Family reunions are all the time filled with surprises, even on She-Hulk. Whose dad and mom are going to make fools of themselves on the dance ground? Whose uncle goes to get somewhat too tipsy on the open bar? Which cousin goes to show up with a hitherto unknown son, possessing planet-shattering energy drawn from an alien world?
If that final state of affairs appears far fetched, it’s solely since you haven’t spent sufficient time with the Walters/Banner clan, whose reunion within the finale of She-Hulk got here with a shock visitor.
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for the final episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.]
One of the ultimate scenes of the She-Hulk finale, as promised, explained precisely why Bruce jetted off into house all the best way again within the present’s second episode. The temporary shot of the green-skinned Skaar (an all-CGI character with no dialogue, however credited to Stargirl actor Wil Deusner) alluded to however didn’t clarify the occasions between Bruce leaving Earth and returning with comparatively smaller however nonetheless massive grownup (teen?) son from one other planet.
And so as soon as once more it falls to comedian books to provide us the Skaar (with a Okay and two As) context.
Who is Skaar, the Hulk’s son?
While Skaar’s debut could have come as an surprising twist in She-Hulk, longtime followers of Hulk comics know that the character has a surprisingly deep, sophisticated, and MCU-relevant historical past to attract from.
Skaar’s comedian origins have their roots again in 2006’s “Planet Hulk” storyline. Written by Greg Pak and drawn by Carlo Pagulayan and Aaron Lopresti, that story discovered Earth’s heroes collectively sighing impatiently at Bruce Banner’s periodic matches of Hulked-out rage, and tricking him into an intergalactic flight that exiled him to a distant galaxy. His eventual vacation spot turned out to be Sakaar, a savage world dominated by gladiatorial fight amongst captured alien warriors.
Over the course of the following year-and-change of comics, the Hulk discovered himself a champion of the world, a frontrunner of a band of insurgent warriors towards their brutal society, and lastly a triumphant ruler of a free Sakaar — solely to look at helplessly because the very shuttle that introduced him to the planet induced an explosion that worn out its capital, leaving the Hulk a lonely exile but once more.
If all of this appears barely acquainted, that is perhaps as a result of it offered a really unfastened inspiration for 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, which repurposed the tragic background of Planet Hulk to craft a memorable street journey buddy comedy between Banner and the God of Thunder. But one vital component of the film’s comedian inspiration remained off-screen till now: While dwelling on Sakaar, the Hulk’s comedian counterpart met and married a fellow insurgent named Caiera the Oldstrong, who died tragically in Sakaar’s destruction… however not earlier than abandoning two very alive, and very indignant, sons.
Wait, who’s Caiera the Oldstrong?
Look, I do know the query of “Hulk has a son?” confirms, canonically, that the Hulk fucks, which then raises the query “With who?” Just don’t get gross about it, this isn’t Mallrats.
Caiera was a local Sakaarian insurgent chief, one of many final to carry what Sakaarians referred to as the Old Power, the flexibility to channel the planet’s power into growing her personal power, stamina, and sturdiness. She used her powers to make sure her unborn kids survived Sakaar’s destruction and then turned one with the planet.
Let’s get again to the children
The first of those boys, Skaar, has had the extra Hulk-relevant historical past. Growing up within the wreckage of his misplaced society, Skaar developed a gladiatorial chip on his shoulder towards the daddy who deserted his world. So simply because the Hulk returned to Earth to get revenge towards the heroes who had exiled him in 2007’s “World War Hulk” crossover, Skaar adopted behind him swearing revenge. It was, in reality, Jen Walters who first encountered the boy after his arrival, drawn by some mixture of household bond and gamma-tracking Hulk-sense. But in any case, their preliminary brawl was a sideshow: It was papa Bruce that Skaar was after.
Alas, inconveniently, he arrived at exactly the second that Banner had been quickly depowered into human type. And because it wouldn’t be sporting to kill dad with no truthful struggle, the 2 of them as an alternative fashioned an unlikely father-son duo, with Banner making an attempt to mentor his semi-savage offspring within the methods of superheroing, and Skaar doing his finest to take it to coronary heart… even whereas promising that he’d end up his revenge simply as quickly as Banner bought Hulked-out once more.
That Odd Couple dynamic, equal elements tense and heartwarming, feels totally on-point for this She-Hulk collection. This first season has coated a good quantity of floor within the emotional lifetime of Jen Walters — relationship, identification, bodily acceptance, the challenges of work-appropriate apparel for many who periodically get punched by Asgardian development employees. But at its coronary heart, it’s been about two issues: the bonds of household, and studying to embrace (albeit reluctantly) heroic future. Both of these classes are ones that cousin Bruce urged Jen to take to coronary heart again within the present’s pilot episode, and seeing him tackle one other familial protégé makes a specific amount of sense, even because it provides one other wrinkle to the more and more knotty and chaotic Banner household tree.
Of course, household relationships in Marvel Comics are hardly ever easy, and Hulk and Skaar’s father-son bonding journey was no exception. The key little bit of bother was that second son that Hulk left behind on Sakaar: a boy named Hiro-Kala, whose life was one way or the other much more troubled and lonely than his brother’s.
Lacking the power that Skaar possessed, and rising up weak and put-upon, Hiro-Kala would finally succumb to insanity, and arrive on Earth looking for vengeance of his personal. His defeat on the mixed fingers of Hulk and Skaar lastly offered a significant bond between that father and son pair, and ended their lengthy love-hate dynamic. That it additionally led to tragic loss for Hiro-Kala was the type of inevitable twist that all the time appears to canine members of the Banner household, in comics and media variations alike.
Since then, Skaar has taken one thing of a again seat within the comics, as Hulk titles have more and more labored to slim down the variety of gamma-powered supporting solid members round Bruce and Jen. For a time, he joined up with Thunderbolts chief Luke Cage, to assist babysit for the evil Dark Avengers throughout a interval once they had been filling in for Cage’s staff. And not lengthy after that, Skaar was depowered by the Hulk himself underneath the sway of a shifty alter-ego calling himself Doc Green. This was a second when sensible readers merely shrugged their shoulders, smiled wanly, and muttered “comics!” in a smooth voice.
But nothing in superhero fiction ever disappears perpetually, and this week’s She-Hulk is a small reminder of each the household bonds that tie the Hulks collectively, and the inevitably chaotic histories that may’t assist however pull them aside. Sounds like teaser for a second season when you ask me.