Written by: Greg Pak
Art by: Manuel Garcia, Cam Smith
Colors by: Chris Sotomayor
Letters by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover art by: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Chris Sotomayor
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: November 30, 2022
Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 returns to Sakaar a thousand years from now to find out what happened to the green-skinned descendants of the Haarg. When a bigoted leader declares all Haarg a scourge upon the land, an aging Amadeus Cho is called upon to help a girl find her kidnapped brother.
Is It Good?
I’m not sure I understand what’s going on in this comic, and I’m not sure I like what I do understand. You get the distinct impression Greg Pak is trying to deliver a hard-hitting message in Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1, but the message is obscured by clunky execution.
Pak’s script in the main story centers on Sakaar millennium from now where green-skinned people, the Haarg, are treated as outcasts and occasionally hunted by followers of Grand Priestess Venkiera. The story follows a brother and sister who get ambushed by Venkiera’s soldiers. When the sister is left for dead, and the brother is taken by the soldiers for some unknown purpose, the sister, Tala, seeks out an older and dispirited Amadeus Cho for help. Cho attempt to rescue the boy but quickly finds himself over his head. The only way to save the boy in the face of overwhelming odds is for Cho to seek out the Worldbreaker, Bruce Banner.
To Pak’s credit, the setup is thorough and gives you a clear idea of life in Sakaar in the future. Again, you get the distinct impression Pak is using Sakaar in the future as an allegory for some message ala the plight of refugees or fascism or something along those lines, but it’s not obvious enough to hit on you on the nose but still present enough to tickle your shorthairs.
The story flows relatively well as you follow Balo and Tala, but once Tala seeks out Cho, the flow and scene transitions are as bumpy as a country road full of potholes. How did Tala survive a shot to the head without any of the soldiers noticing? When Tala finds Cho, why is he rambling, and what is rambling about? When Tala and Cho leave to find Balo, why is their conversation so disjointed and incomplete? How did Cho not notice a squad of Sentinel-sized robots sneaking up on him?
Technically, the story gets you where you need to go (Sakaar needs Hulk back to save the day), but getting there is not a smooth ride.
Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 includes a backup issue that takes up a third of the total page count involving Skaar, in the present day, helping out alien predators from Sakaar marooned on Earth. The backup feels, again, like Pak is trying to send a message about hunting or refugees or something else along those lines, but the narrative, again, isn’t clear enough to hit you on the nose but just present enough to feel like something’s nagging at the back of your brain.
Pak’s backup doesn’t have any apparent connection to the main story, and it reads like an animal rights PSA, so you can take it or leave it without missing anything.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker #1 sets up Sakaar for the future and Amadeus Cho’s place in it to set the stage for the story to come. The narrative flow is clunky in spots, and you get the distinct impression Pak is using the setup as an allegory for real-world issues, but the story doesn’t come together enough to make the message clear. Regardless, this first issue is all setup with a weak cliffhanger and a throwaway backstory that reads like an Animal Rights PSA. There’s enough intrigue to get you to wonder what happened to Hulk, but this issue is not a strong start.