With the SECRET WARS coming next summer, Marvel fans are all abuzz about what each and every teaser could possibly be about. We’ve seen the map and it intrigues us more. The fact is Marvel may be on the verge of the biggest PR campaign ever. I remember the first Secret Wars. There were a few repercussions, but, for the most part, it could have gone unnoticed. It was built that way. This new Secret Wars cannot be ignored. Everything ends. And, I assume, everything begins again. The fears of reboots begin to plague our dreams. But that brings us back to the teasers. Most of them are stories we know and love or harkening back to a day we hold fondly.
The first two we will be looking at are Hulk-centric and are situated together on the northern, isolated continent. The fact that they beckon back to two of Marvel’s greatest Hulk story-lines peaks out interest to be sure. The first, PLANET HULK, brings back memories of a time gone by when the Illuminati trapped the Hulk in a spaceship and decided to rid the planet of his menace forever by shooting off to an unpopulated paradise. There was, of course, a malfunction via a portal and the Hulk landed instead on a habited planet, but one inhabited with strong powerful creatures. The Hulk found himself in his element since he had to prove he was the ‘strongest one there is’. He did this and became king. This didn’t last, though. He, once again, lost the love of his life and found a way back to Earth to make the Illuminati pay for their indiscretion.
But looking at the teaser, we feel like Marvel may be trolling us, actually. There is nothing in the teaser that takes us back to this story. In fact, this ‘Planet Hulk’ just seems to be a planet of Hulks. Add Steve Rogers bearing an ax and his trademark shield jumping off Devil Dinosaur and we go from interest peaked to totally confused in no time. What could Marvel possibly be thinking? It doesn't help that the online fans have been clamoring for a Planet Hulk movie starring Mark Ruffalo himself ever since the first Avengers movie. Not only has Marvel NOT given into this idea (although rumors still fly), they haven’t even green lighted a Hulk stand alone! So, is there any continuity that this kind of ‘planet of Hulks’ idea could have come from? Help us make sense of it all!!!
Luckily, I pulled this gem from my WHAT IF? Collection. Number 71 reads simply, ‘What if the gamma bomb spawned a thousand Hulks?’ Of course, our minds rush to the side of Rick Jones and Bruce Banner at the test site of the original gamma bomb. But…no. This story picks up after the Axis powers (WWII types/not the current super event) have successfully destroyed the Manhattan Project; destroying America’s chance of dropping the A-Bomb. This brings us to desperation and the newly untested gamma bombs. We dropped them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, of course, things went wonky. Instead of killing the residents of Japan, they were turned into Hulks. YES, HULKS! So, this army of Hulks aptly named ONI (Japanese for Demon) lead by a Japanese version of the Leader (Who would make a cool Hulk/Mandarin) rampaged across the globe and took over everything; even America. Bruce Banner is involved and saving Nick Fury from another Gamma blast, he became the Hulk we all know and love. He, then, led the remaining heroes in a rebellion.
But WHAT IF the story were to continue? We see cap on the final splash page. Is he the last hero standing? Did the Oni succeed in detonating the other Gamma Bomb and save them from dying of the original Gamma radiation? Did the blast create MORE Hulks? Does the teaser have anything to do with this What if? Probably not. But the story we will see next year will be closer to this reality than the actual Planet Hulk to be sure!
Another, more recent and well known, possibility, is WORLD WAR HULKS which was a story line that was part of a string of stories that started with Planet Hulk (2006-7) and included World War Hulk (2007), SKAAR: Son of Hulk and then moved onto the RED HULK mystery and Incredible Hulks: Dark Sons.
This WORLD WAR HULK story gave way to HULKED OUT HEROES which saw Hulked out versions of our favorite heroes like Spider-man, Wolverine and even Deadpool.
The story includes a time travelling HULKPOOL who meets up with Blackbeard Thing, Kid Colt, Captain America and Bucky from an alternate reality and DEVIL DINOSAUR. Wait a minute...haven't we seen the red T-Rex before? Of course, we have. It’s up top on the PLANET HULK 2015 teaser. SO, it would make sense, seeing that HULKED OUT HEROES was just a continuation of the overarching PLANET HULK story, that the ‘PLANET HULK’ coming next summer is a continuation of this reality. Maybe? Right? Ok, we’ll see.
It’s not like we don’t have a Hulk infestation problem of our own lately. If Marvel was honest, they would probably admit that we have too many Hulks both red and green and need to wipe the slate clean.