If you plan to read “World War Hulk,” be sure to read this after you read “Incredible Hulk 106.” As I already collect most of the titles involved in the crossover (all but “Irredeemable Ant-Man”) I’ll be collecting and reviewing the entire event.

General Information

Title: World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker

Authors: “Casus Belli” by Peter David, “Round Trip” by Chris Giarrusso, “Mastermind Excello” by Greg Pak

Illustrator(s): “Casus Belli” by Al Rio, Lee Weeks, Sean Phillips, Scott Hanna, Rom Palmer and William Murai; “Round Trip” by Chris Giarrusso, “Mastermind Excello” by Takeshi Miyazawa and Christina Strain

Original Publication Date: Cover dated July, 2007, this originally shipped on May 2, 2007.

Cover Price: $3.99 US, $4.75 Can

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

This is a collection of three stories. “Casus Belli” has a quick recap of “Planet Hulk” while setting the stage for the opening salvos of “World War Hulk” and revealing Jen “She-Hulk” Walters’ position in the conflict. “Round Trip” is a “Bullpen Bits” version of the entire “Planet Hulk” saga. “Mastermind Excello” is a reprint of Amadeus Cho’s appearance in “Amazing Fantasy Vol. 2 #15,” which set up his role in “World War Hulk.”

High Point

“Round Trip” is quite entertaining, as the “Bullpen Bits” generally are.

Low Point

Shifting art teams through “Casus Belli.” I’ve always found it irritating to change artists mid-story, even if it is for parallel segments like it is here.

The Scores

The originality of the package isn’t great. The first story adds a bit of detail between two consecutive Hulk epics, while filling in informatin for those who missed “Planet Hulk.” The second is essentially a parody of said “Planet Hulk,” and the third is a reprint of the origins of one of the main players. (I’m glad they chose to include it, though.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork was produced by several teams. For “Casus Belli,” we’ve got two teams I like, and a third I’m not thrilled with. Which people produced which segments? I couldn’t tell you, since the credits don’t distinguish and they seem to switch mid-page. The “Round Trip” art was done entirely by Chris Giarrusso, in the typical goofy “Bullpen Bits” style that is so well suited to the tone and content of this “comic strip” style segment. Finally, the art in “Mastermind Excello” is the “inspired by manga” style that can work well, as it does here (though it bugs me that the “chocolate cream” pie was coloured red.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The stories are all well told. While the first is as much a recap as it is a new chapter, it serves its role well. “Round Trip” effectively compresses the 14 issue epic “Planet Hulk” into six pages that also incorporate the Avengers: Illuminati special. The third seems a bit rushed, feeling like a single chapter in a larger story, though the Wikipedia entry implies that this wasn’t the case.) I give the complete package a 4 out of 6.

The first and last stories do a lot with characterization. “Casus Belli” is all about revealing what Jen Walters and Hulk are thinking and feeling as the conflict approaches. “Mastermind Excello” is all about the kind of person Amadeus Cho is, and letting us know what he is capable of. “Round Trip” plays on existing characters without going into any depth. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is good, despite some of the issues mentioned above. “Casus Belli” does a nice job of getting my psyched up for “World War Hulk,” “Round Trip” is just plain funny, and “Mastermind Excello” is an interesting look at the character I’m least familiar with of the group. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow isn’t good. Three completely different stories in one cover will always interrupt the flow of the comic, but the rotating artistic teams in the first story are even worse, as they interrupt the flow within a single story. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent comic, and worth picking up if you plan to get “World War Hulk”, particularly if you missed “Planet Hulk,” but I doubt it’ll convince you to pick it up if you’re on the fence. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker receives 28 out of 42.

World War Hulk Review Checklist

  • World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker
  • World War Hulk 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, complete
  • Incredible Hulk #106-110
  • World War Hulk: X-Men #1-3
  • World War Hulk: Frontline #1-6
  • Iron Man #19-20
  • Avengers: The Initiative #4-5
  • The Irredeemable Ant-Man #10
  • Heroes For Hire #11-14
  • World War Hulk: Gamma Corps #1-4
  • Ghost Rider #12-13
  • World War Hulk: Young Avengers #1