- Accidental Innuendo: "Puny humans, I've come to smash."
- Disproportionate Retribution: Sending the Illuminati into exile would be a perfectly justified ironic punishment. Killing them would be as justified as revenge ever is. Forcing four lifelong friends to battle to death is pure sadism, especially with the implication their families and colleagues would be following them into the arena. Even the Emperor's culling permitted those who already knew each other to work together instead of battling each other (like Elloe and Skee).
- Heartwarming Moments: Hulk's confronting Xavier. Even though Xavier had nothing to do with the Illuminati sending Hulk into space, unlike the rest of them he admits to the group's wrongdoing and surrenders himself to the Hulk. The rest of X-Men however aren't prepared to let Xavier die and fight in his defense. None of them can stop the Hulk, but then he sees what Xavier and the X-Men have been through in recent years and decides that Xavier has suffered enough (indeed, that he is living his worst nightmare), and leaves him in peace.
- On a more personal level (and combined with Tearjerker over what he'd lost), readers see what his wife did - namely, the Hulk willingly show her Bruce Banner. Meaning that she accepted him completely, Banner and Hulk, without disdain for either of them.
- Like You Would Really Do It: "The Hulk is back. He's madder than he's ever been. And he's going to kill the Illuminati." By the end of the event, not a single one of the Illuminati was dead.
- Memetic Mutation: "We're all fucked when Hulk comes back to Earth." The Planet Hulk storyline happened roughly simultaneously with Civil War. This became the third option when asked "whose side are you on" in the war: it's all moot because the Hulk is going to kill everyone soon enough.
- Moral Event Horizon: Miek did not prevent the bomb from exploding and killing Caiera and the others, because he felt it was Hulk's destiny to be the Worldbreaker. Needless to say, when Hulk finds out, he is not amused.
- Rooting for the Empire: While not being an actual villain, the Hulk is still the event's main antagonist and several readers were actively rooting for him to make the Illuminati pay. This trope also counts as an In-Universe example: as a soon as the Hulk reveals their actions, several civilians formed cheering mobs for him, in no small part to being annoyed at turn of events involving the Civil War.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic: With the exception of Xavier (who was not around at the time they send Hulk into space) and Namor (who was completely against their plan and was thus spared of Hulks wrath), the Illuminati don't do much to earn readers' sympathy. Throughout the entire story they deny any responsibility for the Hulk's loss because it was an accident (a manufactured one by Miek, it turns out), ignoring that the entire thing still happened because of them as they shot him into space. Without even trying to get his or Banner's consent.
YMMV / World War Hulk