Current Comics: Marvel’s Generations: Banner Hulk and the Totally Awesome Hulk # 1

Amadeus Cho takes a trip into mystery. Can Bruce Banner, the original Hulk, teach him something?

Generations: Banner Hulk and the Totally Awesome Hulk #1

Writer: Greg Pak

Art: Matteo Buffagni

Colors: Dono Sanchez-Almara

 

Summary

BRUCE BANNER. AMADEUS CHO. Both have carried the curse of the Hulk. Now they come face-to-face at last – but will they meet as friends or foes?  Fan-favorite Hulk scribe GREG PAK is joined by red-hot artist MATTEO BUFFAGNI (X-MEN BLUE) for a time-bending tale that will finally answer the question on everyone’s minds: WHO IS THE STRONGEST ONE THERE IS?

 

Content (May/May Not Contain SPOILERS)

Generations has begun!  Our concept is simple: Bridge the new generation of heroes with the older counterparts, and make the new generation one that fans both new and old can get behind.  We start off here with a character that took a very obvious turn from his predecessor – the Totally Awesome Hulk.  Amadeus Cho took the power of the Hulk from Banner, and he’s since been part of many superhero teams.  He sees the power that The Hulk brings as a gift he can use to save as many people as he can.  Bruce Banner became the Hulk when he accidentally absorbed massive amounts of Gamma radiation from a bomb of his own design. He views the power of the Hulk as a curse, a thing that needs to be kept bottled away, lest everything he loves be destroyed.

The two couldn’t be more different, and the concept here really explores just how much.  We have Cho, who constantly tries to show how much in control of his Hulk he is and look out for all the innocents in the way, and we have Banner, who knows how out of control his alter ego is and struggles to keep his rage inside.  Set in the era when General Ross pursued Banner across the Southwestern US, the aim seems to be to have Amadeus learn something out of this meeting with Banner.

Amadeus gets a taste of just how bad being the Hulk was for Banner in scenes like the one where Banner dumpster dives for food to avoid having people in a diner recognize him. Amadeus is usually a confident sort of guy; he believes in himself and genuinely wants to save those around him. Banner’s doubt and paranoia eventually win out when Amadeus realizes that Banner is right to keep the Hulk bottled inside.  Having accepted Banner’s ideology that his power is a curse, not a gift, Amadeus leaves the Vanishing Point (the mysterious realm that brought him in contact with this Banner) and resolves that he needs to end it before it ends him.  The next time we see this changed Amadeus, we’ll be at The Incredible Hulk # 709 – and Amadeus might just be more like Banner than he was before!

 

In Conclusion (Definitely Contains Spoilers)

This issue is actually really good, if a bit sad for fans of Banner.  The clash of Cho’s optimism and Banner’s fear and defeatism is done so well in this book. Amadeus desperately wishes to show that the power he has is indeed a gift that can save people, but General Ross and the inner nature of the Hulk conspire to show Amadeus that Banner’s defeatism may be more true than he wishes.  The goal here in this issue seemed to be to integrate the old with the new and give all fans something to like.  It would seem we’re moving away from the carefree attitude and feeling of being blessed that the New Hulk has had recently, and we’re reintegrating the fear and loss of control that was always there with Banner.

Amadeus’ Hulk won’t be the complete mindless beast Banner’s was for a long time, but it’s clear that we’re headed for a return to familiar ground with the Hulk.  It also shows us that, potentially, Bruce Banner may not be coming back from his recent death. With Amadeus set to inherit the familiar traits of a Banner Hulk story, having Bruce around would seem rather unneeded, though I would hope this isn’t the case.  The tone is one of experience and coming to terms.  Amadeus seemingly entered the Vanishing Point just to learn the lesson Banner imparted, and we have begun linking the old with the new.

If anyone knows Hulk, it’s Greg Pak, and he shows that here, portraying both Banner and Amadeus wonderfully.  The tone is one of acceptance and grim tidings.  The characters and dialogue are done wonderfully, as Pak is known for among his various projects. Pak’s interactions between Banner and Cho ring true for both, and he shows he really knows what makes each character tick. The art is done well and looks really good, and Pak’s writing is simply top notch. There are big things coming, and Cho will have his optimism tested further as we head towards “Return to Planet Hulk.”

Definitely check this out if you want to see which way Marvel is heading or are a fan of the Hulk.  It’s a great read, and well worth your time.

Grade: A

MSRP: $4.99

Publisher: Marvel Comics

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