PLANET SKAAR PROLOGUE
31 story pages for $3.99
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Dan Panosian
Cover by Alex Garner
She-Hulk reteams with the Fantastic Four in an effort to prevent the newly-arrived Skaar from reawakening the Hulk’s “Green Scar” personality. Meanwhile Norman Osborn negotiates with the Warbound for information on the son of Hulk.
This comic does a decent job at reintroducing a large cast of characters, providing setup to the “Planet Skaar” event (which according to the solicitations seems to last exactly two further issues?). I’ve never read “Skaar Son of Hulk” but it seems as if there’s not really any backstory from that series you need to catch up on, as this is mainly told from the perspectives of other characters. There’s a lot of callbacks to both current and old Marvel continuity (I didn’t even know Gammaworld was still in play), particularly the “World War Hulk” series from a couple of years ago.
Pak’s story is mainly a build-up to the first confrontation between Hulk and Skaar, but they don’t quite get to that point in this issue. There is a lot of tension and a little unexplained phenomenon, but there’s not a lot going on here, and what there is can verge on confusing. In particular, Reed’s summation that being united with Skaar would reawaken Hulk’s nastier side hangs on the very precipice of reasoning. There is some nice characterisation though, including a particularly engaging portrayal of She-Hulk which more than lives up to the one we saw in the solo book Dan Slott used to write. And despite only appearing on four pages, Norman Osborn completely steals the show, as he ever does. In fact it’s a bit of a pity that the story only really comes to life when he’s on the page.
Panosian’s art is terribly uneven, and I mean that in every sense. There are moments in the issue, particularly near the beginning, where we get some really well drawn panels (check out his She-Hulk on page 3); but the further into the issue we go, the looser his rendering gets, to the point where certain characters (particularly the Thing) have the definition of a stick figure (while, in the same panels, helicopters and tanks are detailed immaculately!).
Clarity suffers, and not just for this; there were several instances where I had to go back and forth the layouts were so confusing because certain scenes are drawn inconsistently from panel to panel (when Skaar gets blown up, where did all those people come from?) as though the artist didn’t give the script a full read-through and just worked on it page by page (although this might simply be how the script was supplied to him). Whatever happened, this comic just doesn’t ‘click’.
The cover is a really beautiful new spin on the classic Incredible Hulk #1 cover – just a shame it gives the ending away!
3 out of 7