Writer: Greg Pak
Art: Manuel Garcia, Cam Smith, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos Pagulayan, and VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 4th, 2023
With the life of her brother at stake and a Worldbreaker determined never to break the world again, our young heroine must reassess everything she knows in a time of reversals and revelations as Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #3 by Greg Pak continues. The origin of the Haarg! The true motivations of the High Priestess! The return of the man of stone! The deliverance of Jen! What will our heroine discover, and who will join her for the final battle?
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Readers get a really quick summary of how the Haarg were created (like a Cliff Notes version) to kick off Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #3. I suppose the premise makes sense, however, I feel like the Cliff Notes could have been an entire story all to themselves. And I absolutely hate when writers skim over good story threads that could have been just as potent, if not more so than the current story. So, endurance was the reason the Haarg were created? Come on now. There’s more scratching the surface with that story. Plus, wouldn’t you like to know how a Planet of Hulks truly came to be?
Additionally, speaking of Cliff Notes, Pak moves this story along quickly having more off-panel conversations that cause Jen to join the fight without hesitation and ironically putting the Sky City at risk to do so. This just felt like a knee-jerk reaction that could have been developed with an actual conversation instead of a one-panel flip-flop. Cho hasn’t seen Jen in 83 years. And magically, with an off-panel conversation, she is back in the game. It just doesn’t make sense which leads to the biggest problem of Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #3 (and frankly the entire series). It’s almost as if Pak is speeding through this story like a 5th-grade school paper. Now, please don’t take that analogy to mean his actual writing is like a 5th grader’s because it’s not. I’m simply comparing the speed of the issue. This sucker is moving with little to no depth of characters, background on Skaar, or substance to hold on to within the story. It’s almost all surface-level material.
Nevertheless, the plan is finally revealed with a subtle flip-flop of agendas only to discover the real plan is to basically destroy everything using gamma energy and Banner. So, what readers get is finally a bit more substance but without any meaningful purpose. We discover as Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #3 comes to a close that the High Priestess is upset because the Hulk’s ultimately contributed to the death of thousands… indirectly. However, in order to get her vengeance, she’s willing to kill thousands more by having the Hulks destroy the planet. This is just nonsense at this point.
Moreover, I continue to spiral back to this question. Why was Jen strong enough to storm in and save the kids but not Cho? She was hooked up to a dang machine for over 80 years. She just leaps out of the Sky City ready to knock heads together but Cho is somehow too weak. Why? Additionally, another plot point that baffles me is when and how Korg just shows up. Somehow off-panel, Cho contacts him and he quickly arrives to save the day unannounced. Again, too much is thrown together without rhyme or reason. Then, it’s jammed together without explanation merely to throw some epic Hulk characters at Hulk fans. Honesty, three issues with Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker, and I don’t see anything worth writing home about.
Cho is a Hulk. Heck, Jen is a Hulk. So, why does Korg tower over them? Why does Cho look so thin and fragile? This is a Hulk comic that should center on mammoth, green mountains smashing things at some point. Yet, we see very little of that. Additionally, we get tons of small panels, tiny line work that lacks detail within those panels, and dark shading that helps diminish that detail. On a more positive note, when given the ample space to perform, this art team excels with its full-page spread of Korg entering the fold as well as all the Hulks and Korg taking on some big bads years ago. Those splash pages are absolutely stellar and should be recognized. However, it leaves me to wonder why we can’t get more of that throughout Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker.
Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #3 finally lays out the true epic plan of the villains at large. However, it does so with little to no build-up, surface-level content, and flashy images of Hulk and their compatriots in order to dazzle the eyes. Like any good magician, Pak is providing readers with a wonderful sleight of hand to make us feel invested in the story without providing context, character depth, or background in a cliff notes style approach. Truthfully, there is so much potential within these pages for a great story if someone was willing to invest the time and iron out a meaningful tale. Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
I’ve hung in there for three issues and frankly, I wouldn’t recommend picking up Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #3 nor would I recommend jumping into the series. This isn’t the recent Maestro comics from Peter David. I’m sure that was the attempt with Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker but sadly it isn’t even close. Readers, there is so much story here that’s entirely untapped. Think of the She-Hulk angle. Or the Cho creating the Haarg story. Or why and how Banner went into solitude. There is just so much meat left on the bone with so much potential for great stories that I can’t help but feel disappointed with what appears to be a rushed story to draw Hulk fans into a narrative simply by name alone. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!