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Hulk is the protagonist villain of the story World War Hulk.
A S.H.I.E.L.D.-commissioned space shuttle was sent to retrieve the Hulk, or so he believed. Seizing the opportunity to be rid of the Hulk, a group of superheroes known as the Illuminati decided to jettison the shuttle into space to a planet with no intelligent lifeforms. Unfortunately, there was a navigation error, and the Hulk landed on the planet Sakaar, a world filled with barbarian tribes, gladiator battles and ruled by a corrupt empire. The planet was situated near a portal, which gave it access to several different cultures and technologies. The Hulk was captured and became a gladiator. Hulk ushered an uprising, overthrowing the current regime.
Installing himself as king, the Hulk met and fell in love with a queen named Caiera Oldstrong. Together, they ushered in a new age of peace and prosperity for Sakaar. Caiera became pregnant with the Hulk's child, but died when the shuttle that brought the Hulk to Sakaar suddenly exploded, killing millions of people. Driven to new heights of rage and fury, the Hulk swore revenge against the Illuminati, whom he held responsible for the death of Caiera Oldstrong. With his allies, the Warbound, the Hulk rode atop the prow of an alien warship as it set course for Earth.
Reaching the moon, the Hulk defeated the Illuminati member Black Bolt (who was actually a Skrull impersonating Black Bolt and not the real one). The Hulk then proceeded to New York City, where he demanded that the city be evacuated and the presence of the Illuminati. As the time limit for the evacuation of New York had passed, Hulk defeated Iron Man and Stark Tower was destroyed in the process.
The heroes engaged the Hulk and his Warbound but were defeated. After Hulk became allied with Hercules, Namora, and the Angel, General Thunderbolt Ross called in the U.S. Army to dispatch the Green Goliath. Despite the army's best efforts, including the use of adamantium bullets, Hulk defeated them. Alongside his Warbound, he transformed an area near Madison Square Garden into a gladiatorial arena.
Doctor Strange, mystically invoking a powerful old enemy, Zom, battled the Hulk. Barely holding back the demon Zom, Dr.Strange began to exhibit some of the demon's traits. Strange sent the Hulk crashing into a building that crumbled upon him and the innocent bystanders who had gathered to watch the fight. The Hulk had protected the innocent bystanders. Distraught by his actions almost killing innocents, Dr. Strange stopped fighting, and an uncaring Hulk gave Strange a lesson on control and pummeled him into the ground.
After implanting "obedience disks" in all of the captured heroes, the Hulk set Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange, and Iron Man into the arena. The Hulk had them fight each other. In the end the Hulk spared them, declaring he intended justice and not murder. Hulk planned to destroy New York City and leave the Illuminati to their shame. Soon, a nearly insane Sentry arrived on the scene and a cataclysmic battle ensued between him and Hulk. Sentry unleashed forces that nearly destroyed what was left of New York, but ultimately, it was a stalemate between the two. The Hulk then briefly reverted back to Bruce Banner and the Sentry reverted back to Bob Reynolds and in their human forms, Bruce Banner was able to knock out Bob Reynolds.
- In an alternative storyline seen in Marvel Zombies Return, Hulk makes it to the Moon to attack the Inhumans. But gets infected by the zombie Giant-Man and heads to Earth to eat up people to cure his hunger. But ultimately he eventually gets cured and joins the New Avengers in fighting the zombies. Only to then be killed by a nanite infused Sandman.
- As part of Marvel's What If? series, there are a few more alternative takes on the storyline:
- The first sees Hulk sacrificing himself to save Caiera and the events of World War Hulk play out, but with Caiera in the place of the Hulk and for obvious reasons, events in the story play out differently.
- The second sees Hulk landing on the planet that the Illuminati promised him and over time he becomes at peace while battling his inner demons and becomes somewhat of a legend to the people that would inhabit the planet.
- The third sees Hulk land on Sakaar before being turned back to Bruce Banner out of the belief that it is a peaceful planet. But very shortly after, he then gets killed with several other Marvel heroes getting killed also when learning where Hulk has gone. Starting with Reed Richards and ending with Hawkeye being the most recent victim
- The fourth sees Iron Man not hesitating on using the laser satellite to kill the warbound during Hulk's battle with Sentry. But this results in the Skrulls almost wiping out the heroes until Vision pursuades Hulk to be the Hulk again to take them down with the remaining heroes. That is until Henry Pym becomes a bio-weapon and wipes out all but Hulk who then has Silver Surfer to call Galactus to destroy Earth. Silver Surfer leaves in disgust and Galactus comes to destroy the Earth and makes Hulk his new herald known as World Breaker.
- And the fifth sees Thor and the Warriors Three responding to the call to stop the Hulk. After a fierce battle, Thor manages to have Hulk give up his vendetta and agrees to a settlement that sees Hulk and his forces go back to Sakaar to rebuild and leave Earth in peace.
- Elements seen in Planet Hulk are used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: Ragnarok. After leaving on a Quinjet at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hulk ends up on Sakaar and becomes that planet's gladitorial champion. But when Thor arrives, he manages to convince him to help him save Asgard and the film starts a story arc for Bruce Banner and the Hulk that carries on into Avengers: Infinity War and concludes in Avengers: Endgame which has been described as if it was the second Hulk film for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Planet Hulk in its entirety has also been adapted into an animated film with some differences to the comics.