If a 12-year-old version of myself were given free reign over the Marvel creative team, the outcome would absolutely be something along the lines of the brand-new series Weapon H. Not that I’m saying a pre-teen boy has the talent of the brilliant writer Greg Pak or anything, but Weapon H is the type of over-the-top, absurd-as-hell wild ride that makes the comic format so engaging and fun. It completely takes advantage of its limitless disconnect from reality.
Pak is an expert at taking tried and true comic characters and blowing them up into something huge and fresh. He’s probably best known for 2006’s Planet Hulk storyline, a comic arc that sees the Incredible Hulk, now too much of a threat to humanity to live on earth, shot into space. His capsule lands on the faraway planet of Sakaar, where he’s forced to become a gladiator—the best the beings of Sakaar have ever seen. If that story sounds familiar, maybe you saw this past fall’s blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok, where the Planet Hulk arc becomes a huge, hilarious plot point.
With Weapon H, Pak’s back at it—along with artist Cory Smith—with another silly premise: this time around, a former soldier is captured by the team of scientists who headed up the Weapon X project. They splice his genes with the DNA of both the Incredible Hulk and Wolverine, creating an indestructible, all-powerful, metal-boned, razor-sharp-clawed rage monster. The result is pretty much as absurd and bombastic as you’d imagine—and it’s glorious.
The storyline is simple and fast, leaving plenty of room for huge action panels where the Hulkverine, aka Weapon H, fights off government agents, shreds apart massive Wendigos from the inside out, and teams up with Doctor Strange to save a small town—but there’s still a lot of heart where there needs to be. The introduction of the Hulkverine’s family, who assume he’s dead, adds some humanity and emotional depth to the smash-em-up energy of the story, raising its stakes and steering it just enough out of completely mindless territory.
The second issue of Weapon H came out this week, and is absolutely worth reading. The series is a nonstop joy, the type of book that got me into comics as a kid, and keeps me coming back as an adult. Issue three is in comic shops on May 15th via Marvel.