Friday, July 27, 2007

The Problem With World War Hulk

Just got through reading Incredible Hulk #108. If you haven't read it yet? Just don't. Wow. No kidding. Miek is just like Rick Jones, huh? Fascinating. Can I have my $3 back?

I figured going into this "crossover" that the main action would mostly be confined to the miniseries and Incredible Hulk. I was wrong. It's just the miniseries.

Whatever you thought about Civil War, you have to admit that it was the rarest of things: A crossover that actually worked. This was a story so god damn big that you actually wanted to read all the tie-ins. Every character was affected by the event, and the tie-ins seemed to provide critical info. Recently I went through trying to pick out the "must read" stuff from the event for Melissa, and I realized that the tie-ins were all important only if you cared about the characters in those books - and if you did they were absolutely vital.

So after that bunch of relevant crossover books, World War Hulk is like cold water to the face. Remember back in the days of, for example, Secret War II, when the Beyonder would just show up in every issue so it could be a Secret War II tie-in? World War Hulk reminds me of that. (Okay, so I bought a bunch of random back issues when I was a kid. We've all done things we're not proud of.)

The point is, you can't have a crossover that's only about one character or one threat. It doesn't work. World War Hulk is a sad reminder of crossovers gone by, back when you'd cringe when one of your monthly pulls had a (sigh) crossover issue. You'd know that for one month, nothing important was going to happen in that book.

This is all pretty sad because World War Hulk is actually a pretty cool story. The main book has been kickass - its first issue had one of the best Hulk fights ever, and there's been a long history of awesome Hulk fights. It's just not a story you can tell across multiple titles. We all know nothing significant will happen to the Hulk in a tie-in. We know nothing important is going to happen to any of the characters fighting him in these tie-ins. So what's the point. So far, all of WWH has taken span in the space of maybe three hours, and all in one location, so the books are practically tripping over each other. This should have been done like Planet Hulk. Planet Hulk got the trade dress and was hyped like an event, but was all just contained in Incredible Hulk.

What worries me is this: There's every chance that this story had to be a crossover just to get people to pay attention to it. That we're back in an era where people think you can't change the status quo of a comics universe without a crossover. You can also argue that a lot more people are reading this series because it's a crossover.

I'd counter by saying that I was really excited about this event before it started. But after reading just a handful of the terrible tie-ins, all I can say is, "Is it over yet?"

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