World War Hulk

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World War Hulk fan art by Randy
World War Hulk fan art by Randy
Promotional art for World War Hulk #1, by David Finch
Promotional art for World War Hulk #1, by David Finch
World War Hulk Fan art by fanboy1171
World War Hulk Fan art by fanboy1171

World War Hulk was a 2007 comic book crossover storyline published by Marvel Comics and starring the Hulk."Hulk 106 Preview" The series is composed of five main issues titled World War Hulk, with Greg Pak as writer and John Romita Jr as penciller, and three other limited series: World War Hulk: Frontline, World War Hulk: Gamma Corps, and World War Hulk: X-Men. It also ran through several extant Marvel comics series.

The plot is the culmination of a series of events that began with the Hulk being tricked into being sent into space by the Illuminati and a life model decoy of Nick Fury, the Hulk's subsequent exile seen in Planet Hulk and his imminent return to Earth to seek revenge on the Illuminati.

Contents

Publication history

The story, a crossover throughout various series, began in the one-shot World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker (May 2007), written by Peter David and penciled by Sean Phillips, Alvaro Rio, and Lee Weeks. Marvel followed this with Incredible Hulk #106-110 and World War Hulk: Frontline #1-6 as parallel stories following the impact of the Hulk's return on various characters. The crossover extended into regular issues of Avengers: The Initiative, Ghost Rider, Heroes For Hire, Irredeemable Ant-Man, The Punisher War Journal, and Iron Man, as well as a miniseries starring the Hulk and the X-Men and a newly created group, the Gamma Corps. Initially scheduled to end in October, Marvel announced through the October 10 Diamond Dateline retail newsletter that the final titles in the crossover would be delayed until mid to late November.

Synopsis

Blaming The Illuminati for the explosion of a space vessel they had constructed, leading to the deaths of his wife, his unborn child and millions of inhabitants of the planet Sakaar, the Hulk, stronger than ever due to his rage, as well as the radiation from the warp core explosion, and his allies, the Warbound, come to Earth intent on revenge. First stopping at the moon, the Hulk defeats Illuminatus Black Bolt. The Hulk proceeds to Manhattan, New York City, where he demands the presence of the Illuminati and that the city be evacuated.

He travels to the nearby X-Mansion, home of the X-Men, where Illuminatus Professor X, absent from the decision to send the Hulk off-planet, admits he would have agreed to that but not to permanent exile. The Hulk defeats several teams of X-Men,World War Hulk: X-Men #1-2 (Aug.-Sept. 2007) and battles the Juggernaut, but leaves after learning of the mutant population's heavy losses during M-Day.

When the Hulk returns to Manhattan, the superhuman-operative team Gamma Corps battles him, but the Hulk convinces them they follow a false cause.World War Hulk: Gamma Corps #1-4 (Sept.-Dec. 2007)

As the time limit for the evacuation has passed, the Hulk defeats Iron Man, destroying Stark Tower in the process,World War Hulk #1 (Aug. 2007) and fights Ghost Rider, who after realizing the Illuminati do not deserve vengeance, rides away.Ghost Rider vol. 5, #12-13 (Aug.-Sept. 2007) The Hulk and his Warbound next defeat the Avengers, Doc Samson and the Fantastic Four, including temporary members Black Panther and Storm. Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards' plan to simulate the Sentry's presence in order to calm the Hulk also fails, while Sue Storm and the U.S. President vainly attempt to have the real Sentry intervene. The Hulk attaches "obedience disks" to the defeated, imprisoned superheroes, preventing them from using their powers.World War Hulk #2 (Sept. 2007)

After a brief battle involving Hercules, Amadeus Cho, Namora, and Angel, the Hulk defeats General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross and a U.S. Army force.World War Hulk #2 (Sept. 2007) The Hulk then encounters Doctor Strange, breaking the sorcerer's hands to try preventing him from invoking spells. At Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, Warbound members Hiroim and Elloe defeat Iron Fist, Ronin, and Echo. Strange mystically merges with a powerful old enemy, Zom, replacing his shattered hands with spiked maces, and defeats Hiroim.World War Hulk #3 (Oct. 2007)

An imprisoned Tony Stark (Iron Man) communicates with Dum Dum Dugan, acting director of the international espionage agency SHIELD in Stark's absence. Stark reveals an emergency plan to engulf Manhattan in the Negative Zone, thereby annihilating all positive matter on the island, including the Hulk, should the heroes fail.Iron Man vol. 4, #20 (Sept. 2007)

The Hulk and the Warbound transform Madison Square Garden into a gladiatorial arena. Meanwhile, he repels an assassination attempt from Scorpion,Incredible Hulk vol. 3, #110 (Nov. 2007; alternately number vol. 1, #584) and a confrontation with the Initiative,Avengers: The Initiative #5-6 (Oct.-Nov. 2007) He also defeats the Zom-possessed Dr. Strange and the demonic entity flees Strange to seek a new host, but after controlling Stark's Hulkbuster Armour it is defeated by the Renegades.Incredible Hulk vol. 3, #111 Following speeches from supporters in the arena (including Tom Foster about how Iron Man was partially responsible for the death of his uncle at the hands of the Cyborg Thor clone), the Hulk arranges for Illuminati Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Black Bolt, and Mister Fantastic to fight a tentacled alien and later each other to the death, as a cheering audience watches.World War Hulk #4 (Nov. 2007) When the Hulk orders Mr. Fantastic to kill Iron Man, the Sentry, in response, leaves his mountainside retreat and speeds toward the arena.

The Hulk spares Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man, declaring his intention was for "justice and not murder", that nobody had or would die,World War Hulk #5 (Dec. 2007) and declares that he plans to destroy New York City and leave the Illuminati to their shame. The Sentry arrives and attacks the Hulk, leading to a prolonged battle that leaves them spent and in their normal human forms, the Hulk knocking down the Sentry with one final punch while still in their human forms. Warbound member Miek impales the Hulk's longtime friend Rick Jones, and reveals he intentionally allowed the mass deaths on Sakaar, knowing they were caused by former followers of the Red King and not the Illuminati. The Hulk, having reverted from his Bruce Banner alter ego, and the Brood No-Name batter Miek in retaliation which leads to Miek's death. The betrayed and enraged Hulk unwillingly begins releasing energy that threatens Earth, and prompts Tony Stark to activate a series of satellite devices that opens fire and eventually leaves the Hulk in his Bruce Banner form, unconscious.

S.H.I.E.L.D. later imprisons Banner in a facility three miles underground, with the other Warbound members having been taken into U.S. military custody. Meanwhile, on Sakaar, the Hulk's presumed-dead son, Skaar, arises.

Sales

World War Hulk #1 was at the top of the Diamond Comic Distributors' sales chart for June 2007, selling an estimated 178,302 copies.Comic Book Resources: Sales Estimates for June, 2007 Books, August 8, 2007, Comic Book Resources When the first issue sold out, Marvel announced a second printing would have a variant cover by John Romita Jr"World War Hulk #1 Sells Out, Second Printing Coming", August 10, 2007, Marvel Comics press release, Newsarama

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