And off we go. The first two books of WWH are designed to get morons like me up to speed as to why Hulk will be smashing the good guys over the next few months. We get a lot of plot development with just a teeny tiny preview of the goodness that is to come.
The Incredible Hulk 106
The cover might be the smashingest thing about this book. Hulk looks more constipated than angry, so it won’t win any art awards, but it’s a solid concept. Hulk is grabbing the world, each hand significantly bigger than the gigantic low pressure system developing in the
Once you open the cover, you’re getting a lot of She Hulk being remorseful and conflicted and degreened by head asshole in charge, Tony Stark. The panel where she smacks Tony upside the head is a nice precursor to what her cousin is going to do, and Tony’s cunning in using the head smack to his advantage actually has me a little worried he might be able to pull off something similar to the headliner. Reed Richards introduces himself to new readers as the kind of guy who seeks to capture little kids. Marvel even establishes a subdick, some guy named Dr. Sanders, who is clearly going to be the victim of a particularly gruesome smashing as a message to the head dicks. If this issue does nothing else, it establishes who the bad guys are, which the four little kids who still read comics will appreciate. WWH Commandment 2: Thou shalt not feel bad about the smashing.
Other than that, blah blah blah. I own a coyote, blah blah blah. I love my cousin but am conflicted about what he becomes, blah blah blah. The only real smashing that occurs are in the flashbacks to some of Hulk’s earlier, less notable ass kickings and when She Hulk punches Doc Sanders into the next county. I did ask for a little background, so I won’t complain too much. Yet we can reasonably expect this issue to contain the least amount of smashing for a long, long time.
SMASH FACTOR: 1 of 5.
World War Hulk Prologue
THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!! HE HAS A SWORD HE DOESN’T NEED, BUT HE LIKES IT!! HE HAS A LESS POSITIVE OPINION OF SOME ALIEN SCAVENGERS TRYING TO JACK HIS SHIP!! HE THINKS THEY’RE ILLUMINATI AND HE THROWS REED AND DR. STRANGE INTO THE SUN!! THE TENSION MOUNTS!! ON WITH THE BODY COUNT!!
The sword should give us a lot of hope for the future of WWH. Hulk should remember how cool the sword is and either keep using it or come up with an even cooler and more unnecessary weapon. We can safely assume Hulk will employ cars, lampposts, and the rest of the usual suspects, but what if Hulk gets ahold of a chainsaw? I see no reason Hulk can’t tape a Glock to his back and put a couple slugs into the Thing at close range John McClain style. I’d also be open to some cut rate hero breaking Hulk’s sword, which would make him just that much more angry, because he likes it. The possibilities are endless.
The rest of the main story is pretty good with some nice flashbacks and old school Ironman pictures, but Mini Marvels steal the show. Anything that shows you don’t take yourself or your mega crossover event too seriously wins points with me, and it’s legitimately funny. For once I didn’t think Namor was dour and irrelevant, as his “the fish are good” line was one of the best. If Marvel wanted to do a four page Mini Marvel summary of every WWH issue, they’d have my support.
The only negative about the Prologue is that I’m starting to get real suspicious of Amadeus Cho and his potential to take up way too many pages that should be dedicated to smashing. So far he’s been fine and even a little entertaining. He’s got a mini-T.A.O. thing going on, and he seems to have the Hulk’s best interests in mind. But I do not need some kid executing Byzantine schemes in WWH unless they put Richards or Stark into compromising, green positions.
SMASH FACTOR: An enthusiastic 3.5 out of 5. I have vowed to give no issue of WWH more than a 5 of 5 Smash Factor, so I have to be careful with how high these early rankings go. The Prologue features some truly inspirational smashing that nonetheless felt like the last few pitches a reliever throws in warm up. Sure, they’re at game speed, but the real fireworks have yet to start.