Totally Awesome Hulk comes to us from the All-New All-Different Marvel launch late last year and just completed its first story arc, what a perfect time to check it out. I have been curious about this series and when Greg Pak put out the call on twitter for reviewers to review story arcs, I was totally game to do it. To fill in the story for you all, Greg Pak brings Amadeus Cho, the character he co-created with Takeshi Miyazawa, to the forefront as now he is the Totally Awesome Hulk. Yet you wonder what happened to Bruce Banner, why isn’t he The Hulk? What the heck happened between this book and Secret Wars? With an eight month gap, a lot of stuff happened in the Marvel Universe, Amadeus Cho’s transformation being one such thing. If I had only read one issue of this, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the full idea of what Pak was going for here. In reading the entire first story arc, there is a sense that Pak is taking the Amadeus Cho Hulk in directions that managed to surprise me. Totally Awesome Hulk is a different take on the character of The Hulk. Time to see more of what happens when the eighth smartest person in the Marvel Universe embraces the art of Hulk Smash in issues #1-4 of Totally Awesome Hulk!
Take note of the title of this Wes Reads, Giant Monsters are Radical. The entire first arc is Amadeus Cho our Totally Awesome Hulk, going after giant monsters, this has my heart from the start. Yet even more than that, Pak adds a great supporting cast with Amadeus Cho’s sister Maddy, short for Madame Curie, and her working with Amadeus as his Mission Control for his work as the Hulk. You even have Miles Morales Spider-Man and She-Hulk popping up in the rest of the arc too. You get a great supporting cast, strong characterization, and even non-stop action to boot. The major villain of this first arc are the giant monsters, specifically Fin Fang Foom who is my favorite thanks to Nextwave. I really do like Lady Hellbender, she’s after the Giant Monsters for her own reasons and she would be considered the villain yet she’s really not a bad person. She has her reasons and she also helps out too. It’s a unique idea to have your first story arc be about exploring the new status quo through a fun giant monster adventure and a powerful origin story, I dig what Pak did with this.
It’s also built for Frank Cho to cut loose, and Frank Cho cuts loose on this comic. This is loud splashy action at its finest. Amadeus Cho shows all his skills as the Totally Awesome Hulk in this comic. The giant monsters feel huge and powerful, the Fin Fang Foom fight and the giant monster battle near the end have to be seen to be believed. Though as you see lots of Hulk Smashing all over the place in these big bombastic action pieces, Frank Cho excels at those quiet moments where you get to know the characters a bit. Cho’s style is so expressive that even in the slow moments, it still has a sense of keeping the story moving forward. There’s a bit in the flashback sequences that thanks to Cho’s art that will break your heart in two, it’s touching and powerful all at once. Pak nails you with the emotional words then Cho knocks it out of the park with the emotions on each of the characters faces, it’s about as perfect a comic moment as you can get. I love Sonia Oback’s coloring on this, I note that in the present day there’s a brightness to the coloring then in the flashback there is a more muted tone, highlighting the more serious nature of the flashbacks. That nice subtle difference in coloring makes all the difference in making a comic like this work that much more.
I’m making this spoiler free too because Totally Awesome Hulk is a lot of fun and there’s touches that I won’t dare spoil for you all. Put it this way, Pak has another twist with the Amadeus Cho Hulk that Frank Cho has a lot of fun with that’s subtle and it works. I hadn’t gotten the chance to read anything of Totally Awesome Hulk and now I am planning on reading the next issue. There’s great characters developing here and I still feel like we’re only scratching the surface with the Totally Awesome Hulk. Right now the future of The Hulk looks bright and in the hands of this creative team, I have high hopes for the rest of the series to come.
Now to get your hands on the Totally Awesome Hulk for yourselves you can likely find it at your local comic shop and if you don’t know where your local store is just use the Comic Shop Locator to help find the comic store closest to you. If you prefer digital it is also available on ComiXology, and if you want to grab the upcoming trade of these issues you can even pre-order it off of Amazon.