by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Greg Pak, Art by Dale Eaglesham
Published: April 2011
Boy, Marvel really likes drawing parallels to Planet Hulk and World War Hulk in Hulk-related titles. We’ve had “World War Cho,” World War Hulks, and, over in the red Hulk’s title, Planet Red Hulk. Now we’ve got Planet Savage, which is a bit of a misnomer since we’re still on the planet Earth, albeit in the Savage Land. To the credit of this story arc that begins in The Incredible Hulks #623, at least there is a tie back to Planet Hulk, with Miek and the Warbound making an appearance.
The issue picks up where the last one left off, with the Hulk near death after the beating he took from Zeus. His ex-girlfriend Kate Waynesboro rigs up a super-defibrillator to stabilize the Hulk’s heart, and I have to give a slight nod that she isn’t just shocking a flatline like most media medics do when they use a defibrillator. Leave it to a comic book involving a green monster lying near death after fighting a Greek god to show the use of a defibrillator in a more realistic light than any medical drama.
The Hulk’s weakened state means a couple of things. First, he’s not able to transform back to Bruce Banner lest he dies from his wounds. Second, he’s much more vulnerable than we’ve seen anywhere in Greg Pak’s run. The Hulk gets a message from his old ally Ka-Zar in the Savage Land, who informs him that Miek’s bug refugees from World War Hulk have been wreaking havoc in the area. That means that it’s time to leave the Hulk family behind, save for Skaar, and journey with the Warbound to face off against Miek.
Unfortunately for the Hulk, Miek has a bit more cunning than he’s previously displayed. A traitor poisons the Hulk’s company’s food, rendering them all unconscious. This is probably Miek taking advantage of the Hulk’s weakened state, since it’s unlikely he’d be so easily captured otherwise. Skaar, Ka-Zar, and the rest of the Warbound sleep the night away while the Hulk is brought before Miek as a prisoner.
This is a buildup issue, but it’s done very well. First of all, we jump right into the action due to the fact that the story picks up right after Godsmash, and even if you didn’t read the previous issue you’ve got a decent idea of what’s going on. The Hulk has some nice character moments, particularly when he leaves Betty behind to go to the Savage Land and they have a talk/fight on his way out. It’s also interesting to see the Hulk in such a weakened state, since for most of Pak’s run he’s been stronger than he ever has been before. The art is solid, although Dale Eagleham’s pencils make the current Hulk look like the more intelligent merged Hulk that showed up throughout the 1990s as part of Peter David’s run. Other than that, though, the Savage Land is rendered beautifully.
Overall, The Incredible Hulks #623 is one of the better kickoffs to a new storyline that Marvel has had lately, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re keen on seeing a continuation of the Planet Hulk saga or are just a fan of the Incredible One in general.