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“Oh, Hell.” A Review of ‘World War Hulk’ and Its Various Tie-ins (Part 3)

As goes the Hulk, so goes all of the other Marvel titles. Why I decided to review every World War Hulk (WWH) tie-in is beyond me, but so far the event has paid off (mostly). Hulk still seems to be landing in Manhattan in all of these books, though, so I’m hoping this batch of books will do a little more than view that same event from various angles.

World War Hulk
Let’s find out, because this week….I catch up! Ghost Rider #12, Iron Man #19, WWH: X-Men #1 and WWH: Front Line #1. That’s a lot of smashing.

IRON MAN #19
Iron Man #19I hate Iron Man right now. Everybody does. I remember when Civil War started, Marvel made a big deal about the division of the fan base. Half of us were going to be rooting for Captain America. The other half for Iron Man. Whose side were you on?! Oh…..yeah. Captain America’s side. Just like everyone else I’ve ever talked to! I think Dick Cheney was probably the only person in the world rooting for Iron Man. I can see him now, holed up in the VP office, rooting for the destruction of all civil liberties and rocking an I <3 Clor T-shirt.

So like you, I’ve been waiting to see Iron Man get his hull kicked in, and World War Hulk has delivered us that opportunity. It happened in World War Hulk #1 and is revisited here. Is it worth a second telling?

Iron Man #19 starts off promisingly enough. You get an idea of Tony Stark’s current importance as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a look at Hulk’s ship careening towards Earth. There seems to be some dissension in the ranks (good to know the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents hate Tony Stark as much as the rest of us) but does Director Stark care? No way! He’s #1 Mr. Awesome in his book!

Unfortunately, like some of the other crossovers, this book loses my interest about halfway through by again retelling the events of World War Hulk #1. Hulk lands in Manhattan! Not so exciting when you’re reading it for the third time. Iron Man fights Hulk! Better, but still, nothing much new is added besides an inner-monologue that makes me want to personally throw Iron Man through a building.

WORLD WAR HULK: X-MEN #1

World War Hulk: X-MenIn my first review of the Hulk books, I mentioned the Illuminati line-up as Dr. Strange, Reed Richards, Black Bolt and Iron Man. An astute colleague of mine pointed out that Namor, Black Panther and Professor X were also in the Illuminati. The thing is, they weren’t involved in the final decision at the “let’s shoot Hulk into space” meeting. This fact is of no consequence to the Hulk, as it seems his next stop after NYC is Professor Xavier’s School for Mutated Teenagers. Hulk vs. Mutants: Round 1 of 3 begins. It is what it is, and it’s actually pretty enjoyable.

Ghost Rider #12GHOST RIDER #12

Like the Heroes for Hire issue I reviewed last week, there isn’t much Hulk in this. Unlike that comic, this was a total waste of time. A plane crashes and then a gas truck crashes into the plane and then Ghost Rider drives to NYC to stop the Hulk. Whu?! I think some vengeance is served as well. The Hulk then shows up on the last page so retailers can’t sue Marvel for tricking them into ordering extra copies.

WORLD WAR HULK: FRONT LINE #1
World War Hulk: Front Line #1
WWH: Front Line tells the story of two reporters and how Hulk’s attempted occupation of New York City affects their lives. The same creative team from Civil War: Front Line returns for this book and their familiarity with the setting and characters is immediately apparent. The people in Front Line don’t begin and end on the page. They are world-weary and flawed and they deal with crazy situations in realistic ways. There isn’t the same visceral rush that you get out of the main WWH miniseries, but this book is still immensely satisfying. It is easily the best of the World War Hulk tie-ins.

Well, that was a weird batch of Hulk books. The WWH specific series certainly ruled this week, with Front Line taking top honors. Iron Man was just alright, and Ghost Rider was just not. This week it looks like a lone Ant-Man crossover for the ol’ World War Hulk. I’ll check it out as my coverage of World War Hulk continues in part four.

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