The following was originally posted on WizardUniverse.com:
It’s a day that will live in infamy when the Incredible Hulk returns to Earth to exact revenge on the puny humans that wronged him
Forget about Fat Man and Little Boy: The nuclear bombs that ended World War II don’t have anything on the gamma-fueled goliath that’s about to set off a new world war in the Marvel Universe.
After a yearlong exile in deep space, Marvel’s green giant returns to Earth in May when the “World War Hulk” storyline kicks off. Penned by “Planet Hulk” scribe Greg Pak, this arc follows the Hulk’s return to Earth and his quest for revenge against those who sent him off in the first place.
“People who were excited to see Hulk cutting loose in ‘Planet Hulk’ will not be disappointed as we move into ‘World War Hulk,’” notes Pak. “There are big things that we’ve been working on in ‘Planet Hulk’ in terms of a big, emotional story. Is he a hero or a monster? ‘
World War Hulk’ is going to carry on with those questions in the biggest way imaginable.”
Adds Hulk Editor Mark Paniccia: “‘World War Hulk’ will be extremely intense and have a resounding impact throughout the Marvel Universe. It’s our goal to make Hulk one of the best books on the market for years to come.”
This massive event storyline consists of a one-two combination that would knock out the Abomination—“World War Hulk” runs in The Incredible Hulk #106-#108, illustrated by Gary Frank (Squadron Supreme), as well as a five-issue mini-series of the same name drawn by legendary artist John Romita Jr. (Eternals). “My little head is exploding,” gushes Pak on working with Romita Jr. “He’s one of the guys whose work I’ve admired for years.”
Paniccia was also quick to heap praise on Romita Jr., saying, “In my opinion, he did some of the best Hulk art in the history of the character. John Romita Jr. will bring what this event is screaming for: impact.”
An impact was something that the Hulk, one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe, never got the chance to make during Civil War. After a rampage in Las Vegas that resulted in heavy property damage and numerous human casualties, the secret cabal known as the Illuminati decided the Hulk was too dangerous to remain on Earth. Comprised of Professor X, Doctor Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Namor, Iron Man and Black Bolt, the Illuminati tricked Bruce Banner into going into space to stop a rogue satellite from colliding with Earth. Once in orbit, Banner was jettisoned into the farthest reaches of outer space where he would presumably end up on a planet where the Hulk could finally find peace.
Unfortunately for the Hulk, he landed on the war-torn planet of Sakaar instead and was sold into slavery. One of the greatest gladiators ever seen on the planet, the Hulk became known as “The Green Scar” and became a hero to an oppressed people. Normally an outsider that prefers to be left alone, the Hulk’s experiences on Sakaar have led him to take on a much more proactive role as the savior of an entire race. Although he is accepted and revered on Sakaar, the Hulk still has a lot of smashing to do back on his home planet.
“Since Hulk first saw the Illuminati’s video message in Incredible Hulk #91, fans have been anticipating him returning to Earth with a big cup of revenge for the elitist group of Marvel heroes,” says Paniccia.
Readers got their first taste of what the Hulk’s return may mean in the back-up story to Incredible Hulk #100, in which teenaged super-genius Amadeus Cho warned Mr. Fantastic of the Hulk’s whereabouts and obtained evidence that proved the actions of the Illuminati. Cho—in the vein of past Hulk partners such as Rick Jones and Jim Wilson—may prove to be an unlikely ally once Hulk makes his return. And when the Hulk finally does return next year, the citizens of Earth are going to wish he’d stayed in a galaxy far, far away, because the madder Hulk gets, the stronger he gets…and he’s never been this mad before.
The people that should be quaking in their boots the most are the Illuminati, as the Hulk won’t soon forget their betrayal. So what if they all didn’t vote to cast him into space? The Hulk isn’t one for semantics when it comes to smashing. “They are going to wish that the shuttle they put him in didn’t go off course,” quips Paniccia.
In addition, an unfortunate victim of the Illuminati’s scheming may be the original Howling Commando himself, Nick Fury. The Illuminati used a robot double of Fury to convince the Hulk to go into space in the first place. Once the Hulk returns, he’ll be dead set on pummeling Fury into a pulp, no matter how many robot duplicates he has to go through. But no matter who the Hulk ultimately ends up going after, “World War Hulk” promises to generate big shockwaves across the Marvel Universe and leave lasting changes in its wake.
“The end of ‘World War Hulk’ will change [Hulk’s] status quo. He will not be the same Hulk coming out of this,” concludes Paniccia. “Bruce Banner will be scarred for life.”