Welcome back, ’90s fans! If you liked Venom: Space Knight (and I know you did), wait until you see the Totally Awesome Hulk! But, uh, let’s go over some things first.
Totally Awesome Hulk #1 (Marvel Comics)
So Professor Hulk started to split apart when Banner, who we already knew was the luckiest man on the face of the Earth, came down with Lou Gehrig’s disease. That brought on ANOTHER, demonic personality, who was locked away by the Leader just in time for the Hulk to be shot into space, where he conquered a planet, grabbed a bride, had a kid (or two?) and lived the high life until the whole thing went boom. Spartacus Hulk came back and held a non-sanctioned ultimate fight in MSG before battling Dracula with an Asgardian hammer, spawning ANOTHER evil version of himself, BECOMING an evil version of himself (named “Kluh” — swear to God), splitting from Banner again, combining with Banner again as a WMD for SHIELD, and then splitting with Banner AGAIN in favor of a super-smart, Korean teenager who gets advice from his sister funneled through a floating trashcan and eats enough cheeseburgers to kill Kevin James eight times over when he wants to transform.
Is It Good?
Totally Awesome Hulk #1 is different from any Hulk book you’ve ever read. Or is it? Amadeus Cho is more playful in the green jeans than sour old Bruce, but he struggles being a hero just the same, albeit for different reasons. While Banner fought to keep the the monster inside, Cho has trouble keeping it in his pants. You wouldn’t like him when he’s horny.
Writer Greg Pak deftly avoids excess exposition while setting up the Hulk’s monstrous threat, as well as the less obvious one presented by the bifurcated Banner. Artist Frank Cho swears he didn’t get this gig through nepotism, and proves it with his unparalleled anatomical precision (and I’m not just talking about the prerequisite bikini babe at the beginning). Amadeus Chulk’s muscles are all in the right spots, even if they are orders of magnitude larger than Arnold’s after he won Mr. Bursting-At-The-Seams in back-to-back years.
Stuff the haters who say that Totally Awesome Hulk #1 isn’t a “true” Hulk book because, as we’ve seen, there’s really no such thing. Still, it’s clear the creative team is aiming for something never quite seen before, despite the maintaining of certain overarching themes. Whether they hit or miss is up to the individual, and while Totally Awesome Hulk #1 might give a different generation a slightly tweaked version of the classic power fantasy, it may leave some long-time fans scratching their heads.