|First appearance||Young Avengers #1 (April 2005)|
|Created by||Allan Heinberg
|Alter ego||Dorrek VIII|
|Team affiliations||Young Avengers|
|Notable aliases||Theodore "Teddy" Altman|
Accelerated healing factor
Hulkling (Dorrek VIII, also known as Theodore "Teddy" Altman) is a comic book superhero and a member of the Young Avengers, a team of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. Hulkling's character is patterned on the Hulk. He has shapeshifting abilities that go far beyond the ability to mimic the Hulk, and superhuman strength.
Hulkling was originally planned to be a female character. According to Tom Brevoort, "Originally, Allan pitched Hulkling as a female character using her shape-changing abilities to pose as a man. I suspect this was as close as Allan felt he could get to depicting an openly gay relationship in a Marvel comic. But as we got underway... he started to have second thoughts and approached me about maintaining Hulkling and Wiccan as two involved male characters."
Fictional character biography
In his first episode, little is revealed about Hulkling save for the fact he is raised by a single mother. All this changes when the shapeshifting extraterrestrial known as the Super-Skrull appears, stating that Teddy is a Skrull. The Super-Skrull is surprised to learn that Teddy has super strength and wonders "perhaps the rumors about his father are true." The Super Skrull follows the Young Avengers to Wiccan's house, where Teddy's mother is waiting for him. The Super-Skrull releases a device designed to turn Teddy into his true form in an attempt to prove his Skrull heritage. While the device does not change Teddy's physical appearance, Ms. Altman, who is also caught in the device's beam, turns into a Skrull. When the Super Skrull accuses her of being a traitor to her race, she responds by saying that the Empress ordered her to protect Teddy, even from the likes of him, pulling out a gun. The Super-Skrull responds by killing her, though it was unintentional.
The Super-Skrull reveals that, years ago, during the Kree-Skrull War, he kidnapped Captain Mar-Vell, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch, presenting them to the Skrull Emperor. Though the heroes later escaped, the Emperor's daughter, Princess Anelle, conceived a child with Mar-Vell. At birth, the child was marked for death. However, his nurse smuggled him to Earth and raised him as Teddy.
The Super-Skrull reveals that his intention is to bring Teddy back to the Empire so that he may unify his people. However, Kree soldiers arrive to take Teddy as one of their own. A battle erupts between the Kree and the Skrull. Teddy ends the conflict by surrendering himself. It is settled that Teddy will spend half an Earth-year with the Kree and the other half with the Skrull, at which time he will declare his ultimate allegiance. However, the "Teddy" that left Earth is actually the Super-Skrull in disguise. The real Teddy remains on Earth.
Along with the rest of his team, Hulkling sides with Secret Avengers against the Superhuman Registration Act during the Marvel Civil War. He plays a pivotal role in Captain America's plan for the final confrontation with Iron Man's forces, impersonating Yellowjacket in order to free the imprisoned heroes of Prison 42.
Meeting Captain Marvel
In Young Avengers Presents #2, Hulkling contacts the mysteriously revived Captain Marvel to confront him about his identity as Mar-Vell's son. Mar-Vell confirms the Super-Skrull's story concerning Teddy's origins and that he could be Teddy's father, though he was unaware of Teddy's existence because he and the Skrull Princess Anelle never saw each other again. Mar-Vell comforts a frustrated Teddy, who is upset at Mar-Vell's intention to return to the past, expressing an interest in spending more time with him before he dies. However, the issue ends with Teddy asserting that he never saw Mar-Vell alive again.
The issue highlighted Teddy's frustration with being essentially orphaned during the events of "Family Matters" and his hopes of establishing a father-son relationship with Mar-Vell, his last remaining parent.
Later storylines reveal that the "revived" Captain Marvel that Teddy met was a Skrull imposter named Khn'nr; intended by Skrull scientists to impersonate the original Kree soldier. Due to some misprogramming, the Skrull actually believed himself to be Mar-Vell.
