Given that the main Hulk series is currently the most wilfully, self-indulgently atrocious comic that Marvel is publishing today, those of us who want a dose of Hulk have to look elsewhere to get our kicks. Although the parent title, Skaar: Son of Hulk, has so far failed to capture my interest, there’s always a chance that the crossover/event storyline it’s kicking off might succeed. After all, it’s Pak essentially writing the next big event in his “Planet Hulk” series.
This issue immediately shows it as the spiritual follow-up to World War Hulk, involving not just the Hulk, but the Warbound, She-Hulk and the Fantastic Four in its pages as they race to find Skaar, newly arrived on Earth and looking for his father. Pak writes the situation with believable gravitas and each member of the wide cast has their role in the story. It’s not without a light touch, and there’s a brilliantly comedic moment at the start involving Ketchup, a Waitress and the Hulk that’ll appeal to the diner in all of us. If there’s any barrier to overcome, it’s that Skaar, as a character, has very little in the way of a discernable personality or motivation, and perhaps that’s why the book doesn’t focus on him too much.
The art on the series comes from Dan Panosian, and if we’re being honest, it’s not his best work. It’s never so bad that it threatens to undermine the story, but any extended examination of the art reveals its ugliness, with lumpy, jagged anatomy and malformed faces all over the place. Any artist would struggle when compared to Romita Jr.’s work on World War Hulk, but Panosian’s underachievement is all the more palpable from it.
Other than that – an intriguing start to what looks to be kicking off a soft-relaunch of the Hulk’s franchise in the coming months. It’s strange to talk about a “line” of Hulk books, but that looks like what’s going to happen, and it largely looks to be spinning out of Planet Skaar. One final piece of advice for Marvel editorial, though – try not to blow your ending twist on the cover in future?