Comixology Sale Picks: World War Hulk
Posted by James Hunt at 12:03 on 15 Aug 2014
In an epic, Conan-esque storyline called "Planet Hulk", he rose from a slave to become the ruler of Sakaar, bringing peace to the land and uniting the disparate races on the planet. Then the damaged shuttle that brought him there exploded, wrecking the planet and killing his wife. World War Hulk is what happened when he gets back to Earth. He always said you wouldn't like him when he's angry. But now he's really mad.
World War Hulk
The core series is World War Hulk #1-6, and the prologue issue. The prologue isn't strictly necessary if you're familiar with the characters Hulk is facing and the backstory of his situation, but at a sale price it's worth reading if only as a refresher. Written by Greg Pak and drawn by John Romita Jr., World War Hulk is a huge event featuring characters across the Marvel Universe, and certainly one of the better Hulk stories. Get these 6-7 issues at the absolute least.
World War Hulk Tie-Ins
As is traditional, the size of this story means that it involves tonnes of tie-in miniseries and crossovers. World War Hulk is notable for having some of the least interesting and easily-omitted crossovers I've ever seen in an event story, but in case you're interested...
World War Hulk: Front Line #1-6
Writer Paul Jenkins is responsible for some great comics, but by this point he'd gone sort of off the rails. Cast in the mold of Civil War: Front Line, this is an anthology series about reporters and cops following the street-level impact of Hulk's rampage. I haven't read it, but that's because it's almost certainly awful. In any case, it's definitely skippable.
Heroes for Hire #11-14
These issues are written by Zeb Wells, who is a very dependably good superhero writer. So much so that he was basically lured out of the business and into TV and stuff. It's got a fairly weird cast of characters you've probably never heard of, and story-wise it's mostly about Hulk's allies, Miek and Brood. It's not bad, but nor is it essential.
World War Hulk: X-Men #1-3
I like this series just because it's basically about various X-Men fighting the Hulk, but it's absolutely inessential. The most it does in plot terms is explain why they're not around for the events of the main series. If you like the X-Men (and who doesn't?) you'll probably get a kick out of it, but don't feel like you have to read it to understand anything.
World War Hulk: Gamma Corps
Famously disliked writer Frank Tieri creates a group of new Hulk-derived super-soldiers who were created by the military to take him down. I think they briefly show up in the main series, but this is their not-very-interesting origin story and they've appeared in literally one comic since, in 2009, so I wouldn't bother with this one unless you're a completist.
Avengers: The Initiative #4-5
Ah, finally! An interesting tie-in! Avengers: The Initiative is a book about superheroes in training, but it's written by Dan Slott who is routinely responsible for some of Marvel's best books. Again, it's far from crucial to the plot, but these two issues promise to be good. I'm going to buy them, at least.
Irredeemable Ant-Man #10
This isn't the same Ant-Man who's going to be in the movie, but it is written by the same Robert Kirkman who created The Walking Dead. I'm not sure this'll make a hugely satisfying read taken out of context with the rest of the series, since it's a highly serialised book, but it may be worth a try.
Iron Man: Director of SHIELD #19-20
Issue #19 is a lead-in to Iron Man's appearance in World War Hulk, and therefore it's a rare WWH tie-in that actually does enhance the main series a little. Issue #20 is about Stark's supporting cast trying to keep SHIELD running after he's been captured, which is less good. But they're probably worth reading, all things considered.
Ghost Rider #12-13
Do you want to read a comic about Ghost Rider fighting the Hulk? Really? Well, that's what this is. I wasn't a big fan of this Ghost Rider incarnation, but it is what it is. A neatly self-contained two-parter, if nothing else. Again, completely inessential.
Punisher War Journal #12
Matt Fraction's Punisher run was considered quite good at the time, though it didn't hugely click with me. The character isn't really a fit for this kind of mad superhero nonsense, but as Punisher stories go, there's nothing particularly bad about it. You guessed it, though. This is inessential stuff.
Incredible Hulk #106-111
While Hulk was off running the show in World War Hulk, his own series got taken over by members of his supporting cast and former allies like Hercules, Angel and Namora. It's actually a pretty good story, neatly weaving in and out of the core event, and it's written by Greg Pak who's handling the main World War Hulk series so it all fits quite well. If you want to buy any tie-ins, these are the ones to get.
World War Hulk Aftersmash
But wait! There's more! With the Hulk's threat neutralised, there were still some stories to tell. Here they are.
World War Hulk Aftersmash: Damage Control
The late Dwayne McDuffie returns to the Damage Control characters for the first time in years. It's a series about the crew that cleans up the Marvel Universe following superhero battles. Probably good stuff. I've not read this series, but I'm going to buy it now.
World War Hulk Aftersmash: Warbound
If you like the guys Hulk came back from space with, this is what happened to them after the events of World War Hulk. I'm going to get it because it's written by Greg Pak and it's essentially a chapter in the story he began in Planet Hulk, but unless you've read that these characters aren't going to mean a whole lot to you besides hanging around the periphery of World War Hulk.
What If? World War Hulk
Here's how World War Hulk COULD have gone. Gimmicky nonsense, strictly for fans of gimmicky nonsense. Weirdly it seems to be mostly by Archie comics writers who haven't been near superhero comics before or since. I like a good What If, personally (and LOVE a bad one) but there's a good reason they're not done very often and that's because they're A) mad and B) usually terrible. I'd buy it (and did) but don't take that as evidence you should.
So as it turns out, you can skip a lot of that stuff. Maybe that's why World War Hulk was such a good story, though: you didn't have to read anything extra. Still, those are your choices. You can make your decisions on Comixology's World War Hulk sale page.