With their upcoming series Skaar: Son of Hulk, Marvel Comics seem to have come up with one solution for two different problems: How to give long-term fans the illusion of character evolution without changing the original status quo too much, and how to build on the traditionally low-selling Hulk franchise in time for this summer's movie. Who knew that bastard half-alien children could be so versatile? Gamma-irradiated explanations as to where the new Hulk on the block came from under the jump.
Skaar is really the offspring of io9 favorite Greg Pak, who came up with the idea while working on the year-long "Hulk As Space Barbarian" epic Planet Hulk:
I remember pitching the idea to Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada at a Marvel Christmas party a few months before the first issue of Planet Hulk hit stores. [Fellow Marvel writer and playwright] Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa happened to walk by while Joe and I were excitedly talking through the science of how a half-Hulk, half-alien embryo could survive the incineration of his mother and thrive in the radioactive soup after a nuclear explosion - I remember Roberto cracking up and saying something like, "This is what comics is all about!"
The new series will follow a bastard son that the Hulk knows nothing about - allowing him to maintain his swingin' bachelor ways in his own comic book; that whole "illusion of change" thing, you see? - in the alien empire setting that Pak created for his fan-favorite Planet Hulk. Like all good science fiction, mind you, this alien romp has deeper meaning:
It's an exploration of what you get if you raise a person in a war-torn world stripped of every vestige of civilization - and then ask him to play nicely with others. Skaar will absolutely come of age during the course of this story - but not exactly in that heartwarming, afterschool special sort of way.
While there may be no sensitive explorations of Skaar's chilling experiments with the world of prescription drugs from his mom's purse, I believe that there may be smashing along the way.
Skaar: Son of Hulk launches in June.
Greg Pak on Skaar, Son of Hulk [Newsarama]