World War Hulk Review – “World War Hulk #5”

The main event is over. Still to come: the last issue of the “Incredible Hulk” and “Heroes for Hire” crossovers, both due this week, as well as the last issue of “World War Hulk: Frontline” due the week after that. Then, on December 5, it’s the “World War Hulk: Aftersmash” one shot, followed by the “WWH Aftersmash: Warbound” and “WWH Aftersmash: Damage Control” limited series. Once those are done, I’ll do a full event review and wrap up as was done with the Civil War.

General Information

Title: World War Hulk #5
Author: Greg Pak
Illustrator(s): John Romita Jr. (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks) and Christina Strain (colours)
Original Publication Date: Cover dated January, 2008
Cover Price: $3.99 US, $4.05 Can

Past comic reviews can be found here.


In the final issue of the series, the Hulk’s assault on New York is ended with the help of the Sentry. I don’t know anyone who expected it to end quite like this.

High Point

Tony Stark’s advice to the Sentry, and General Ross’ reaction to it. If anything sums up his lifelong philosophy as well as that statement, I haven’t seen it yet. (Note that I’ve just started reading the Invincible Iron Man: Complete Collection.) This is exactly the mentality that lead to his roles in the formation of the Avengers, formation of the Illuminati, and decisions during the entire Civil War event. It also resonates for me because it shows that, in spite of everything that’s happened, he’s still absolutely convinced that he’s right, and has been all along. For those interested, the actual dialogue follows under spoiler guard:
Korg: Ben Grimm– What’s your Sentry doing?
Ben Grimm: He ain’t mine, Korg, but if I had to guess… I’d say he’s bustin’ out the power of a million exploding suns.
Reed Richards: But… he’s an agoraphobic schizophrenic, terrified of his own power… he’s never unleashed it like this before. Tony, what the hell did you tell him?
Tony Stark: I said that sometimes… to do the right thing… you have to play God.
General Ross: You morons. Trading one monster for another…

Low Point

The great energy flares and other repurcussions of the battle had two effects. One is that they obscure backgrounds, reducing perspective and cutting down the emotional impact of the battle for the reader. The second effect is that they would have more devastating effects than they are depicted to have. One particular event needs to be discussed behind spoiler guard: New York is on solid bedrock. A vibration caused by the Hulk’s foot in New York that is felt in Greenwich, Connecticut and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts would have levelled the entire city, to say nothing of the stadium all of those unscathed heroes were standing in.

The Scores

This series didn’t feel original until the last few pages revealed elements of the new status quo. I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork on the issue had one big problem, mentioned above: the great flashes of expended energy obscured the background, making it difficult to place the battle in the necessary context. The scenes not involving the Hulk/Sentry fight were very well done, depicting action and emotion among the entire cast effectively. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story was served fairly well, though the lessons the characters were meant to learn were spelled out a little too explicitly for my tastes. I think Pak made a decision to eliminate much of the subtlety of the dialogue in favour of leaving more room for the actual combat. Whatever the reason, the dialogue gets clunky and rushes to the conclusions we are meant to draw. I give it 3 out of 6.

The characterization is as simplified as the dialogue. The Hulk here is revealed to be the same character the intelligent Hulk has always been: he’ll hurt his enemies badly enough that they’d prefer death, but don’t get it. He’s also well aware of the line between innocent and guilty. Pak gets the job done, but a major Hulk event is expected to be about action, not conversation. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response is a little muted by the great gobs of yellow and orange in the middle of battle, but it still has some fun moments. Everything from the end of the Sentry/Hulk fight is interesting, as it all serves to reveal the status quo in the Hulk’s corner of the Marvel universe following this event. I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow is also hindered by all of that glowing energy. I can’t figure out where that battle is taking place relative to the point of origin. The Sentry knocked Hulk out of the arena, fought him a while, and then knocked him back into the arena. At which point did they trade places and change directions? I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, it’s what you might expect from a great big fight, followed by conversation that reveals to the Hulk exactly why his ship exploded on Sakaar, followed by the moments that reveal the new status quo. It’s not bad, and it delivers in a brainless popcorn mentality kind of way, but it’s unlikely to make any new fans of the Hulk. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, World War Hulk #5 receives 24 out of 42.

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