Review: Skaar: King of the Savage Land #2

Skaar teams up with Devil Dinosaur as The Designer retakes control of The Savage Land.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell


Continuing from last issue, Skaar the son of Hulk accidentally released The Designer — an alien presence who created The Savage Land — which then possessed Shanna the She-Devil. And in this issue, The Designer takes over the Savage Land, alienates Shanna's husband, Kazar and then starts a purge of tribes who didn't want to be ruled by her. Meanwhile, Skaar meets Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy while taking on the giant alien robot that once guarded The Designer.

I enjoyed the first issue of this miniseries, but this issue left me cold. Two issues in and I don't know why this story is being told here or who the main character is supposed to be. From the title, you'd think that Skaar would be in the spotlight, but these last two issues have played out like an extended fight sequence that hasn't really gone anywhere. Aside from unleashing The Designer, Skaar hasn't done anything that contributes to the story.

On the other side, Kazar is getting a lot of page time, but this is the least engaging Kazar I've ever seen. It doesn't help that artist Brian Ching sometimes depicts Kazar with a seemingly bored expression on his face at all times. In fact, Ching has a particular knack for portraying Kazar as if his jaw is completely dislocated.


That's going to lead to some really painful TMJ.

Ching has a better handle on Devil Dinosaur and the creatures of the Savage Land, but his weaknesses in drawing the human characters are very distracting. And aside from the dinosaurs and lush jungle backgrounds, there's not much of a visual indicator that this is the Savage Land. The tribes people of the land look completely generic, which is surprising since The Savage Land has a lot of nonhuman tribes who could have easily been used instead.

Even the tribe that Skaar is protecting from his home world are only spoken of and not seen. For a series that is called "Skaar: King of the Savage Land," he's not doing much to earn that title. This book reads more like a story starring Kazar with Skaar as the special guest star. I have to admit, I didn't really care for Skaar when he had his own book, but when he teamed up with Bruce Banner and the Hulks, Skaar was gold. The Skaar in this book feels like a neutered version of that one. His only shinning moment comes when he uses Devil Dinosaur for a "Fastball Special." This story desperately needs more moments like that.

Getting back to Kazar, the jungle lord seems constantly paralyzed by inaction, so much so that he's barely recognizable. For this, I largely blame writer Rob Williams' take on the character. This Kazar is supposed to be on the verge of awakening his inner savage to save his wife, but so far it's just not convincing.

The ending of the issue suggests a larger scale for the next part, as The Designer's forces begin to attack the tribes that didn't support her bid for power. And maybe that will solve some of the lingering issues of this miniseries.

But for now, this story isn't worthy of its own miniseries and it probably should have played out in the backup pages of Incredible Hulk.