Planet Hulk

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Planet Hulk and World War Hulk

See World War Hulk

In the 2006 crossover storyline "Planet Hulk" by writer Greg Pak, a secret group of superhero leaders, the Illuminati, consider the Hulk an unacceptable potential risk to Earth, and rocket him into space to live a peaceful existence on a planet uninhabited by intelligent life. After a trajectory malfunction, the Hulk crashes on the violent planet Sakaar. Weakened by his journey, he is captured and eventually becomes a gladiator who scars the face of Sakaar's tyrannical emperor. The Hulk becomes a rebel leader and later usurps Sakaar's throne through combat with the red king and his armies.

After Hulk's rise to emperor, the vessel used to send Hulk to Sakaar explodes, killing millions in Sakaar's capital, including his queen, Caiera. The damage to the tectonic plates destroys the planet and kills most of its population.

World War Hulk begins as the Hulk, enraged, returns to Earth with the remnants of Sakaar's citizens, and his allies, the Warbound, seeking retribution against the Illuminati. After laying siege to Manhattan, New York City, the Hulk learns one of his allies was responsible for the explosion. He reverts to his Bruce Banner form and is taken into SHIELD custody.

Plot summaries

The New Avengers: Illuminati

The first seeds of the Planet Hulk storyline are planted in The New Avengers: Illuminati one-shot (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Dave Stewart, May, 2006), which details Iron Man's attempts to form a coalition of heroes to deal with the gravest threats to Earth. It is told in three parts, and the second is relevant to the Planet Hulk plot.

This act opens with an enraged Hulk battling the Thing in the ruins of Las Vegas. The story cuts to the SHIELD Helicarrier where Iron Man is confronted with the casualties of Hulk's latest rampage (26 adults, two kids, and a dog) by S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander Maria Hill, who intones that Iron Man himself is at fault for the deaths caused by Hulk because Iron Man should have neutralized Hulk previously. Haunted by this insight, Iron Man gathers the remaining Illuminati, and details his plan to dupe Hulk into destroying a "malfunctioning" weapons satellite. Once on board, the satellite will launch Hulk via interstellar transport to a predetermined uninhabited planet, there to live out his remaining days.

Namor objects strongly to this plan, leading to a brawl with Iron Man that Namor is winning when broken up by Doctor Strange. He leaves with the prophetic statement, "Banner will come back from whence you send him and he will kill you all! And he'll be right!"

Planet Hulk Prelude: Peace in our Time

Incredible Hulk #88

The next step is in Incredible Hulk #88 (Daniel Way, Keu Cha, Jason Keith, Jan. 2006). After the events of House of M, Banner makes his way to northern Alaska, hoping to live the solitary life of a fisherman. His only visitor is a man named Mark, who delivers his monthly supplies. On one visit, Mark invites Banner to a bar to see a band in a nearby town, which Banner promptly refuses. After a discussion on solitary life and remembering his humanity, Mark convinces Banner to go.

Once there, Banner has a short run in with some bouncers, but soon finds Mark and a female friend inside. She asks Banner to escort her to the ladies room. While waiting, Banner witnesses another woman being attacked by the bouncers. Banner turns into Hulk, and sneaks up on the attackers, throwing one into the side of a truck and picking the other one up by his head. The first bouncer reappears with a shotgun and fires at Hulk, but does more damage to the bouncer Hulk was holding. It is not explicitly stated, but can be inferred by the bouncer's limp posture that he was killed by the blast. This enrages The Hulk, who flips the truck that the gunman was using to escape. With the woman safe and another truck arriving, Hulk leaps away.

The next scene is back at Banner's cabin, with him loading all his possessions into an ATV, when Mark arrives. He pulls out a holographic projector which displays an image of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury saying, "We need to talk."

