Skaar is back where Skaar belongs. When the son of Hulk first made his grand appearance he was on the planet Sakaar and he was really pissed off. The story worked nicely, it was like Conan in space. Then Skaar became more self-aware, he went off to kill his dad and have adventures. I always enjoyed the Skaar character, but I’d hoped for a return to his more brutal roots. Enter Skaar: King Of The Savage Land. This time Skaar gets to be Conan, and there are even mad dinosaurs to boot. Writer Rob Williams embraces the Savage Sword elements of this story and aims to tell an old-fashioned sci-fi adventure tale.
Anytime a comic starts with a superhero knocking out a Tyrannosaurus Rex I’m amped. The opening gatefold showing Skaar attempting to beat down one of these Rexes in order to tame it as his horse, gives a nice overview of what the issue will read like. This is a Savage Land reminder of what Skaar originally was, a brute a force of nature that couldn’t be stopped. Williams does a good job of combining the ideas of Skaar’s origin with the more technological adventures he had with his father. The writing lets Skaar to battle dinosaurs and giant robots, almost pushing the issue back to a Golden Age era of books.
Nothing incredibly potent happens in the first issue of this seven issue series. As with most first issues, this is set up, a way to introduce the characters and begin setting the stage for conflict. We get reacquainted with Ka’Zar, King Of The Savage Land, as well as his wife Shanna and their child. By the end of the issue, each of these players has their own push-point to the story. Ka’Zar is attempting to unite the Savage Land Council Of Tribes, Skaar is fighting the fact that he doesn’t fit in even in the Savage Land as well as an alien presence, and Shanna has become either possessed or controlled by some kind of technological spirit. Oh, and did I mention the appearance of Devil Dinosaur? Yep, by the end of the issue interests are more than a little peaked for the next chapter.
Skaar: King Of The Savage Land has an impact outside the typical story in that it may set up what Marvel intends to do with the character. It’s always seemed as though Skaar was living on borrowed time, that as soon as his arc with the Hulk was over he’d be discarded like so many others. With King Of The Savage Land it seems as if Marvel is trying to find a place for Skaar in their Universe, which is good because there is so much more story to be written between the Hulk and his rampaging son.
Artist Brian Ching has a strong presence here; his line work and shading are particularly strong. Ching understands that the Savage Land and its inhabitants are larger than life and he presents them that way. Everything in issue 1 is motivated by action and the pencils reflect that with an astounding amount of motion. I also really liked the panel placement in this comic. Not just the gatefolds but also the combination of whole page action with single panel accents. It all works to make Skaar: King Of The Savage Land a strong first issue.