Generations: Totally Awesome Hulk and Banner Hulk #1 (Marvel Comics)
Like everything Marvel publishes, there’s been a lot of hype surrounding Generations, which finds the contemporary versions of major Marvel characters meeting their “classic” versions. Marvel is presenting this as a way to go back to the roots of many of their characters, and is pitching this series of one-shots as the “next step” into Legacy, their “we promise we’re not trying to copy what DC did with Rebirth but yeah we kind of are” publishing initiative coming up next month. With the first of these titles being released this week with Generations: Totally Awesome Hulk and Banner Hulk, a lot of people are wondering just what these specials are. They’re not “time travel stories” according to Marvel, but deal with something called ’The Vanishing Point´ that’s somehow tied into Secret Empire. Well, unfortunately the Greg Pak and Matteo Buffagni special doesn’t have any insight into the greater workings of Generations, and honestly the special itself doesn’t offer anything all that interesting either.
Amadeus Cho’s Hulk (also known as the titular “Totally Awesome Hulk”) has found himself transported back into the past, and comes face to face with the classic, “incredible” Hulk. That’s really the whole point of this special. They meet, fight (because it’s a Marvel team-up), and then team up against a giant sea monster. That’s the whole issue, and while Greg Pak does offer some revelations into Amadeus Cho’s life as the Hulk as the two alter egos talk, it would definitely be lost on you if you’re just picking this book up cold and not also reading Cho’s monthly title.
That’s not to say that Pak’s characterizations are bad though. As the best Hulk writer since Peter David, Pak knows how to get into the mindset of both Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho, and he does have fun getting the two characters to talk to one another, but I’ll admit that seeing Banner and Cho talk was a lot cooler than Hulk and Totally Awesome Hulk together. For as much as Marvel has hyped up these two characters coming together, the two of them together as Hulks isn’t as cool as should have been, and seeing Banner and Cho together isn’t as special because we’ve seen them together plenty of times before this new take on Hulk.
Matteo Buffagni’s art is pretty great for this book, and fits well with what the script needs. Buffagni’s style is just loose and cartoony enough to evoke a style of comics past, but still has a modern feel to it. The two Hulks battling the sea monster looks pretty cool, but unfortunately it’s over much too soon.
That’s really what hurts Generations: Totally Awesome Hulk and Banner Hulk. For all the hype surrounding it, the events that happen here are over way too fast, and there’s no real explanation for why Cho has found himself in this situation. It almost seems like Marvel hasn’t really planned this idea out, as the big revelations in this feel a lot smaller than they should, and there’s nothing really necessary about this special to the larger Legacy or even Secret Empire events going on (in fact we haven’t even gotten to this point in Secret Empire, so the timing is already off). Aside from being a Hulk super fan, there’s not a lot here to really make any comic reader feel the need to pick this up, which doesn’t seem to be a good sign for the other Generations books coming our way in the next few months.