Review: ‘The Totally Awesome Hulk’ #1
“The Totally Awesome Hulk #1”
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Frank Cho
Colors: Sonia Oback
Letterer: Corey Petit
Cover Artists: Frank Cho, Darien Curiel
Sorry, Grandpa, this isn’t your Hulk. Hold on to your “Trial of the Incredible Hulk” made for TV movie you recorded on VHS for as long as you can. Make way for the All New, All Different “Totally Awesome Hulk.” Bruce Banner is no longer the Hulk, we have bow the seventh smartest person in the world, Amadeus Cho (Although Hank Pym recently ranked him eighth.)
“Cho Time: Part One” debuts Amadeus Cho as the new Totally Awesome Hulk. With his sister backing him up via drone, they are tracking down monsters called Protocols. Amadeus personality is now more outgoing now that he’s Totally Awesome, and his sister warns him to be careful if ye doesn’t want to end up like Banner. What happened to Banner? At this point we dont know because he’s only seen through flashback. As of now Cho claims he’s the one in the driver seat, but how long before Hulk takes the wheel?
So…Yeah. Ok. Where do I start with this? Marvel has claimed they’re going in an All New All Different direction, and I have to agree…it’s new…and it’s different. Bear with me, because Hulk is actually my favorite hero so I’m still processing this. The tone of this single issue is widely different from any other Hulk comic I’ve ever read in my life, and believe me when I say I’ve read my fair share. Unlike Banner, Amadeus is actually having fun as the Hulk. He makes sure to flexes his Hulk muscles in front of bikini clad damsels in distress while fighting monsters. Even when he says “Hulk smash” he says it in a playful manner. So what happened to Banner? Well it looks like they’re going to drag this out over several issues. Fine by me. It’s the first issue, so they have to give you a reason to read #2.
This one is a tough one for me because as a Hulk comic I absolutely hated it. As its own comic though, I enjoyed it. To have any fun with this book you can’t bring any baggage with you. Treat this as a brand new hero…that just happens to look like the Hulk. The best way to describe it is like a Shonen Jump manga. The main hero is easily distracted during fights with dangerous monsters. Everyone seems to comprehend how powerful and dangerous he is except him, but the dead giveaway is that Amadeus is eating in every single panel he’s not hulking out. Thank God it’s not Ramen.
No Banner in a Hulk comic completes changes the theme of the character to its very core. Hulk stories have always been the most blatant analogy of all Marvel characters: “Man vs Monster.” So when you go from “woe is me I can’t get close to anyone until I find a cure” to “HULK IS TOTALLY AWESOME!” then you can see how that changes the theme. Totally Awesome Hulk is basically “Alpha vs Beta.” What happens when the nerd becomes the jock? Being a 16-year-old with superpowers really drives this home.
One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned that much is that this All New All Different Hulk is another hero that has been raced or gender changed. We have a Korean Hulk now. Miles Morales for one has become a fan favorite for black comic readers, and female fans love Spider-Gwen. I wonder will Asian comic fans gravitate to Amadeus Cho the same fashion? Only time will tell. Actually comic sales will tell, because if this new direction doesn’t catch on with anybody Banner will be back sooner than later. I’ll have to read issue #2 to see how I eventually feel about issue #1.