Friday, 4 December 2015

Planet Hulk #4 - Marvel Comics

PLANET HULK No. 4, October 2015
Despite some very dramatic action sequences, most notably that of Devil Dinosaur tearing through the ramshackle settlement of the Tribal Hulks and scattering its super-strong barbaric inhabitants in every conceivable direction, it is hard not to imagine that many of this comic’s 44,608 readers probably felt “The Kingdom” was something of a ‘filler’ issue. Admittedly Sam Humphries’ script does see the “gladiator Steve Rogers” finally penetrate the Mud Kingdom and come face-to-face with Greenland’s ruler, the Red King. But with six of this periodical’s twenty-pages essentially comprising of single-panel splashes and much of the magazine’s dialogue limited to “Puny Human” and simply “Smash”, it genuinely doesn’t appear that there was enough content to the Maryland-born writer’s storyline to quite go around for this publication.

Sadly such a disappointing situation also leads to the American author once again ‘padding out’ some of this mini-series’ scenes with more of his “we are all hulk, Captain. The Gamma scrubs the mirror clean of pretension” theological nonsense. Irritating as these “There is no grace here. No absolution” diatribes by Doc Green were in the previous edition, they are especially unwelcome in this particular instalment as they bizarrely occur mid-way through the green-skinned adventurer’s brutally bloody rescue of Captain America. A somewhat surprising interruption considering that the pair are being pursued by all manner of heavily-tattooed spear-waving Hulks; “Who are you? Get back in line” In the name of the Red King--!”

Fortunately towards the end of this comic Humphries’ penmanship does make something of a return to form, enabling Issue Four of “Planet Hulk” to conclude with a satisfying cliff-hanger as Jack Kirby's Tyrannosaurus Rex overcomes a formidable array of oafish-looking opponents and an exhausted Rogers, full of desperate bravado for his ‘brother’ Bucky’, comes face-to-face with the foe of “God Doom” in the despot’s Orthanc-like tower.

This grisly audience is admittedly somewhat ‘drawn out’ on account of the blond-haired battler’s rather pretentious repeated threats to kill his enthroned prey unless he is told where his “warbound” friend is being kept prisoner. But such poorly worded dialogue is soon forgotten when the one-eye heavily-muscled monarch reveals one of his trophies to be that of Barnes’ severed bionic arm…
The regular cover art of "PLANET HULK" No. 4 by Michael Del Mundo

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