It may not make it into Marvel's movie universe, but the comics are about to return to PLANET HULK. The storyline that saw Bruce Banner's superpowered alter ego catapulted into space has long been rumored or hoped for in a movie adaptation, but has so far failed to produce real results. And given Mark Ruffalo's view on a solo Hulk movie, we wouldn't hold our breath for that to change any time soon. But Marvel is planning to return to the story that made a mark on so many fans of the Hulk... only this time around, it will be a different Hulk plunged into the carnage of cosmic gladiatorial combat.
That's according to the first details of Incredible Hulk #709, coming in October from writer Greg Pak and artist Greg Land. The first of a five-part story titled "Return to Planet Hulk" sees Amadeus Cho - the current holder of the title "Totally Awesome Hulk" - struggle to solve a mystery dragging him into the dark reaches of space. And as seems to be the case with all the titles in Marvel's 'Legacy' movement, Amadeus soon runs smack into one of the most memorable, formative chapters in the life of the original Hulk, Bruce Banner.
The October solicitations from Marvel give fans eager to see Hulk battle some cosmic combatants the first look at Amadeus Cho in a Planet Hulk war costume of his own. Not to mention the first plot details confirming that the trip back to Hulk's interstellar past is a literal one.
But what takes Amadeus there may be the question that defines the entire story (and may set the stage for Bruce Banner's return to the comics). Have a look at the teased synopsis for the first chapter of "Return to Planet Hulk":
When Amadeus Cho picks up a distress call from a distant planet he's shocked to find out it's from SAKAAR. As the Totally Awesome Hulk, he's been trying to avert the curse of anger that haunted Bruce Banner. But SAKAAR is a place for warriors and gladiators... a place where the Hulk fought brutally in the Imperial Arena... who is calling Cho for help?
For those wondering, the story of Hulk's "return" to Sakaar will be spun out of Marvel's "Generations" and "Legacy" events expected to point the Marvel Comics Universe in a new direction for the foreseeable future. Since we can't predict how Amadeus Cho and Bruce Banner will find some closure prior to this planetary mission, exactly how it will tie into Marvel's plans to unite their same-name superheroes is a mystery.
The idea that anybody would be calling Amadeus Cho for help from as harsh a planet as Sakaar is outlandish. But consider that the character may be searching for simply 'The Hulk,' and it makes a bit more sense. After all, Bruce Banner has plenty of Planet Hulk friends returning in Thor: Ragnarok, so a direct continuation of that original story could see Amadeus slip into Bruce's onetime role as savior of Sakaar's oppressed. It would be fitting to see Thor: Ragnarok adapt some of the Planet Hulk story at the same time the Marvel Comics world tries to continue that same legacy.
Whether there will be overlap or not (bank on not, since this sounds like a wholly new narrative from Land and Pak) it's a decision to give fans more of what they've been demanding. And hey, maybe with a brand new comic Hulk reaching out to see the fallout of Bruce Banner's Planet Hulk while the movie version channels the same story on film, fans may be able to swallow never getting a standalone Hulk movie version of the same tale.
Incredible Hulk #709 releases on October 4, 2017.