Skaar: Son of Hulk #1
From: Marvel Comics
Writer: Greg Pak
Art: Ron Garney
Colors: Paul Mounts
I loved Planet Hulk, and I was big booster of World War Hulk as well. And while I like a few things that came afterward, like the pleasantly surprising and massively entertaining Incredible Hercules, the project that I thought I would have the hardest time with would be this one. Why is that? In many ways, it’s disconnected from the main narrative that spawned it (no spawning pun intended), but it’s also a story that seems overly familiar in its own right when isolated away from the Hulk narrative. As it is, Skaar tries to continue the notion of Planet Hulk, but doesn’t quite get there in the first issue.
When I say overly familiar, I refer mainly to the sword-and-sorcery tropes that the first issue seems steeped in. The obvious influential archetype here is Conan. Even though the story skips over parts of Skaar’s development, it’s still the same kind of arc leading up to a predictably combative type of finish. That’s not to say that it’s bad, per se. Pak writes the narration well, and Garney’s art looks good. It’s just that we’ve seen so much of this previously in other places (Conan, Beastmaster, etc.). It lacks the martial drive of Planet and the craziness of WWH.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t have a chance to improve. After all, this is just a first issue, and Pak is a strong enough long-term plotter that he may have some wickedly brilliant twists and turns coming up. On its own terms, though, Skaar failed to engage me right off the bat. It’s an interesting effort, but its propositions for being a unique experience are damaged both by the milieu and, oddly enough, by the Raging Thunder one-shot that’s out this week. I’ll check back in next time to see where it goes, but my interest is far more on the critical side than the fan side.