Family She-Hulk, as on any other planet getting everyone together for a good old family reunion is bound to be eventful. To whose parents’ embarrassment will the dance floor be open?
Just whose uncle do we have to worry about getting a little too drunk at the open bar? Who among the extended family will surprise us by revealing a son we never knew existed who happens to be endowed with extraterrestrial power?
If the conclusion to She-storyline Hulk’s with a surprise guest at the Walters/Banner family reunion seems far-fetched it’s only because you haven’t seen the show enough.
The reason Bruce took off for space in the second episode of She-Hulk was revealed in the final scene of the series finale as promised. Bruce leaves Earth and returns with a relatively smaller but still large adult (teen?) son from another planet.
The brief shot of the green-skinned Skaar (an all-CGI character with no dialogue but credited to Stargirl actor Wil Deusner) alludes to but does not explain what happened. Once again, we have to turn to comics for an explanation of the Skaar (with a K and two As) culture.
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Who is Skaar: The Hulk’s Son?
The introduction of Skaar in She-Hulk was a surprising turn but readers familiar with Hulk comics know that he has a rich and complicated background that has direct relevance to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The “Planet Hulk” storyline from 2006 is the genesis of Skaar in the comics. In the story penned by Greg Pak and illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan and Aaron Lopresti, the heroes of Earth finally had enough of Bruce Banner’s periodic fits of Hulked-out rage so they tricked him into taking an intergalactic flight effectively banishing him to another galaxy.
His final destination was the brutal world of Sakaar where captured alien warriors engaged in gladiatorial combat.
Over the subsequent year and a half of comics, the Hulk rose from obscurity to become an arena champion, the leader of a band of rebel warriors fighting against their brutal society and finally the triumphant ruler of a free Sakaar only to watch helplessly as the shuttle that brought him to the planet caused an explosion that destroyed its capital leaving him a lonely exile once again.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because the tragic events of Planet Hulk served as a springboard for the road trip buddy comedy between Banner and the God of Thunder in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok.
However, until now, one key source of the film’s comedic inspiration was missing in action: Caiera the Oldstrong, a fellow rebel the Hulk’s comic book counterpart met and married while they both lived on Sakaar perished with the planet when it was destroyed. But not before producing two living, breathing and enraged sons.
Who is Caiera The Old Strong?
Listen, I get the “Hulk has a son?” rumors. establishes beyond reasonable doubt that the Hulk fucks which begs the question, “With whom?” Please don’t get all Mallrats on me, though.
As a native Sakaarian and one of the last people with the ability to harness the planet’s energy to boost her strength, stamina and durability, Caiera was a prominent rebel leader. To protect her unborn children from the destruction of Sakaar, she channeled her powers into making herself and her baby one with the planet.
About Hulk’s Children
Skaar, the first of these boys, has a more significant background in Hulk-related events. Skaar grew up in the rubble of his society’s collapse and harbors a grudge against his absent father. In the “World War Hulk” crossover of 2007, the Hulk vowed revenge on the heroes who had exiled him and Skaar followed suit.
It was Jen Walters who first met the boy after he arrived, drawn to him by a mixture of familial ties and a gamma-tracking Hulk-sense. Regardless, the fight they had initially was just a diversion. Skaar’s real target was Bruce Sr.
Unfortunately, he arrived at the exact time that Banner was temporarily depowered and forced to assume human form. Since it wouldn’t be sporting to kill dad without a fair fight, Banner and his semi-savage son Skaar formed an unlikely father-son duo with Skaar trying to learn from his mentor while promising to finish his revenge as soon as Banner got Hulked-out again.
This She-Hulk series is perfect for the tension and warmth of the Odd Couple dynamic. Season one has covered a lot of ground in Jen Walters’ emotional life, including dating, identity, body acceptance and the difficulties of dressing professionally when you get punched by Asgardian construction workers every once in a while.
But at its core, it’s been about the importance of family and the struggle to accept one’s heroic destiny. In the first episode, Bruce emphasized the importance of both of these lessons to Jen and it makes sense that he would take on another relative as a protégé, even if it does add another twist to the increasingly tangled and chaotic Banner family tree.
It’s typical for Marvel Comics families to have their fair share of complications and Hulk and Skaar’s father-son bonding trip was no exception. Hiro-Kala, Hulk’s second son was the main source of tension because his life on Sakaar was even more troubled and lonely than that of his brother.
Hiro-Kala, who was never as powerful as Skaar and who endured a harrowing childhood would go insane and travel to Earth in search of vengeance. The shared experience of his defeat at the hands of Hulk and Skaar forged a profound connection between the father and son and put an end to their adversarial relationship.
The fact that it also ended tragically for Hiro-Kala is the sort of twist that plagues the Banner family in comics and movies alike. Since then, Skaar’s role in the comics has diminished as the Hulk books have attempted to reduce the number of gamma-powered side characters surrounding Bruce and Jen.
He teamed up with Luke Cage, leader of the Thunderbolts, for a while so that the good guys could watch the bad guys, the Dark Avengers while Cage’s team was out on assignment. Later on, the Hulk, in the guise of his shady alias Doc Green, defeated Skaar. At this point, discerning readers shrugged their shoulders, smiled weakly and whispered, “comics!”
She-Hulk from this week is a gentle reminder of the familial ties that bind the Hulks together and the chaotic history that can’t help but pull them apart but nothing in superhero fiction ever disappears forever. In my opinion, this is a great teaser for a second season.
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