By Greg Pak, Frank Cho and Sonia Oback
Greg Pak has done a large amount of work for Marvel comics, but these days his most notable writing is with his current run on Action Comics. Pak was tasked with writing a character that seems to be slowly dropping in popularity. With no help from the blockbuster movie Man of Steel, Superman was facing some dark times. Greg Pak threw himself in the middle of Action Comics and began to pick up the pieces and use this book to show the depth the Superman character can have. Although the Hulk character is quite different than Superman they share some similarities. While the Hulk is a crowd pleaser on the big screen, he suffers to sustain a solo story. He is an ensemble character which makes it hard to have a successful comic with Hulk in the title. I think the problem is that Banner doesn’t like turning into the Hulk. He tries to avoid it at all costs, but as a reader that is what we bought the book for, to see the green guy. We find ourselves rooting against the will of our main character so he can smash stuff. In Totally Awesome Hulk, Greg Pak gets a clean slate. This long time Hulk writer is no longer bound by the Bruce Banner story threads, he is now able to cut loose and do the Hulk comic he wants to write.
The Totally Awesome Hulk may be a silly title for a comic book, but it is a great fit. Super genius teenager Amadeus Cho is the new Totally Awesome Hulk. Being a teenager, Amadeus does the three things that teenage boys do: he eats, argues with his sister and flirts with girls. Pak has a fantastic way of humanizing superheroes. He finds the connections that we as readers can make to the characters and brings those front and center. Turning into the Hulk doesn’t just give Amadeus a boost in physique, it also supercharges his hormones. Pak plays up those three traits of a teenage boy to bring a very fun feel to the book. Amadeus is constantly eating and the arguments with his sister tend to reach screaming volumes. But, the best part of this book is his compulsive need to flirt with woman, no matter what age. Just imagine a teenage boy with Hulk powers. His sex drive is off the charts. No matter who the woman are, victims, allies or even enemies, Cho’s wants to flirt. Pak scripts this rise in teenage hormones so that the final panel is both an eye rolling and burst out laughing moment.
First Amadeus turns into the Hulk and saves a young woman. He is definitely more concerned with getting this girls number then making sure the monster is unconscious. This almost results in a drastic mistake, but he regroups and gets the job done. Of course he would flirt with a hot victim, who wouldn’t. Later he goes to fight alongside the Avengers where he starts to flirt with She-Hulk. It is in this scene we start to see that he just can’t help himself. With his sister constantly telling him not to flirt with She-Hulk, and Amadeus denying it saying he wouldn’t flirt with her cause, “Dude, she’s like, forty”. Finally, Lady Hellbender shows up and lays a beating on Amadeus. With a foot smashing his face into the ground he tells his sister he is fine, she questions his choice of words saying that he doesn’t look fine, to which he response “I mean she’s kinda fine, if you know what I mean.” This issue scripts a perfect progression highlighting the idea that teenage boys only think with their penis.
Totally Awesome Hulk is a fun and humorous debut for the writer and artist team. Frank Cho’s fun cartoony style fits perfectly with Pak’s enjoyable characterization. I was not planning on continuing with this story past issue #1 but now I definitely will as Totally Awesome Hulk was my favorite Marvel debut of the week.