June 12, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Hero Case File #105: Lyra, The Other She-Hulk

Why does the Hulk of all fictional characters have so many children running around?

Superheroes don’t age.  Real people do.  And that may be why so many superheroes don’t seem to have children, let alone settle down and get married.  I remember after DC did its Infinite Crisis crossover that a rebooted Justice League had a large number of parents.  Superman had adopted a kid from the Phantom Zone that he named “Chris”.  Batman discovered a son he didn’t know existed, the ever-charming Damien Wayne.  Black Canary took in a young orphan from a small village.  Black Lightning had a couple daughters, the youngest of whom was a teenager.  Red Tornado had a child he adopted with his human wife.  Red Arrow still had the super villain’s daughter.  Some of these child characters were relatively new.  Others were longstanding characters from years earlier.

A large number of those offspring were killed off in the next year or so, with only Damien seeming to find a way back.  Really, the Red Tornado was the only one not to have that sort of tragedy befall his family.

But then on Marvel’s side there’s the Hulk.  Two columns ago, I covered his son.  Now, let’s take a look at his daughter Lyra.

Quick question: why does any Hulk need a sword?

So, for those keeping track at home, the Hulk has three offspring running around the Marvel Universe.  There’s Skaar.  We covered him.  There’s Hiro-Kala, who I maintain was a dink.  And then there’s Lyra.  She came from the future.

See, it’s not that hard to see why kids don’t generally come to superheroes.  Aging is a problem.  The Punisher was, for the longest time, a Vietnam veteran.  Today, probably not.  It’s easy to see why.  Nobody wants to see a senior citizen mowing down the bad guys.

Well, maybe we’d accept Charles Bronson.


Don’t push your luck.

So, moving on, nobody wants to see senior citizens mowing down the bad guys.  But anytime you throw kids into the equation, there’s implied aging going on.  Very few superheroes have children the old fashioned way.  The best way to have a superhero hang around with a child is to find a convenient orphan (Robin, Aqualad, Speedy), or maybe a pre-existing relative of a supporting character (Kid Flash), or even just have some weird continuity mistake (Donna Troy).  But rarely do the heroes themselves have children.  There are exceptions.  Reed and Sue Richards have two kids that are obviously not babies anymore.  Aquaman and his wife had a son for a while, one born during the Silver Age no less.  That was an interesting issue, where Aquaman married Mera, then an issue or two later she was off somewhere where the reader couldn’t see her and then a baby was born.  And that baby was eventually killed by Black Manta, so that’s just dark.

Of course, the other issue is that for a child to be born, at some time we need to show our hero having sex, even if its just implied sex.  Silver Age comics couldn’t do that, obviously, and it was actually something of a mild scandal when Marv Wolfman and George Perez did a quick panel of Nightwing and Starfire sleeping in the same bed naked.  But the sex still (again, for obvious reasons) happens between panels or off-page, and when a kid does come around, rarely does the child in question seem to be much younger than seven or eight years old.  Superman and Lois Lane have a son right now.  What issue was he born in?  I don’t know.  He just exists because he was born in a different universe and his infant period was never really depicted outside of maybe a Convergence special issue, and every time I ask Jimmy about that, he just can’t stop twitching for a few hours.

Both Barry Allen and Wally West were parents in different DC continuities.  Barry’s kids were born in the distant future.  Wally’s kids were born in a different dimension within the Speed Force.

That’s actually how the Hulk can be a parent.  His sons were born to a dead mother (sort of, read the Skaar article), but Lyra was from the future.  Her mother was the warrior-woman Thundra.

Seen here disciplining her little girl.

Lyra came to the present from one of Marvel’s ever-popular alternate futures to adventure and so forth.  The big twist on Lyra is that unlike most Hulks, her strength does not increase with her anger.  The opposite happens.  Lyra gets weaker as she gets angrier.

Once in the present, Lyra tended to bounce around.  She fought and teamed-up with all the other She-Hulks, assisted her dad’s old Defenders’ teammates, and became part of a traveling Hulk family.  She even briefly had her own series.  But maybe the world wasn’t ready for a Hulk that achieved maximum strength by entering a zen-like meditative trance to beat the snot out of people.  Hulks are usually at least a little angry.  That’s what makes them Hulks.  Does anyone want a Hulk that needs to stay calm to save the day?

See how calm she is!

When last seen, Lyra had traveled to Weirdworld to hang out with her mom.  Apparently, they get along great, and a good time is being had by all.