Incredible Hulk #89

Incredible Hulk #89 (Daniel Way, Keu Cha, William Murai, Jan. 2006) opens with Hulk being slung into space in a small pod. The narrative, mostly in flashback, begins with Banner and Mark disembarking on an oil rig in the Bering Strait, where they encounter Nick Fury. Fury goes on to tell Banner about a HYDRA satellite, launched in the sixties, that would target and detonate a nuclear weapon anywhere in the world. To power itself, the satellite takes in solar radiation, then compresses and stores it at a subatomic level. Also, if it were attacked, it would unleash a preemptive strike. Fury claims than an attack on the satellite in the 80's was the real cause of the Chernobyl disaster. Fury's plan is to have Hulk shot into space and wait there until he is found by the satellite. Since he is organic, he will not be considered a threat. At that point, Hulk is to smash the satellite, and he will be sent a shuttle to bring him back. After some initial resistance, Banner agrees. Once shot into space, his pod comes into contact with the satellite, which starts to rip the craft apart. Hulk, emerging from the pod, spots the satellite, and more importantly, the S.H.I.E.L.D. logos painted on its hull. Hulk realizes that he has been duped.

Incredible Hulk #90

In Incredible Hulk #90 (Daniel Way, Juan Santacruz, William Murai, Feb. 2006), Hulk goes on a rampage when he realizes that Fury lied to him, and it is a S.H.I.E.L.D. weapon he is fighting. Hulk battles the weapon, but it eventually overwhelms him with hundreds of metal tentacles and he disappears.

The weapon (now revealed to be codenamed "Godseye") realized that it has been attacked, and begins a charge towards firing its weapons. At this point, Fury activates a team of attack shuttles to engage the Godseye. The weapon begins to behave strangely, and Fury realizes something is amiss. He tries to have the shuttle teams stand down, but it is too late as the Godseye destroys the ships. This is not something the weapon was programmed to do. In the meantime, Banner wakes up on board the Godseye, surrounded by corpses. The S.H.I.E.L.D. techs monitoring the Godseye notice that the weapon has foregone its subatomic energy source for gamma radiation, and Banner encounters a humanoid robot.

Incredible Hulk #91

Incredible Hulk #91 (Daniel Way, Juan Santacruz, William Murai, Mar. 2006) is the wrap-up of Peace In Our Time and the official kick-off of Planet Hulk. It opens with a conversation between Fury and the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussing the Godseye situation. They determine that the Godseye recognized the awesome power of the gamma radiation with which the Hulk is imbued, and tried to take it for its own. However, the weapon does not possess the "Banner" part of the equation, which allows Hulk to control his power. So, when pushed hard enough, the Godseye should explode due to uncontrollable overload.

On board the satellite, Banner evidently comes to the same realization while dealing with the Godseye robot. He returns to Hulk form and battles the robot. The robot grows larger as it attempts to replicate Hulk's mutation. The battle moves to the Moon, where both the robot and the Godseye weapon itself eventually overload and explode. A one-man S.H.I.E.L.D. shuttle arrives at the scene to pick up Hulk. Once he is safely aboard, the shuttle leaps into hyperspace, taking the Hulk by surprise.

Planet Hulk Part One: Exile

Incredible Hulk #92

Incredible Hulk #92 (Greg Pak, Carlo Pagulayan, Jeffrey Huet, Apr, 2006) is the first chapter of Planet Hulk. The Hulk is on board a shuttle, listening to a recording made by Reed Richards and the other Illuminati explaining why they tricked him, and why they are sending him away. The shuttle then experiences a trajectory malfunction, however, thus indicating that the Hulk is not going where the Illuminati intended. The ship plummets through a type of wormhole, and it crashes on a planet, later revealed to be the planet Sakaar. Hulk is immediately set upon by its inhabitants, a humanoid-insect race. Hulk begins to smash like he always does, when he gets shot in the hand, making him realize that he's not as invulnerable as he normally is. Some red-skinned beings, the Sakaarians, show up, and shoot "talkbots" into Hulk's body, allowing him to understand their language. They state that they are representatives of the Emperor, and they claim the ship as salvage. Additionally, they command Hulk to kneel, which he ignores. He gets shot and loses consciousness.

Hulk awakes, chained to a dais in a marketplace, the property of a slave trader. He attempts to break his chains but is unable to. A fellow slave, a dark insectoid named Miek, tells Hulk that he is weak because of his trip through "The Great Portal". Hulk and all his fellow slaves are bought by the coordinator of entertainment at the Imperial Arena. Following the Emperor's orders to provide something different, Hulk and the slaves are pitted against a burrowing, multi-tentacled creature called a Devil Corker.

