Friday, July 25, 2008

What World War Hulk Should Have Been

Over at Tom Brevoort's blog, he has posted the oldest original outline for World War Hulk that he could find. The differences are staggering and it's a shame the actual event ended up being a mere popcorn flick summer blockbuster event compared to what was originally proposed by Greg Pak. It's definitely a rough draft / outline, but I'm actually fairly disappointed that we barely saw any of the original outline followed through on in the final version.

The best part of the outline has to be the opening with the battle with Thor and Korg picking up Mjolnir, as you can see in this excerpt.
Thor leaves his stronghold in the Oklahoma desert, heads towards the Hulk. Korg is the one to meet him. Old adversaries. Korg tells Thor that the Hulk is right. Thor should stand down. Thor knocks him aside. The Hulk comes out. Great clash over the desert. Epic, earth-shattering battle. Ends with the Hulk making Thor drop his hammer -- and Korg picks it up. Korg actually picks up the Hulk’s hammer -- he’s worthy. Thor’s blown away by this. He and the Hulk have a moment. Thor withdraws, says he doesn’t understand this all. But he won’t fight these heroes.

Another is the use of the Spikes and how Hulk takes down Sentry:
Hulk descends upon the city. Sentry rises to meet him, trying to claim old friendship. The Spikes surround the Sentry. Hold him. And then the Hulk balls up his great fist and smashes -- and breaks every bone in the Sentry’s body. Heroes are shocked -- they’ve never seen the Hulk so powerful.

I've reposted the outline in its entirity after the jump, but you can read the original here.


An overview of a Marvel Comics Event for Summer 2007
Written by Greg Pak

Third Draft - 06.23.2006

PLANET HULK: EMPIRE,” the tale of the Hulk’s return to Earth, will be told in two parallel storylines (for collection in two separate trades). All of these titles would carry the “PLANET HULK: EMPIRE” logo.

The main story runs through the “Incredible Hulk” comic book series and is bookended by “PLANET HULK: EMPIRE” #1 and an “INCREDIBLE HULK” annual.

The second storyline runs through the various annuals in which Marvel heroes and teams grapple with the Hulk’s return.



Open with a brief intro -- the Hulk’s furious eyes. The Voice of Legend captions fill us in on what’s happened -- he was exiled by his friends. Made a slave, a gladiator. Became a rebel. A leader. And then a king. Finally found his place. Found a home. But then they took it all away. Killed his love.

And now he’s coming for them.

Dr. Strange awakens in a cold sweat -- something’s coming. Tony gets a panicked call from his S.H.I.E.L.D. second in command. From Earth, the Marvel heroes see a plume of fire erupting from the side of the moon. The Hulk’s great stone flagship swallows up the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. The flagship descends over the American desert. The Hulk emerges holding the limp body of Black Bolt. Full of insane, controlled rage. Announces that the heroes killed millions. And they have 24 hours to evacuate Manhattan.

Ends with the Hulk making Thor drop his hammer -- and Korg picks it up.  
Thor leaves his stronghold in the Oklahoma desert, heads towards the Hulk. Korg is the one to meet him. Old adversaries. Korg tells Thor that the Hulk is right. Thor should stand down. Thor knocks him aside. The Hulk comes out. Great clash over the desert. Epic, earth-shattering battle. Ends with the Hulk making Thor drop his hammer -- and Korg picks it up. Korg actually picks up the Hulk’s hammer -- he’s worthy. Thor’s blown away by this. He and the Hulk have a moment. Thor withdraws, says he doesn’t understand this all. But he won’t fight these heroes.

And now Namor and his enormous sea monsters rise from the oceans around Manhattan. Namor’s helping the Hulk. He reveals the existence of the Illuminati. They sent Hulk away. Bombed his new people. Killed millions. Now they must do as the Hulk demands.

In New York, the other heroes meet. Anger, accusations, panic. The first many learn of the Illuminati and what they’ve done. Divisions within the ranks. But they start the seemingly impossible evacuation job -- teleporters like Cloak exhaust themselves, working overtime.

And then the Hulk balls up his great fist and smashes -- and breaks every bone in the Sentry’s body.  
Hulk descends upon the city. Sentry rises to meet him, trying to claim old friendship. The Spikes surround the Sentry. Hold him. And then the Hulk balls up his great fist and smashes -- and breaks every bone in the Sentry’s body. Heroes are shocked -- they’ve never seen the Hulk so powerful.

