Having been reading The Incredible Hulk since I was a kid, I have grown sympathetic to the man behind the beast, Bruce Banner. When Marvel decided to relaunch their entire universe, ushering out the old stalwarts of the Marvel Universe and bring in diverse and younger hero, I lost touch with many of the characters. The only characters I stuck with were Spider-Gwen and Ms. Marvel.
After Marvel decided to cure Banner and kill him off, it has always left a bad taste in my mouth. Here was a man compounded with guilty for his inability to maintain his anger and turn into a giant-green-rage-monster. The hopes of Amadeus Cho running into Bruce Banner in the Marvel Generations – The Strongest one-shot gave me some hope that Banner would be coming back to the universe and we can have more than one Hulk. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Greg Pak and artist Matteo Buffagni gave us a one-shot that dealt with Amadeus slowly finding out that he isn’t as smart as he believed he was. For some unexplained reason, Cho is transported beyond space and time to the middle of the desert and interacting with Banner from a previous time when he was the Hulk and alive.
Cho tries to usher Banner in a sign of hope that he can be cured without telling him of what presumes to be the future. Eventually, Cho finds out that his “hope” is undoubtedly a lie and that the anger that he presumes to have conquered is an illusion that he has given himself. In a random fight with an underwater creature, Cho learns his lesson and somehow gets transported back to the present.
The one-shot is very random and set up as a big letdown. Instead of getting Banner and Cho working together, it was used as a gimmick to bring them together but the older Hulk teaching the younger Hulk something that he hasn’t been missing. In fact, he has given him the truth that he has been deluding himself into believing.
Buffagni’s artwork is distinctly strong on sharp angles and lots of shading. For some reason, we are unable to get a good look at Banner’s face, even Cho’s features, due to the unnecessary use of shadows. There are a few times where the artwork is identical among both characters that differentiating between the two can be an issue for the reader.
In the end, the uniting of the two characters to lead off this series of legacy is disappointing. No explanation as to what is going on and what the true value of the story is. If you have not been following Totally Awesome Hulk, you will be confused. Even if you did not know Banner was dead due to Civil War II, you will be even more confused. If any of the other one-shots are like this, then you may wish to pass on the whole series in general.