Overview

Skaar: Son of Hulk #1

Review

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Skaar: Son of Hulk #1

Credits

  • Words: Greg Pak
  • Art: Ron Garney
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Paul Mounts
  • Story Title: Cradle of Fire
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 11, 2008

A world left without its leader. A world that is full of post-apocalyptic horrors. Skaar, the son of Hulk, is the savior of this world, if the Axeman doesn’t kill him first.

So begins the third part of Greg Pak’s Hulk epic. I think.

Thing is this book was announced so long ago that I am not sure it could possibly live up to our expectations. I expected a Conan/Hulk mash up, but what I have is really more akin to Thundarr. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is a clever way to fill a niche that is not currently taken in the Marvel Universe. That Sword and Magic book just doesn’t exist right now. Sure there is Lords of Avalon, but I don’t ever see a Silver Surfer appearance in that book.

That is the point of setting this book on Sakaar, a place brought to being in a core Marvel book. Now we have a new playing field and the chance that it might mean something in the overall picture of the shared universe. However, this book seems to be completely by itself. That can also be a good thing, it can give the book a chance to breathe and grow before it gets mired by continuity concerns.

Pak does a great job with the narration of the introduction. By using Skaar’s mother as the voice it allows him to neatly make the book new reader friendly (although at this point it is hard to imagine that there are folks who have not read "Planet Hulk," though just yesterday I ran into a customer who had not). It also gives us an idea of the history that may come to play in the book, because as this issue stands… well watch an episode of Thundarr.

It’s a fine piece of exposition. Problem is it didn’t grab me; it didn’t make me go "ooh ooh, can I have the next issue now?" It might be the familiarity of the concept as a whole. Really, making the barbarian hero into a raging berserker is not that original, if at all. There’s nothing wrong with the book, but there is nothing spectacular about it either, it just is.

Some of you might be familiar with my reading habits. Basically, this is one of those times where I feel like I read too many comics. I know I have seen work by Ron Garney before. I am fairly certain I liked them, but what is present here confuses me. Sure I could Wiki him and realize where I know the name from and do a comparative study, but to be honest, I’m gonna be lazy and just talk about the art here. Yeah, that’s the word – "Lazy". That’s what this feels like. Just like in Yu’s New Avengers issues, this whole idea of coloring over pencils without inking just looks lazy.

A friend of mine pointed out to me recently that this is the way the early Conan issues from Dark Horse are done. This sent me to the trade shelf to take a gander at that first volume. Yup, that’s the way the book is done. However, in that book the technique doesn’t come off as lazy; partly because Cary Nord is using the technique a little differently. Instead of using it to create a kinetic feel through the sketchiness of the art like Garney does here, Nord uses it more like a standard camera lense, allowing the focus of the panel to be crisp and detailed while the rest of the panel can look blurry and sketchy. It is a stunning look that is ably assisted by Dave Stewart.

Dave McCaig even does a great job giving Yu’s muddled pencils in New Avengers a distinctive feel. Paul Mounts’ washed out colors here just don’t do the trick. They actually emphasize the sketchy nature of the art. While I am sure that this is an intentional choice in the nature of the art, much as I realized was Yu’s work in Bendis’ book, I just don’t like it. Garney’s pencils are not muddy like Yu’s were - they just feel unfinished; like I just paid him 50 bucks at a convention for a sketch.

In the end there is nothing wrong with this book. Nothing at all. I can’t pick it apart from a continuity stand point. I can’t destroy the art. It just doesn’t leave me excited. Having said that - if you dig Conan, if you dig Thundarr, if you really loved "World War Hulk;" then by all means give this book a shot. Your mileage may vary. I’m just not sure this is my cup of tea.

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