By Sam Humphries, Marc Laming and Jordan Boyd
Planet Hulk #1 was a surprise… well, okay, scratch that. It wasn’t a surprise when you really think about it. Sam Humphries is a hell of a writer and Marc Laming and Jordan Boyd, separately, are amazing artists in their own rights, though combined they seem to propel each other to new heights. Issue two continues its unsurprising greatness and of course, the art takes everything to that next level. It’s funny to think now, that when this was originally announced Secret Wars wasn’t something that was particularly appealing (that wrongful assessment/early judgement was publicly rectified) but Planet Hulk was like a shining light, beckoning to be read amongst the rest of the announcements and after two issues the first thing that comes to mind is how much it’s going to suck when this series wraps after Secret Wars ends. But let’s live in the moment while we have it.
Sam Humphries, man, is a guy that Marvel needs to take more chances on. Two issues in and yeah, this is easily one of the best things to come spiraling out of Secret Wars. There are a lot of really good books so far and it feels like we’re only just scratching the surface of what Humphries has in mind. Humphries is taking risks, as are all the writers during these mini-series tucked in and around Secret Wars, and it’s great to see. Devil Dinosaur is fantastic, and with the dinosaur craze that is being cooked up over a certain movie about a park (“World”, whatever) it’s almost like they planned it that way. This Cap is equal parts awesome and badass, but still has that straight-shooting Steve Rogers attitude you’ve come to expect. All the dynamics just fold together so seamlessly, and all the characters are so brilliantly written, it’s really easy to get sucked into this little slice of Battleworld and forget about all the insane things going on around it. Somehow these two, these exact characters, need to survive whatever the conclusion of this event happens to be. Please, Marvel?
And now, the art! THE ART! Holy mother of Thor, the art! Penciler Marc Laming the master of faces and all things face-related (except Facebook, because nobody can master that shit) from now until Ragnarok come. This guy, who still owes us an interview, has such a talent for faces, and characters as a whole quite frankly; it’s hard to read anything after reading an issue with his work in it. You have to go and do something else, thinking about something else, before you can pick up a book with another artist’s work in it because it’s just too damn difficult to compare it to anything else. It makes most of the work you can get your hands on today look slightly less finished; it simultaneously raises the bar while lowering almost all of the other work around it. He’s that good. Plus you have future Eisner winner Jordan Boyd on colors and, gods, you have yourself a recipe for perfection. Everything about Boyd’s color work is meticulous; it’s expertly crafted and carefully chosen and placed. Easily, Boyd is one of the best colorists working in comics today and he makes it look so easy. He polishes off a book of this magnitude to perfection and is both literally and figuratively the icing on the cake. A cake filled with Dinosaurs, Hulked-out monsters, plants and water (don’t ask).
Hell yes, Planet Hulk is a gem shining brightly amongst many other fantastic Secret Wars books. Hell yes, Sam Humphries is the real deal and hell yes, this is one of the best art teams that Marvel has had in recent memory and, hey, if you look back at all the greats and soon to be greats, there might not be a higher compliment (or reason for you to pick this up) than that. Soak up all the brutal goodness while you can, folks, because Secret Wars is half over next week and Planet Hulk won’t be around forever.