Comics
Published May 22, 2020

Are You Not Entertained by Gladiator Hulk?

Enter the fighting pits of Sakaar! Read ‘Planet Hulk’ today, now free on Marvel Unlimited.

READ THE COMPLETE PLANET HULK EVENT HERE!

A barbaric alien world. A crash-landed warrior from an unknown place. A quest for freedom that becomes the legend of a king.

The PLANET HULK event is now FREE on Marvel Unlimited, along with handfuls of other events, arc, storylines, and must-read Marvel Classics.

This 2006 epic by Greg Pak, Carlo Pagulayan, Aaron Lopresti, Jason Keith, Chris Sotomayor, and more, strands the Hulk on the far-flung planet of Sakaar. Sakaar is a savage landscape ruled by a corrupt emperor named Angmo-Asan, whose clans and slaves bow to his violent appetite. And the emperor’s favorite palate cleanser? Contest duels, ideally to the death.

Fans of Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok, will see clear parallels in this arc, from Hulk’s Warbound comrades Korg and Miek, to his fame as a gladiator. Although in the comics storyline, Hulk’s banishment to space is no accident—the final destination is.

Following a Gamma bomb incident that nearly took Las Vegas off the map, then-members of the Illuminati, including Mister Fantastic, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Professor X, sentenced Bruce Banner (and his unruly alter ego) to exile in space. The initial plan was to ship off Hulk to a peaceful planet free of sentient life… but a wormhole set his shuttle on a new course.

You can read the full backdrop leading into PLANET HULK in issues #88-91, or dive in right here.

Hulk (1999) #92

Hulk (1999) #92

What is Marvel Unlimited?

"This is the story of the Green Scar. The Eye of Anger, the World Breaker."

ROUND 1: THE “GREAT DEVIL CORKER”

 

Hulk_92
From HULK (1999) #92.

Shortly after landing on Sakaar, a dazed  and pretty peeved off Hulk was seized by members of the Red King’s Imperial Army. In a feat that would impress all of Earth’s heroes, Hulk was easily taken by dampening tech, then hauled on still-shaky feet before the emperor.

Angmo-Asan was smug. Quite smug. Although his new irradiated-beast-slave looked every inch the warrior, the public demanded a test of action.

Hulk’s first “exam” was a gut-slashing  duel against the carnivorous Cavaranthus Mazorus… AKA the “Great Devil Corker.” All the tentacles in the world couldn’t save the emperor’s favorite pet from the fury of a Hulk…

The emperor took note.

Emperor

ROUND 2: THE IMPERIAL DREADNOUGHT

Come issue #94, Hulk had found allies on Sakaar. Because if you’re going to be thrown into the open mouth of Hell, might as well do it with friends. Hulk’s intergalactically-scattered crew, from Brood to “Bug,” were all involuntary gladiators, so an easy win for bonding points too.

Hulk_Allies
The rebellion starts here.

In in their third and “final” round for freedom, a menacing shadow edged in over the Emperor’s arena. Angmo-Asan was not quite ready to part with his playthings, and had whipped up an Imperial Dreadnought ship to intimidate his slaves into submission.

Seeing Hulk emerge unscathed from this bomb fire was amazing enough—watching him tear through the Death’s Head guards, loaded with laser cannons? Equally satisfying.

Hulk_V_Dreadnought
Crowd

ROUND 3: THE SILVER SAVAGE

Silver Savage
From HULK (1999) #95.

Sakaar is the dumping ground to many unwilling visitors, even former heralds of Galactus!

Hulk’s DEFENDERS’ chum Silver Surfer also ended up on the wrong side of a wormhole, and was thrown headlong into the Great Arena after his capture. Like Hulk, he too was weakened by the portal energy that drew lost souls toward Sakaar. Also, considerably more brainwashed.

Silver Surfer

As the “Silver Savage,” pacifist Norrin Radd tapped into all that Power Cosmic to pack stellar-sized punch after another to Hulk and his Warbound. Tough for ol’ Green Scar, but a delight for us readers—Surfer’s “barbarian” makeover is radical.

ROUND 4: REALITY

We get that awaiting impending/certain death in an alien battle-prison can make you go stir-crazy. And Hulk seemed to get a bad case of just that in GIANT-SIZE HULK (2006) #1.

In a super vivid dream sequence, Bruce Banner got to air out his primal rage by taking on his gladiator self, shredding apart several favorite heroes limb to limb.

Guess he didn’t have a pillow to scream into.

Giant_Size_Hulk
Not so friendly now, Spider-Man!

ROUND 5: THE MAW

This time, we’re back in a physical arena, just in time for Hulk’s final battle as a gladiator.

HULK (1999) #97, the midway point of the event, marked a major turning point for Hulk’s Warbound alliance.

On the run from the emperor’s slave camp, Sakaar’s beloved “Green Scar” was loyal to no one but his fellow prisoners… and the myth of his promised freedom was quickly spreading. It even caught the ear of Primus Vand, overlord of the empire’s elite training camp for gladiators.

Warbound Elloe had an especially complicated history with Vand, seeing as how he killed her father and all. It’s for this reason and a few more that the rebels stormed into the trenches of “the Maw.” Every slave in sight was freed, and Vand (plus his Sakaarian dino-hound) were taken to school with a lesson on pain.

Maw

Want to see what happens when Hulk and his Warbound shake off their shackles? You’ll need to read the complete event to see the People’s Rebellion unfold. Good news—it’s all free on Marvel Unlimited through June 2, so you have plenty of time to Hulk out.

Hulk_Out

Looking for more iconic arcs, complete events, and Marvel must-reads you can read for free? Read online here, or download or update the Marvel Unlimited app for iOS or Android at the Apple or Google Play app stores today.

For more of Marvel’s greatest comic books in print, please reach out to your local comic book shop to ask about services they may offer, including holding or creating pull lists, curbside pick-ups, special deliveries and other options to accommodate. Find and support your local comic book shop at http://comicshoplocator.com.

Related

Comics

Tony Stark’s Most Quotable Moments

From one-liners to pearls of wisdom, Iron Man knows how to turn a phrase. Celebrate Stark Week with these nuggets of gold.

Comics

Why Franklin Richards Should Join the X-Men

Krakoa is for all mutants. We run down the pros and cons from ‘X-Men/Fantastic Four,’ now on Marvel Unlimited.

Comics

Marvel Cosmic Events: Explained

Who’s fighting who? Our comics guide for must-read space sagas and alien battles.

Comics

Get Ready for a New Year of Stories with Spider-Man, Venom, and the X-Men

Read this year’s Free Comic Book Day issues on Marvel Unlimited or the Marvel Comics App.