The Young Avengers confront a group of rampaging super-powered Skrulls. He tries to use his Skrull heritage to calm them but is instead battered down with energy blasts. It was revealed that Veranke and a few higher up in position of the invasion have specifically ordered Teddy's death, without informing the soldiers of his royal heritage, for fear that it could confuse and divide the loyalties of their soldiers. Teddy is saved from execution at the last second by Xavin. With the aid of Xavin, Speed and Wiccan, Hulkling survives an attack by X'iv, a Skrull assassin with the powers of Daredevil, Elektra, and Cloak and Dagger. Later a Skrull reveals to Hulkling, Wiccan and Hawkeye that taking over the Earth was the last chance they had since all their planets have been destroyed.
Exchanges between Wiccan (then called Asgardian) and Hulkling (and the latter's character design) have led some readers to speculate that the two young men have a much more intimate bond than mere friendship. Allan Heinberg confirmed this speculation at a San Diego convention panel, stating that his intent was to reveal the relationship in issue #12, and he was surprised that his subtle clues were picked up on so quickly.
Since Young Avengers #2, each issue's letters page has seen the exchange of opinions between people who support and people who are against the portrayal of gay superheroes. Many readers praise the addition of a gay couple in a comic, while others have cited their disdain for the relationship.
In Young Avengers Special, the team agrees to give an interview to Kat Farrell, and Jessica Jones warns Billy and Teddy that Farrell will probably ask if the rumors about them are true. After some deliberation, the two decide to tell her, with Teddy adding, "Why should Northstar have all the fun?"
In Cable & Deadpool #30, Deadpool is caught by Captain America's Secret Avengers, with whom the Young Avengers had merged; Deadpool, a typical breaker of the fourth wall, made a subtle dig at Hulkling and Wiccan's sexuality by referring to the Team as "...The Ripe, Nubile Young Avengers! And I'm especially discomfited to admit that Wiccan and Hulkling are looking especially nubile..."
In Avengers: The Children's Crusade #9, Teddy proposes to Billy, and the two share their first on-panel kiss.
Powers and abilities
Hulkling is a hybrid offspring of a Kree/Skrull mating. Each of his abilities comes from his alien backgrounds. His powers of shapeshifting/metamorphing, and his accelerated healing factor come from his Skrull heritage, while his superhuman strength originates from his Kree background. However he is stronger than even most Kree because of his partial Skrull background.
His shapeshifting abilities allow him to impersonate others, alter parts of his body or add entirely new abilities. He can add claws, extend his reach, create body armor, or grow wings.
A healing factor allows him to heal wounds quickly, but not on a scale with Wolverine or Hulk . His shapeshifting abilities also act autonomically to protect him, as seen in Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways, where his internal organs constantly rearranged themselves to avoid damage during a vivisection by The Cube's warden.[volume & issue needed] Hulkling's alien anatomy also prevents him from being controlled by pheromone-based powers, such as those used by Daken.
Avengers Fairy Tales
Hulkling is one of the 142 superhumans who are registered, implying he had joined the Initiative. Hulkling is seen briefly in Camp Hammond. However, this version of Hulkling was from another dimension who later returned to Earth-A, and the real Hulkling remains unregistered.
Hulkling is seen briefly in the Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness mini-series. While Ashley G. Williams is trying to save the city, he confronts a zombified Hulkling. With little effort, he chainsaws off his arms and head, and destroys the zombie.
- Xtra: In print Young Avengers
- Richards, Dave (9 October 2012). "EXCLUSIVE: Gillen & McKelvie Assemble New Volume of "Young Avengers"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- Young Avengers #9 (Dec. 2005)
- Young Avengers #10-11 (March-May 2006)
- Young Avengers #12 (Aug. 2006)
- Civil War #6
- Young Avengers Presents #2
- Captain Marvel (vol. 7) #5
- "Secret Invasion" #3
- Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #1
- Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #2 - #3
- "Secret Invasion" #8
- Dark Reign: Young Avengers #5
- Avengers Fairy Tales #3 (June 2008)
- Avengers: The Initiative #1
- Avengers: The Initiative #1 Character Map
- Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #3