The Incredible Hulk has always been a favorite of mine. I remember watching the live show with Bill Bixby when I was a kid. The 1980’s animated series that aired with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was also pretty cool. My parents even got me a subscription (one of many) to the comic for a few years. It was around issue 300 and Dr. Strange had exiled the Hulk to the “Crossroads.” It was a mystic realm where the Hulk could finally be at peace, but of course that didn’t last.
The Hulk at peace. That’s all he ever wants and that’s why I knew he wouldn’t get it in Grek Pak’s run on the Hulk last years, entitled Planet Hulk. Several of Earth’s heroes sent the Hulk to an uninhabited planet, but his ship went off course and he landed on a planet ruled by an evil tyrant and was forced into gladiator style combat. Not to ruin it, but things went well and then fell apart, leaving the Hulk madder than ever before and on a return trip to Earth to settle with the Heroes(?) that sent him away.
That led to World War Hulk. It was a 5 issue mini-series that had the Hulk attacking those he thought responsible for his recent misery (Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange, Black Bolt). The final issue came out yesterday (Nov. 14) and in standard event fashion, it reeked of “nothing will be the same ever again.”
The images at the top show a red Hulk, now appearing in a title by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuiness. The track record of those two leads me to believe that we’ll see maybe four issues of that series next year, rather than the regular 12. Also, why take Pak off the series. Unless he wanted off, he was doing some of the best writing the Hulk has seen in years and maybe the best since Peter David finished his run. Finally, the red Hulk…Seriously. The gray version was cool, because it tied to his origin. Adding another color to the Hulk seems like a cheap gimmick to me.
The last issue of the Hulk series will be issue #112. The red Hulk will appear in a new series simply titled Hulk and start over with #1. Picking up at #113, the Incredible Herc (or just Hercules) will likely pick up on lingering plots points from the last several issues of the Hulk and feature the Greek demi-god Hercules. He’s a fun character but not one that’s ever successfully carried a series. Look for that to last 12 issues or less.
Finally, big spoiler here. There will be a third Hulk related title added to the mix. Skaar, Son of the Hulk looks like a continuation of the Planet Hulk story. I’ve not seen any confirmation yet, but I guess this is where Greg Pak will end up, seeing these characters were his creations.
The idea of the Hulk having a son is an ok one, but the way they left that plot at the end of the Planet Hulk story leaves a lot of explanation forthcoming in the new series. It almost seems like a cheat. Everything the Hulk was mad about turned out to be false. To convenient for me.
With the new Hulk movie coming out in 2008, I expect we’ll see more and more Hulk related comics and tie-ins coming up.