NYCC '09 - Greg Pak on the (Green) Father & Son Reunion
It's time to cash in on that bet.
As announced at the Mondo Marvel panel, the savage son of Hulk, a fast-growing child named Skaar that he doesn't even know about, will meet the rest of the Marvel Universe in Planet Skaar, which begins in May with a special Prologue comic that reveals the mammoth Hulk's son is coming to Earth. Reed Richards finds out about Skaar's arrival, and the entire Marvel Universe has to deal with it – including the Hulk himself.
Continuing from the Prologue into the Skaar: Son of Hulk ongoing series beginning with Issue #11, Planet Skaar will also see the return of the Warbound, the alien heroes from Planet Hulk and World War Hulk. Penciled by Ron Lim, the Planet Skaar storyline in Skaar: Son of Hulk will lead to an eventual a showdown between Skaar and Hulk – a meeting that is sure to be destructive.
Newsarama talked to Pak about Planet Skaar and what might happen when the Earth sees a not-so-tender reunion between father and son.
Newsarama: When we first talked about Skaar: Son of Hulk, it seemed that his interaction with the Marvel Universe was inevitable. Was this the plan from the beginning, even when you first pitched the idea of Hulk's son to Marvel?
Greg Pak: You bet. We knew from the beginning that after a year or so on Sakaar, the Son of Hulk would wend his way to the puny little mudball known as Earth. Like Chekov said, if you write a loaded gun into Act One, you'd better have plans to use it later. And Skaar's pretty much been a loaded gun from the beginning – with the whole Marvel Universe as the likely target.
NRAMA: How did you come up with the idea of this character and his journey, and why did you think it would make a good story?
GP: The idea of Skaar first came up simply because the comic book reality of the world we'd created strongly suggested that the Hulk's child would very likely have survived the blast that destroyed Crown City at the end of Planet Hulk. Even better, the insane, war-torn world that the child would confront would give him a completely different upbringing and outlook from that of his father, who, after all, grew up as mild-mannered Bruce Banner in Dayton, Ohio. That had the potential to set up some rich father/son conflicts that could push both characters into new emotional territory and shed new light on the classic Hulk themes of hero versus monster.
NRAMA: For those who might not be familiar with the background of this character, set up the story of Planet Skaar for us. What leads up to this showdown?
GP: The first 10 issues of Skaar have built up our savage hero through trials of fire and blood, laying out the deep cultural and moral differences between him and his father (and almost every other hero in the Marvel Universe). Skaar was literally born in fire as his mother died in the blast that destroyed Crown City and launched his father into World War Hulk. Abandoned on the war-torn, lawless planet of Sakaar, Skaar fought for his life against monsters, wildebots, and barbarians, and developed a terrible desire to lay claim to the tectonic-based Old Power of his mother and her ancestors. In Skaar #7, our hero finally claimed the Old Power -- and through it was flooded with visions of all of the bloodshed by all of the murderers on his planet. Now he calls himself the Killer of Killers and leads an army of monsters to wipe his world clean. We'll see just where that barbaric righteousness leads him over the next few months in Skaar #8 to #10. And then we plunge into Planet Skaar as the climactic events of Skaar #10 send him Earthward towards a confrontation with his father – and a long-promised clash of two entirely different worldviews.
Incidentally, Marvel Universe fans absolutely won't want to miss Skaar #8 to #10 – not only do they lead up to Planet Skaar, but they feature the mighty pencils of Ron Lim, finally unleashed upon the Silver Surfer once again! Ron's having an enormous amount of fun with the book – I can almost hear him cracking with the Power Cosmic through the intertubes as the pages come rolling in.
NRAMA: In May's Planet Skaar Prologue, how does Mr. Fantastic find out about Skaar, and how do he and the other heroes of Earth react to the news?
GP: Reed is one of the smartest people on Planet Earth, so there are a number of ways he could have learned about Skaar's existence and arrival. We'll reveal all in the Planet Skaar Prologue in May. His reaction? Let's just say he's not exactly firing off congratulatory emails and picking out baby registry gifts – particularly after he sees the first two or three things Skaar does after arriving on the planet.
We'll see how the other heroes and villains of Earth react to the news in the Prologue and in the cataclysmic issues that immediately follow it. Some will consider Skaar's arrival to be unmitigated disaster; others will see intriguing possibilities and opportunities. I'll just say that Skaar will be very much in the thick of the Marvel Universe as the story progresses.
NRAMA: What's Skaar's state of mind when he is exiled to Earth, and does he have a goal there?
GP: I can't say too much for fear of spoiling the big ending to Skaar #10, but Skaar's last moments on Sakaar involve some mind-blowing revelations, and his arrival on Earth incites a couple more.
I can reveal his big goal up on arriving on Earth: To find his father. But for what purpose? Bowling and bonding? Swords and smashing? Macrame? Who knows! Keep on reading, True Believers!
NRAMA: How much of a threat is Skaar to Earth's heroes? How powerful is he, and what can he do?
GP: If Skaar is channeling the Old Power of his Shadow ancestors, no one really knows how powerful he might become. In Skaar #7, an Old Power enhanced Skaar managed to survive several rounds against the Silver Surfer himself. But even without the Old Power, Skaar is a formidable force -- mainly because he's been fighting tooth and nail for survival literally since the moment of his birth. In the thick of battle, he has the moral compass of an enraged lion -- if you cut him, he'll eat you alive. We'll soon find out how well that savage morality holds up here on Planet Earth.
NRAMA: Just like it seemed inevitable that Skaar would come to Earth, it certainly seems inevitable, particularly now, that Skaar will meet his father. Right?
GP: Yeah, I'm just going to say it: Skaar and the Hulk will absolutely meet. Possibly far sooner than anyone might expect.
NRAMA: So... can you tell us what might happen when they meet?
GP: The biggest fear that Reed Richards has is that meeting Skaar might cause Banner's World War Hulk personality to resurface. The last time we saw that personality in World War Hulk #5, the Hulk was a split second away from destroying the entire eastern seaboard. If a family reunion led to blows, it's no exaggeration to say that the whole planet might be at risk.
NRAMA: How do the Warbound get involved in this story?
GP: The Hulk's Warbound companions stood by the Green Scar throughout Planet Hulk and World War Hulk. But by the end of the epic, they learned that they'd all been deceived and began to understand the cost of anger. Whether their new wisdom will lead them to become Skaar's friends or foes will be revealed in Skaar #11.
NRAMA: What match-ups between Skaar and other Marvel characters are you hoping to see? And if we do see any of them, what kind of things might happen?
GP: Oh, man, there are about a million Marvel characters I'd like to put in the same room as Skaar. Just because of the visuals, I'd love to see Skaar with Herc and Ares or the Asgardians. He just has the right loincloth and accessories to hang with those guys. For the opposite effect, I'd love to see him with, say, the Runaways. Or Franklin Richards. Or maybe self-appointed Hulk protector Amadeus Cho. Hmm...
And of course I'd love to see Skaar and Daken just drinking together in a bar grousing about their fathers.
NRAMA: Anything else you want to tell fans about Planet Skaar?
GP: Look for a huge revelation in the Planet Skaar Prologue that will blow Skaar's mind and lay the groundwork for some major emotional repercussions and character development.
For more information on Greg Pak and his work, visit his website at http://www.pakbuzz.comMore New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page