After the creature kills many of the slaves, the Corker wraps the Hulk with its tongue and appears to eat him. Moments later, the Hulk rips his way through the Corker's head, killing the creature. He grabs an axe and dispatches all of the other corkers, saving the slaves. Miek tells Hulk since they survived the Emperor will pardon them. Hulk then attempts to attack the Emperor, but is blasted out of the air in mid-leap by the Emperor's Lieutenant.

Rather than let her continue the fight with Hulk, the Emperor dons his armor and decides to fight Hulk himself. He tosses Hulk a sword and makes a show of easily dodging and parrying each of Hulk's attacks, eventually leaping over Hulk's shoulders and delivering a backhanded slash to Hulk's cheek. The Emperor defeats two other slaves before Hulk goads him into an attack, which Hulk dodges and imitates the Emperor's earlier attack, slashing his cheek and catching him completely by surprise. Hulk moves in for the kill when he is stopped by the Lieutenant. The Hulk indicates he may just take over this world, to which the Lieutenant responds with a smirk and a "hmp". Just as they begin to battle Hulk is blasted from behind by a Death's Head guard and is knocked out. The Emperor then commands that the Hulk is to be sent to The Maw.

Hulk awakes, locked in a container with Miek and three insectoids as they travel to the Maw, a huge lava creature. With a wicked grin, Hulk says "What are you crying about? This is gonna be fun."

Incredible Hulk #93

Incredible Hulk #93 (Greg Pak, Carlo Pagulayan, Jeffrey Huet, May, 2006) opens with a group of rebel Sakaarians discussing how to overthrow the Red King, when one of them tells the group of how Hulk slashed the King at the arena. They resolve to find him.

Back at the Maw, the creature is wiping out a regiment of robotic guards, when Hulk busts out of his container. He picks up a large rock and hits the Maw creature right in the face with it. He kills the creature, but lava splashes back on to Hulk's head, searing his hair and burning the left side of his head (The fact that it does not heal immediately, as seen at other points in the series, is likely due to him being depowered by the Great Portal). We discover that Hulk is implanted with an "obedience slug", a dark disk implanted on his right pectoral. It provides a shock when one disobeys, and prolonged fighting of the shock will drive one insane.

The Hulk and his group of insectoids are told they are at the Emperor's elite gladiator school, and they are about to be put to the test. They are faced with a group of Sakaarians, a shadow, and a rock-man. They are told to fight. When one of the Sakaarians, an elected official, demands to know why he was sent here, he is killed by the trainer, and the rest are told, "Fight or die". Hulk and the Rock-man square off while the others fight. In the middle of this, a swarm of Brood arrive and start killing the combatants as well. All parties start killing whoever they can get their hands on, until the trainer signals an end to the test. Out of the twenty-two combatants that started the test, only seven remain. The trainer declared them a team and sent them to the barracks.

The team consists of:

  • Hulk
  • The insectoid Miek
  • One Brood sister
  • Elloe Kaifi, the daughter of the official and her bodyguard Skee Lavin
  • An Unbound Shadow Warrior
  • The rock-man Korg

The next morning, the team is returned to the Lava pit. Korg and Hulk decide on a strategy when Korg's brother Margus climbs from the pit and had been driven insane by his slug. He is followed by several members of the same race. The team's weapons are useless against the rock creatures, and Korg is so emotionally distraught that he is unable to act. Taking the initiative, Hulk grabs Korg by the arm and smashes him into Margus, shattering him into pebbles. This brings Korg to his senses, then they battle until all the rock-men are destroyed. There are no casualties on the Hulk's team.

Later, they are given armor and are declared Gladiators. The group is dispatched before a large audience onboard a pleasure cruiser to battle a group of Wildebots, which are large robots that crush insectoid eggs and destroy farmers crops. As the Wildebots appear, Korg grabs Hulk by the neck and throws him at the pack leader, a bot called "Eggbreaker". Hulk knocks its head off with a single blow. The rest of the bots fall quickly as well. In the background, the Sakaarian rebels lurk.

After the battle, Hulk and his Gladiators are treated to a feast onboard the pleasure cruiser. During the feast, Lavin Skee is chosen to "entertain" a group of ladies, much to Elloe's chagrin. As he passes through the door, Hulk catches a glimpse of the Red King's Lieutenant skulking in the shadows. Their eyes meet for just a second.

