By Marc Strom
The Son of Hulk has quite the history lesson in store for him.
On September 24, SKAAR: SON OF HULK PRESENTS - SAVAGE WORLD OF SAKAAR #1 will delve into the back stories of several of the regular series' supporting cast members, courtesy of writer Greg Pak with artwork by Timothy Green II, Gabriel Hardman, Carlo Pagulayan and the legendary Tim Truman.
According to Pak, the special one-shot fits seamlessly into Skaar's ongoing series, picking up where the previous issue left off.
"There's a main story that follows the Son of Hulk, Princess Omaka, and the other refugees as they make their way towards Prophet Rock, where the mysterious stranger known as Old Sam says he'll help Skaar achieve his true potential for massive power," Pak explains.
"Of course, this comes after Skaar has already smashed the barbarian leader Axeman Bone, survived the fire of the dragons of Fillia, and nearly dismembered the refugees' Hero Protector, Princess Omaka. Which begs the question-just what the heck are these fools thinking?
"Then there are several other stories woven
throughout the book that reveal previously untold tales that shed new light on our principal characters as they all struggle with just how smart it is to be seeking so much additional power for an insanely savage manchild like Skaar."
As Pak has hinted in the past, some of those characters have a few surprising ties to players we've seen before in the pages of "Planet Hulk," and he promises that at least one of those connections will reveal itself in this one-shot.
"Absodarnlutely," Pak confirms. "In particular, look for one of Skaar's closest relatives to appear in a surprise story from the past of Princess Omaka."
With such a rich supporting cast, though, Pak still finds himself surprised by some developments.
"Check out Carlo Pagulayan's pencils in this book and you'll see why that little Imperial kid with the stick is quickly turning into ten kinds of awesome," Pak enthuses. "And Old Sam's going to become more and more surprising as the series progresses."
Similarly, though Pak first laid the groundwork for the planet Sakaar before he wrote the epic "Planet Hulk" storyline, the little details still reveal themselves as he goes along.
"We laid out the whole world in broad strokes three years ago during 'Planet Hulk,'" the writer divulges. "But I'm always having fun embellishing on the details. And there are always surprising little things that come up as we go along and that we embrace because they just make so much sense. The way the eleha'al vines from 'Planet Hulk' return in [SAVAGE WORLD OF SAKAAR #1] is just one example."
Even though SKAAR takes place on a planet isolated from the rest of the Marvel Universe, Pak says that few difference exist between writing this series and something like THE INCREDIBLE HERCULES.
"It's the same process, really," he elaborates. "For both kinds of stories, I'm using past history to illuminate the present in evocative, fun, surprising ways that open new doors to building our themes and telling our stories. But of course, when I'm working on a Skaar story, all the reference material is right there in my brain, which makes the research part of the process a bit less onerous."
Besides the SAVAGE WORLD OF SAKAAR
special, the last few issues of SKAAR have also featured flashback stories. According to the series' author, layering these stories in allows him to develop Sakaar without breaking the flow of Skaar's tale.
"We built our main story with almost wall-to-wall action for three issues straight, which was enormously fun and felt just right for this kind of book," Pak notes. "But the backup stories have been great for letting us change the pace without slowing down our main story, build our characters, and play with some the big themes we're working with in this barbaric world. And we're also using the backup stories to seed some hugely important elements that will pay off in a huge way down the line."
After the one-shot, SKAAR will resume with issue #4 in October, and Pak teases that questions will begin receiving answers soon:
"We're going to learn much more about Old Sam, the Blind Shadow Priest, the Old Power, and Skaar himself. We're going to push that line between hero and monster as never before. And we're going see if our hero can walk the Prophet's Walk, baby!"
To revisist the original "Planet Hulk" epic, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!