By Mojo Joseph
Teddy Altman was always aware that he was different from most other people. He was aware of his shape-changing and super-strength powers from a young age. This led him to become a shy individual for his younger life. Up until the day he took notice of Greg Norris, the high school basketball team captain, from afar.
Arguably, this was Teddy’s first gay crush. Latching onto this image of perfection in his mind at least, he altered his appearance into a more toned, muscular athletic form to fit in with this high school social caste. He quickly became friends with Norris and the team, and presumably became a player on that team.
He grew closer to Greg, and decided to open up to him, and reveal that he had powers. Norris saw instantly that he could exploit Teddy, and their ‘friendship’ consisted of him using Teddy to impersonate famous superheroes to get into parties and score girls.
When news went out of what happened at the Avengers mansion after Wanda Maximoff lost control of her powers and mind and lashed out at them, Teddy was shocked to find his heroes would be disbanding. Norris saw this as a prime opportunity.
Impersonating Tony Stark, Teddy got them into the ruined mansion. It was at this point that Teddy inadvertently revealed he had super-strength, prompting Norris to ponder what else Teddy hadn’t told him. Once inside, Teddy was overcome with hero-worship and admiration and couldn’t believe where he was, no matter what state it was in. Norris, on the other hand, tried to steal priceless mementos to sell on the internet.
It was at this moment that Teddy realized this boy was not his friend and never would be. Disgusted at being used and Norris’s utter disrespect for the fallen heroes of the world, he threatened him to leave the things behind or never get out at all. Norris left, empty handed, branding Teddy a freak.
This was exactly how Teddy felt, and he had spent his whole life trying to fit into something that just wasn’t him. He decided he couldn’t hide anymore, and luckily, this was when Iron Lad found him and offered him a place on the team as Hulkling, which Teddy happily accepted.
It would also have seen that during this time, as well as creating an appearance for himself that resembled a young version of the Hulk, Teddy reverted his natural form to something more like it’s original appearance i.e. not quite so toned, and a little bit more alternative, sporting a number of piercings.
During the first adventure of the Young Avengers, Teddy seemed to be very close and friendly with fellow Young Avenger Asgardian, a.k.a. Billy Kaplan. This prompted many fans of the new series to guess that maybe they would prove to be gay, and many slashers had fun creating fan fictions about the couple. The surprise came in issue six when the whole thing was laid to rest. After Iron Lad returned to the future to fulfil his destiny as the villainous Kang the Conqueror, it was revealed that
Teddy and Billy were in a relationship with each other. This led to many happy fans, praising Marvel and write Allan Heinberg for their progressiveness.
Since this however, their relationship has not been explored very much, other than to show them to have a happy, snarky banter and to genuinely care and worry about each other.
After the end of the first adventure, along with a new costume, Hulkling adopted a new form, which was more reptilian in appearance and retained his natural blonde hair.
After having some talks with Jessica Jones, former child hero herself, Teddy and Billy decided to go public with their relationship in order to provide positive role models for all gay teenagers out there.
Shortly afterwards, the teens were attacked by the Super-Skrull. The Skrull was after Teddy, claiming that he was in fact a Skrull himself, and that his belief that he was a mutant was something he was ‘programmed’ to believe. After a brief confrontation, the kids, sans Eli a.k.a. Patriot escaped to Billy Kaplan’s house, where they found Teddy’s mother, Susan Altman. Before they could relax for long, however, the house was attacked by the Super-Skrull who held Eli hostage. Teddy agreed to go with him in return for Eli’s release. The Skrull then used a probe to apparently reveal Teddy’s ‘true’ appearance as a Skrull. This had no affect on Teddy, but instead revealed his ‘mother’ to be a Skrull. She lashed out at the Super-Skrull, who retaliated by burning her alive and leaving with Teddy.
In his lair, Super-Skrull began to reveal the origins of Teddy Altman. When Super-Skrull, some time ago, had returned to the Skrull throne world with the Avengers Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Captain Marvel as hostages, he found the then emperor not very pleased, and was soon placed in prison with the hostages. The others were released thanks to the help of Princess
Anelle, who would have become Empress if not for Galactus’s attack on the throne world, where she died. However, some point during this period, she gave birth to a son, that was taken to Earth for protection with a loyal servant. This being Teddy and his ‘mother’.
Teddy was gob smacked, and could hardly believe it to be true. But before he had a chance to accept it, the lair was attacked by a Kree contingent, who claimed that Teddy was in fact one of them.
They revealed Teddy was in fact the son of Kree soldier Captain Marvel, and as such belonged to the Kree army. It was at this point that the Young Avengers with new member Tommy came to rescue Teddy. They left the battle with both Teddy and Super-Skrull, much to Billy’s chagrin. On board a Kree vessel, Super-Skrull revealed that all of it was true; Teddy was in fact the son of Princess Anelle and Captain Marvel.
Eventually cornered by the Kree contingent, the Skrull Armada and the New Avengers, a stale mate was drawn. Until Captain America stood in Teddy’s defense stating he was to stay on Earth with them. This instigated a conflict, which has yet to be resolved. Teddy has yet to grieve for his ‘mother’, as he has had little chance to during this hectic emotional time, but he may soon have time enough, and maybe time to mourn another fallen comrade.
Teddy has shape-changing abilities and enhanced healing ability from his Skrull heritage, and super-strength from his Kree heritage. As the son of Captain Marvel, it was yet to be revealed whether he has any other powers.
Hulkling first appeared in Young Avengers #1 and was confirmed gay in issue #6. As with many Marvel characters, the Young Avengers are based in New York City.
Hulkling created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung. Art by Patrick Gleason and Marte Gracia from the cover of Lords of Empyre; Emperor Hulkling.
Please see the entry for Wiccan.
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