We look in on the Red King and one of his advisers while they attempt to discuss policy. He is contacted by the Lieutenant who tries to tell him that the people are starting to consider the Hulk a hero. The King was declaring his indifference when the pleasure cruiser is attacked by the Sakaar Democratic Insurgency, who attempt to recruit Hulk.

Incredible Hulk #94

Incredible Hulk #94 (Greg Pak, Carlo Pagulayan, Jeffrey Huet, Michael Avon Oeming, Alex Nino, Marshall Rogers, Mike Allred, June 2006) begins with the Saakar Democratic Insurgency's attack on an imperial pleasure cruiser carrying Hulk and his team of Gladiators. As the Insurgency attack the guards, Elloe joins the Insurgency and encourages Hulk to join them, which he refuses. The battle is joined by a legion of Death's Head guards, which easily slaughters the Insurgency. The Hulk still refuses to help Elloe, stating "You don't get it, do you? Puny pinkies. Like the puny humans. First they call us monsters. Then they come crying for help. And then they call us monsters again."

When the battle ends, Hulk attempts to stop Elloe's arrest by stating that "she's with us" to which she replies, "No, I'm not" and allowed herself to be taken. Lavin Skee arrived back on the scene with one of the women he was "entertaining" after the battle had ended.

Lavin Skee lamented his inability to protect Elloe, and stated his sympathy for the Insurgency. He details the fact that 30,000 citizens have disappeared since the Red King took the throne, and hundreds of thousands of others have died in the wars that the Red King has started. The group's trainer interrupted the conversation and announced that the Imperial League noticed their fight with the Wildebots, and they will be joining "the big time". As they walk to their quarters, the Trainer commends Hulk on his decision to stay out of the conflict with the Insurgency and that he could "go all the way." Hulk enters his quarters to find himself facing the King's Lieutenant. She lunges at Hulk's throat with a knife, and he catches her hand and laughs. Standing close, they engage in a fairly violent type of flirting ("You gonna try to kill me every time we meet, Lieutenant?" "I'm the Emperor's shadow. I need to know his enemies. You're getting faster." "And stronger." "Maybe, but I could still cut off your head." "And I'd rip you in half before it hit the ground"). She goes on to tell him that he presents a problem to the Emperor as long as he's in the public eye, and she was here to buy him. The Hulk refuses, and retires to a side room where some women were waiting for him, leaving the Lieutenant alone, and scowling.

The next night, Hulk's remaining Gladiators enter the arena in the Imperial Crown City. If any slave survives three rounds in the arena, they are freed and made citizens. As the announcer is signaling the start of the games, an Imperial Dreadnought appears overhead. Everyone is confused as to what it is doing there, when the bay doors open, and a bomb drops. Hulk commands Korg to shield the others while he leaps, catches, and detonates the bomb above the arena. The announcer decries this rules violation when he is suddenly removed by the Red King's Imperial Guards. Korg and the others begin to recover, when they find that Lavin Skee's right arm was blown off in the explosion. The Shadow Warrior finally speaks, revealing that he is a Saka Priest and offers a prayer for Lavin as they are attacked by a legion of Death's Head guards. Skee instructs them how to attack the guards, and the battle is joined. The Death's Head Guards are evidently winning as they announce that their enemies are down, but they are attacked from behind by a bruised, burned, and very angry Hulk. He grabs a Death's Head and smashes him into another one. The remaining guards attack Hulk with spears and run him through several times. Still standing, Hulk picks up two guns and kills the remaining attackers. The Hulk screams in victory, and the crowd goes wild. The Lieutenant can be seen in the crowd with a surprised look on her face.

That night, in a prison cell, the Shadow Warrior is leading a prayer over the corpse of Lavin Skee. Miek asks if they will die soon too, which the Brood mocks saying that she's seen worse and tells the story of her escape from the destruction of Broodworld. When asked to relate a story, Korg tells about he and his brother's encounter with a living God (Thor is illustrated in this tale, but not named) and how they escaped him. Hulk relates how he is hated on Earth and how Banner tries to kill him, but it only makes him stronger. Miek professes his loyalty to everyone in the group for saving him. The Shadow Warrior declares that they shall be Warbound, which means that they declare loyalty to each other for all time. He reveals his name to be Hiroim the Shamed and invites them to take the oath over the body of Lavin Skee. Everyone, including Hulk, takes the oath.

