TALE OF THE TAPE: Pak talks Hulk vs. Sentry

When CBR News began bringing you our Tale of the Tape features earlier this year, we all thought the big fights of Marvel Comics' "World War Hulk" miniseries would be the Hulk versus the individual Illuminati members, Black Bolt, Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man and their assorted allies. Those fights were indeed thrilling but, it turns out, they were just under-card matches. The main event has been revealed to be a showdown between the Hulk and the Sentry, and it happens in this week's "World War Hulk" #5.

CBR News sat down one last time with "WWH" writer Greg Pak for his thoughts on the battle set to answer the question of who's the strongest one in the Marvel Universe? The Green King or the Golden Guardian of Good? Let's get ready to rumble! (TM)

The Hulk and Sentry's upcoming battle is a complex situation for both characters because the two have only fought side-by-side and never man-to-man. "If you'd asked either of them back in the day, they'd probably have said, 'You bet we're friends!'" Greg Pak told CBR News. "But it's worth wondering how real the experience was with the Sentry's calming effect influencing the relationship. If the Sentry's effect no longer works on the Hulk, will the Green Goliath remember his days as the Sentry's gormless sidekick with affection -- or rage?"

As both the Sentry and the Hulk have struggled with savage, uncontrollable alter egos -- not to mention the Sentry's Robert Reynolds becoming a widow recently in the pages of "Mighty Avengers" -- some might wonder if the Golden Guardian of Good can identify at all with the Hulk's experiences on the planet Sakaar. "The parallels between the life experiences of the Sentry and the Hulk are intense and real," Pak remarked. "Certainly both Bruce Banner and Robert Reynolds have struggled with the monster within -- but who knows if those monsters within have any sympathy for each other.

"Regarding the death of the Sentry's wife, it hasn't yet been revealed exactly where that story lies in the timeline relative to 'World War Hulk,' so I respectfully defer comment for fear of spoilers.

"The interesting thing is that the Sentry's calming power means that thus far, in his Sentry form, he's never really had to contend with an out-of-control Hulk," Pak added. "So even a normally angry Hulk would be a new thing for him. But the angriest Hulk there's ever been? The Golden Guardian might just be biting off more than he can chew."

Of course, a match-up such as this is likely to be determined not by internal factors but instead by pure, brute strength. Or is it? "The Sentry's power approaches the cosmic," Pak explained. "The Hulk's the strongest one there is. Can a cosmic level hero withstand the mightiest blows of the strongest one there is? Can the strongest one there is survive a cosmic level assault? You'll have to read 'World War Hulk' #5 to find out. But it's worth noting that the previous friendship between the Hulk and the Sentry might be an ace in the hole -- for either of these heroes. Typically we think of the friendship serving the Sentry -- he's the one who's been able to calm and, some would say, manipulate the Hulk in the past. But the Sentry's a pretty emotionally vulnerable camper himself -- and the Hulk is smarter and craftier than he's been in a while... Who can say who's the best suited for manipulation these days?"

The winner of the Hulk-Sentry bout is still up in the air but one thing is for certain: the power unleashed when these two titans tussle will threaten everything and everyone around them. Said Greg Pak, "This clash is about the only thing in the Marvel Universe that might have the power to depress the New York housing market."


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