Best Shots Advance Review: REALM OF KINGS: SON OF HULK #1

1st Look: REALM OF KINGS: SON OF HULK #1

1st Look: REALM OF KINGS: SON OF HULK #1
1st Look: REALM OF KINGS: SON OF HULK #1
Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk #1

Written by Scott Reed

Art by Miguel Munera

Published by Marvel Comics

Review by George Marston

In Stores Feb 2, 2010

I admit my interest in Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk was initially based on my interest in it's writer, Scott Reed.  For those unfamiliar with Reed, he created the successful webcomic "The Last Odyssey," as well as the Image mini-series "The Overman."  While I was relatively unfamiliar with either Son of Hulk or Realm of Kings, I couldn't resist taking a look at Reed's first writing gig for Marvel, especially on a title that blends such strong elements of classic sword and sorcery comics with space opera and sci-fi; all realms that Reed has competently explored in the past.  Fortunately, my curiosity was rewarded with an enjoyably bronzed take on the cosmic arm of Marvel's universe.  Evoking the tone of much of Marvel's bronze-age fare, the comparison doesn't end with atmosphere.  Hiro-Kala, the titular son of ol' Jade Jaws finds himself on K'ai, the Microverse world of Jarella, his father's former lover.  Reed's collaborator, artist Miguel Munera is a perfect choice for this title.  His work is a rare combination of current and classic, managing to feel modern without eschewing the clean lines and simple expressionism often lost on many of his contemporaries.  He's also unafraid to get a little experimental with his layouts, as evidenced in the sequence where Hiro-Kala's psyche is invaded.  

The story follows Hiro-Kala and his entourage as they explore the Fault, a tear in space itself left by the climactic battle of "War of Kings."  As they approach, Hiro-Kala is summoned through the Fault to K'ai, where an invasion by the Psyklop is taking place.  The Micronauts, another '70's Marvel classic, have also been alerted to the invasion, and set a course to join the fight.  Meanwhile, Hiro-Kala's group pursue their leader into the Fault, and Hiro-Kala himself confronts the Psyklop, much to their chagrin. 

The pacing in this issue is spot on, never lingering too long on a particular point, while allowing enough breathing room for the reader to get the rythms of the parties that are being brought together.  The characterization of Hiro-Kala and his warriors was clean enough to pick up on the relationships at hand with ease, and the interplay between Mari and Commander Rann of the Micronauts is entertaining and gripping.  There is a brutality in Hiro-Kala that truly marks him as the son of the Hulk; his twisted emotions are no less raw than those of his father, and though his strength is more in his cunning and determination than his physicality, the urge to take out his frustrations on those he believes unable to understand him is right in line with the gamma-induced rage of the Hulk.  The early interplay between a silent Hiro-Kala and his frustrated lieutenant Axeman Bone underlines this perfectly, with Bone wishing he could read his distant leader's thoughts, and Hiro-Kala conceding that it would certainly make things easier.

While not exactly the ideal jumping on point to the overall Hulk/Sakaar saga, Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk was a thoroughly enjoyable read and easy enough to get into.  Fans of the bronze age will feel right at home with story elements present, but the style is decidedly up to date.  Scott Reed manages to blend the sensibilities of the classic Marvel Universe without alienating readers who expect a more self-aware level of comic writing, while Miguel Munera accomplishes the same feat in his pencils.  I truly look forward to not only the second issue of this mini, but to more work from both Reed and Munera. 

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