The Hulkling Renaissance may be the one good thing to come out of 2020. Finally picking up on the long-abandoned subplot of Teddy as the prophesied King Arthur of the Kree and Skrull Empires – flowing through Al Ewing’s New Avengers, and then coming to a climax in Ewing and Dan Slott’s Empyre — was the sort of long-form Marvel Universe storytelling that is the best part of Marvel comics, taking different bits of continuity and welding it all together. And it could have been easy for 2020 to be the end, for Hulkling and Wiccan to sink into the background of the Marvel Universe, and just be someone that is mentioned and referenced rather than actually having stories be about them.
So, if anything, the existence of King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling is in and of itself a triumph. This is an event tie-in that is not trying to spin-out an ongoing, support an existing book, or do anything beyond just tell a story. And that’s great – Tini Howard and Luciano Vecchio are writing a story that exudes love for these characters, and love for what these characters represent.
That these two queer characters, one of whom is Jewish as well, are happily married, without any sort of underlying deep trauma or hurt, and are the King/Court Wizard of Space, is important and a great piece of positive representation that means a lot for people in the real world. That Marvel isn’t just letting Wiccan and Hulkling fade into the background, and continues to use them prominently, is valuable.
Listen, this is not the keystone of King in Black. If you don’t read this book, you’ll be fine both in the terms of greater continuity and understanding the event. But the value of a book isn’t based on the importance of it to a big event or some sort of long reading order. Just as a story alone, as a book that you can crack open and read, King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling is delightful.
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