World War Hulk Incredible Hulk 107, Iron Man 19, Ghost Rider 12
The cover of Incredible Hulk 107 pits the Hulk against one of the strongest members of the Marvel Universe - Hercules. Based on the previous stories though, I suspect that when we turn the pages of this issue Hercules will be on the Hulk's side of the equation. Normally I would consider this matchup more than fair but not within the context of World War Hulk. The Hulk is way beyond his power levels here so Hercules is definitely outclassed.
We are in the stone ship in what appears to be a flashback right before Hulk and the Warbound get to Earth. In his first appearance I expressed some resentment at Korg, the stone-like alien, because he seemed to be a carbon copy of the Thing. But it seems Korg has a certain right to look like he is since, based on the panel below, his race-identity can be traced all the way back to the Silver Age of comics, just like Benjamin J. Grimm's.
Now I remember, Korg belongs to the same race of aliens who battled Thor during Thor's origin issue in Tales to Astonish 83. In my previous entry I also mistakenly refered to the robotic Warbound as Korg. I stand corrected. Now I'm wondering about the name of that robot.
Amadeus Cho is a minor. That's a bit of a surprise. The last time we saw Cho he was with Hercules and the Angel. They are joined shortly thereafter by hostile S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives nice enough to bring their mini-helicarrier?
I don't know what they're called exactly but Cho manages to override their assault systems making it look like the operatives are attacking. Of course this prompts a retaliation from Cho's new found friends. They don't call Hercules the Prince of Power for nothing.
Go up against S.H.I.E.L.D. and you're a fugitive and that's what happens to this trio that I'm calling Team Hulk. First up is a rather entertaining exchange about money.
Ah, the kind of ride that wealth can command. It is described as an M-43 Amphibious Flier, worth fifty million dollars. Excellent. If only these vehicles really did exist. I like the rather whimsical addition of the running woman in a bikini.
Team Hulk decides to use the marine mode of the M-43 and, in short order, bump into the Atlanteans.
Atlanteans, that's spelled N-A-M-O-R. As you can see he's in his usual good mood.
I like what he said before this little speech: "Silence, I brought you here to listen, not speak". That's Namor alright.
Here's another panel showing what we saw before: the Hulk hologram making announcements in New York.
I love the detail on this panel.
Cho reveals why Hercules is on the Hulk's side
That's incredibly traumatic stuff.
That's BS. Hercules will still be stronger. Namor's advantage would be if he smashes an air breather's helmet, he pretty much wins an underwater fight. That being said, I do know that Reed Richards (no surprise) has invented a water-breathing pill.
The Submariner will have no part of this but Team Hulk has a recruit.
Namora. All the strengths of her cousin, without the attitude. Well, a fraction of the strength.
Before Team Hulk can even get in contact with the Hulk the Hulk-Iron Man fight happens and Team Hulk finds itself busy with saving lives.
Oh! beautiful. A tie-in to Civil War
Goliath's nephew. I can understand the anger.
Team Hulk isn't exactly received with welcoming arms.
Suddenly Hulk doesn't seem so big anymore.
You don't only show your quality by dishing it out, you also show it by how much you can take. Hercules, a true hero, rides out a beating from the Hulk in order to get through to him that an Earth-side Team Hulk does exist.
The big question is: Will the Hulk accept that he has allies from his home planet?
The past events so far, and, specifically, the cover of Iron Man 19, reminds me that Tony - who admittedly has a lot of fans - has also built up a lot of haters during the course of Civil War; myself included, again, admittedly. In that sense World War Hulk serves as a form of catharsis of Team Captain America.
So Iron Man 19 takes us back a bit, right before Hulk's starship reaches Earth.
We get this big panel of Iron Men swarming around Hulk's ship.
Tony Stark is the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and he has activated a space defense system. I should've known that its not going to be in the form of missiles or force fields. This is Tony after all; defense means the armor - lots of it.
All the Iron Man robots, and all Earth satellites are taken out by an EMP, electromagnetic pulse - that's cyanide for machines. The Iron Man robots, referred to as drones, automatically begin rebooting - a Tony Stark signature move. They are promptly destroyed by being rammed by the stone starship - not a signature move but very so like the Hulk.
An enigmatic black armor survives.
This is Tony's EMP-shielded stealth. For a moment Tony has hope but his dark armor will not survive for long.
In short order the issue goes through things we've seen before. The tragic fight between Hulk and Black Bolt on the moon, and the appearance of the Hulk hologram in New York.
Here we have a precious little panel showing Stark's reaction to the surprise return of the exiled Hulk.
'Oh, No' indeed. That's Dum Dum Dugan beside Tony - sans his signature hat.
Dum Dum Dugan has a revelation.
Really? Every S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is ok with the Hulk's 'exile'? Not too sure about that. There are a lot of Captain America types in S.H.I.E.L.D. and I can't see Steve Rogers giving his nod to what was done to the Hulk.
These days Tony Stark doesn't put on his armor. He summons it on.
So basically Stark wants to take on the Hulk by himself but the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives want in. This is the context of this comment.
I have several things to say about this comment. (1) Being the new guy on the job is hard. (2) Being the new guy on the job right after a tried-and-true veteran is even harder (3) Lots of experience translates to quality and it is a respected asset among subordinates. Well, there was a time when Nick Fury didn't have much experience and was new too. Every veteran has run the gauntlet I suppose. The new guy on the job should just brush things off - specially when the mistakes start coming.
Here's another revelation. This time from Tony
I wonder what the original destination for the Hulk was? It turns out the the original intended destination was a jungle planet with no sentients, just animals. Tony is wondering if they should have consulted Bruce Banner first instead of duping him. Yes they should have. They should have. I think Bruce would have said no initially but after some thought he would've gone.
'Things rarely turn out the way you hope. So you do the best you can with what you have' - words of wisdom. And look, Tony's welding the Hulkbuster. I was right, that suit was not battle ready; it was a patch-up job and here it is being patched.
Here's another rendition of the Hulkbuster
So now we're in the thick of the Hulk-Iron Man fight and we're getting new details like this wicked hand spike.
It looks like it belongs in some kind of medieval dungeon. The spike is an injection of some sort. Nanobots, like the one used on She-Hulk. It doesn't work.
So back in Civil War Tony did something he didn't want and that led to the death of Bill Foster a.k.a. Goliath. Now Tony has ordered those missile strikes on the Hulk and apologizes to Bruce as they near; Tony doesn't want to do this either. What is it like to do something that you don't want to do but are compelled to because of necessity? Do you feel heroic or do you feel like you were betraying yourself?
The issue ends with the destruction of the Hulkbuster Armor.
The Ghost Rider issue opens in awesome style as Ghost Rider takes out a passenger jet.
The pilot is either a demon or possessed by one - explaining the violent reaction of the Spirit of Vengeance. I like it that Ghost Rider's skull face seems to be smiling.
Here is Johnny Blaze a.k.a. Ghost Rider
He's waking up the next day with memories of his actions as Ghost Rider. This split nature of human and superhuman is something Blaze shares with Bruce Banner.
Johnny watches the arrival of the Hulk and the initial evacuation on tv. Here's a shot of the Thing helping with the evacuation.
This panel illustrates a struggle.
The spirit of the Ghost Rider wants to track and destoy supernatural threats. Johnny wants to head-on over to New York and lend a hand. It is Johnny Blaze that takes control. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that Johnny Blaze is allowed to take control. So New York it is.
Ghost Rider arrives in New York in style.
And we conclude with a matchup of two stellar powerhouses.