By Matt Powell
War is hell, and for the Warbound, that may be their next destination.
WORLD WAR HULK: WARBOUND #1 hit stands this past week from the mastermind behind the epic "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk" sagas, writer Greg Pak, alongside artist Leonard Kirk. The series picks up on the heels of WWH, following the nomadic cast, called the Warbound; a group of former imprisoned gladiators from the planet Sakaar, who united with the Hulk to overthrow their homeworld's global tyranny and herald in the Green Goliath's revenge against the superhero cabal, the Illuminati.
However, following an unbelievable betrayal from one of their own, and the subsequent defeat of the Hulk in the heart of New York City, the remaining members of the Warbound—Brood, Elloe, Hiroim, and Korg—found themselves rethinking their desire for revenge in favor of halting a cycle of violence they found all too familiar. Now, on the run from SHIELD for their involvement in WWH, the Warbound find, as always, they're on their own.
"The big theme here revolves around the promises we make to each other and the life and death consequences of breaking—or keeping—those oaths," explains Pak. "The Warbound are monsters and rejects who found meaning in their lives through their shared oath to stand by each other to the end. In [this] story our heroes will have to confront the question of whether their oath will save their world or destroy it."
The on-the-run travels of the Warbound have taken the group from the streets of Manhattan all the way to the New Mexico desert—the birthplace of the Jade Giant!
"Exactly why the Warbound have been brought to the desert is a big mystery that will be revealed as the series progresses," teases Pak.
Pak will disclose that one supporting cast member in WARBOUND may be a familiar face to Hulk scholars: SHIELD agent and former love of Bruce Banner from the 1980s, Kate Waynesboro.
"Back in the day, Kate was a double agent, working for and falling in love with Banner while spying on him for SHIELD," recaps the writer. "Now she's been sent by SHIELD to help capture the Warbound, the big question becomes how much they can trust her when they're trapped together in a new crisis."
The new crisis in question may revolve around locale on the Warbound's map—Gammaworld. Back in INCREDIBLE HULK #110, Hulk ally, Amadeus Cho mentioned his working project, Gammaworld, would be a self-contained habitat in the New Mexico desert serving as a refuge for gamma-powered residents like the Hulk. Consequently, no non-gamma powered beings could enter past Gammaworld's borders, and it would be the ideal place for the Hulk to live in peace; alone. However, peace is not always met without struggle.
"I'll just say that someone else has gotten his skinny green fingers on Amadeus' plan, and horrific hijinks will ensue," hints Pak.
The trail from "Planet Hulk" through "World War Hulk" has left the Warbound beyond battered and bruised with as much internal damages as external destruction. In issue #4 of the series, the writer says the team will "face the toughest battle of their lives when they must fight one of their own." Will that battle end in death? Pak remains tight-lipped but promises the series will have a shocking conclusion.
Adding more bang for your buck, a chain of back-up tales called, "Tales of the Warbound," will run through the series revealing the secret past of each member, and further the involvement of Agent Waynesboro.
Looking forward, Pak reminds fans that "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk" were the first two parts of a trilogy concluding with the upcoming SKAAR: SON OF HULK saga in spring 2008.
"In a way, if SKAAR is the direct sequel to 'Planet Hulk' on Planet Sakaar, the WARBOUND miniseries continues that 'Planet Hulk' vibe right here on planet Earth," muses the scribe.
The writer has woven an intricate tapestry between each of his Hulk tales, and moving ahead with WARBOUND and SKAAR, Pak assures the tales, "establish a critical new milieu for possible Hulk-related stories in the future."
WORLD WAR HULK: WARBOUND #2 by Greg Pak and Leonard Kirk ships January 16, 2008. While you're waiting, get caught up on the original "Planet Hulk" saga and more with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.