Greg Pak’s 10 Favorite Hulk Moments… Ever

Soon, fan-favorite writer Greg Pak will conclude his seminal run on The Incredible Hulk (now called Incredible Hulks to reflect the team vibe) with issue #635 – an oversize spectacular that will also see the cancellation of the long running title. Which is a bit of a bummer, to say the least. You might even say it makes us angry. And… Well, you know the rest.

To soften the blow a bit, though, we talked with Pak about his favorite Hulk moments from his epic five year run on the title, as well as hitting the virtual streets (meaning, Twitter and Facebook) to find out what your five favorite fan moments are. So without further ado, here are ten best Hulk moments of all time (from the past five years [that Greg Pak wrote {did you know there are several different types of brackets?}]):

10. Banner walking the gauntlet of superheroes in Incredible Hulks #601

Context: After several huge storylines, Bruce Banner was cured of the Hulk forever… Which Banner himself didn’t believe for a second. Knowing the monster would come back, and his son Skaar was sworn to kill the Hulk, Banner decided to mold Skaar in his image, in order to get him ready for the time when the Hulk would return. But until that happened? Banner was a little bit of a jerk. Here’s what greg Pak has to say:

.Greg Pak: Throughout “Planet Hulk” and “World War Hulk,” I’d primarily focused on the Hulk, which was a blast. But I was definitely itching to get my hands on Puny Banner and see what made him tick. Hulk editor supreme Mark Paniccia had the inspired notion of an insanely formidable Banner, returning the character to his roots as a monumentally brilliant inventor and engineer. And I had this image in my head of puny Banner returning to the scene of the “World War Hulk” crime in downtown Manhattan — to face a cordon of superheroes who viewed him as just as dangerous as his big, green alter ego. Ariel Olivetti just killed it with the art on this one. He’s so well known for his huge, hulking superheroes that when he drew tiny skinny Banner so well, it provided the perfect contrast and made an incredible impact.

 

9. Everything about Incredible Hulks #626-629, the Spy Who Smashed Me storyline

Context: The penultimate arc in Pak’s run, longtime Banner girlfriend Betty was returned to life after, you know, being dead, only to find she could turn into the powerful Red She-Hulk. After a fight with the Hulk AND Banner, Betty stormed off to Rome. And then Banner found out that if she changed into RSH one more time, she could never turn back. Hijinks ensued.

GP: I’d wanted to write a big, crazy, romantic story featuring Hulk/Banner and Red She-Hulk/Betty from the minute we all knew Red She-Hulk was Betty. It all made so much sense to me — of COURSE Red She-Hulk would be insanely unpredictable and violent. Who’s eaten more anger over the years than Betty? Her Hulkish alter ego would be completely out of control. Which could put the Hulk in a great position for dramatic and comic storytelling as the moderate one. And when it came together in a spy-versus-spy story with that gorgeous, gorgeous line art from Tom Grummett and Cory Hamscher… comics heaven, ladies and gentlemen.

 

8. Amadeus and Jen in Incredible Hulk #106.

Context: While Hulk was off conquering the world, his biggest fan – and the seventh smartest man alive – Amadeus Cho set out to try to… Help him? Cho kicked things off tracking down She-Hulk, with hilarious results.

GP: Two kidders, driving each other CRRAAAAZAY. Laid the groundwork for the dynamic that would work so well with Amadeus and Hercules.

 

7. Korg’s description of how his people reproduce and his bond with Hiroim from the “Warbound” miniseries.

Context: When the Hulk was sent off planet in Planet Hulk, he returned with the Warbound, aliens he had fought with in a cosmic arena. One of them was a man made out of the stone, the other had the power to control stone. We’ll let Pak describe the rest.

GP: I loved all of the Warbound that we introduced in “Planet Hulk.” But I particularly loved Korg and Hiroim. And at a certain point, I realized they loved each other. “Warbound” #4 was where all that unspoken love finally came to the surface. And Leonard Kirk absolutely killed it with his depiction of the Stone Men of Krona bonding and reproducing in their lava pools. Baby Korg, yo!