Hulk drops from the sky. Tears apart the Avengers Tower as he descends. Korg tears apart the Baxter Building. Hiroim smashes Dr. Strange’s mansion. Precision strikes -- utter devastation in those specific places. And now the Hulk and his crew step forward to face the remaining bruisers -- Thing, Colossus, Hercules, She-Hulk, Doc Samson. Monumental battle. The Marvel heroes are crushed. The Hulk has never been stronger or smarter. Almost heartbreaking moment with She-Hulk -- Hulk stares at her as if he doesn’t even know her, then sets the Spikes on her. They drain away her strength and power, leave her there as Jen Walters.

Hulk seizes the airwaves. Tells the world to give him Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Dr. Strange, and Nick Fury. And then the shocker -- he offers help to anyone whom this world has rejected. Anyone whom the “heroes” have forgotten or ignored. If they come to his fortress in the desert, he will give them a home.

In the desert, we see the Hulk’s army building a great fortress/city. And in the middle of the fortress? A great gladiatorial arena.


Pilgrimages begin -- thousands of people begin moving across the country towards the desert -- introduce some of the characters who will be part of the “Marvel Renegades” team -- the Marvel heroes who side with the Hulk. Miek moves among the pilgrims -- and he’s moved by them. He and the Brood help them.

Hulk negotiates directly with other nations, isolating the U.S. Hulk and his army do the huge things to help his foreign allies -- stopping hurricanes, lifting Venice, crazy, huge stuff like that. A big Hulk/Storm moment -- Hulk helps her stop a tidal wave threatening the African coast. Hiroim, tapping into the Old Power, stops an earthquake. Storm and the Panther say they won’t fight the Hulk.

The tanks blow Iron Man out of the sky.  
Iron Man leads a battalion of U.S. army tanks and helicopters out into the desert, only to discover at the last minute that the Hulk has negotiated a deal with the U.S. government. The tanks blow Iron Man out of the sky.


Tony wakes up in the arena. Stripped of his armor. Sword and shield on the ground before him. And an obedience disk hammered into his chest. Forced to fight other captured heroes. (This story is continued in the MIGHTY AVENGERS ANNUAL.)

Strange and Emma Frost try to attack Hulk’s mind. Inside his mind, they meet the Caiera, Hulk’s slain Shadow Warrior love, who’s fighting alongside Hulk. Is it the soul of the real Caiera? Or just his memory of her? Who knows -- but it’s simultaneously exhilarating and heartbreaking -- even melts Frost. They see why the Hulk is fighting.

Strange finds Banner inside there. Tries to get him to help, to take over. But Banner understands. He’s accepted the Hulk -- he sees that the Hulk is the hero, and that Banner is the monster.

Hulk fights back, defeats Strange. And with Hiroim’s help, exiles Strange to the Crossroads. (This story is continued in the NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL).


The Hulk’s fury continues. He’s gotten Black Bolt, Tony, and Strange, but Reed and Fury still remain on the loose. He demands they show their faces. Reed is missing -- the Marvel heroes have no idea where he is. The Hulk’s people are searching.

Meanwhile, there’s a crisis in the desert -- Hercules has arrived, along with some others. They’re fighting the Renegades, who are trying to defend the refugees. The Hulk charges in to smash. And now the Hulk gets a surprise -- in a kind of reversal of Peter David’s Champions story from “Giant Size Hulk,” now it’s the Hulk who sees that he’s the one who struck without asking. Hercules is here to help. And the Hulk begins to see what people see in him -- he begins to understand that these rejected people believe in him.

Meanwhile, Captain America and Nick Fury are assembling the remaining heroes. They may be the underground heroes -- the ones the United States has decided were criminals during the Civil War. But they’re still Americans. And they still believe in freedom and democracy. They don’t want to see the world ruled by the Hulk -- they’re ready to fight.


Preparing for a great battle. Captain America strategizing brilliantly. He’s recently been shot -- maybe he’s not in the fight directly. So he’s in the Patton role -- the general calling the shots. They send in Wolverine to reconnoiter. To kill. [This story is fleshed out in the WOLVERINE ANNUAL]. But the bomb Wolverine sets off just makes the Hulk stronger.

They take the attack directly to the Hulk. Hulk and his warriors take out the heroes. In the big twist -- the vanguard of Cap’s army consists of hundreds of Nick Fury LMDs. The Hulk is surrounded by Fury -- and he smashes each and every one of them.

The Hulk wins. Finally faces Cap. One on one. Only to discover it’s Rick Jones in Cap’s uniform. The real Cap’s been shot -- he’s in a wheelchair, directing the battle from behind the lines. Rick pleads. For the life of Tony and Black Bolt and the other heroes who he’s captured. He’s won. Have mercy. And Miek concurs.

