WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Incredible Hulk #711 by Greg Pak and Greg Land, in stores now.
As Marvel headed into its Legacy relaunch, Incredible Hulk's focus was thrust off planet and in a new direction. Amadeus Cho, the current (and Totally Awesome) Hulk, has been sent to Sakaar, a planet made famous in the original "Planet Hulk" storyline. Since the classic Greg Pak-written story in part helped inspire the events of Thor: Ragnarok, it made sense to see Pak revisit one of his more famous creations in the current Hulk comic, this time with artist Greg Land.
But Sakaar is very different this time around. The planet is now little more than a barren wasteland, where various alien clans fight for scraps to survive. A would-be tyrant known as the Warlord rules with an iron fist, challenging these clans to go through a gauntlet of unfair arena fights if they have any hope of surviving. In desperation, one clan used a portal to summon the Hulk back to the planet he once ruled as the Worldbreaker. Though the Hulk they nabbed is a different one than they expected, ever the hero, Amadeus fights the Warlord's gauntlet.
Amadeus survived the first round by unleashing the rage he'd recently been experiencing, instantly going further in the gauntlet than any clan had before. Now, in this week's Incredible Hulk #711, a newly-wary Warlord instructs his minions to retrieve a worthy fighter from this portal -- an opponent who could defeat the Hulk.
After Amadeus defeats a monstrous robot and a gigantic scorpion in rounds two and three of the gauntlet, he is now ready for round four. And this is where the comic takes direct inspiration from Thor: Ragnarok.
As Amadeus prepares to face his opponent, the gate of the arena begins to open. Immediately, the Hulk starts to laugh, exclaiming that he knows his next opponent very well. "A friend from--" but before Amadeus Cho can say "work," he's punched out by Odinson, aka the Unworthy Thor.
The nod to Ragnarok is a nice touch by Pak, who surely recognizes the irony at play here. His work on "Planet Hulk" inspired Thor: Ragnarok, and the movie in turn inspired him to return to Sakaar and give a new twist to one of the movie's most famous scenes.
Now, the stage is set for the following issue, which will deliver an epic rematch between Thor and Hulk. What will the outcome be this time?