Planet Hulk #1 (Marvel)

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CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 4.5/5 – Captain America Riding Devil Dinosaur is Great Comics!
by ComicSpectrum senior Reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

When Secret Wars was first hinted at by Marvel, they used a lot of different teasers from time periods and storylines throughout Marvel’s more recent history. Whether it was a group shot of the 1992 X-Men that influenced a popular cartoon, an image of Spider-Man and Mary Jane back together or a group of Hulks fighting one another, they all referenced major storylines from the past. With Planet Hulk, I can remember the image of different Hulks in the foreground with a version of Captain America and Devil Dinosaur in the background. It had me excited for what Marvel was potentially promising and after reading the first issue of Planet Hulk, that excitement is even higher.

After the fallout from the destruction of the Marvel Universe, only Battleworld remains. Different areas are under different control and this world’s “Greenland” is under control by two warring factions of Hulks. This conflict has left the region destabilized and Doom and the powers that be need someone to head on in and eliminate the Red King. That someone is Captain America. But it’s a more gladiator version of the Captain who along with his red T-Rex has been fighting in Doom’s arena for the people’s entertainment. It’s a story that can only happen within a world like this and writer Sam Humphries embraces the opportunity completely. The book is full of action, yet at the same time it does enough to define the world of Secret Wars a bit more. We see some surprise guest stars, and even some characters that we haven’t yet seen since Secret Wars began.

On the art side, Marc Laming’s work is the perfect choice. HIs panels look and feel big. He has a way of putting the camera right up close to the action with lots of tight angles and focused perspectives. Even when the camera pulls away, his character work still looms large and the scale you get feels perfect for a story taking place on a planet full of Hulks. Laming is able to pull off the feat of making a man and his dinosaur partner seem natural. After the main story ends, writer Fred Van Lente and artists Takeshi Miyazawa tell a short eight-page tale of how the planet of Hulks came into being. Although not nearly as strong as the main event, it was still a fun short story that provides a bit more history.

Since the second issue of Secret Wars, I’ve been mostly impressed with everything that’s come out. Of all the first issues to release taking place within Battleworld, I’d have to say that this is my early favorite. It’s a comic book that’s fun, exciting and free of continuity. They give a new reader everything they’ll need to know, while hinting at the larger world it’s a part of. Marc Laming’s sells the creative concept perfectly and it’s great to see some wonderful Jack Kirby creations and concepts we don’t see too often live on within these pages.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
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