And in a final gesture -- is it mercy? Or contempt? -- the Hulk releases Tony and the others. Drops Tony at Cap’s feet, stripped of his armor. And sends them away.

Cliffhanger -- Tony, haggard and desperate, forms an alliance with Doom.


Righteous Hulk. Unfathomable physical power combined with incredible heart and vision. It’s the opposite of the Maestro. Something we’ve never seen.  
Hulk has won. He could take over the whole planet if he chooses. And now we get a glimpse of what he would do, how he would rule. And, amazingly enough, it would be a utopia. A monarchy, to be sure, but with a genuinely just ruler. And here this new incarnation of the Hulk comes to full bloom -- he’s the Righteous Hulk. Unfathomable physical power combined with incredible heart and vision. It’s the opposite of the Maestro. Something we’ve never seen.

Storm and the Hulk talk. She asks what he will do next. He could stay. Rule the world. But he says no. He’s leaving. He’s taking all these people who helped him, all these people who wanted to join him. And they’re going to go to the planet Reed said he was going to go to. The peaceful, lush planet. Where they can be left alone.

And then the other shoe drops -- Doom and Tony.


Wall to wall action. The Hulk fights Dark Strange. Teams up with the heroes. Leads the heroes. Brilliant tactician and incredible powerhouse. The Hulk fulfilling his greatest potential. Brutal, terrible series of battles.

The outcome is far from certain -- the threat is terrible and huge. But the Hulk looks at the refugees and renegades who surround him. And he begins to realize he’s become their savior. This planet’s Sakaarson. There are still millions who fear and hate him, who blame him for the chaos. But millions of others see him as their hero. They are all Warbound now. He turns to face the final battle. Win or lose, he has already won -- he has found himself and his place on this earth.

But now, finally, he discovers the terrible truth -- it was Miek who destroyed the Crown City of Sakaar. Who killed Caiera. And the Hulk stares at him. And the rage begins to build. Insane, white-eyed fury. And the Hulk strikes.

But he doesn’t kill Miek. Instead, he launches into the battle against the enemy. Destroys him. Crushes him. Creates some monumental destruction. Maybe triggers the terrible explosion which creates GammaWorld. Destroys the refugees’ chances of escaping.

He’s not the Sakaarson. He’s the Worldbreaker.  
And the Hulk looks at the shambles around him. And he sees that this is his fault. He was the father figure in Miek’s life -- and all he showed him was rage. He’s not the Sakaarson. He’s the Worldbreaker.

The Hulk stares at Miek. Closes his eyes. And goes away. Turns into Banner. Who sits there, catatonic. Far, far away.

Inside Banner’s mind, we see the Hulk. It’s a memory/fantasy. The Hulk stands with Caiera on the planet Sakaar. Staring up as the explosions begin -- the explosions that in reality killed her and led to the events of this arc. He gazes into her eyes. Tells her he he refuses. He won’t be the Worldbreaker. Not now. Not ever again. He holds her close. And they both die, in each others’ arms, as the fire envelops them.

End with images of Sakaar -- the real Sakaar, post destruction. The radioactive oceans. And in that fiery soup, something stirs -- that embryonic thing which is the Son of Hulk. And the Voice of Legend tells us the Worldbreaker never dies.



A prequel in which we see the Illuminati tear each other apart in the lead-up to the Hulk’s return. The Illuminati meet to discuss Strange’s visions from “Incredible Hulk” #100 -- they sent the Hulk to the wrong planet -- where he’s building an army. Tony knows that when the Hulk returns, he’ll try to find allies. And so Tony tries to get Namor to pledge support. Namor refuses. Tony wages preemptive war on Atlantis -- in the effort to capture and neutralize Namor. Black Bolt is outraged -- will he be next? But by that point, it’s too late -- big climax as the Hulk smashes Black Bolt on the moon.


The Mighty Avengers are forced to fight the Inhumans in the Arena the Hulk has constructed in the desert. Tony Stark and Black Bolt are the key players here. A bit of a mini-“Planet Hulk: Exile” story, with the various players forming new alliances, experiencing new horrors, learning new lessons.


The Hulk captures Dr. Strange and, with the help of Hiroim and the Shadow Elders, sends him to the Crossroads. Strange experiences horrors like those the Hulk encountered when he was exiled years before -- meanwhile, the New Avengers strive to free him. Ends on a cliffhanger -- with Strange being driven mad by his experiences, setting him up for a dangerous return.


