Some of Marvel's heroes have made one of the most dangerous creatures alive very, very angry.
To recap the Hulk's recent trials and tribulations, a group called the Illuminati - led by heroes such as Iron Man and Mister Fantastic - decided that the Jade Giant's rampages were becoming too frequent and unpredictable. Instead of killing him, they used trickery to shoot him into space to a distant, harmless planet from which he would never return.
They miscalculated on both counts. The shuttle veered off course and landed on the savage planet of Sakaar, where the Hulk eventually became emperor, became "Warbound" with those he had fought alongside, fell in love, took a queen, anxiously awaited the birth of a child, and promoted peace throughout the planet he now ruled.
But the shuttle that sent Hulk away from Earth explodes, triggering a chain of catastrophes that destroyed Sakaar and killed millions of inhabitants, including Hulk's queen and their unborn child.
Filled with rage as never before, the Hulk and his Warbound warriors have set course for Earth, seeking vengeance on those the Jade Giant holds responsible for destroying his world.
"World War Hulk: Prologue: Worldbreaker" not only explains all this, but gives you a strong sense of foreboding as Hulk approaches Earth. You get the sense that this is not going to be a series of slugfests but a very personal war.
Legendary Hulk scribe Peter David was the perfect choice to whet everyone's appetite for the crossover with this one-shot. Few, if any, can get inside the Green Goliath's head the way he can. David gives us a Hulk who is so full of rage that he is almost a danger to his allies. He also shows us the importance of these allies when they not only calm him down but when one of them starts to conceive of a way for them to defeat Illuminati member Black Bolt, who easily dispatched the Hulk in a previous battle.
The bulk of the book is devoted to explaining the Illuminati's side of things - which is done during a conversation between She-Hulk and Doc Samson - and the Hulk's side, when he explains why he feels he is justified in his yearning for vengeance.
The truth, of course, is somewhere in between.
Besides the main story, this book also contains a humorous tale that briefly sums up the events leading up to World War Hulk and a reprint of the first appearance of Mastermind Excello - who plays a crucial role in the crossover as one of the Hulk's allies.
In short, this is almost a perfect prologue to excite you about, and make you fear for Earth in, the "World War Hulk" crossover.
"Control your rage," says Hulk's ally Hiroim. "Control it . . . and use it . . . to destroy them all."
Speaking of the Hulk, Variety recently broke the news that Tim Roth has been cast as Emil Blonsky, better known to comics fans as the Hulk's arch-villain Abomination.
In the comics, Blonsky is a KGB agent who purposely exposes himself to the gamma rays that turned Bruce Banner into the Hulk. Blonsky upped the dosage, which makes him larger and stronger than the Hulk. The downside is that, unlike the Hulk, he is unable to revert to human form. Naturally, he blames Banner for his problem and vows to destroy the Hulk.
While Bruce Banner will be dealing with his demons in a new "Hulk" movie, a curse of a different kind will likely also be hitting theaters soon.
"Ronin," yet another creation by the super-hot Frank Miller, has landed at Warner Bros. Sylvain White is in negotiations to direct and Gianni Runnari, one of the producers of "300" - another Miller property - is looking to produce the epic.
"Ronin" was a 6-issue comic miniseries published by DC in the early 1980s and has since been collected several times. A tale spanning centuries, it starts in feudal Japan where a young ronin sought to avenge his former master, who was slain by a demon. The ronin was successful, but at a cost.
With its dying breath, the demon uttered a curse that would forever link the two.
Centuries later, a boy begins to have dreams about an ancient ronin warrior - and the two enemies live again. *