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Review of Incredible Hulk #93 (v2)
Published: May 2006
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Charlie Brooks
October 15, 2011
The previous issue in this title introduced the epic storyline called Planet Hulk. With the Hulk exiled into space and weakened by a wormhole, he finds himself fighting in an alien arena just to survive. As he often does, the Hulk made the mistake of letting his anger get the best of him leading to an attack on the king of this planet. Now, in The Incredible Hulk #93, we find the Hulk sentenced to die in the strange fire pit known as the Maw.

We get into the action right away as the Hulk takes the fight to his would-be executor. Again, we see that Pak has a solid grasp of this version of the Hulk. The Hulk is a tough character to get, especially when he’s not the well-known dumb child-like incarnation. This Hulk is intelligent, but he lets his anger think for him, unlike Bruce Banner.

Speaking of Bruce Banner, the Hulk gives us an explanation of why his human half isn’t around right now: the planet Sakaar is too dangerous for a puny human to survive in. It’s a bit of a cop-out without further explanation, but we’ll let it slide right now and see if we get something more detailed down the line. This issue seems to be made to play to our cathartic love of the Hulk punching guys who deserve punching.

As to those who really deserve punching – the supposed heroes who exiled the Hulk in the first place – we get some ominous foreshadowing of what will happen when the Hulk returns to Earth: “Their machines and heroes won’t save them.” Interesting, and something to keep in mind as the story progresses.

The bulk of this issue focuses on the formation of the Hulk’s gladiatorial team, and there are some really well-placed nostalgic callbacks here. I especially appreciated the appearance of Korg, a stone man from Saturn whose species appeared way back in Journey to Mystery #83, the first appearance of Thor. We also have a member of the Brood, a bug-like race that has served as an antagonist for the X-Men. These bits of continuity are well-executed, its obvious but not shoved down our throats. It’s something that comic buffs who pride themselves on their obscure bits of trivia can enjoy. It’s also a reminder that, even in an isolated world like Sakaar the Marvel Universe is a vast, shared universe with many different recurring
cast members.

As with issue #92, issue #93 is mostly action and a thinly-veiled attempt to transfer the plot of Gladiator and similar movies to the Hulk. And as with the previous issue, it works really well. The story starts with someone unknown narrating the Hulk’s tale as part of a legend, giving the story an appropriate mythic feel. Everyone is working in tandem here, with Greg Pak delivering high-quality storytelling and dialogue that is consistent with all the characters we know. Penciler Carlo Pagulayan continuing to give us a unique alien world. Inker Jeffrey Huet providing crispness to Pagulayan’s art. And colorist Chris Sotomayor bringing out the bright vibrant green of the Hulk in a barren world of rock and sand. Comics are a collaborative medium, and the pieces are all working in perfect tandem right now.

The issue closes with a group of rebels offering the Hulk a chance to lead them against the Red King. Is this where the Hulk continues to tread the path of Maximus and fight for freedom, or are we going to depart from the fun yet clichéd plot for something new? Whatever the answer, Planet Hulk: Exile, part two is another solid story that provides a promising foundation for the remainder of this developing epic.
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