Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
What If? Planet Hulk
Pak, Kirk, Sandoval & Hembeck
What If? finds itself in the Planet Hulk storyline. The What If. line from Marvel deals with the alternate paths a story might have taken had one thing gone differently. This issue that features Planet Hulk has two main stories that approaches this topic from two distinct, but obvious angles.
The first story ask the question: what if it was the Hulk who had died when the shuttle exploded on his new home world rather than his wife? The twist with this story is that one of the Hulk’s warbound also dies as a result of this explosion in effort to save the Hulk. The rest of the story follows a familiar path. Hulk’s wife, Caiera, rounds up the warbound, a ship and a lot of rage and travels to Earth.
Caiera arrives on Earth and, in a similar fashion as the real story, takes out Black Bolt on her way to Earth. The story changes from there and it is excellent.
Caiera uses Black Bolt ,with a slave disk, to help take out the other heroes. Why didn’t the Hulk think of that? What we see is Caiera killing, almost without thought, the heroes who sent Hulk off Earth. She additionally takes out Sentry, who wasn’t part of the equation of sending Hulk off Earth, but is part of the real story’s ending. The other Marvel heroes stand up to her and are on the verge of being wiped out when two of the warbound talk some sense into Caiera. They remind her that revenge on all wasn’t the plan, just some. Just so we have it right – some killing is ok, but not mass execution. Alrighty then.
Caiera finds a solution to her issue of what to do after she finishes her vengeance. Also, we get to she Hulk’s grown up son.
The story is fantastic. It’s not long at all, but it does leave open some questions. Why wouldn’t she find Xavier? How did Sentry get involved so quickly, but in the real story he stands in his doorway pontificating with the ghost of Tony Stark? At least no panels were wasted on the Front Line newspaper.
The second story is a much simpler one: what if Hulk went to the Planet he was supposed to go to in the first place? This story is fantastic. Although it would kind of ruin the Hulk as we know him.
Hulk lands on a planet with plenty of game and no one to bother him. Great! Except Hulk becomes friendly with the “game” and he begins to have a battle with Banner.
I know. I know. How does he battle Banner? Banner kills one of Hulk’s little friends and every time Banner builds something or does something to improve the situation the Hulk comes along and destroys it. It’s a mind war. It’s both witty and funny making it a really interesting story.
Eventually Hulk’s little friends evolve and become intelligent life forms. While Banner and Hulk become a blurred myth/truth to the natives. The line between Banner and Hulk seems to vanish.
This second story is on par with any “final” Hulk tale like Peter David’s “The End” and it’s a fabulous take on it. I enjoyed this second story more than the first one purely for the clever pranks Banner and Hulk play on each other.
As a whole this issue is probably as good or better than the other tie-ins to World War Hulk. It’s not essential reading, but it was a nice companion to the story as a whole. In a way you kind of have to be a real warbound fan to like the first one and a real Hulk aficionado to take to the second one.
As a collection the artwork is superb. I liked some of it better than the fourth issue of World War Hulk.
4 out of 5 geek goggles.
What If…? – Planet Hulk