When "Skaar, Son of Hulk" debuted, most wondered if it could really sustain itself in the current market and, when the title became simply "Son of Hulk" and shifted the focus from Skaar to Hiro-Kala -- the other son of the Hulk and Caiera, twin of Skaar -- the book's future looked even bleaker; it's no surprise that the title ends this week with issue 17. What may surprise some is how strongly it ends, particularly after a weak first half that leads into an effective conclusion.
After Galactus destroyed Hiro-Kala's home planet of Sakaar for its Old Power, Hiro-Kala lured Galactus to Giaviar with the promise of more Old Power after leading the population to believe Hiro-Kala a god. Last issue ended with Hiro-Kala betraying his followers by offering to be the new Herald to Galactus, giving up the planet for him to eat. The first half of this issue presents that information in a convoluted fashion and lacks the drama fitting it, but that's quickly made up for with the revelation of Hiro-Kala's true plan.
Sorry to spoil things, but the plan was that by causing the population of Giaviar to believe him a god, Hiro-Kala tainted the Old Power, making it a poison for Galactus and causing the World-Eater considerable pain. In a fantastic scene, Hiro-Kala dresses the cosmic entity down, laying out that Galactus will never know when and where this will happen again. By destroying Sakaar, he's made a powerful enemy that knows how to hurt him. In the process, Hiro-Kala pays a price as well, but this issue establishes the character as one with potential to be a major cosmic player: he's got the power and the brains to stand against Galactus and the nerve to sacrifice one planet to save the universe.
The confrontation with Galactus is made more effective by Andres Guinaldo's art, which is cluttered and weak throughout the issue, but stands out in its depiction of the sick, poisoned Galactus. He makes Galactus look weak and hurt, while still giving him the epic presence he always has. It's a fine line to walk and he pulls it off well. Sadly, besides Galactus, the only character he really draws well in the issue is Hiro-Kala, who is consistently impressive and imposing.
While not a strong issue on the whole, the scene between Hiro-Kala and Galactus makes this issue much better and makes the appeal of the upcoming "Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk" series more apparent. Most readers may not know much about Hiro-Kala, but this issue clearly shows that he will be making an impact over the coming months and will be a fine addition to Marvel's cosmic characters.