 

6. Pretty Much All of Incredible Hulk #105

Context: At the conclusion of the Planet Hulk storyline (spoilers), after finally achieving happiness… Hulk has his new home blown up. And his wife killed. And his people destroyed. And then he flies back on the bow of a gigantic stone ship in order to take vengeance on his friends on Earth. The word epic doesn’t do this issue justice.

GP: Carlo Pagulayan’s art in this issue absolutely killed me. He makes you care about every individual in the book and those splashes of the blasted, stricken Hulk are just chilling. And of course that final double page spread…

 

5. Banner/Skaar and Wolverine/Daken parting ways in Incredible Hulks #603.

Context: We’re getting into fan picks here, just FYI. But while Banner was pitting his son Skaar against the world’s heroes to train him, they met up with Wolverine, and HIS estranged son Daken, who were in a similar arrangement. And then they all went to a comic book store. Seriously.

GP: Just a couple of my favorite one liners of my entire run.

 

4. Hulk vs. Silver Surfer (Incredible Hulk #95)

Context: While battling strange beings in an alien arena, the last thing we expected was to see someone we knew. But it turned out that the Green Scar’s opponent in #95 was none other than… The Silver Surfer. What followed was a no-holds barred fight comic book fans could only dream of.

GP: I’ve loved the Silver Surfer almost as long as I’ve loved the Hulk, so it was a dream come true to be able to bring him into “Planet Hulk” for this climactic issue. The Surfer brought just the right level of mythic nobility to the story to play the right foil to the Hulk, issuing the monster the challenge to become the hero he was destined to be.

 

3. “Hulk Slash!” (Incredible Hulk #92)

Context: I think you can figure this one out, though in case not: Hulk; sword; fighting.

GP: My first ludicrously over-the-top and yet wildly satisfying comic book one-liner. A turning point for me — when I found the sheer fun in the Hulk and embraced it.

 

2. “I Want To Hear You Scream.” (World War Hulk #1)

Context: After Hulk’s adopted planet was destroyed, he returned home in order to wreak vengeance on The Illuminati, a cabal of “heroes” who sent Hulk off-world. First stop? The moon, where Hulk attacked the silent king of The Inhumans, Black Bolt.

GP: Probably the best single page one-liner I’ve written in my comics career. I think John Romita Jr. said in an interview that this was the point in the script when he figured I might know what I was doing. So I’m pretty grateful I came up with it!

 

1. The Last Page of Incredible Hulks #611

Context: Pak describes it better, but this was, truly, the emotional peak of nearly four years of storytelling, including all of Planet Hulk, World War Hulk, and the issues that followed. Hey, I cried at the end.

GP: I’d been building to the showdown between the Hulk and his savage son Skaar for two years. And the incredible art from Paul Pelletier, Danny Miki, and Frank Darmata combined with all of that rich backstory of Banner’s own horrific relationship with his father that the great Bill Mantlo explored back in the day helped make this issue really come together. It’s the last page that kills me, though. Puny Skaar and Banner finally embracing really meant something to me, and the art team brought it all home.

 

Bonus: Planet Hulk

Context: Though we mostly wanted to stick to moments – and a lot of the Planet Hulk storyline’s highlights have been covered here – too many fans cited “Planet Hulk” as their favorite to ignore, so here’s Pak’s recollections of the landmark arc:

GP: “Planet Hulk” let me do everything I wanted to do in comics: epic adventure, searing romance, insane smashing, ridiculously detailed worldbuilding, and deeply personal and emotional storytelling. And I got to work with incredible folks like Carlo Pagulayan, Aaron Lopresti, Chris Sotomayor, and Ladronn — and my long-time partner in crime, editor Mark Paniccia. And it laid the groundwork for all of the emotional storytelling I’d do for the next four years with the Hulk and his supporting cast. And they made an action figure and an animated movie out of it. And along with “Magneto Testament,” it’s the book I’m the most proud of and the book that fans most often ask me to sign. What’s not to love here?

Greg Pak’s last issue of Incredible Hulks will hit comic book stores on August 24th with an oversized issue; and later this month, Pak and Hulk Editor Mark Paniccia will be appearing live at NYC’s Midtown Comics to talk for a full hour about the Planet Hulk hardcover, as part of Midtown Comics’ Book Club.