Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrator: Alex Maleev
Publication year: 2006
This comic is an introduction of the Illuminati, a secret society to orchestrate superheroes on a global scale. It’s kind of like the United Nations for superheroes. We have Iron Man represents Avengers, Black Bolt represents the Inhumans, Professor Xavier represents Mutants, Namor represents Atlantis, Richard Reeds represents Fantastic Four, Black Panther represents Wakanda, and Doctor Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme. The initial meeting happened many years ago in Wakanda as a reaction to Kree-Skrull war (which I assume happened in early Marvel’s comics, because I know nothing about it). Black Panther actually against the formation of the society, but the rest is still forming it anyway.
Then fast forward to 2006 (I believe), after the event in Fantastic Four #533-535, in which Hulk was on a rampage because HYDRA’s gamma bomb detonated in front of him. The committee decided that the Hulk has been a constant danger and there’s no way to contain him. So Reeds suggested a solution to send Hulk outer space. Namor’s against it telling them that Hulk will come back to earth and kill them all to seek revenge. There’s a little disagreement which led to a fight between Iron Man and Namor. They still decided to send Hulk away anyway, thus setting the Planet Hulk storyline.
Besides the set up for Planet Hulk, we also get a setup for Civil War. Iron Man got an early document of the Superhuman Registration Act and he asked the committee to do something about it. I’ve read Civil War comic so I know where Iron Man stands. He’s pro the act. I also already know where the mutants stand, even though apparently Professor Xavier is missing. It’s nice though, to know Doctor Strange’s opinion, since on the Civil War comic he tended to avoid the conflict and went to meditate instead.
I believe this comic is a good set up to Planet Hulk and Civil War storyline. It’s a good prequel to read before reading those two. It isn’t necessary, but it gives additional information about those two storylines. Even though I’m not familiar with some characters, such as Namor and Black Bolt, from their conversations and attitude at the meetings I still can get a sense of their characters. I’m curious of Namor, though. He seems antagonistic towards other heroes, especially Iron Man. He’s so arrogant and I’m intrigued with his role on Marvel Universe.
I love how the tone changes when the time setting on the comic changes. On the first part of the comic, when the superheroes had the first meeting, they use bright colors like orange and light brown. It also has this vintage-ish look. But on the Planet Hulk prequel part, the colors used become darker. It gets even darker on the Civil War part. They use colors like blue and purple, which emphasize how grim the situation is. I just think that’s great, because in comics, visual is also important. Overall, it was an enjoyable read.