Marvel Studios just wrapped up its slate of “Phase 1” superhero movies with the release of The Avengers last year. This year, Iron Man 3 will officially kick off Phase 2 and the build-up to Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. It may seem strange at this early stage for fans to be speculating on the lineup for Phase 3, but when has the Internet Blogs ever been afraid to spread rumors? Last week we learned of an interesting rumor regarding the future of Hulk in Marvel Studios’ film projects. According to Latino Review, The Avengers 2 will conclude with Hulk being banished into space, thereby setting the stage for a Planet Hulk movie and an Avengers 3 that will adapt the events of the World War Hulk storyline. These are some of the very popular story arcs of the past few years. If it is true or not it is great to speculate by reviewing the stories them selves for those who are not familiar with recent Marvel History.
First the Planet Hulk story arc was written by Greg Pak and drawn by Carlo Pagulayan and was written in the Incredible Hulk series in 2006. It was incredibly popular during that year each issue sold very well and the interest in the back issues is still very high today. The Illuminati (a special group of superheros) decide the Hulk is too dangerous to remain on Earth. They trick him into entering orbit to destroy a rogue satellite, and then use a shuttle to jettison him from the solar system. They intended him to land on a peaceful planet, but the shuttle passes through a wormhole on its way. As Hulk listens to a recording from the Illuminati explaining their actions, his shuttle crashes on the planet Sakaar.
Weakened from the crash, Hulk is fixed with an obedience disk and taken into slavery. He is forced to fight gladiator battles for the planet’s emperor, the Red King. Hulk forms a warbound pact with his fellow gladiators Miek, no-name Brood, Elloe Kaifi, Lavin Skee, Hiroim and Korg. The series involves Hulk’s acclimation to and conquest of the planet where he landed, and his efforts to return to Earth to take his revenge.
The popularity of the story resulted in an animated version Planet Hulk produced by Lionsgate Home Entertainmen in 2010 directed by Sam Liu screenplay by Greg Johnson. With a few minor changes they stayed with the story line written by Pak. It was 81 minutes long and very well done but stopped short of bringing Hulk back to earth but does introduce a love interest of Hulk named Caiera. If you never watched this version is still available on Netflix, YouTube, iTunes and DVD. I have included a trailer for you to view of the animated Planet Hulk.
The Illuminati are the ones that sent the Hulk into outer space for the good of mankind. They set up the next phase of the movie possibilities World War Hulk. The Hulks returned and declared war against the Illuminati and any one else that got in his way. The Illuminati members are Iron Man of the Avengers, Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, Namor of Atlantis, Doctor Strange the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth , Professor Xavier of the X-Men, and Black Bolt of the Inhumans. The group was revealed to have been conceived very shortly after the Kree-Skrull War, which was depicted in Avengers #89-97. The Illuminati was formed to be a representative body, similar to the United Nations, established amongst the heroes to avert future disasters in the world.
Black Panther ruler of Wakanda was at the first meeting but left the group because he takes issue with their self-righteous attitudes and predicts disaster when they disagree. Later the group is know to have in their possession the six Infinity Gems. Whoever holds all six gems gains omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and God-like power, and has absolute dominion over all realities in the universe. Because of the power of the gems Mr. Fantastic attempts to will the Gems out of existence using their power, but he is unable to do so. Uatu, the Watcher an immortal being charged with watching mankind makes the controversial decision to give each Illuminati member one gem to hide so that they may never be combined and used again. How the gems would play into any of the future movies is not clear, maybe with the Thanos story yet to be filmed about the Avengers. So the next story we will consider will be World War Hulk.
The series consists of five main issues titled World War Hulk, with Greg Pak as writer and John Romita, Jr. as penciller, and three other limited series: World War Hulk: Front Line,World War Hulk: Gamma Corps, and World War Hulk: X-Men. It also ran through several other Marvel comics series. Publication dates were July 2007 through January 2008. After the Illuminati banished Hulk from Earth, and after the events in Planet Hulk the spacecraft that was used to send him to the planet Sakaar explodes and kills Hulk’s pregnant wife, Caiera. Blaming the Illuminati for her death, Hulk returns to Earth for revenge with his allies the Warbound: Hiroim, Korg, Elloe Kaifi, Miek, No-Name the Brood, Arch-E-5912, and Mung. The ensuing war between the heroes of earth and Hulk and his Warbound leveled New York and resulted in the humiliation of the Illuminati at the hands of the Hulk and the apparent defeat of the Hulk brought creation of the Red Hulk and more future story lines. Even the idea that the movie creators might use some of the great stories in the comics makes good sense. The Marvel Universe is rich with great stories that would be great on the big screen. Only time will tell but it is wonderful to be able to speculate about that.
In contrast Warner Bros owner of DC Comics can’t seem to use any great stories of their Comic history and do a good job bringing it to the big screen. Just recently a Warner Bros movie executive said depending on how the new Superman movie Man of Steel does that the idea of a Justice League movie would be a waste of 200 million dollars. What a difference in thinking. Marvel has proven with the recent success in movies that if you put a quality product together with superheros it will do well. Maybe Marvel sees the glass a half full and Warner Bros sees the glass as half empty. One exception to that is the animated world of Warner Bros, it has had much success using great stories from the comic book past and been very successful. But that production cost is much less than a major movie doing the same thing. One of these days they may wake up but Marvel is really leaving them in the dust. Remember we at Comics Talk are watching things for you in the comic world and reporting them to you as we see them. Stay tuned comic faithful for more. 🙂 Walt