Teddy And Billy in Lords Of Empyre: Hulkling – Betrayed With A Kiss

The Empyre series has seen Teddy Altman, Hulking leading a Skrull and Kree aligned assault on the Earth. But, as Bleeding Cool saw in the tea leaves, it was against the Cotati on the Moon, and they are now seen as the real threat to all animal life in the galaxy. But how did Hulking take that role – and what did it cost him? Created as a half-Kree/half-Skrull hiding on Earth as a human in Young Avengers, he also had a relationship with Billy Kaplan, Wiccan, son of the Scarlet Witch and the Vision. Both created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, and yes the 'Bill and Ted' is intentional.

Teddy And Billy in Lords Of Empyre: Hulkling - Betrayed With A Kiss.
Teddy And Billy in Lords Of Empyre: Hulkling – Betrayed With A Kiss.

This has, over the years, become the most prominent gay relationship in mainstream comic books, certainly as Apollo and Midnighter were dropped and Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn were straightwashed. Titles leading up to Empyre highlighted their relationship, but Lords Of Empyre: Hulkling #1 by Chip Zdarsky, Anthony Oliveira and Manuel Garcia out this week may have made it the most explicit, but also put it under the most pressure.

Teddy And Billy - Lords Of Empyre

Because it seems that an emperor cannot have such a personal relationship with a human being, gay, straight or otherwise. To be fair, for shape-shifting Skrulls, that distinction is already a hard one for them to see. But aready seen as a soft emperor, the presence of Wiccan is not appreciated.

Teddy And Billy - Lords Of Empyre

Leaving Hulkling to say the kind of words that cut deep, even if Wiccan says that it's okay.

Teddy And Billy - Lords Of Empyre

Of course, these are just words, no matter how much they hurt. In practice…

Teddy And Billy - Lords Of Empyre

… love conquers all. And love can wait…

(W) Chip Zdarsky, Anthony Oliveira (A) Manuel Garcia (CA) Patrick Gleason
The child of the Kree hero Mar-Vell and Skrull Princess Anelle, Dorrek VIII – known on Earth as "Teddy" – has spent years evading the clutches of both bloodthirsty empires. But now fate has caught up to him. The Kree and Skrull worlds are aligned – and only a man born of both can lead them. But what has led Hulkling to abandon Earth and the Avengers he's fought beside? And what will become of his fiancé, the hero Wiccan? Star writers Chip Zdarsky and Anthony Oliveira team up with artist Manual Garcia for a can't-miss one-shot! Rated T+In Shops: Jul 22, 2020 SRP: $4.99

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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