Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Skrullduggery Week, Day Seven or so...

For having forty-plus years worth of history in the comics, there aren't a whole lot of Skrulls that are known by name. How would Skrull names even work, on a planet where anyone can look like anything, yet most Skrulls still look a lot alike? I guess such a society would have to be militaristically strict and put a lot of emphasis on discipline and obeying orders, otherwise it would be complete anarchy. Imagine your workplace if everyone there could change shape: Workers that look like customers, customers that look like supervisors, supervisors that look like appliances. If you don't imagine a quagmire happening in short order you work alone.

The other reason we don't get to know most Skrulls by name is that they're supposed to be alien. In Skrull Kill Krew, the leader Ryder points out Skrulls are so unimaginative and dull that they named their planet Skrullos, so there you go. (We've mentioned that book a couple times, and it's coming up at least in passing shortly.)

But, enough preamble, let's take a quick look at a Skrull introduced by name, although he's a very non-Skrullish Skrull. God, my spellchecker hates me. Talos the Tamed first appeared briefly in Incredible Hulk #418 at Rick Jones' wedding. (The Impossible Man, feeling snubbed at not being invited, sent invites to super villains, alien races, and old enemies. Well, still better than having an ex show up.)
Why does Talos have that eyepiece?  Pretty much so we can pick him out of a Skrull lineup.
In the next issue, after everyone else has left, Talos is still sulking around Vegas, and throws himself off a roof. Thinking it was a suicide, the Hulk goes to help sort it out (he had previously worked in Vegas as the Gray Hulk Mr. Fixit) and finds Talos was just testing Earth's gravity. He then sucker-punches the Hulk, asking to be killed. Literally asking.

Talos is described as a mutant, although strictly speaking I'm not sure that's right. He's a throwback to before Skrulls developed shapechanging abilities, so he's kind of a Skrull Captain Caveman: stronger, fiercer, actually pretty effective but thought of as a joke. As he fights the Hulk, Talos explains that if he hadn't been of the royal family, he probably would've been killed before adulthood. (Why not just at birth then? That seems odd.) Still, he fought his way up, and earned the nickname 'the Untamed.'

All well and good, until he was ambushed and captured by the Skrulls' long term enemies, the Kree. Instead of committing suicide like a good Skrull should, though; Talos can't stand the thought of taking his own life.
Do Skrulls have orthodondists, or did they do it themselves?
So, Talos is trying to get killed in noble battle, and since the Hulk was "Renowned as one who fought the Super Skrull to a stand-still!" he seems like a likely candidate to help him with that. But the Hulk is just starting to get back together with his wife Betty, and wants to be the hero she knows he can be, and so can't tear Talos' head off and shove it up him like he wants. Finally, Hulk resorts to tears:
'Think of dead puppy for real tears...and ACTION!'
Talos knows damn well Hulk is faking, but is too embarrassed for him to continue the fight. He beams up to his ship, expecting his men to be disappointed he's still alive. Instead, they acknowledge Talos fought the good fight, and Talos has to admit it to himself as well.

Probably the best writer the Hulk will ever have, Peter David also wrote the ever-popular metric assload of Star Trek novels and comics. I'm tempted to wonder if this was maybe a plot originally designed for a Klingon protagonist, since the Skrulls aren't always portrayed as being terribly concerned about honor. Maybe an A-lister like the Super-Skrull, but not the rank-and-file, and a society of shapechangers is probably...I hate to say it, but...shifty.

Art for Incredible Hulk #419, "The Last Waltz" by Roger Cruz and Cam Smith.

1 comment:

SallyP said...

Gosh, but that was actually a darned good book. I loved smart Hulk, with Gary Frank (I think) and PAD. I still think the bachelor party and wedding issues of Marlo and Rick's wedding were hysterical.

Maybe Hulk should try the whole crying thing when he goes to fight with Stark...sucker him, and then bammo!