It Feels Like Summer in ‘Planet Hulk #1’

Gladiator Captain America riding a big red T. Rex. I think you get the picture.

It feels like summer.

This past weekend I saw George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road and oh what a ride. It was two solid hours with barely time to breathe. It’s fast. It’s furious. Rubber and steel, sand and blood, all moving at a hundred miles an hour across a barren hellscape of post-apocalyptic terror. Those images have been pounding inside my brain ever since.

I close my eyes at night to go to sleep and there they are.

Max and Furiosa blazing across the desert between Gas Town and the Bullet Farm, roaring along Fury Road.

And there are others.

Especially from Avengers: Age of Ultron — the clanging power of hammer and shield; the uncontrollable fury of Hulk gone mad.

But also from things to come. Chris Pratt running from the tyrant lizard kings in the trailer for Jurassic World, all ground-shaking footsteps and ear-shattering screams.

That is what I see. What should be the darkness behind my eyes is instead a movie screen filled with flickering images like the trailers before the show, cut for the greatest effect, for the biggest impact.

Like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

It feels like summer.

And that is why I love Planet Hulk #1 by Sam Humphries and Marc Laming, because right there on the page is a glimpse of what I see behind my eyes. Imagine the biggest movies of the summer mixed together into one glorious, let’s-just-have-fun, summer comicbook. That’s what this is.

And it feels like summer.

So as not to confuse anyone, I should make it clear that Planet Hulk takes place not on the planet Sakaar, scene of Greg Pak’s utterly fantastic “Planet Hulk” storyline from 2006 and 2007, but on Battleworld, the scene of Marvel’s epic crossover event for summer 2015, Secret Wars . I won’t go into all the details of what that means; there are plenty of places for the uninitiated to go and figure that out. Instead, I’m just going to tell you what’s so great about this story.

You see, on Battleworld there is a place called Greenland that is inhabited by, not just one, but a whole population of Hulks. These Hulks are ruled over by the Hulk known as the Red King, though the land itself is under the final dominion of the god emperor Doom who rules through the iron hammers of his Thor Corps. Into Greenland, Doom sends a warrior to kill the Red King, a gladiator who has survived many battles in the arena. This gladiator is known as “the Captain” and he wears the colors and carries the shield of Captain America. Coerced by loyalty to a friend, the Captain sets out on his journey astride his blood red T-Rex known as Devil Dinosaur.

Humphries and Laming are clearly influenced by the earlier “Planet Hulk” storyline from Incredible Hulk as well as by Rick Remender’s and John Romita Jr.’s Captain America story, “Castaway in Dimension Z”. These are, without a doubt, two of the best and most unique storylines these characters have ever been involved in so it is a brilliant move to bring them together, in a way, for this new story. Throwing in one of Jack “King” Kirby’s most bizarre creations, Devil Dinosaur, is just plain brilliant.

But if that doesn’t sell you on it, let me put it this way. Imagine if all those movie trailers that you’ve seen this summer were somehow all blended together into one really good movie.

Imagine if Captain America from Avengers: Age of Ultron found himself in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that was a cross between the world of Mad Max: Fury Road and the world of Game of Thrones . Then imagine that in this world there was a nation of Hulks and an army of hammer wielding Thors.

Then imagine that thrown into the mix is the biggest, baddest dinosaur from Jurassic World , a dinosaur whose hide has been burned to a blood red scar.

Just imagine.

Gladiator Captain America riding a big red T.rex.

Yeah, this feels like summer.

RATING 9 / 10
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