Later, the Lieutenant is meeting with a mysterious individual with a prison pod. He opens it to reveal a metallic man in armor, with a silver surfboard bolted to his arm like a shield. The mystery man closes the issue saying "The Green Scar may have started this story...but the Silver Savage will end it."

Incredible Hulk #95

This issue opens with the Emperor's Lieutenant interrogating a slave, revealed to be the Silver Surfer, who had journeyed through a similar wormhole as the Hulk. Unlike the Green Goliath, who had no say in where he was heading, the Surfer did so purely out of curiosity. Like all creatures who travel through the Great Portal, he was weakened by the transit and vulnerable to the obedience slugs of Sakaar. Coincidentally, the Surfer happens to resemble the Son of Sakaar (or the Sakaarson), a figure of apocalyptic legend in the planet's past.

The Emperor forces the Surfer to fight the Hulk and his companions, and after a brutal fight, the Hulk succeeds in breaking the disc which had controlled the Surfer. The Emperor, displeased by the slave's victory, orders the group to execute their former member, Elloe Kafi, for their freedom. However, the Shadow Warrior, Hiroim the Shamed, invokes Warbound provisions of the Shadow Pact, refusing to kill her. The Emperor decides to kill the group instead, but is interrupted when the Surfer uses his renewed cosmic powers to destroy all the obedience slugs of the slaves.

After a brutal battle destroying the city, the Hulk and the Silver Surfer talk outside the Twisted Woods where the Hulk defeated the Wildebots. The Surfer is weakened by this world, and so must leave, but Hulk decides to stay, as this is a place where he feels he belongs.

Miscellanea

  • The Nick Fury that Banner encounters in Incredible Hulk #89, as revealed in the Illuminati one-shot, is a Life Model Decoy (LMD). The real Nick Fury had gone underground after the events of Secret War. Iron Man knew that Banner would not comply with the current leadership of S.H.I.E.L.D., and he gambled that Banner would have no knowledge of Fury's disappearance.
  • Incredible Hulk #90 states definitively that Hulk is able to survive a zero-atmosphere environment due to his mutation.
  • The Brood Warrior's story in #94 references the X-Men's invasion of Broodworld in an attempt to release the Acanti Soulforce from Uncanny X-Men #166.
  • Korg's story in #94 identifies him as one of the Kronans, the "Stone Men from Saturn" that appeared in Journey Into Mystery #83 (the first appearance of The Mighty Thor).

Sequel

This storyline is followed up by World War Hulk in which Sakaar is bombed and Hulk takes the Warbound to Earth in order to take his revenge on the Illuminati.

Alternate versions

What If?

There is an issue of What If? revolving around three stories:

  • In "What If Caiera survived the explosion instead of Hulk", Caiera is saved from death when the Hulk tosses her into the atmosphere to save her instead of the ship (and dies in the process, being caught at the center of the ship's power core at point-blank range). Miek is also killed when he is burned by a fiery crack in the planet. Angered at the loss of her husband, Caiera takes the entirety of her planet's energies into herself, vastly increasing her power. In the course of the narrative, she uses her powers to take on and defeat Black Bolt, using a slave disc on him in turn to vaporize the approaching Doctor Strange and Sentry by overriding his control of his body and forcing him to speak. In rapid succession, she takes on and kills Mister Fantastic and decapitates Iron Man, but as she prepares to take the energies of Earth (and destroy part of its crust in the process), she is talked out of killing more innocent people than she already has by her Counselor. As the story draws to a close, 21 years have passed and the Earth's remaining heroes are controlled by more of the slave discs and obey her every whim as Queen of the planet. Her son informs her that a gigantic statue of the Hulk has finally been completed, and as a final act she climbs to the top of the immense statue, sits down in its outstretched hand, and irrevocably turns her flesh and blood into insensate stone for the last time.
  • In another story, Hulk actually lands on a different planet being the one the Illuminati had planned him to be on. The Hulk survives against creatures and eventually learns to live in peace on the planet. His actions cause the planet's evolution to take a turn and centuries later, intelligent beings live there, considering stories of the Hulk only legend. One young boy, however, sees the Hulk, now smaller and more "native" to the world and utterly happy.
  • In "What If Bruce Banner Landed on Sakaar Instead of the Hulk", Hulk's shuttle lands on Sakaar and regresses to Bruce Banner thinking that this was a peaceful planet. Bruce Banner is later killed.

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