Monday, June 29, 2015


I'm damn glad I didn't pay for this turkey. If I had, I think I'd have asked for my money back. I acquired the book pictured above in a recent trade with my comic book collector buddy Blake Long (hi Blake!). It's not his fault that this is a bad book. I'll try and sell it on eBay eventually (which I planned to do all along). But I thought I'd at least sit down and read it and see what it was about. There's thirty minutes of my life I'll never get back.

I like the Hulk. I like the Silver Surfer. I like Galactus. All three of those characters appear in this book. But I didn't like this book. Skaar, for those of you who came in late (like me), is the son of the Hulk. He's a barbarian warrior king on the planet Sakaar. Think Conan on steroids with green skin.

The story is really not worth repeating here. That's because there's not much of one. Oh, there's page after page of rock 'em sock 'em fight scenes between the major (and minor) players. There's lots of over-the-top action with wild, exaggerated sound effects (SHAKOOM!) everywhere. It's punch him in the face stupidity with little or no plot or character development. If you like this kind of stuff, fine. I get tired of it very quickly.

But here's where this thing goes completely off of the rails. At one point, the Hulk (wearing battle armor) appears to join the constant fighting on Sakaar. It's never explained where he came from. Was he already on the planet? Did he come from earth? Just how the hell did he get involved in this story? And then, just as quickly as he appears, he's forgotten. In the next chapter of the story, there's no mention of him and he's not shown in any of the panels. Where did he go?

Skaar eventually gets sucked into a wormhole and transported to earth and guess who's waiting for him there? Yep, old Jade Jaws himself. Is this the same Hulk Skaar fought on Sakaar? How did he get back to earth? I'm confused.

It took four people to create this hot mess. Writer Greg Pak and artists Butch Guice, Ron Lim and Dan Panosian. Guice only drew the first chapter and I like his work here. I'd have liked to have seen more of it. Ron Lim is a competent draftsman. His art is okay, nothing great, nothing horrible. Frankly, I didn't care for Dan Panosian's artwork on the chapter he illustrated and Greg Pak doesn't impress me as a writer.

For the record, Mark Paniccia is listed as the editor of record for this book along with assistant editor Jordan D. White. Neither of these gentlemen did a very good job here. A good editor would have addressed that continuity glitch involving the Hulk first on Sakaar and then on earth with a footnote or an explanatory caption of some kind. It wouldn't have hurt the story, it would have clarified a point of confusion for the readers.

But a good editor seems to be something that doesn't exist in today's Marvel and DC comics. Time and time again I've read a comic book in which the hot, flavor-of-the-month writer has been given carte blanche to do whatever the hell he/she wants, good storytelling be damned. Or, it's the other way around. All of the editors collaborate on the general plot line of a given epic cross-over event (that will change everything until the next change everything crossover event comes along) and then they dictate to the writers what must happen in their books for the duration of the crossover event.

Sure, mistakes happened all of the time back when Stan Lee served as both writer and editor for almost danged near every Marvel comic published. But Lee owned up to his errors, acknowledged readers when they spotted a goof and awarded loyal Marvelites with the much treasured No Prize.

That's a pretty good summary of HULK: PLANET SKAAR. It won't get any prizes, certainly not from this reader.

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