The concept here is a simple one: which Hulk is the strongest?
Amadeus Cho – the totally awesome Hulk – is mysteriously transported back in time where he encounters the original Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner. There’s no time for a tearful reunion or to ponder the mysteries of time travel though, because the original Hulk is being chased down by General Ross and the full force of the US military. When the two Hulks meet, there’s an instant clash to see which of them is the strongest there is. Yet it’s the contrast of character between Cho and Banner which reveals their true strengths…
Amadeus Cho has proven himself to be a 21st century Hulk in every way. He’s smart, funny and has evolved into a real hero. However, Bruce Banner was – and always will be – the original, and it’s hard to beat the classic. His Hulk went through many changes over the years, but it’s always the tale of being the monster hunted down by a fearful society which epitomized the struggles he went through. Banner himself became the lonely man, making his way across America and the world, living in a state of constant fear of being caught and trying to control the rage within.
This story reminds us of the grim hardships Banner went through for all those years, a fact which astonishes Cho. Cho has been lucky by comparison, and in him Banner sees hope. Yet Banner’s Hulk sees Cho as a fraud, a liar who denies his own inner demons and is a pretender to the crown. The question of who’s the strongest there goes far beyond the physical, and it’s more a matter of who the characters are deep down.
In this regard, Generations: Banner Hulk & The Totally Awesome Hulk is a great idea. Unfortunately, in execution, it sometimes feels a bit forced. While it’s great to see the classic Hulk smashing away while still being the hero, the plot which is introduced is just padding to get to the heart of the matter – which makes it feel rather pointless. If the two hulks are going to fight, or Cho and Banner are going to have a proper discussion, then at least make it count for something. The story serves its purpose on a psychological level, but it doesn’t offer anything particularly new.
Also, it would have been nice to have been presented with at least one truly memorable image of the Hulk – one of Marvel’s most iconic characters. That isn’t saying the art is bad – far from it, it’s actually gorgeous, one of the best-looking books out there this month – but it doesn’t quite have the impact some fans might want. Still, as Hulk artists go, Matteo Buffagni ranks up with there with the best of them.
So, which Hulk is the strongest? Which is the best? That’s up for readers to decide for themselves. Will Generations: Banner Hulk & The Totally Awesome Hulk #1 help them make up their minds? Possibly. It’s a good read, even if it isn’t a great one, and if you’ve got the cash to spare it’s worth adding to your collection.