Writer: Greg Pak
Art: Manuel Garcia, Cam Smith, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos Pagulayan, and VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 30th, 2022
A thousand years from now on the planet Sakaar, a young woman with green skin searches for the legendary Green Scar to help save her brother from a group of apocalyptic cultists in this inaugural issue of Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 by Greg Pak. But which Hulk will she find? And after all these years, is he truly the Sakaarson, who will save us all — or the Worldbreaker, who will destroy us?
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 Review.
Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 is an interesting premise. Readers dive into the narrative one thousand years in the future to discover that somehow Amadeus Cho is still alive in Sakaar… and has Grandkids. However, like in most dystopian Hulk tales, he’s resorted to a life of solitude because he feels it better if he’s decoupled from society. Additionally, like in most dystopian non-Hulk tales, the world has gone to utter $&@&. Anyone with green skin appears to be enslaved arousing Cho to quickly take action to help. However, we discover that Cho isn’t necessarily what he once was AND that there is of course a possibility that Banner is still alive.
I’m a sucker for the Hulk, especially my favorite throwback tales revisited like the most recent Maestro series’ which you should definitely check out! (Click the link above to get those trades.) So, when I saw Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 was coming out, I had to get my hands on this issue, especially seeing Pak on the story. Now, I personally try my best not to read the solicits and previews so as to not get spoiled and piece together the basic story plot before reading. I do the same with movie trailers as well. My point is, I went into Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 with a blank slate and truthfully left a bit perplexed.
Readers are thrown into the deep end wondering who the Haarg are, how the planet was shattered, and who the individuals are against the Haarg. Within a few stale pages, we discover that the Haarg appear to be descendants of the Hulk, not only by their complexion but also by the premise of them “getting angry”. Nevertheless, nothing comes from the events and the story quickly jumps to this main character (Tala) magically finding Amadeus Cho. Readers, we didn’t even know she was on a mission to find Cho… but from one page to the next fans are led to believe she just stumbles upon him with ease needing no help.
Furthermore, we later discover that this other race of people appears to be hunting and capturing the Haarg. However, the excuse for taking her younger brother and not taking Tala is that she’s “too old”. So, this other race of people on Sakaar doesn’t want teenagers but they do want children? Again, this plot just seems flimsy at best and very weird. Furthermore, when Tala stumbles upon Cho, she just walks onto the page and collapses to say “Grandpa Cho” without any build-up or reveal. Again, Greg Pak just leaps from A to Z. The story jumps from “my brother is kidnapped” to “Grandpa Cho” with nothing really in the middle. Where is the story and why are we simply getting a summary?
MY FAVORITE PART
Now, my favorite aspect of the issue comes as Cho is talking to his Granddaughter. He makes references to the little things affecting the big things. However, most people don’t live long enough to see the drastic impact of the little things. Nevertheless, a Hulk does. They’ve lived for a thousand years and have seen the impact of every decision they’ve made which would carry a tremendous burden. One fight stopped and turned into another battle 60 years later. One piece of technology created today could be the start of a nuclear war 50 years later. Think about this: In 1932, physicist Ernest Rutherford discovered that when lithium atoms were “split” by protons from a proton accelerator, immense amounts of energy were released. He later died in 1937. 15 short years later we dropped atomic bombs. In 1986, Chernobyl happened. Rutherford never thought his research could lead to such devastation nor was it his plan… but look at the death his simple idea began over the next 25-50 years. What would he think if he was alive to see it? So using Cho to make a strong point, Pak hits the mark with this story beat.
BUT THERE’S MORE
Nevertheless, that’s about it as Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 kicks off. The characters have no depth, the plot seems empty, and it moves way too quickly making it feel more like a summary of events. With little background, the concepts are a bit confusing. Why would Cho just instantly switch from hermit to hero because his Granddaughter stumbles into his life out of nowhere? And how would he have no idea that this race of people, who are related offspring to him, were being kidnapped? So, one quick conversation is all it took to motivate him? It’s almost as if Pak has a much more broad story to tell and is somehow trying to cram in a bunch of information to push the story along to get to the meat of the narrative without putting in the work and time first. And if that’s the case, why not just give fans a summary page placing the story exactly where you want it?
Greg Pak brings along Chris Sotomayor and Joe Caramagna from the original Planet Hulk but gives the main duties to Manuel Garcia and Cam Smith to tell this follow-up tale. The art is certainly not terrible this week, however, Garcia’s pencils are certainly more sharp and angled. Everyone’s face is more slender with eyes that are almost squinting or nonexistent at times. Moreover, Smith adds to the depth of those pencils creating a more deep, vivid exterior to these well-defined lines.
Sotomayor’s colors are mostly dark greens and purples providing that dystopian, off-world, futuristic appearance you’d expect from a world like Dune. Sotomayor’s colors are what provide this sense of cold, nighttime that drives the ominous feeling associated with Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1. There is no doubt that it’s not the art team that’s holding this comic back.
Too many questions and a lack of communication to kick off Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 make this inaugural installment a bit too far-fetched. Quick story beats, disconnected character motivations, lack of character depth, as well as a connection to the characters and setting, make it incredibly hard for readers to feel a part of the story. Planet Hulk fans are thrown into a story a thousand years in the future without much to go on adding to the confusion to fight through. Fans need more “why’s” and “hows” to go in an opener to make a series feel more like it’s worth our time to invest. Furthermore, this reviewer barely touches on the backup, which is even more confusing as to how it connects to the main story.
Readers, as a Planet Hulk fan, I wanted to like this. And truthfully, I’m still going to read it. Why? Well, in my opinion, it takes at least three issues to see where a story is going and whether it’s entirely worth the time. Sometimes, comics read better in trade. So, if three issues in Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker doesn’t clean up the plot, iron out the character motivations, establish depth and context with the main characters, or get this reviewer to feel any connection to the cast whatsoever, then I’m totally out on this follow-up story to the classic Planet Hulk. But for now, I’m still in on a short leash. And as single issues go, if I was new to Planet Hulk, Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 wouldn’t sell me on the series at all. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!