By Ethan Kaye
Babies always make for good announcements. Hell, just look at Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, and Jessica Alba! But sometimes a new baby in the house means more than just adorable tabloid photos—in the case of the Hulk's son, Skaar, it means gamma-irradiated outer space adventure!
Writer Greg Pak has had his eye on some sort of baby Banner ever since the start of the epic year-long "Planet Hulk" storyline in the pages of INCREDIBLE HULK, and now his plans come to fruition this fall with the 12-part SKAAR: SON OF HULK. And just announced this weekend, Hulk veteran Ron Garney, whose work can currently be seen in WOLVERINE, will be joining the project as artist.
Garney helped to re-launch INCREDIBLE HULK in 1999, where his attention to detail wowed fans. With the announcement still ringing in the ears of the press, we spoke to Pak about what Ron's pencils mean to the series, and what's in store for this mystery member of the Banner clan.
"I loved Ron's work on INCREDIBLE HULK from a few years back," raves Pak. "He delivered these incredibly dynamic images that were chock full of amazing detail, which is an amazing thing to be able to do. And then I saw his recent work for WOLVERINE and my head exploded."
To hear the writer tell it, Garney's addition to the SKAAR team brought "much rejoicing throughout the land." Pak knows that the artist, whose resume includes lengthy runs on CAPTAIN AMERICA, UNCANNY X-MEN and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN among other work, provides the final piece to the dream project he has been building for nearly two years.
"The idea of a son of Hulk came about during the planning stages of 'Planet Hulk,' shares Pak, "The climactic end of the story created the possibility, and the shattered, war-torn world that resulted would be a phenomenal setting for an entirely new way to explore some of the themes that have animated the Hulk from day one."
by John Romita Jr.
SKAAR: SON OF HULK focuses on the child of the Hulk and Caira the Oldstrong, his now-deceased wife. With his mother dead and his father back on Earth, Skaar grows up fending for his life on the post-apocalyptic planet of his birth, Sakaar.
"There's a grand tradition of stories that explore the fantasy of savage survival," explains Pak. "Maybe the more civilized and protected yet weirdly complicated and exposed the real world becomes, the more we're attracted to stories about barbaric worlds where the rules are brutally simple. After battling bureaucracy and petty hypocrisy all day long, it can be nice to escape into a fantasy world where people survive by their wits and fists and swords.
"But there can be an element of wish-fulfilling denial to these kinds of stories—an artificial dream of noble savagery that can hide the true costs of brutalization and war. With SKAAR: SON OF HULK we're embracing—and exploding—that fantasy, mining it for all its epic adventure and harrowing subtext."
But what of Skaar's folks? How does Skaar view his parents, and where does he fit in the grand Hulk epic? Pak gives the history of Hulk offspring:
"Betty Banner was pregnant once but miscarried," the writer reminds. "And there have been intimations that the Scorpion might be the child of Bruce Banner and Monica Rappaccini. But Skaar is the first confirmed child of the Hulk in the mainstream Marvel Universe. I don't think I'm spoiling too much by intimating that in the fullness of time, Skaar may very well find himself face to face with a certain Green Goliath."
Although Skaar won't be meeting up with his emerald dad any time soon, Pak promises that a "mysterious Earthman" will be playing an important part in the first Skaar story arc.
For all the Marvel news spinning out of Wizard World L.A., visit our news hub. And for a great way to kill time in between announcements, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!