Posted by:
Byron Brewer

The Brewer Report: Hulkling


Once a Young Avenger: The strongest one there is?   By Byron Brewer, Managing Editor   As Magneto, Quicksilver and the Young Avengers continue their search for and rescue of the Scarlet Witch in the continuing saga of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, we as readers tend to forget sometimes the individuals who make up our cast and what brought them to this adventure. Since this is Cosmic Book News, I naturally looked at Hulking, and here is what I found: I was not one of the thousands who were able to appreciate the original run of Young Avengers created by writer Heinberg and artist Cheung. But since that time, as I returned to comics and especially during Secret Invasion, I did grow to like the characters, and among them Hulkling. In his first appearances, little is revealed about Hulkling (Teddy Altman) save for the fact he is raised by a single mother. All this changes when the Super-Skrull appears, stating that Teddy is a Skrull. The Super-Skrull is surprised to learn that Teddy has super-strength and wonders if “perhaps the rumors about his father are true.” The Super-Skrull follows the Young Avengers to Wiccan’s house, where Teddy's mother is waiting for him. The Super-Skrull releases a device designed to turn Teddy into his true form in an attempt to prove his Skrull heritage. While the device doesn't change Teddy's physical appearance, Ms. Altman, who is also caught in the device's beam, turns into a Skrull. When the Super-Skrull accuses her of being a traitor to her race, she responds by saying that the Empress ordered her to protect Teddy, even from the likes of him, pulling out a gun. The Super-Skrull responds by killing her, though it was unintentional. The Super-Skrull reveals that, years ago, during the Kree/Skrull War, he kidnapped Mar-Vell, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, presenting them to the Skrull Emperor. Though the heroes later escaped, the Emperor's daughter, Princess Anelle, conceived a child with Mar-Vell. At birth, the child was marked for death. However, his nurse smuggled him to Earth and raised him as Teddy. The Super-Skrull reveals that his intention is to bring Teddy back to the Empire so that he may unify his people. However, Kree soldiers arrive to take Teddy as one of their own. A battle erupts between the Kree and the Skrull. Teddy ends the conflict by surrendering himself. It is settled that Teddy will spend half an Earth-year with the Kree and the other half with the Skrull, at which time he will declare his ultimate allegiance. However, the "Teddy" that left Earth is actually the Super-Skrull in disguise. The real Teddy remained on Earth. In Young Avengers Presents #2, Hulkling contacts the mysteriously revived Captain Marvel to confront him about his identity as Mar-Vell's son. Mar-Vell confirms the Super-Skrull's story concerning Teddy's origins and that he could be Teddy's father, though he was unaware of Teddy's existence because he and the Skrull Princess Anelle never saw each other again. Mar-Vell comforts a frustrated Teddy, who is upset at Mar-Vell's intention to return to the past, expressing an interest in spending more time with him before he does. However, the issue ends with Teddy asserting that he never saw Mar-Vell alive again. (Later storylines revealed that the "revived" Captain Marvel that Teddy met was a Skrull imposter named Khn’nr, intended by Skrull scientists to impersonate the original Kree soldier. Due to some misprogramming, the Skrull actually believed himself to be Mar-Vell.) During the Skrull invasion of Earth, the Young Avengers confront a group of rampaging super-powered Skrulls in New York City. Hulkling tries to use his Skrull heritage to calm them but is instead battered down with energy blasts. It was revealed that Veranke and a few higher up in position of the invasion have specifically ordered Teddy's death, without informing the soldiers of his royal heritage, for fear that it could confuse and divide the loyalties of their soldiers. Teddy is saved from execution at the last second by Xavin. With the aid of Xavin, Speed and Wiccan, Hulkling survives an attack by X’iv, a Skrull assassin with the powers of Daredevil, Elektra (what powers?) and Cloak and Dagger. Later a Skrull reveals to Hulkling, Wiccan and Hawkeye (not Clint) that taking over Earth was the last chance they had since all their planets have been destroyed. Being the son of Mar-Vell, it would be interesting to see Teddy with a revived Phyla-Vell or Genis-Vell at some point, if that could cosmically be arranged. And I wonder how Elyssius of Titan would treat the young hybrid. Now there’s a cosmic story worth the telling! Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 hits stands this week!