GENERATIONS: BANNER HULK & TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1 BY GREG PAK, MATTEO BUFFAGNI, AND DONO SANCHEZ-ALMARA
Story
Art
Characterization
Summary
GENERATIONS: BANNER HULK & TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1 has Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho meeting during the early days of The Incredible Hulk's run. Greg Pak weaves a story of two very different Hulks learning just what they hold inside. Matteo Buffagni and Dono Sanchez-Almara's art adds some powerful fight scenes to a solid issue.
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HULKS ACROSS TIME
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Spoilers ahead for GENERATIONS: BANNER HULK & TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1


GENERATIONS: BANNER HULK & TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1 uses a unique idea — a successor superhero meets their namesake due to time travel. GREEN LANTERN had Kyle Raynor meet Hal Jordan using the same trick, so it’s not a new concept. GENERATIONS: BANNER HULK & TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1 succeeds because it uses this concept to its proper end — having the younger hero get some much-needed instruction from his older counterpart.

The Meeting

GENERATIONS: BANNER HULK & TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The issue opens with Amadeus Cho landing in the desert, right into a firefight between The Incredible Hulk and General Ross. Cho is confused but still leaps into action as Totally Awesome Hulk. Watching the two Hulks in action is unique, to say the least. Banner smashes everything around him, and Cho wisely tries to help things end and calm Banner. The art from Matteo Buffagni stands out here, making each moment huge, yet clear-cut. When Cho’s efforts fail, he punches Banner and leads him away. Writer Greg Pak shows a real understanding of the concept here, as Totally Awesome Hulk constantly thinks out a strategy as he leads the raging Incredible Hulk away. It shows the differences between the two Hulks’ approaches, but also the value of Banner’s strength and Cho’s intelligence.

READ: Curious about a younger Hulk? See the impact Amadeus Cho has made in another book!

The two Hulks eventually come to blows, with the Incredible Hulk reverting back to Banner. He displays amazement at Cho’s controlled transformations and begs for help. Cho agrees, and the two quickly steal new clothes and try to get food. Pak’s writing shines again, as Cho wants to get burgers, but Banner digs in the trash. It shows the differences between the paranoid and bedraggled Banner and the comparatively free and easy Cho. Buffagni’s art and Dono Sanchez-Almara’s coloring show this dichotomy perfectly, as Cho points to a lit drive through, and Banner digs through the shadowy trash.

GENERATIONS: BANNER HULK & TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Generational Differences

Those differences build further, as Banner relates the living hell of suppressing his anger to Cho. Cho believes Banner should be more accepting of the Hulk (even though Cho is having his own anger issues), but Banner insists there’s too much danger. This functions as the window to these character’s approaches. Cho has lived his life able to solve any problem that comes his way. He adapted to the Hulk and ignored the tell-tale signs of trouble. Banner hasn’t been able to solve his life issues. Banner lived with the Hulk for some time and knows the danger it carries can’t be worked out like a math problem. The differences between the two stand out like a cop serving twenty years in a dangerous city working with his eager new cadet.

These conversations end when a monster emerges from the ground, in another highlight from Buffagni and Sanchez-Almara, looking straight out of a 50s sci-fi film. Cho goes to fight it, and Banner attempts to evacuate the area. Cho tries to safely lead the creature to the ocean, but the military intervenes and again proves a nuisance. They continue their efforts to push Cho over the edge, and he retaliates by ripping their machines to shreds. The Incredible Hulk stops him though, and lays some truth onto his successor:

“Deep down, you know the truth. You got a monster in the trunk, don’t cha? Sometimes he climbs into the back seat. Sometimes he even takes the wheel.”

Banner emerges and echoes The Incredible Hulk’s words, then leaves Cho alone to mull on them. Cho takes the sentiment to heart, just as he returns to his own time.

READ: Bruce is right. See how HULK #7 shows the trauma of being a monster!

Final Thoughts On GENERATIONS: BANNER HULK & TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1

GENERATIONS: BANNER HULK & TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1 takes a classic comic story and makes it succeed by understanding its core concept. Cho spends most of the issue insisting the Hulk is a great gift, but Banner knows better. Watching a hero in his prime talk to his successor is amazing, especially when they share the same problems. Pak’s strong writing and Buffagni and Sanchez-Almara’s art push the issue to re-establish the truth about the Hulk and give his easy-going successor something to think about. It’s a solid Hulk story for the modern world.

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