Incredible Hulk #96


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Incredible Hulk #96


  • Words: Greg Pak
  • Art: Aaron Lopresti
  • Inks: Danny Miki
  • Colors: Chris Sotomayor
  • Story Title: Planet Hulk - Anarchy: Part 1
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jul 6, 2006

Hulk and his tribe have won their freedom from the Emperor’s clutches. Now many former slaves follow them to the Twisted Wood where the fight for their lives begins.

While the Civil War rages back on Earth, the Hulk has spent the past few months in a struggle of his own. After S.H.I.E.L.D. and the members of the Illuminati duped him into space, we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of Bruce Banner. However, Hulk hasn’t quite been himself either. After crash landing on a ruthless planet, Hulk’s powers were not what they once were and he became enslaved after taking on the planet’s Emperor and being the only individual to draw a wound on the otherworldly leader, thus gaining the nickname Green Scar. Since that time, Hulk has slowly but surely gained his old powers back while becoming "warbound" to a group of wayward monsters likewise forced to fight for their lives and freedom in a gladiator ring. As Hulk and his troop won, the legend of the Green Scar grew as a beacon of hope for the downtrodden…something the Emperor would have none of.

Over the past five months, the events of Planet Hulk have reignited interest in the Green Goliath. Greg Pak, in the course of one or two issues, brought the character back to the forefront as a major player—not just currently but as someone to look forward to read about once Planet Hulk concludes and Hulk eventually finds his way back to Earth and the "puny humans" that are responsible for this current predicament. Though the first four installments were near flawless, Pak gets just a little off course with this issue. I suspect it is more or less a set up for the coming issues, but here the story meanders just a little and the final scene comes off a touch confusing.

I’m a little divided on the art this issue. On the one hand, Lopresti and company deliver a smooth, unnoticeable transition from the last art team on the book, an impressive feat to be sure. On the other hand, I adore Lopresti’s "normal" delivery of clean, grandiose imagery, and we don’t get to see that here at all. Hopefully, over the next three parts of Anarchy Lopresti will evolve the look into his own, and hopefully Miki will lay off the heavy lines and allow it to happen.

There are some very interesting new touches that come about here that should be interesting to see resolved (Why does Hulk’s spilled blood make vegetation grow? Is he a beacon of hope, or the destroyer of worlds?), but for the most part this issue feels more like set up than anything. This is the weakest single issue of Planet Hulk thus far, but even that makes it stronger than a lot of comics out there.

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