|PLANET HULK No. 5, November 2015|
As concluding instalments go, “The Chronicle” must surely have proved a bitter disappointment to the 39,277 collectors who bought the comic in September 2015. For whilst the “Marvel Worldwide” pre-publication advertising for Issue Five of “Planet Hulk” promised a cataclysmic conclusion where its heroes Steve Rogers and Devil Dinosaur are “branded by battle” and “absolved by blood”, Sam Humphries' dialogue-heavily narrative instead probably had the vast majority of its audience hoping that “the claws of death [would actually] reach your throat” and prevent them from having to finish a woefully disheartening read.
Admittedly the twenty-page periodical does contain a little action as Captain America declines an offer to “strike back against God Doom” and instead dispatches “the vicious Red King” by repeatedly bludgeoning Greenland’s leader with his famous star-spangled shield. But this confrontation between the “Secret Wars” tie-in’s two main antagonists is so shockingly short-lived, lasting just seven pitiful panels, that it is over and done with before the reader realises it has even started… So much for the heavily feared ruler of “one of the most dangerous of the Battleworld dominions, a forbidden zone full of rampaging Hulks.”
Lamentably the final showdown concerning Bucky Barnes’ “brother-in-arms” and Doc Green is equally as direly penned, with the Annapolis-born writer somehow managing to imbue the green-skinned behemoth with an even more thoroughly annoying holier-than-thou attitude than the guide had when he first appeared to chaperon Devil Dinosaur and his warbound to the patchwork planet's Mud Kingdom; "Captain, if Hulk is not within us, then we are as hollow as the void in the sky."
However, just why the ‘embracer of his inner Hulk” decides to goad a clearly distraught and emotional gladiator for the 'umpteenth' time is inexplicable, especially when the obnoxiously ambitious gamma-irradiated experiment has deliberately transformed himself back into an (all-too vulnerable) alternate version of Steve Rogers and admitted that he knew “the domain’s despot” had already murdered the man Captain America was desperately trying to rescue. Such utter insanity on behalf of the manipulative deceiver clearly borders on the suicidal and it therefore comes as no great surprise that Humphries’ story ends with Doc Green stone dead on the castle’s cobbled floor having almost been cleaved in two by an enormous double-headed axe.
|Writer: Sam Humphries, Artist: Marc Laming, and Colors: Jordan Boyd|