World War Hulk #4
Artist: Marvel Comics’ big summertime storyline (that, due to spotty shipping, has sprawled well past summertime) finally enters the home stretch. For those of you who’ve missed out, here’s a brief recap: after being launched into space a year ago by certain heroes, the Hulk has returned to Earth with a small army and a big green gut full of hatred and now he’s been dishing out knuckle sandwiches to nearly every hero in the Marvel Universe. So now, with the primary culprits mostly defeated, the Hulk has cast them all into the middle of a stadium and is forcing them to fight one another to the death. In a frantic effort to stop the Hulk, Tony Stark and the rest of the government has decided to blow the dust off of Sentry—a hero advertised as “the most powerful human alive.” After sitting on the sideline throughout most of the affair, the mentally unstable and socially inept Sentry has finally decided to join the fray and knuckle up with the Hulk. Good times.
Although Greg Pak’s “epic” storyline has been more brawn than brains (what else would one expect from the Hulk after all I guess) it’s still managing to be a half decent ride. Admittedly, the “World War” aspect of the title is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more of a “New York War Hulk” as all of the action and, seemingly the ramifications of the action, are confined to New York City rather than the rest of the world. Pak may have missed an opportunity to make his story more complicated there, but hindsight is 20/20. Overall, World War Hulk has been a fun ride. For everyone who hated the pro-government heroes in last year’s Civil War storyline, this is a great opportunity to see them all get punched squarely in the face. For hard core Hulk fans, this storyline is a chance so see Big Green do what he does best: be angry and fight people. Issue four may feel like a bit of a “filler” issue, but it’s still a chance to watch a demon-possessed Dr. Strange go head up with the Hulk. And that can’t really be bad, can it?
On pencils, John Romita Jr. does his usually excellent job of building kinetic energy in the panels and really giving the action its due. While, at times, a few of the panels can echo Saturday morning cartoons and, every once in a while, the panels can become a bit cluttered and some of the pacing can stumble as a result, Romita still gets a thumbs up on this issue. He may have his weaknesses, but he also has his strengths. Namely, when the page layouts are reduced down to fewer panels and a large, dramatic action splash is needed, Romita performs wonderfully and it becomes very easy to forget the weaker points.
Overall: 3 out of 5. A little of filler, but not terrible.