Frank Cho and Mike Choi
The quickest distinction between Amadeus’s Hulk and Bruce’s Hulk is the mindset. Where Banner’s Hulk is mainly an aggressive weapon that needs to be aimed, Cho’s Hulk for the most part is just a larger representation of Amadeus himself; albeit a funny, relaxed and cocky Hulk.
For those who know me, I am “a little bit” of a Hulk fan. I have heaps of Hulk merchandise from a sideshow statue to some awesomely cuddly Hulk plush toys. So when I saw that they took Bruce out of the Hulk equation and replaced him with Amadeus, I was a little skeptical, but also excited.
For the uninitiated, Amadeus isn’t a new character. He has been in and out of Marvel for the last 30 something years. Though his character never reached the popularity of other Marvel heroes, he is known for something pretty special. According to the Pym-Von Doom raw calc scale, Amadeus is ranked 8th smartest person on earth.
Now where most of Marvel’s geniuses intellect is often only shown on scribbly giant white boards or in metal suits, Cho’s intelligence is displayed often over the years in his ability to quickly think of every solution to a problem in just a fraction of the time it would take us dumdum’s to think of one. This has enabled Amadeus to get out of some rough situations in Marvel’s history. So when I saw that it would be him that would become the Hulk it seemed rather fitting, as Bruce has also one of the smartest minds on earth. However, that is where the similarities between the two stop.
The first volume of The Totally Awesome Hulk tells a simple story that involves Lady Hellbender hell bent (cough) on acquiring the strongest being from earth to become her mighty prize. Naturally then, the Hulk is brought into the equation. Being a fairly generic story offers Greg Pak the opportunity to flesh out the “New Hulk”. We see the Hulk in situations we could never imagine before. Like quipping, not just quipping but flirting, not just flirting but accidentally flirting while naked. Obviously then, this comic is a lighter read for us Hulk fans. But the funnier/lighter tale does not make it bad. No, in fact this is one of the best Hulk reads I’ve had in a long time and it’s Amadeus’s quirky personality that really does it for me.
Helping him along the way is She-Hulk, Miles Morales’s Spider-man and Amadeus’s own sister Madame Currie “Maddy” Cho who so happens to be a genius herself. The interplay between Maddy and Amadeus is fantastic and is a big factor to making the comic so enjoyable to read. She is doing everything she can in helping her brother be the best Hulk he can be, meanwhile Amadeus is finding it hard taking things seriously. Their chemistry seems genuine and you really get the idea they mean everything to each other, which makes sense considering they are each other’s only family.
The new Hulk isn’t one dimensional though, as each issue in the Volume concludes, we see there is something looming in the Hulk’s subconscious, something darker and full of rage. Things become clearer as eventually we see more and more into the back story on how Amadeus gains the power of the Hulk and the current status of Bruce. I won’t spoil anything here but I will say that while the origin of the new Hulk makes sense, I wish it was told a little bit more extensively. It’s only ever teased throughout the volume and though we do get some closure towards the end, it just felt a little short on detail.
It’s possible that many of the audiences current negative view on origin stories is hitting the writers and they themselves are looking for less generic means of introducing new characters.
I am a huge fan of the art here, especially Frank Cho’s portion. Say what you will about the man, his art is exceptional! The new Hulk looks fun and chilled while still remaining the look of ‘incredible’. Being that Amadeus Cho is Korean, I was nervous that Frank would overdo it on the whole Asian stereotype and thankfully, I came away relieved. Each panel is beautifully drawn.
I loved the humor in The Totally Awesome Hulk and the art brought everything up to 11.
If you have found Hulk in the past to be a little one dimensional, or if you’re like me and have been a Hulk fan for years, pick this comic up. It guarantees a good time!