Graphic Novel Review: Marvel Premier Edition: Civil War, World War Hulk

Marvel Premier Edition: Civil War

Marvel Premier Edition: Civil War - Credit: Archant

War! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely everything when it comes to these Marvel epics...

Marvel Premier Edition: World War Hulk

Marvel Premier Edition: World War Hulk - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Not content with bringing us up-to-the-minute collections of recently published Marvel Comics, Panini have branched out with a new range of prestigious, hardback editions collecting some of the stand-out stories of the past few decades.

There’s a definite “war” theme to these two releases, which collect the main storylines of these two major crossover events, accompanied by a bevy of bonus material, and presented in hardback format with luxurious gold embossed covers.

The superhero Civil War is a response to the Stamford Incident, which saw a battle between the New Warriors and a group of supervillains leading to the deaths of hundreds of people in the Connecticut town, prompting the US government to introduce the Superhero Registration Act. This legislation requires anyone with superhuman abilities to register with the federal government as a human weapon of mass destruction, reveal their secret identity to the authorities and then undergo proper training.

Supported by Tony (Iron Man) Stark as a means of finally bringing a degree of accountability to the superhuman community, the Act is opposed by Steve (Captain America) Rogers as an invasion of civil liberty. With the two stalwart Avengers on opposing sides of the ethical divide, there’s really only one thing left to do… fight!

Actually there’s a lot more to Civil War than super-powered slugfests, as we see the argument from both angles, and explore the positives and negatives surrounding the different standpoints.

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A landmark event in modern superhero comics, the ramifications of this storyline were to be felt for years to come, and ultimately resulted in a recent sequel which failed to reach its creative heights. Writer Mark Miller has gone on to bigger and better things, but artist Steve McNiven is still the go-to guy when it comes to Marvel events, even though his deadline failings resulted in the original series coming out substantially later than promised.

World War Hulk is actually a follow-up to the events of Planet Hulk, which saw a group of superheroes exile the green goliath into deep space in a bid to free Earth from his rampages once and for all, only for him to land on the barbaric planet Sakaar and forge a new life as a champion gladiator and eventual king. But when his pregnant wife Caiera and her city are destroyed by the warp core engine in the shuttle which transported the Hulk to her world, he vows vengeance on those responsible…

Joined by his “warbound” gladiators Miek, no-name Brood, Elloe Kaifi, Lavin Skee, Hiroim and Korg, the raging Hulk returns to Earth charged up by the powerful radiation levels of Sakaar, and works his way through the ranks of the heroes responsible for his exile.

After Black Bolt, Iron Man, assorted Avengers and the Fantastic Four fall before his onslaught, the Hulk and his Warbound transform Madison Square Garden into a gladiatorial arena, with the defeated heroes forced to fight to the death…

Writer Greg Pak crafts a raw and violent series, with the brutal battles between Hulk and the heroes wreaking widespread destruction wherever they occur, epically portrayed by landmark artist John Romita Jr with assists from legendary inker Klaus Janson.

There are plenty of other major Marvel storylines worthy of the Premier Edition treatment, not just from recent years, and hopefully this range will receive the support to grow into a library of the company’s greatest hits.