Let’s get this over with right from the start: It’s not Banner Hulk it’s The Incredible Hulk. It’s one of the easiest and most obvious titles, yet Marvel messed it up right from get-go. It was the first of many missteps in what should have been a glorious return of the real Jade Jaws to the Marvel Universe.
Generations are one-shots that team up the classic character with the new wave of heroes gracing the comics these days. The Hulks issue is handled by Greg Pak – which should have been a homerun – but turns out to be a single that was picked off at first.
The story begins with Cho being transported into the past and face to face with the real Hulk being attacked by the army in the desert. It is a missed and welcoming sight and a great intro but ultimately a short-lived excitement as the comic takes a sharp turn from there. If you plan on reading the issue don’t read any further as this will contain spoilers like mad, yo! The Hulk is fighting back against the army and Cho helps fight them off. When he sees the Hulk ready to explode and hurt people Cho takes the Hulk on himself. It’s one of the more annoying and cringe-inducing aspects of the Cho Hulk. He’s so infatuated with the lives of innocents that he ends up screwing things up royally. In the case of W.W.H. (if you’re reading it) he’s the reason the weapon comes to maturity, here he is the reason that a gigantic monster is woken to terrorize a small town. Sure, you can make the argument that it was the army bombing the island but I would retaliate with “Who brought them to the island?” Boom, Mic drop.
Now, I don’t mind the idea that Cho is looking to protect the innocent, the idea that the real Hulk had done it in the past subconsciously is one of my favorite theories. My issue is that Cho shoves it down our throat in such an obvious manner that it literally bores me. If you were to play a drinking game where you drink every time Cho Hulk talks about saving innocents you’d be dead. Down before you even finish this silly one shot.
If you think I’ve scratched the surface of the problems with this issue you are sadly mistaken. Cho begins to lose control of the monster and the real Hulk has to come to the rescue. The following conversation is the crux of what makes this issue such a disappointment. Before I dive in: I dare you to go back when the Cho Hulk was first being promoted and read the post where I react to Pak’s interview. I’m way too lazy and it’s way too late for me to find it – you’re going to have to do the leg work yourself! Anyways, Pak says that Cho ENJOYS being the Hulk and sees it as a gift – and I talk about the most interesting aspect of the Hulk character is that Banner saw it as a curse – he knew it was an accident that needed to be corrected.
Pak writes that exact thing at the end of the issue! He has Cho realize that being the Hulk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! It’s a head shaking and infuriating ending for one of two reasons. Pak is a great writer – he has written some of the best Hulk stories – but he has missed the mark since the TAH took shape. I don’t know what was in his head when he was writing this issue but I know he’s the kind of writer who plans ahead. To think he started writing the Cho Hulk with the intention of the two Hulks meeting and having this convo is the biggest insult. To think it would be an eye opening moment for not only the characters but also the reader is a slap in the face – mainly because that’s what every comic reader has been saying since the beginning of this whole debacle. If this was a way for Pak to acknowledge everyone saying this; sort of a wink, wink at the audience; well then the whole issue was sort of a waste of time. What was the purpose here? To reiterate the obvious? To make Cho more likeable/relatable by making him think his stolen gamma power up was a mistake instead of his green frat boy persona?
Either way, this issue will be followed by what looks like Cho having his own Planet Hulk saga. This combined with yet another return to “original” numbering is another nail in the coffin of the once great writer of Hulk stuff. Rest in peace Pak legacy… it was great for a while.