Skaar symbolically drops the “son of The Hulk” tag from the logo in the same issue that he finally steps out from his dad’s shadow and becomes his own man.Whether or not the title can stand out on its own will remain to be seen.
What worked: Simplification. I have read this title from the first issue, specifically because the “at risk” students I work with really seem to identify with this brutal young man searching for identity in a brutal world. So, I have read every issue, just like I read the Planet Hulk story line that preceded it. And despite that, i wasn’t really able to follow the story. There were too many strange new characters, new settings, new situations, and no fresh window through which to view them. When we first encountered Sakaar, we had the Hulk’s fresh eyes through which to learn about it. All that was wiped clean, though, when the hulk left that story. Skaar’s book opened on an essentially new world, and I just couldn’t quite tell what was going on. Too many similar characters were pursuing vague plans and manipulations. i am sure that there have been several surprising reveals and betrayals which were completely lost on me due to the fact that I didn’t know what was going on BEFORE the shocking twist.
This issue wraps up a four part story and, in many ways, the story line which which started in issue 1. In doing so, it cut to te chase and laid everything out in the open. I didn’t need to know who was who, or what side every player was on. As in all Hulk stories, it quickly boiled down into either monster, victim, or hero. And, I got it. Still don’t know exactly what happened on the long road to this point, but I get what happened at the end.
Silver Surfer guest starred as what seemed to be an unwanted holy missionary telling the savages how they should live. And, as is often the case in the real world, his heart (though his will was not his own) was in teh right place but his wisdom was unwanted and unwelcome.
In fact, that was probably the single best element of this story. When the surfer teaches his big (somewhat contrived) lesson, my response was “Boy, these guys have never dealt with angry young men. There is no way Skaar would swallow being talked down to, misled, and manipulated.” And, they flipped it on me. I was happily led down the wrong road, thnking the story would turn left and it turned right.
What did not work.
Both Skaar’s gambit in the face of manipulation and his fate as a result of that power-play both seeme dto be a bit of a rush job. Important decisions, and teh dense information upon which they are made, are hurried through and blurted out. Certain revelations may have had more weight if they had been allowed to develop rather than simply shouted at the height of a cosmic conflict. Skaar makes one very dramatic assertion, upon which a major plot point hinges, which simply begs the questions “What?”, “Why would you think THAT?”, “You have no idea you are talking about, what are you basing this on?” and “How do you even know those words?”.
In comics, we accept that insanity which is shouted in battle is generally accepted as reliable. In this case, though, I jut wish we had more solid footing.