Skaar: King of the Savage Land #1

Story by
Art by
Brian Ching, Rick Ketcham
Colors by
Letters by
Dave Sharpe
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Hulks hitting dinosaurs in the face: this is why God created comic books, and that's how Rob Williams and Brian Ching open up the newest chapter of the life of Skaar, son of the Hulk. Ching's art is filled with dynamic detail that brings the dinos to life. These aren't drawings-of-drawings of dinosaurs, they're first-rate dinosaurs. And the rest of the book is visually pleasing, as well.

Williams writes a story that is virtually a comic artist's made-to-order dream scenario adventure with Skaar, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a spinosaurus, Ka-Zar, Shanna, Zabu, and giant robots. Unfortunately, or perhaps,comparatively, the least visually impressive of all these are Ka-Zar and Shanna. Their faces seem to vary between well-drawn and unnaturally compressed, as though they were drawn to be viewed from a different angle. It's a very minor nit to pick with the art, but it is a distraction nonetheless, if for no other reason than the inconsistency.

That inconsistency seems to be the hallmark of the Savage Land since Mark Waid left it so long ago. Williams and Ching present a slice of the diversity of the Savage Land here, but it seems incomplete. The Tribal Council is filled with suits and a handful of native inhabitants appear out of nowhere to raise an objection, but disappear as quickly as they pop up. The end result is this issue feels like a bit of Marvel Universe leftover surprise.

The upside to that is that there is a promise of surprises to come, and a few of them even materialize in this issue. The downside is that this issue leaves quite a lot on the table waiting to be addressed in the remaining issues of this run. For an idea of what he has in mind, you can read a chat with Williams about his plans for Skaar.

Personally, I'm hoping for more dinosaurs, more hitting, and more of what makes the Savage Land one of the most intriguing locations in all of comics. The characters that show up on the final page will add to the mix here, and will certainly deepen the Marveliciousness of this story. Williams and Ching have put a lot of work, thought, and ideas into this story. I'm in for the run to see what becomes of those ingredients.

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