With the rest of the MU either bowing down to the villainy of Earth's Dark Reign or being otherwise wrapped up in the cosmic free-for-all of War of Kings, there's not many brave enough to stand alone, eschewing crossover events for the sake of gratifying, self-contained stories.
With that in mind it's a small miracle that Skaar's managed to last a whole ten issues with nary a Skrull, Dark Avenger or Inhuman in sight. Fear not though! By this issue's end Skaar's being dragged kicking and screaming to Earth to pay his continuity dues. "But I want to stay and use the Old Power to once more unite my precious Sakaar," he cries. "No such luck, son," replies Quesada, "You're off to lay the smack down on Rulk and get otherwise molested by Jeph Loeb's gamma-hating ways." *sigh*
Yep, it's endgame for Sakaar. Greg Pak created this ravaged, war-torn planet as a testing ground for (in my opinion) one of Hulk's greatest ever story arcs, Planet Hulk. The Maw, the Puny Pinkies, those creepy floating Amebids--it's all in Galactus' sights. As powerful as Skaar has grown to be and even with the help of Caiera and the Silver Surfer, can he really be expected to defeat the Devourer of Worlds? Well, if Loeb can have Rulk punch out The Watcher, I guess anything's possible. *double sigh*
If this is truly the last time we'll see Skaar and Sakaar together however, at least the 'goodbye' hits all the right notes. In interviews Pak has often said that he saw Skaar as quite a complicated character, with the reader never truly knowing if he was good or bad, if power and anger was truly all that drove him. The answer here makes like an allegory of Charles Foster Kane; more than anything Skaar wants to prove himself to and avenge the fate of his mother(Caiera) and home (Sakaar) who, at this point, are one and the same. For long-term readers of the series this chimes with an unexpected emotional depth that, when at his best, is Greg Pak's calling card.
Ron Lim's pencils are strong overall but sometimes have an air of schizophrenia. Certain parts he totally owns (like Skaar floating in space, chillin' with Norrin) but at some points the story seems to synthesize other styles. It works in that these moments act as a visual echo of recent big Hulk events, but the effect is jarring.
On the whole though this issue wraps things up nicely. Next month we'll see how Skaar matches up to his first crossover event, as well as his first trip to Earth. There's always a chance that his first meeting with dear old Dad will descend into a simple 5 issue brawler, but with Grek Pak at the helm I'm sure it'll be another great, well-measured treat for Gamma fans. That's assuming Loeb doesn't have Skaar team up with Squirrel Girl to go on an all ill-advised all out wedgie assault on Avengers tower. *sighs into infinity*
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