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Previously in Planet Hulk

Throughout the course of Planet Hulk, there are issues that focus more or less entirely on one of the Hulk's supporting cast members. Since the Hulk has been around for 40+ years, readers know him well. These other guys have only been around for a little while and need to be built up as individuals if readers are going to care about them. This issue, like the last one, focuses on one of the best new additions to the Hulk's supporting cast: Caiera the Oldstrong.

(7 pages from The Incredible Hulk #99)

To make a long story short, the Red King has released the spore-like Spikes to kill the Hulk. This also results in a lot of collateral damage, since the Spikes bond with hosts and turn them into zombie-like monsters. Their only weakness seems to be fire. The Hulk tosses Caiera out of the way so she can help defend a village, but he himself gets infected by the Spikes. Unlike everybody else, though, the Hulk is strong enough to keep from being killed by the creatures. He makes his way to the village where the Red King is ordering Caiera to ignore the Spikes and kill the Hulk instead.

Caiera prioritizes things thusly:

Meanwhile, Miek finds that the village has been holding the last queen of his people. He frees the queen, but she becomes infected by the Spikes:

As we will see later down the road, the Hulk's attempt to keep Caiera from killing the queen will only end in tears. However, it is nice to see the big guy doing everything he can do to help out his friends, even if it doesn't make a lot of logical sense.

Last issue, Caiera explained that she was going to kill the Hulk in the hope that the Red King wouldn't endanger innocents anymore once the Green Scar was dead. This issue, the Red King crosses that line:

Once again, Carlo Pagulayan is just as important to this story as Greg Pak is. The destruction of the village mirrors the destruction of Caiera's home in her flashback last issue. There are also powerful recurring images here that will be repeated down the road, such as the child disintegrating in Caiera's arms and the Hulk and Caiera joining hands as they offer support to each other in their darkest hours.

From here, Caiera becomes Warbound with the Hulk and his allies and finally abandons her oath to the Red King. This means lots of flirting between her and the Hulk in the next few issues as they fight to defeat the tyrant. Caiera has only been around for eight issues by this point, but she has already turned into one of the best romantic interests in the Hulk's history.
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