We knew it was coming, but we're still sad to see it in print: Greg Pak, whose stellar work with the Hulk has had as much impact on the character as Peter David's legendary run, is leaving The Incredible Hulks with issue #635 this August, and with his departure, the whole series is coming to an end.
Pak gave us Planet Hulk and World War Hulk and collaborated with Jeff Parker on Fall of the Hulks, inventing and developing a vast amount of new supporting characters into the Hulk mythos – the Warbound, Skaar and a whole new band of Hulky-types trying to act like some kind of family. However, the rumor is that Pak's going out with a "smash," which means the relatively casual working relationship that Bruce Banner has had with the beast inside him for a while now is likely coming to an end, and that savage beast we all remember will be coming back to the fore. That's probably why Hulks (plural) has to end, because all these other Hulkesque types are not going to stick around to deal with the old Salad Brain if he comes back to third-person speech and angry lashing out.
Perhaps this is a matter of leaving the sandbox the same way he found it, if Pak is ending his run by returning the Hulk to a status quo that most casual readers would recognize – or a status quo that will be mandated by the upcoming Avengers movie, since comics always tend to try and hew towards the movie versions of their characters to try and spike their readerships. We'll have to wait and see what Marvel's going to try to follow that class act with.
So we salute Pak now, as we will again this August, and we'll do our best not to give whoever the new guy is a hard time for not being Pak, as long as he's also not Jeph Loeb.