It’s been far too long since I’ve actually enjoyed a solo Hulk title and even longer since one has impressed me. Well, thanks to Greg Pak, Frank Cho and Sonia Oback that day is here after reading The Totally Awesome Hulk! Sure there were doubts and uncertainties after finding out that Amadeus Cho would be Marvel’s new gamma irradiated hero. However, with the creative team behind this one, along with the fact that Cho is a very good character, it was enough to get me to give it a shot.
Pak wastes no time showing us how much this title is going to differ from previous Hulk comics. Unlike Banner, Cho really does enjoy being the Hulk and most of it is because he’s been a Hulk fanboy since day one. He truly believes the Hulk is a hero and not a monster to be feared. So he’s taking a cavalier and sometimes overzealous approach to his duties as we see when he faces off against a kaiju-like beast on a crowded beach. From making a little kid’s day to hitting on and being distracted by the cute babysitter that makes for a really fun opening sequence. We also get to see that he’s working in tandem with his sister while they try to find out where all of these monsters are coming from. If you were wondering where Bruce is and what happened, Pak gives a little peek into that mystery which carries just as much weight as the main story. It’s also a scene that shows off the character’s heroism despite his history. Now, as we all know, being a Hulk also comes with some issues and when you add to that being a teenager, even a genius like Cho is going to have some problems. Pak’s dream sequence that foreshadows something on the way is just creepy and a great set up for later on. As Pak gets us closer to the cliffhanger there’s a great moment as other heroes show up but Miles Morales totally steals the show! Maybe Pak should team these two up at some point?
Frank Cho’s work here is jus as fun to look at as this issue is to read. Seriously, if your eyes aren’t dancing with joy from these pages then I’m not sure you have a pulse. Cho nails the action scenes with their large scale and even throws in some visual humor to keep things entertaining. When there’s not a lot of property damage taking place we get expressive and moving character moments that totally enhance Pak’s narrative. The sibling moments are some of the best because of Cho’s work, along with Bruce taking off his glasses and going to be a hero. You can just hear the dramatic mucic rising in the background during this scene. Sonia Oback’s colors bring it all home making this issue the complete visual package. Let’s also point out that even while in Hulk form, Amadeus’ facial features are still his own. Making sure his ethnicity shows is a visual aesthetic that hopefully is maintained when other artists take on the character. Even keeping the hairstyle consistent is a nice touch to help give him some personality.
The Totally Awesome Hulk #1 is a fun issue that annihilated my preconceived notions of what this comic would be. Of course only time will tell if the series holds up but as far as this issue is concerned it’s definitely worth picking up!