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SECOND LOOK: Planet Hulk Part 1-The Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection

It seems after Civil War, Marvel fans now have a lust to see our favourite heroes team off against each other or at least spilt into two factions and for us to choose a side. As always, picking a side means someone has to be the victim. Either way, it’s going to be upsetting to some fans when their heroic icons are portrayed as bad guys. However writer Greg Pak does a perfect job of seeing both sides as equals in Planet Hulk. An awesome script requires sublime artwork to enhance and back up the storyline and it’s delivered perfectly by John Romita JrKlaus Janson and Christina Strain.

This is the story of the monster who fell from the skies to a planet of monsters who tried to stab him, burn and even eat his flesh…

Known as many things on planet Earth: hero, menace, some even say he’s to strong for his own good. but when Hulk destroys yet another city the Illuminati (that group made up of Iron Man, Professor X, Reed Richards, Namor, Black Bolt and Doctor Strange who secretly run the world) decide enough is enough and something more permanent has to be done. With great sadness they make the decision that Hulk, although a saviour of Earth on some many occasions, is too powerful to remain on the planet. Instead, they find a remote planet where Hulk can finally get his wish and be left alone in peace and quiet. Seen as a betrayal by his friends, Hulk has a deep seeded anger and seeks revenge. Finally crashing down on the planet Sakaar, the inhabitants of the planet see Hulk as a possible slave for the Colosseum. Such strength and raw aggression will surely be a crowd pleaser.

Finally subduing the beast they attach the planet’s obedience disks onto Hulk. Even his mighty strength cannot match the disk’s control and so must become a slave to the Red King. The ruler of planet Sakaar, the Red King likes to entertain his servants in the mighty Colosseum, pitting champions against each other in a bloody fight with any opposition swiftly corrected by the obedience disks. Hulk’s first task is to defeat the mighty Cavaranthus Mazorus, a gigantic creature that resembles a giant squid with multiple eyes, razor sharp teeth and tentacles able to rip the very flesh from your bones. Devouring the lesser slaves, Hulk hurls himself into the very belly of the beast.  With the very yawn of the Red King a loud RRRRAHRRR echos around the Colosseum as our champion dripping with the guts of the Cavaranthus Mazorus stands victorious.

With Hulk’s rage pumping through his body he decides to go for the throat of the Red King straight away only to be blasted back to reality, feeling the green monster may offer a little fun he decides to arrange a one v one death match. Blades collide, egos clash and with one large swing Hulks blade slices the Kings face …..”Hulk Smash”.. A key player of the series emerges as the Red Kings bodyguard the mighty Caiera the Oldstrong decides its her time to take on Hulk only to be cut short by the Red King knocking Hulk out cold and sentencing him to the Maw.

Hulk, now joined by fellow warrior’s Korg, Miek,No-name the Broodspawn, Elloe, and Hiroim as a team, returns to the arena where they must survive three rounds to earn their freedom. During one of the rounds, Hulks blood is spilt to the dusty sands. As the blood soaks into the ground, it begins to grow new life. Getting desperate to see Hulk’s death in the final round, the Red King pits our heroes against a familiar face in the legendary Silver Surfer. Only here, he is known as the The Silver Savage. After Hulk and his companions have battled to the top, they demand their freedom only to be denied and Hulk is faced with one final test.  One of the warriors is caught in the resistance to overthrow the Red King. The final test for freedom is to slay this warrior.  Kill her and you’re free, simple enough right? Hulk sees this as no more than a bad joke and refuses to play along in the Red Kings sick twisted games. However, due to the power of the obedience disks he has no choice to obey. He uses his mighty strength to hold back, which only enrages the Red King even more. A loud VOOOOM echos as all of a sudden the Silver Savage destroys the disks and declares freedom. Tearing the place down Hulk and his new team escape into the wild.

Hulk accomplishes many things with his new freedom. He enlists new friends from the planet’s resistance, his tiny little bug friend Miek transforms into a King of the Hive,  the betrayed Caiera the Oldstrong joins after being caught in the conflict and sacrificed so easily by the Red King seeks revenge. They have liberated dozens of towns from the clutches of the Deathguard and Hulk even makes friends with a Tyrannous Rex who he treats like a horse and rides into many glorious battles.  After the Red King throws his last roll of the dice and launches the Spikes, a race of flesh eating creatures, Hulk decides he’s ready to come and get the Red King..

“You tried to kill us with swords and spears, you tried to kill us with bombs. You tried to kill us with your stupid spikes but that just made us mad. So get ready Red King, now we’re coming for you.” 

Planet Hulk offers a expansive look at our favourite Green Beast doing what he does best: SMASH! Transformed into a gladiator on a savage alien planet offers readers plenty of action to feed their hungry appetites. Planet Hulk is a personal favourite of mine so I cannot recommend this comic enough to all Marvel lovers, in fact not just not Marvel any fan of action packed comics. Part One sees us leave our hero with a sense of freedom after escaping with fellow warrior’s and new allies. Part Two has a high expectation to live up to and plenty of  unfinished business such as: will Hulk get his revenge and slay the Red King? What will happen to the other warriors? Will the swarm of flesh eating bugs consume them all? Only one way to find out read our next review Planet Hulk Part Two.

Rating 8/10

About the author

James Ugalde