World War Hulk is a six-issue Marvel Comics event written by Greg Pak and illustrated by John Romita Jr. Since its release, the story has become a fan-favorite and was even featured as a part of the recently released Thor: Ragnarok movie.
After being exiled from the Earth by the Illuminati, Hulk found solitude on the planet Sakaar. Hulk had everything in the palm of his hands. While there, he learned to live a life not fueled by his anger but rather fueled by peace. He did this through his own personal struggles and with the help of his new wife, Caiera.
As luck had it, one day the ship he had arrived in began to make a number of strange noises. He quickly turned his attention to the ship and proceeded to toss it into the sky. Unfortunately, as the ship began to take flight, it exploded and completely devasted the planet and all that he had grown to love. Naturally, this devastation brings the Hulk’s world crumbling on top of him. Not only did it destroy the planet, it also killed his beloved Caiera.
Seeking revenge, Hulk takes it upon himself to recruit the vilest beings Sakaar has to offer and makes his way back to Earth. While traveling back, he and his compatriots devise a plan with their initial attack coming to those who banished him, the Illuminati.
Now back on Earth, he and his clan make short work of Black Bolt and turn their attention to the other members. He warns them that they have 24 hours to surrender themselves or he will do what he does best to Manhatten…Smash.
Iron Man, not one to be outsmarted by the Green Goliath, realizes that if he can subdue Black Bolt so easily, he does not stand much of a chance. He quickly suits up into the Hulkbuster armor and makes his way to him. Unfortunately, while in combat the mention of Caiera enrages the Hulk and Iron Man, like Black Bolt, is defeated.
With two of the Illuminati dispatched, the Hulk turns his enraged attention to the leader of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards. The combined efforts of Reed, his team, the Black Panther, and the X-Men’s Storm were no match for the Hulk. In an act of desperation, Reed even reached out to the Cosmic Being known as Sentry, who, like so many others, wanted no part of the massacre.
Simply put, no matter who approached the Hulk:
- Ghost Rider
- Iron Man
- Amadeus Cho
- Thunderbolt Ross
- Dr. Strange
- Professor X
- The X-Men
- Black Panther
They all fell.
Ancient Rome revisited
With most of Earth’s heroes defeated, the Hulk and his Warbound group began to turn Madison Square Garden into his own personal Colesseum. The group then assembled the Illuminati and arranges for them to battle a tentacled beast and if they survived the beast, each other. The Hulk proclaims that he does not wish for death but instead, for justice. He explains that his wish to destroy Manhatten and leave the Avengers to bask in their shame.
Luckily and without warning, Sentry makes his way to Earth, arrives and attacks the Hulk. Using all of his energy, he ends up transforming back into his human form. Surprisingly, this event moves the Hulk and he too reverts back to human.
Angered by what has transpired, one of his Warbound members, Miek proceeds to attack the now human Bruce Banner. Rick Jones (a friend of Banner’s) pushes Bruce aside and takes the wrath of Miek. This angers Bruce and he reverts back to his Hulk form. The Hulk attacks Miek and learns that the explosion of his ship that started the attack was not caused by the inhabitants of Earth. Instead, it was started by a group of extremists looking to force the Hulk into battle.
This, like so many other things, enrages the Hulk and he proceeds to emit radiation that threatens life on Earth. In an act of desperation, Iron Man initiates a series of weapons and opens fire on the Hulk. This attack finally subdues the Hulk who is left unconscious and in his Bruce Banner form. The story concludes with the Hulk being imprisoned 3 miles underground and his wartime companions taken into custody.
The World War Hulk storyline is one of the most recognizable stories in the history of the character. World War Hulk, in conjunction with Planet Hulk, rewrote who and what the character stood for. It showed that aside from being a rage-monster, the Hulk is a creature who cares deeply for those who are close to him.
In fact, World War Hulk showed that the Hulk is no different than most on our planet. It showed that if his family is threatened, abused, murdered, or all of the above, he would go to the same lengths for revenge that many would go to. In short, World War Hulk humanized the Green Goliath and I suppose that it is for this reason alone that it was included in Thor: Ragnarok.