Like the inaugural issue of the series, “Planet Hulk” #2 opens with a map of Greenland, helping readers survey the geography present in this latest issue written by Sam Humphries and drawn by Marc Laming. Jordan Boyd supplies colors and Travis Lanham brings the letters as Steve Rogers and his pet/partner Devil Dinosaur try to navigate their way to the Mud Kingdom to free Bucky and continue Doom’s mission.
Introduced at the end of the previous issue, Doc Green joins Rogers and Devil on their quest, filling the role of conversationalist. He doesn’t so much provide insight as he does entertainment, like a three-year-old on a car ride. In this case, however, Green is the most knowledgeable passenger in Greenland and also happens to be a Hulk. Humphries doesn’t rely solely on Doc Green to extract information to be shared with the reader, as he offers readers peeks into the history of events leading to this point, including some insight to the “other” Steve Rogers Green has encountered. Humphries strings along the mystery and the unknown of the adventure, convincingly encouraging readers to follow along.
Humphries’ story is filled with surprising moments, where the unknown very forcibly becomes known, surprising readers and characters alike. Greenland is the domain of Battleworld soaked in Gamma, so the beasts are more beastly and certainly more ferocious, all of which is keenly conveyed through the lavishly detailed artwork of Marc Laming. The artist balances panels between verticals and horizontals as the story dictates. His storytelling is never disrupted by the variety of panels and, if anything, he needs a few more pages to continue to wow readers with the excessive flora and fauna to be found in the jungle during Rogers’ trek. “Planet Hulk” #2 runs out of pages before Laming and Humphries run out of story, with Laming delivering quite a few widescreen shots along the way. Some of those choices would be silver screen gold, combining Captain America, Hulk and Devil Dinosaur in the same frame.
Colorist Jordan Boyd works nicely with Laming’s art, filling the drawings with lived-in, roughed-up colors. Nothing is shiny and it would defy logic to expect otherwise. This is Greenland, a land of Hulks and Hulked-up threats, a message Laming and Boyd convey clearly through their collaboration. The duo softens things up, in line and color, in a flashback episode that sheds some light on the friendship between Rogers and Bucky. Letterer Travis Lanham provides cues and, although he props one up at the start of that scene, he doesn’t need to, as the coloring and art make the transition clear and easy to follow.
“Planet Hulk” #2 takes a moment to stand up, dust itself off and try to gather its bearings. Humphries, Laming, Boyd and Lanham give readers plenty to absorb in this issue but intelligently provide the opportunity to absorb that info just a little more deliberately. There’s still plenty of action in this issue, but there is a little bit more order to the plot, as the quest begins to solidify and the threats lurking in the brush take shape. The concept of Captain America and Devil Dinosaur teaming up set this series in motion, and the work from this creative team lives up to expectations, providing one of the most entertaining reads of the “Secret Wars” experience.