Now I know why the Posse needed me. If you go over to okayplayer.com right now, you can hear a lot of fools screaming that this issue gets an infinite smash factor. These are the same people who called Stillmatic a classic. The post-modern devaluation of standards of good and bad has now taken some of the greatest comics minds of my generation. For shame, PtP. For shame.
Not to get all Russian figure skating judge on you, but there are some clear elements of WWH that necessitate mandatory deductions. For one thing, the “puny human” and “smash” talk is overdone. Yes, it’s the Hulk and these are his signature lines. He doesn’t have to say them every page, and his adversaries don’t have to use them nearly so often. Should Ms. Marvel really be saying that Hulk smashed Black Bolt? That’s really her go-to verb in that situation?
More importantly, people need to get their fight standards up, because the fight with Black Bolt was just awesome, not insane, grotesque, over-the-top, the-Hulk-is-back-in-town-and-the-world-is-doomed awesome. Yes, watching Black Bolt’s voice peel back the skin on Hulk’s face transported me to a higher place Yes, the “I want to hear you scream” line was cold. Yes, waving his carcass around for the world to see was gangsta.
But can we please see the actual smashing? I need to know how Hulk got over on Black Bolt. Did Hulk take him down in a fair fight, or did he just get the jump on him with that flying leap and knock him out before Bolt could really get going? If it’s the latter, did he really do anything that cool? I could sneak up behind Liddell and smack him on the head with a 2X4, and I’ve won the fight. I demand this fight be given proper treatment in one of the side books this month, or I demand seeing Hulk throw Bolt around later in the series.
So let’s chill on the perfect smash factor talk.
There was some smashing.
Asteroids got smashed. It’s their fault for chilling out between Mars and Jupiter and not forming a planet like the rest of the rocks in its graduating class. And then Hulk jumped onto the Moon. This may be the underrated moment of the series. Only suckers dock their ship and use the airlock.
Let none of the preceding argument make the reader think that I do not recognize the fundamental coolness of how thoroughly Hulk smashed Black Bolt. Dude peeled back Hulk’s skin, and Hulk was on him three seconds later. My favorite moment of the encounter was cocky-ass Medusa talking up her man before the throwdown. We desperately needed a few panels with her afterwards, because now that he’s got his ass smashed, we all know there’s NO damn way she’s sticking with Black Bolt. After the fight Hulk was probably all like, “Woman, you like inhumans? This is my ace, the Brood.” Brood be like, “Sup darling? The X Men fucked up my thrown world. I gots to go fuck up their mansion, but how bout I holla at you on the way back?” And that’s how Medusa is gonna roll, because she tired of fucking her mute-ass cousin for all these years.
(Oh shit, son. Shelly knows some back story.)
Figure 2: PtP is for the ladies
And then there was the royal dicking Tony Starks receives on EVERY SINGLE PAGE of this book. Please don’t sleep on the feedback loop the Warbound sent straight to Tony’s dome. That’s absolutely critical, since it showed Tony he was not fucking with the same dumb Hulk of years gone by. Tony got his ass whupped so bad that Dr. Strange had to show up and TELL him he got his ass whupped. Damn.
Then there’s the fight itself. Legendary. Down by law. Everything you could expect from this series and more. I’ve got to say, Tony tried. That rocket fist is cool, and the ability to throw the Hulk through several buildings should not be underestimated.
However, two obvious mistakes doomed Tony to quick and brutal retribution. First, Iron Man punked himself with his pompous, Rumsfieldian “I will protect you” speech. That speech made me resolve to finally read Civil War, because I need to know what possible sequence of events could have made a tin can so gassed on himself. The writers deserve all the credit in the world for including the prototypical “bad guy talking shit halfway through the fight and making a really bad mistake in doing so.” I was really glad Hulk didn’t hear that speech, because he would have started laughing, which would have compromised his madness level.
But you really can’t blame Tony for getting himself smashed. The second, absolutely critical mistake that doomed him was not his fault. Right now, open a new tab, wiki “Iron Man’s Armor,” and note where it says that his brand new Hulkbuster Armor MKII has Tony “ready to tackle the Hulk upon his return from space.”
SOME STARKS FAN BOY RAN HIS MOUTH!!! HULK SAW THAT!! HIS SHIP HAS NET ACCESS!! NOW SOME BUSH VOTING STARK FAN BOY IS CRYING!!
Needless to say, Hulk slightly disagreed with Fan Boy’s assessment. Needless to say, Hulk SMASHED HIM THROUGH EVERY FUCKING FLOOR IN A 100 STORY BULDING. If we're honest with ourselves, we can say that WWH can end right now and we can’t complain, because we can't ask anything more than that. He took apart frickin’ Iron Man completely and in mere seconds.
But the folks at Marvel will deign to give us more goodness. Every time I think of that last panel, I crack a little smile, because I think of what Colonel Sanders and the rest of the Love Brigade must look like then they see Hulk coming out of the rubble even madder. They know their time is coming in Issue 2. I imagine this does not sit well with them.
Smash Factor: 4.33 out of 5. It's on.