While both superhero comic companies have had success with TV shows based on their characters, when it comes to direct-to-DVD animated films, DC’s lineup has gotten the bulk of the attention with such titles as Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Green Lantern: First Flight, Wonder Woman, and the upcoming Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
Marvel’s lineup, over the past two years, has consisted of Hulk Vs., two short battle films guest-starring Thor and Wolverine, and Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, previously known as “Teen Avengers” and “Avengers Reborn”. These movies are not as well-received and in the case of the latter, don’t star recognizable characters.
I think their new release, though, might change things. Marvel’s latest once again stars the Hulk, but this time, they’re sticking with a known storyline. Planet Hulk is based on the comic storyline written by Greg Pak. The DVD and Blu-ray will be released February 2 and feature cover art by Alex Ross.
I thought this storyline was genius, because taking the Hulk off Earth allowed him full reign to smash and bluster without the “oh, he might hurt someone” concerns that have hobbled the character in Earth-bound stories. Plus, he plays well on his own, without worrying about how he fits in with other superheroes. Here’s the plot synopsis:
Earth’s mightiest heroes exiled him into outer space. But now the Incredible Hulk crash lands on the distant planet Sakaar, ruled by the tyrannical Red King. Sold into slavery, Hulk becomes the planet’s mightiest gladiator — but his new masters get more than they bargained for when he forges a bond of brotherhood with his fellow fighters: crafty insectoid Miek, ruthless rock-man Korg, ex-shadow priest Hiroim, and the noble-born rebel Elloe. Unlike Earth, the desperate people of Sakaar believe a monster is just what they need. But will the Hulk be the one to save their world … or destroy it?
Also included on the DVD are two commentaries — one by supervising producer Joshua Fine and screenwriter Greg Johnson, the other by director Sam Liu, character designer Philip Bourassa, and key background painter Steve Nicodemus — a Wolverine and the X-Men episode where Wolverine battles Hulk, and two featurettes, “A Whole World of Hurt: The Making of Planet Hulk” and “Let the Smashing Commence!: The Saga of Planet Hulk”.
Plus, there’s a preview of the next direct-to-DVD animated movie, Thor: Tales of Asgard, as well as the two Marvel motion comics, Spider-Woman and Astonishing X-Men, and two music videos promoting them. I’m not sure what they have to do with Planet Hulk, but I guess it’s nice to have Marvel’s current entertainment attempts in one place. The second disc of the set is a digital copy.
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§ Planet Hulk
§ Marvel Launching Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Cartoon
§ Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United Releasing in December
§ Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Debuts Tomorrow