Comic books don't live by this Battle Board's "rules" about things (thank god). And long before Pak was assigned to scribe the Hulk, long before he wrote 'Planet Hulk', long before he dreamed up 'World War Hulk', Marvel has collectively portrayed THE Hulk as the strongest of all its characters & being capable of feats of power that, at times, dwarfed what other Marvel icons could do.
Hell, long before Pak was the writer of the Hulk, I'VE been on this board--and others--saying the very same damned things about the character (and given many in continuity references, from well before ol' Gregory's reign began) that Pak has said and shown during his stint on the title. Check the archives or ask Daveym if you doubt me.
The point is, absolutely everything that Pak has portrayed during his run is *straight* from Marvel's widespread continuity on the character. He didn't fabricate anything. He didn't use anything that hadn't already been established or demonstrated before. He simply crafted a tale that shone a light on it in a way & for a duration that was never explored before. But check the Jade Giant's history and you'll see that Pak was most certainly just writing "the" Hulk, not his Hulk.
Let's take a collective gander at some of the Hulk's pre-Pak exploits for direct evidence of this, shall we?
For instance, everybody's favorite red herring, the Onslaught saga. What do you naysayers make of that? Was that also just Pak-bias? When Bruce asked Jean Grey for help, did she somehow pre-cognitively summon "Pak's" Hulk to battle Onslaught, or perhaps, shall we just start a new conspiracy theory that Marvel Comics in general has a hidden agenda to portray the Hulk in a way that's inconsistent with how this board believes he should be?
'Cause that was an X-Men book, and an X-Men event. Directly speaking, it really wasn't about the Hulk at all. And yet, with virtually every member of the Marvel Universe present and absolutely failing to make a dent in Onslaught (including Thor), it was the Hulk that was shown accessing enough power to do the deed -- where no one else, or even everyone else combined, could.
(And, um, Thor was right there. Why didn't the writers/editors choose him?)
Now this is Onslaught, folks, a being of virtually unlimited power; the combined might of Magneto, Professor X and reality-warper Franklin Richards. He was said to be on par with a Celestial, and able to basically will himself to any level of efficacy he chose. With a thought, he was able to create a second sun on the outskirts of Earth. I mean, this guy was REALLY powerful.
And who did Marvel turn to when the chips were down to overpower this entity? Uh, yeah, an unleashed Hulk. An incredibly angry Hulk. Though a Hulk, purportedly, who was not as angry or strong as the Green Goliath from 'World War Hulk'. Does that say nothing to you people?
And yeah, I know, Jean Grey helped move Banner out of the way so the Hulk could access his anger. But what we have with 'World War Hulk' is something far scarier! We have a Bruce Banner who was angry with the Hulk, helping to fuel his rage & power to (obviously) previously unattained levels -- per every piece of descriptive literature about it.
And so, already there is precedence for the Hulk accessing levels of rage & strength that propel his power beyond the scope of virtually every mainstream Marvel character, yes, including Thor. Because the Hulk was very clearly more powerful than every other hero combined that day. And the whole Hulk-bias schtick this board likes to brandy about is not anywhere close to applicable for his showing against Onslaught, as it wasn't a Hulk writer nor a Hulk event. Or more to the point, Greg Pak didn't so much as touch it with a ten-foot-pole.
(sorry to remove that loophole for you guys who want to hold onto it)
The Hulk's power, since issue #1, folks, has been described as "limitless". Throughout the years, in so many ways, this has been said in continuity again & again. And while the Hulk didn't operate at that nigh-infinite state all the time, due to his power being tied to his mind/emotions, there have certainly been occasions which demonstrate his upward potential -- and how that potential escalates him beyond the realms of almost anybody else.
In the letters pages of 'The Incredible Hulk' #113, it is stated that only beings like Galactus, Odin, the Watcher and Eternity can equate with the Hulk's level of "everlasting" strength. In a later letters page it is specifically said that the Hulk is stronger than the Absorbing Man, Juggernaut, the Demolisher, the Destroyer (yes, the Asgardian one), Silver Surfer, Ego-Prime and even the Watcher.
He's overpowered near-Galactus-level Cosmic entities, the Stranger, Galaxy Master and Onslaught. He's grabbed and bent light with his bare hands. He overcame a force on his own that the combined might of Doctor Strange, Namor and the Silver Surfer could not defeat. He's stopped the unstoppable Juggernaut & the enchantment of Cyttorak. The Beyonder reeled from the Hulk in disgust, peering inside the child-monster and seeing that he had an "infinite" well of power that reminded the omnipotent entity of himself!
My point is, the Hulk has been shown to possess a capacity for power that is totally consistent with the levels of might Pak portrayed the Jade Giant as possessing during 'World War Hulk'. Only, whereas on these occasions before the elevation of such power was very temporary & brought about by the heat of the moment, the level of power displayed in 'World War Hulk' was uninterrupted -- due to his furiously righteous frame of mind.
And so, no one is saying that this is normative for the Hulk. In fact, I think Greg Pak went out of his way to say that it wasn't normative for the Jade Giant. He'd claim, while the Hulk has always been the strongest one there is, these heroes have never encountered him when he's this angry or this strong before. And Pak told a beautiful prelude to 'World War Hulk', called 'Planet Hulk', which clearly illustrates why the Hulk was operating at such high levels of rage & power.
But still, if ya take a glance at the Hulk's established (pre-Pak) history, you'll find the contiguous evidence that supports Pak's portrayal of the Hulk being so god-almighty powerful during 'World War Hulk'. And it's not because Pak is some Hulk fanboy who just wanted to paint his favorite character in an unrealistic way & have all the heroes job to him to get his jollies off, as this board likes to imply. It's that, under the right circumstances, as you'll see if you take more than a cursory glance through Marvel history, the Hulk can be just that damned powerful!
And Pak rather artistically, eloquently and empathetically portrayed (with 'Planet Hulk') just why the Hulk was angry and thus strong enough to plow through the Marvel Universe as he did. And there is plenty of precedence for his power escalating to such degrees at times when his emotional stress was "less" than what we see in 'World War Hulk' -- not even mentioning the last few pages of issue #5, where his anger & power went absolutely off-the-charts.
(he was going to 'inadvertently' break the world, he'd become so strong)
And so, please, I know the prevailing view of the character here is on the low side. But can we use our brains for a second & look at the evidence? No one is saying it's normative. No one is saying these are his usually functional levels. But there is unquestionably evidence from the Hulk's past that his power CAN and HAS escalated to levels that place him above virtually every other non-Abstract character in the Marvel Universe. And Pak had nothing to do with those other stories.
And so, let's dispense with this Pak-Hulk crapola. There is no Pak-Hulk. There's simply a writer named Greg Pak who took THE Hulk and put him through a tragic series of events that inspired the character to a level of rage that naturally, substantiated by history, propelled his might to a level that made him more powerful than most everyone and everything in the Marvel Universe. Much like he was shown to be against Onslaught.
This isn't some specialized, fanboyistic Pak-Hulk.
It's just THE Hulk, under special circumstances.
__________________ In short, I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that no one could have stopped the Hulk at the end of "World War Hulk" if the Hulk hadn't wanted to be stopped. Greg Pak. WWH > Sentry all out > Galactus