REVIEW: ‘King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1

King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1 is published by Marvel Comics. Written by Tini Howard with art by Luciano Vecchio. The colourist is Espen Grundetjern and the letterer is Ariana Maher. This is a tie-in to the King in Black event. After the events of Empyre, Hulkling fulfilled his destiny and united the Skrull and Kree and empire into one. He married his longtime boyfriend Wiccan and the two of them left Earth, longing for a honeymoon.

This has not been possible. Hulkling and Wiccan are on a Kree flagship, taking care of empiric matters. A Shi’ar delegation arrives on the ship, offering the newlyweds a week of respite on a resort planet. The pair jump at the chance, leaving for Little Chandilar for some alone time. This is difficult, partially due to the interruptions of Teddy’s personal bodyguard, Laurie-Ell the Accuser. But it is made even more difficult when symbiotic dragons descend on the planet. With the Imperial Guard busy, the former Young Avengers must fight off Knull’s invasion force. 

This one-shot has a brilliant structure and pace. The comic is much bigger than a standard issue and feels it, but not to an extent where the reader may lose interest. The comic serves multiple brilliant purposes. It is an epilogue to the Empyre crossover that preceded King In Black. But it also expands the current event, giving an insight into what is happening in the far reaches of space whilst the invasion of Earth is happening. The story is constantly moving but allows brief moments for the characters to catch their breath. The action is fluid and exciting.

While there are dark and thoughtful moments within the comic, Howard maintains a fun and light tone during King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1. There are several humorous moments surrounding them wanting some alone time, only to be persistently interrupted by Laurie-Ell or symbiotic monsters. There is the atmosphere of a rom-com inside the comic. That being said, there is a surprising moment towards the climax that tests the heroes’ willingness to save whoever they can.

Both of the protagonists are written fantastically. They exude positive energy, always extremely likeable as characters. Hulkling is still getting used to life as an emperor, but he takes the role incredibly seriously. He understands the giant responsibilities that lay at his feet, every action he takes has consequences. Wiccan is desperate to celebrate their marriage. He also recognises Hulkling’s importance but is longing for some time together. But as heroes, both of them are ultimately selfless, every life on the planet is worth saving to them. What is clear from Howard’s script is that these two love each other unconditionally, something that is wonderfully heartwarming to read. They are devoted to each other and are completely happy. This is a refreshing tie-in to a very dark event. 

The other crucial character within King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1 is Teddy’s protector, Laurie-Ell. A powerful fighter like all Accusers, she enters the issue as comic relief. Whenever Teddy and Billy are attempting to be intimate with each other, she appears to be useful or protective over her emperor. But her character changes over the course of the issue but is always dedicated to keeping Hulkling safe. For a supporting character within the tie-in, Howard could have kept her as a joke, but instead gave her growth and a small arc within the story.

The art is terrific, especially when the main characters are concerned. Vecchio captures Hulkling and Wiccan’s designs and physiques beautifully. In a panel featuring them relaxing on a beach together, they are both drawn as handsome, well-built men, but the difference in body-shape is clear. Within that, the utilisation of Laurie in this scene is an example of the creators presenting her in a positive light instead of ridiculing her. The resort is brilliantly crafted, as are the countless spaceships and alien palaces. The almost cartoonish fashion Vecchio draws the faces of the protagonists allows their smiles and smirks together to keep the positive tone of the comic maintained.

The action is exhilarating and exciting. Both of the heroes’ powers are visually dynamic, allowing the artist to express themselves. The symbiotes also look phenomenal, their monstrous forms contrasting with the brightness and general positivity of their surroundings.

The colours are vibrant and lovely. Grundetjern covers both of the main characters in bright and beautiful colours. There are stunning shading details and freckles placed on Wiccan and Hulkling’s faces, but it is minimal and smooth. Their colours result in them standing out in every panel they are in, as does the blues and greens of Laurie. Like with the line art, the symbiotes feel like true intruders in this comic. Yet there is a real sense of texture to their gooey skin, added by the use of shadows and shading.

The letters perfectly fit the comic. The font and word balloons are large and easy to read, but never look annoying or in the way. SFX is used a lot but only when necessary to improve the panels, which they do exponentially.

King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1 is a fantastic and loving tie-in. The tone, action and dialogue make the comic incredibly fun to read. There are important plot pieces clarified and wrapped up whilst also being a terrific character-defining story. The art is absolutely perfect for the positivity that radiates from the issue. For those that have read Billy and Teddy’s story from when they first appeared in Young Avengers, just before Civil War came out, this feels like a brilliant ending to a large chapter of their lives. This is hugely rewarding for those readers. It isn’t a conclusion by any means, as we do not want to see the last of Wiccan and Hulkling. 

King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

 

King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1
5

TL;DR

King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1 is a fantastic and loving tie-in. The tone, action and dialogue make the comic incredibly fun to read. There are important plot pieces clarified and wrapped up whilst also being a terrific character-defining story. The art is absolutely perfect for the positivity that radiates from the issue. For those that have read Billy and Teddy’s story from when they first appeared in Young Avengers, just before Civil War came out, this feels like a brilliant ending to a large chapter of their lives. This is hugely rewarding for those readers. It isn’t a conclusion by any means, as we do not want to see the last of Wiccan and Hulkling.