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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Reader's Diary #1177- Paul Jenkins (Writer) and Andres Guinaldo (Art): Son of Hulk, Dark Son Rising

(Collects Son of Hulk #s 13-17)

Earlier this year my daughter noticed me reading World War Hulk: Frontline and, knowing that I was interested in the Hulk character but finding it hard to get into that particular book, went looking for another one for me for Father's Day. The result of that search was Son of Hulk, Dark Son Rising.

She didn't know, of course, that Hulk himself would not appear in these pages, but that was okay. I was more hesitant for the fact that it began with #13 in the Son of Hulk series. If I complained that Frontline was difficult to get into as a casual fan, surely staring at #13 wasn't going to me much easier.

That turns out not to have been much of a problem. Apparently issues #1-12 focused on one of Hulk's son's, Skaar, while the 13th marked the beginning focus on Skaar's twin brother, Hiro-Kala, so I didn't feel that I missed too much back story to understand this one on its own.

But it did have other problems for me. Hiro-Kala is a violent young man. Perhaps even crazy violent. He's hellbent on killing Galactus for having destroyed his home planet, and part of his mysterious plan for revenge involves destroying another planet, poisoning it, before Galactus consumes it. That planet's inhabitants be damned.

No, Hiro-Kala isn't a likeable character. He may also be a bit on the crazy side, thinking he's a godthough he does get godlike powers, so maybe not completely crazy. I'm a little unclear about that stuff. He seems to have mastered control over something called the Old Power, which sounds a bit like the Force from Star Wars, and... well, anyway, it's strange and as I say, I didn't really understand it all.

I was also put off by all the angry violence. He's the son of Hulk, so you might wonder what I expected. Hulk's the big green rage monster, after all. But I'm starting to realize that what I've liked about the Hulk is the play with Bruce Banner, Hulk's calmer alter-ego. Banner provides balance. Hulk's Earth pals provide balance. But when there is no Banner and when every alien character seems to have been lifted from Frank Miller's 300, only interested in fighting and killing, it gets tiresome fast.

That said, there were some aspects I liked. I especially enjoyed the pseudo-Biblical tone of the book. As well, Guinaldo's art, while not particularly inventive, had a scratchy, classic semi-realistic style that lent to the air of mythical importance I think Jenkins was going for. That said, there's a bizarre amount of phallic imagery sprinkled throughout and I'm not sure what that was all about...

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