By Marc Strom
The Hulk's about to get some company.
Bruce Banner's most radical relatives make their presence felt in HULK FAMILY #1, an all-new anthology on sale December 3 featuring four short stories starring Skaar, She-Hulk, Scorpion and Hulk's daughter!
Greg Pak, Skaar's creator and author of his story in this anthology, gave us the skinny on what fans can expect from his tale.
"[It's] called 'School for Savages' and depicts the first meeting between the young Skaar and the mysterious Shadow person known as Old Sam who serves as his mentor in the ongoing series," Pak reveals. "For fear of spoiling too much, I'll just say someone thinks he's going to teach someone something and gets taught a lesson or two in return. With bonus cutfrog venom poultices and creepy cannibals and a loin cloth joke! And, most importantly, Skaar paints
However, fans shouldn't expect Hulk to have much of a presence in this particular adventure.
"We don't reference the Hulk directly in the story, but every Skaar story deals with the consequences of the Hulk's actions as his abandoned son struggles to survive in the war-torn world he left behind," Pak pontificates. "So every story sets up a certain dynamic between Skaar and his absent father that stands a decent chance of having earth-shattering repercussions in the fullness of time."
And while it may not tie in to the Hulk's current situation, Pak's story will have some implications for Skaar's own ongoing series.
"The story fills in a bit of Skaar's past, slotting into the continuity right after the story that Old Sam told in the SAVAGE WORLD OF SAKAAR one-shot," Pak explains. "So ongoing readers will have plenty to sink their teeth into, discovering new things about the characters they've been following since the beginning of the ongoing.
"But the story's also designed to be read as a stand-alone introduction to Skaar and the world of Sakaar. So new readers who are hooked by this story should have no trouble jumping onto the ongoing with SKAAR: SON OF HULK #5 and #6 in November and December."
The mysterious new Scorpion's creator, Fred Van Lente, remains tight-lipped on whether or not Carmilla Black's inclusion in this anthology would shed any more light on her potential familial link to Bruce Banner, offering up a lone "yup" when asked whether her presence pointed to the Hulk as her father or if it was simply a case of her previous association with the Hulk.
Van Lente did, however, tell us that Scorpion's short would directly follow up on some of her previous stories, and "her appearance in World War Hulk [in HEROES FOR HIRE #11-13], specifically."
As for Carmilla's future, Van Lente says that while there might be plans, he won't play a major role in many of them.
"There are a couple Scorpion-related things in the work, but little that involves me," he states. "Which I think is really cool! It's a rewarding feeling to see your creations take on lives of their own.
"She [also] makes a minor appearance in a short story I just wrote for a one-shot not unlike this one," Van Lente teases.
The writer also pens She-Hulk's appearance in HULK FAMILY, a story which harkens back to an older period in the Hulk's history.
"She-Hulk and Hulk accidentally cross paths in Vegas when Hulk was incognito in his Joe Fixit persona, and he doesn't want his cousin finding out who he is," Van Lente offers up. "But when two thrill-killing mutants show up to rob the casino where he works as a bouncer that may not be an option."
Finally, Paul Tobin scripts a new tale starring the daughter of Hulk and Thundra set in a future world where the battle of the sexes has become quite literal. Tobin plans on picking up right where the character left off in her first appearance in HULK: RAGING THUNDER #1.
"The gender war continues, and she's in charge of much of the women's army," the writer exposits. "She's a woman of destiny at this point, with all of her mother's battle savvy [and] much of daddy's strength, but with a temperament of her own."
Given that Hulk's daughter has only appeared once before, making her a more or less blank slate, Tobin says he was given "quite a lot of leeway" in how he portrayed the character.
"My only real direction was to have the story be character driven," Tobin elaborates. "A lot of my current writing has a humor slant, and we wanted to stay away from that, which was fine with me. My humor writing is only one facet of what I feel I'm capable of as a writer, so this was a good chance to break out a different set of tools."
And while Tobin shares a close friendship with Jeff Parker, who created the Hulk's daughter, his AGE OF THE SENTRY collaborator didn't have much influence on this story.
"[Jeff] and I are close friends, and we talk about writing all the time," Tobin tells us. "That said, we actually didn't talk too much about this particular project, because I already had a feel of what I wanted to do, and Jeff isn't the type of writer that pushes his own agenda onto others. He's too busy crafting his own works of genius, such as AGENTS OF ATLAS."
Tobin left off with some thoughts as to the anthology's title, and just what it means to be a member of the Hulk's family:
"To me, I suppose being a part of Hulk's family is a connection to the mythos. Hulk is a solo character, and in my humble opinion would never work in a true family atmosphere, with his son and daughter beside him, like they were the Jade Avengers, or the Green Guardians, or what have you.
"All three characters are fueled by their own brand of internal tension, and that's why it's so handy that his family are separated either by great distance, or a great deal of time, because it wouldn't take too long before they'd turn on each other. Of course, that'd make for a pretty good story, too."
HULK FAMILY #1 smashes down on December 3. For more Hulk, head to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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