Marvel Mondays: The Totally Awesome Hulk

ANOTHER incarnation of the Hulk?!  So far we’ve had Grey Hulk and Green Hulk and Red Hulk (who turned out to General Thunderbolt Ross would you believe).  Then we’ve had dumb Hulk, smart Hulk, gangster Hulk, and merged Hulk.  We’ve also had a Hulk by any other name – Joe Fixit, the Maestro, and Doc Green.  So what is going on here?  Who is this new Hulk?  Just about the most totally, awesome Hulk there is!

The cover for issue #4 with great artwork by Frank Cho and wonderful storytelling by Greg Pak
The cover for issue #4 with great artwork by Frank Cho and wonderful storytelling by Greg Pak

I’m a huge Hulk fan and there comes a point where you can retcon a character’s history only so much.  What was wrong with dorky Bruce Banner wanting to save a poor teenager from certain death and sacrificing himself in the process to become the Incredible Hulk?  Then they have to add Bruce Banner’s abusive childhood, his multiple personality disorder, and all sorts of other stuff to make him “interesting” and “different.”  But this new Totally Awesome Hulk is a Hulk of a different stripe.  He is Amadeus Cho – the sixth smartest person on the planet.

Interior artwork by Cho is tight and beautiful
Interior artwork by Cho is tight and beautiful

At first I have to admit to being pretty skeptical about this “new” Hulk, who is (nearly) in control of his intellect even when Hulked out.  Amadeus Cho has always been interesting as a minor character, but could he carry a whole book?  Definitely.  And teamed up with his sister Maddy, the book has a great dynamic.  Throwing in guest stars like She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Fin Fang Foom just makes it more fun.

Loving the Alan Davis version of the Hulk
Loving the Alan Davis version of the Hulk

Greg Pak has done a tremendous job of not only making Cho believable as the Hulk but in making him different, yet with the angst and anxiety of losing control.  Love the monster in the trunk metaphor he has been exploring.  Frank Cho who did the art for the first four issues was the perfect choice to launch this iteration of the Hulk.  His smooth lines and his anatomically correct figures (meaning only that they are proportional – She-Hulk doesn’t just look like a curvy Hulk, she looks like she could take you out with a finger snap) really make this book a pleasure to look at.  And now after a couple of issues being drawn by Mike Choi (who did a great job), Alan Davis has taken over the art chores on the last two books and has been a treat as well.

Exploring the identity of Bruce Banner without the threat of the Hulk has also been ingenious.  Just reading about the different ways in which Bruce is enjoying life – like getting the flu! – has been fun to read.  And I have to admit, as an Asian-American it’s nice to have a superhero you can identify with ethnically.  Usually, they are pretty stereotypical.  Ninjas, kung-fu fighters, samurai.  There was Sunfire, but he was pretty much a jerk.  So having Amadeus Cho and his sister Maddy has been a breath of fresh air.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, this book is definitely worth the read.

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