Fury, deep underground, sends Wolverine as an assassin to kill the Hulk. A kind of “Heart of Darkness”/”Apocalypse Now” story. With Wolverine gradually coming to respect the Hulk. In the end, he calls in the air strike. But the twist is that he knows it’ll just make the Hulk stronger. End with the even more powerful Hulk and Wolverine sharing a grim grin, then Wolverine slipping back out into the darkness.



A storyline which begins right after “Planet Hulk” ends. Could be a miniseries. Or it could be the story arc which happens in “Incredible Hulk” while the Hulk-smashes-Earth event is going on in a separate miniseries.

At the end of “Planet Hulk,” the Lieutenant, Hulk’s lover/wife/Queen, is killed along with thousands of others when the shuttle which brought Hulk to the planet explodes. This, of course, precipitates Hulk’s return to Earth to wreak his vengeance. But what Hulk doesn’t know is that the Lieutenant was carrying his child. And the fetus, being half-Hulk, not only survived the blast, but thrived in it. The Son of Hulk swims through the sea of radioactive primordial soup at the center of the blast area. Grows from fetus to child, battling, killing and eating other surviving monsters. STUFF CUT HERE TO AVOID SPOILERS FOR SKAAR, SON OF HULK.

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Anonymous said...

well i guess it couldnt be this awesome and marvel decided to dumb it done and make it...what do you call it kirk? accessible? i feel like this is what is happening with secret invasion, a dumbed down summer popcorn flick...i'll stick to my dc thought-provoking events

Salieri said...

I'm glad they changed the title to "World War Hulk", that seemed far less "Sequel"-y. I felt "Annihilation: Conquest" would have been better if they'd allowed it to become its own thing rather than just "Annihilation 2".

Eric said...

Sigh....why do good stories always get ruined? Aside from the Cap parts, they could have done that story almost exactly as Pak outlined it.

Kirk Warren said...

@anonymous - This version is a bit dense and unfriendly to new readers, but it's also a very early rough draft.

And you're right about SI and WWH, they both even feel like dumb downed popcorn flicks with little actual substance compared to similar works like Civil War or House of M, which weren't exactly deep to begin with.

@salieri - I like the World War Hulk name, too and assume this was just an early outline with a random name stuck on it until they fleshed out the draft.

Agreed on the Annihilation name. If Conquest ended up being an Annihilus based story that was a direct follow up to Annihilation, then I could see the name. As it is, it had nothing to do with it other than a few of the characters being the same and only brought unfair expectations and criticism that Conquest wasn't Annihilation 2.

@eric - I like this draft a lot more than what WWH turned out to be, but this still has its flaws, such as another "we give up" non-ending. It's still rather sad they gutted this story and only kept a handful of bits and pieces for WWH.

Ethereal said...

I don't think WWH was bad at all. I mean, some of this stuff is pretty hard to believe for alot of comic fans. Breaking every bone in Sentry's body? Seems like a copy of Superman/Doomsday. Namor revealing the Illuminati? I think they might have decided to use that at a later date (Probably after SI). I totally disagree with the Thor idea, as whenever he gets tied into Marvel events like this he's a pushover, not cool.

I have to say that I dislike where they sent Hulk post-WWH. Despite Herc+Hulk combinations, I have no interest in the character anymore.

Captain Lameo said...

I'm also not a fan of the Thor bit, but the rest sounds a lot better than what we got. WWH was an okay quick read but not really much more and I absolutely despise the Red Hulk (Although I do really enjoy Herc.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, while this story is a bit better, it doesn't address the whole problem WWH had to begin with. The largest problem is that the Illuminati were right. Hulk came down, destroyed New York for no real reason. Note: Hulk did not do what he did because he was shot into space. He did what he did because of the bomb that killed all of his people, including Caeira. Which the Illuminati was in no way responsible for, that was the Red King. What's worse, the Warbound (or at least one of them) knew this, and still let Hulk become the thing he didn't want to: the murderous monster.

Anonymous said... i thught that WWH was awesome...readin the entire thing i cant believe that marvel didnt go for this....:S:S
but prob would have messed up their plans for SI...anywyas this was an awesome story....reconfims by belief in Park

Radlum said...

Started better than the actual event but by the time Righteous Hulk was mentioned I lost interest; I mean, I know this is Hulk's event and all that but making him a perfect ruler, turning this world into a utopia sounds too forced; I don't like the stupid Hulk Loeb writes but the idea of one character turning the entire world into the most perfect thing ever sounds too dumb, even for a Marvel comic book.

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Antonio Hector said...

The ship they sent him in blew up and destroyed his people and love ones. Including his unborn child. He has a reason to be pissed off.

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