Pak is able to weave in more layers to the story and into Skaar that keep it from feeling derivative.
The son of Hulk and Caiera Oldstrong lives in a world of fire and war. Will Skaar be able to overcome the horde of adversaries looking to take him down? Is Skaar: Son of Hulk – The Complete Collection good?
As he did in Planet Hulk, Greg Pak explores themes of destiny and legacy in Skaar: Son of Hulk. The most obvious example is with the titular character, as Skaar grows up in a world that his father has irrevocably changed. Sakaar is a world drenched in prophecy, and so the comic gains a ton of depth by exploring Skaar’s journey through that world, even as it marks his very name. In returning to Sakaar, there was always the risk that Son of Hulk would feel to similar to Planet Hulk, but Pak is able to weave in more layers to the story and into Skaar that keep it from feeling derivative.
Pak also doesn’t stop this character analysis at the lead. Throughout the collection, Skaar meets a number of different characters who all face their own histories. Early antagonist Axeman Bone faces his own legacy of bloodshed, as he suffers challenges from soldiers-turned-usurpers after suffering a wound from Skaar.
Make no mistakes about it, though, these themes are explored in a book filled with action. Skaar: Son of Hulk is filled to the brim with artistic talent. The majority of the first half of the collection is handled by Ron Garney, whose artwork captures the brutal grit of Sakaar. Garney has a fantastic grasp of framing, leading to some truly dynamic panels as characters lunge at each other in a frothing rage.
The second half of the collection is largely handled by Ron Lim, who has a noticeably different style, however it isn’t distracting. Lim’s linework feels a bit less gritty, but his characters come across as more mythic – a fitting shift as the story progresses.
Between this and Planet Hulk, Greg Pak has put a lot of work into building the world of Sakaar, and that pays off in the consistency the artists are able to bring to the world. Beyond Lim and Garney, artists like Butch Guice, Carlo Pagulayan, Timothy Truman, and Gabriel Hardman all contribute to this collection, each adding their own take on Sakaar and its denizens.
Skaar: Son of Hulk – The Complete Collection is largely assembled in reading order. The one segment that is out of place chronologically is the War of Kings tie-in by Christos Gage, Graham Nolan, and Reilly Brown, which is placed at the end of the collection. This ultimately makes for a better read, as the tie-in isn’t quite as strong as the rest of the collection and doesn’t factor in much.
Skaar: Son of Hulk – The Complete Collection offers a nice amount of supplemental material beyond the cover gallery many have come to expect from these volumes. Notably, the collection features decent sized images of Ron Lim’s pencils for a number of issues, including the pencils for all twenty-two pages to Skaar: Son of Hulk #12. It would have been amazing to have these images in full size, but it’s nice to have them at all. Additionally, we get character designs of Skaar by Carlo Pagulayan, cover pencils by Ron Garney, and pages by Jheremy Raapack and Greg Adams. Considering that some Complete Collections barely have any supplemental material, this is a nice package.
Is it good?
An action-packed exploration of identity and legacy, Greg Pak’s Skaar: Son of Hulk – The Complete Collection works both on its own and as a follow up to Planet Hulk. While his design might evoke Conan the Barbarian, Skaar ends up as a fascinating character in his own right, even as he eviscerates foes in brutal fashion thanks to the artwork of Ron Garney and Ron Lim.