Marvel Comics

Waiting for Planet Hulk #1, I had a question weigh heavily on my mind: “What on Earth could be better than Captain America the barbarian on an island filled entirely with Hulks?”

After finally getting my hands on the book, I’ve found out that question has two answers:

1. Captain America the barbarian riding on Devil Dinosaur!


2. A whole lot of other books I’ve read before.

The first issue of Planet Hulk is living under the pressure of bringing us something comparative to the well-received Planet Hulk storyline without returning to it, and like many children born from pressure, it has decided to give up and try something else entirely. Despite Secret Wars creating an amazing backdrop where Dr. Doom is a god and the sorcerer supreme serves at his side, ready to carry out his will — and where Dr. Doom has a police force composed of Thors ready to do his bidding — this issue never finds its footing.

Beginning with Captain America as a gladiator in the Killisium having just slaughtered a pack of Wolverines with the help of his friend Devil Dinosaur, I was expecting too much from this book. I was expecting an action packed romp where the book would give us an unusual setting filled with surprises that would be surmounted by Steve Rogers the barbarian in feats of will and ingenuity that would boggle the mind.

Captain America the barbarian. He deserves a better book.

Instead, we have a book that is largely exposition. Despite having its own entertaining tricks, like making Arcade the manager of the Killisium, and that everything in Greenland has been irradiated and made Hulk-like, even animals or bugs, we follow along slowly while Captain America deals with Arcade, then Doom, making deals that allow him to look for the missing Bucky. Besides this, we get an encounter between the Thors and some Hulks. It ends quickly, and it’s revealed that very little was actually at stake with that encounter. Combine that with a complete lack of knowledge of what the Hulks are trying to accomplish or who they are, and we end up with empty action that should have been epic.

All of the details in this book read like a 13-year old’s checklist for what would make the most epic comic book ever read, yet in execution it becomes painfully dull. Only one character seems to have any motivation, most action happens off camera, and all the bits we get to see come in small, boring bursts. If not for the backup story where Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa share the origin of the world, there wouldn’t be anything in this book even resembling a moment of joy or levity.

Planet Hulk #1 is a comic more concerned with making sure the reader knows all the specific details of this new world than actually presenting those details in the form of a story. It’s like a failed experiment you want to return to again and again, checking in to see when they finally get it right.

Planet Hulk #1: C –

Next: More Secret Wars: The Infinity Gauntlet #1 Review

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