The last piece of World War Hulk hit stands this week. Don’t rush out to get it.
Title: World War Hulk: Aftersmash – Warbound
Author: Greg Pak
Illustrator(s): Leonard Kirk, Gary Martin, Val Staples, Rafa Sandoval, Roger Bonet, Marte Gracia, Moose Baumann
Cover Dates: February 2008 through June 2008
Cover Price: $2.99 US, $3.05 Can per issue
Past comic reviews can be found here.
In this, the final World War Hulk tie-in, Dr. Kate Waynesboro (first seen around “Incredible Hulk 290-300”) is sent by S.H.I.E.L.D. to interrogate the captive Miek and track down the Warbound. The interrogation takes place in backup stories for the first four issues, and in a flashback at the start of the fifth issue, while her interactions with the Warbound form the lead stories in the first four issues and the bulk of the story in the final issue. To read the arc chronologically, read the backup stories in order, followed by the first two pencilled pages of the last issue and the first caption of that issue’s third page, before heading back to the beginning to read the rest.
Elloe agrees with Kate.
The last time I saw the Leader, he was a collection of dismembered atoms. Either he appeared somewhere outside “The Incredible Hulk,” or this was his next appearance. Either way, there are some major blanks to be filled in.
This isn’t terribly original. I could have accurately predicted the character arcs right up to the last four pages of the final issue before the first issue hit the stands. The dome wasn’t something I predicted, but I understood it immediately after Amadeus Cho described it in the Hulk crossover issues. The villain of the piece was unexpected, given the low point, but even then, he wasn’t well used. The only surprises were in the last four pages. I give it 3 out of 6.
The artwork was, thankfully, quite solid. Even the rotating teams managed enough similarity to avoid jarring. I give it 5 out of 6.
The story does it’s job, but when it’s this predictable, that’s not quite enough. I give it 4 out of 6.
The characterization isn’t all there. Miek’s descriptions of the character backgrounds don’t seem to have enough in common (or in contrast) with the current representations, making me wonder if this series was intended as anything more than the setup for a pitched ongoing series with these characters. I give it 4 out of 6.
The emotional response is predictably weak, given that the only surprise was a lack of a complete resolution. I give it 3 out of 6.
The flow is there, hampered only by the flashbacks and backup stories. I give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, this is a series recommended only for die-hard fans of the characters. Odds are, those falling into that category already have them. I give it 3 out of 6.
In total, World War Hulk: Aftersmash – Warbound! receives 26 out of 42.
World War Hulk Rundown
Each piece of the main event was reviewed, and the links to those reviews are below. I’m also adding comments about which crossovers I feel are worth looking into, and which ones are best left alone.
- World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker – This is a fun little intro that bridges the gap between Planet Hulk and this event. If you haven’t read Planet Hulk, this is the best way to get up to speed (though you may find yourself asking what happened to Arch-E if you don’t also pick up World War Hulk: Frontline.)
- World War Hulk 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – These are the individual reviews of the issues reviewed above.
- Incredible Hulk #106-110, 111 – These are the crossovers I’d most strongly recommend, primarily as they fill in the few gaps left in the main story while telling a highly entertaining story of their own. It’s also the only one that has a visible effect on the main title.
- World War Hulk: X-Men #1-3 – Want to see the Hulk smashing the X-Men? Pick this up. Don’t care about that? Don’t bother.
- World War Hulk: Frontline #1-6 – If you want to know what happened to Arch-E, pick this up and try not to be disappointed. Otherwise, easy to miss.
- Iron Man #19-20 – Worth looking into, if you’re already interested in Iron Man.
- Avengers: The Initiative #4-5 – I recommend that everyone get every issue of this title. In my opinion, it’s the best Avengers title Marvel’s putting out right now. Highly recommended.
- The Irredeemable Ant-Man #10 – I’ve heard great things about this title, but didn’t see them delivered here. Sometimes the crossovers designed to raise visibility are weaker than the rest of the series, though, and if this was the weakest of the series, I can see why its fans are so devoted.
- Heroes For Hire #11-15 – Missing this is not only fine, it’s recommended.
- World War Hulk: Gamma Corps #1-4 – I’m not a big fan of this series. Pick it up in TPB form if you run into these characters elsewhere and want to learn more about them.
- Ghost Rider #12-13 – Dyed in the wool Ghost Rider fans should skip the first 17 issues of this relaunched title. Don’t pick this up for the crossover.
- Punisher War Journal #12 – A decent story, worth checking out if you’re a Punisher fan.
- World War Hulk: Aftersmash – Sets up the two other Aftersmash minis.
- WWH: Aftersmash – Warbound #1-5
- WWH: Aftersmash – Damage Control #1-3 – Ended well, but not worth slogging through the build-up to get to issue 3.