World War Hulk #3 (Written by Greg Pak, Pencils by John Romita Jr.)
It certainly is a nice surprise for Marvel put out a new issue of World War Hulk a mere two weeks after the last one. Consider it a small token of apology for all those Civil War delays. Of course, it wouldn’t be possible without the superhumanly fast drawing abilities of John Romita Jr. This series is keeping me entertained because while it’s short on story or reason, there’s lots of action.
IGN.com used a video game analogy, which I’m going to steal. World War Hulk is like Soul Calibur III. It’s beautiful to look at, and the action is incredibly satisfying at first. But eventually everything falls into a pattern of brutal fight after brutal fight. Hulk is like that annoying friend who always picks Kilik (the fighter with the bo-staff) every round, knocking aside the attacks of every Marvel hero with such ease, it makes you wonder how they plan to stop him at all.
By this point there aren’t many Marvel heroes even left standing as they have either fallen in the World War Hulk books or gotten smaked down in their own titles. Most of the fighting this comes from General Thunderbolt Ross and his battalion of tanks and helicopters shoot adamantium bullets. Are you serious, Marvel? We’ve seen Hulk tear though the US Army more time than Lindsey Lohan takes a shot. Why would they present a challenge now when Hulk is angrier and stronger than ever? To use a sports analogy this time, this is like the short weak rail of a kid who goes out for football all through high school an get pissed that he never plays. Not to mention the lack of continuity with the adamantium bullets. If I’m reading this correctly, then the army melted down an adamantium statue of the hulk to make thousands of rounds of ammunition. Even though adamantium cannot be melted once it has been cast.
The point is that this issue feels like 50-odd pages of missed opportunity. If Pak wanted to present the military as a credible threat, he should have done something like what Frank Tieri is trying in Gamma Corps. Tanks and helicopters just can’t cut it, so send in the Army’s “hulkbusters”. Then we have The Sentry’s role. He’s developed a bad habit for standing around struggling with his inner deamons while other heroes do the work, but this issue makes it obvious why. Pak is obviously setting up the finale for a massive Hulk/Sentry showdown (which you can tell by looking at the up coming covers), and until then Sentry is left to stare out a window and debate whether or not he should save the world today. The real highlights are an unexpectedly tender Hulk moment and seeing the remaining New Avengers struggle, in vain, to protect their fallen from Hulk’s blows. As for what comes at the end… I let out a reactionary”WTF” in front of my two-year old. You’ll see what I mean.
I’m giving this issue a B for the awesome art and occasional flashes of brilliance. Marvel can do better