For those of you who have been keeping up with Marvel’s Secret Wars saga along with the new Civil War II series, this issue will answer the one question folks have had since the franchise introduced Amadeus Cho as the new version of Hulk. In the 8 months since the Secret War ended, what happened to Bruce Banner? And where has he been since the Hulk’s gamma powers were transferred to Cho?
The story starts with Bruce Banner coming to at the side of a road, freaked out and stealing clothes from a nearby farmhouse in classic post-Hulk-out fashion. (This opening reminded me of the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno Hulk TV Show where Bruce would wander up a random road at the end of almost every show). When Banner tries to make a phone call at a nearby bar the owner of the stolen clothes recognizes him and confronts him, (I always used to wonder why that never happened more often). Only this time, when Bruce is threatened, he doesn’t Hulk out. In fact, he seems to be suffering from temporary amnesia, because he can’t remember why he can’t feel the Hulk anymore.
Amadeus Cho, the new version of the Hulk does make an appearance in this issue and he shares the Cliff’s Notes version of how he and Bruce changed places. Cho’s version of the Hulk is very different, because, as he explains, he’s different. Cho’s transformation appears effortless, less agonizing both during and post Hulk out compared Banner’s. He embraces his new role as a hero, but as previous issues has revealed, he’s never looked at Hulk or Banner any other way. Cho is smart, confident, and not at all freaked out by his psyche’s new green roommate.
On the flip side, remember how when Bruce wasn’t the Hulk, he was socially awkward, always on the run, anxiety-ridden and plagued by guilt? Well, this version of Bruce is still like that…just..all the time. This is a bit of a mid-life crisis for Bruce as this is the first time in his life that he hasn’t had to worry about accidentally hurting people or property damage, and it has a profound effect on him.
What I Think
I have been a little wary of Marvel’s “All New All Different” all e’er thing, because as many of us cry for diversity in comics we often get reboots of only one or two characters thrown at us in tribute. However, I think this is a fun series and I think Greg Pak and Frank Cho have everything to do with that.
With issue #7, Pak’s writing is reminiscent of Peter David’s classic tormented Banner mindset, (which I really liked) and my only wish here is that there were a couple more pages of it. Alan Davis replaces Frank Cho as penciler in this issue and personally, I miss him, but Chris Sotomayor’s colors make everything feel congruous enough that the switch isn’t too jarring. I did feel, however, that Cho in human form, resembled more of a skinny Kpop star on his day off rather than a super-scientist.
But then again, Cho isn’t Banner.
I believe this is the point of this issue.. The storyline definitely feels like we’re being prepped for something, and it wraps up what happened to Banner fairly well. I feel Banner’s representation here is exactly what Bruce would do if he woke up and realized that the Hulk was no longer a part of him. For good. I really wanted one comic totally devoted to the retelling of how this switch happened, instead of being spoon fed the story in flashbacks and memories, but this will do.
This is classic all-ages Marvel, but this issue is a slight departure from the main arc and is definitely for folks who are Banner fans since Cho really only makes a guest appearance. This comic is definitely worth a read and I’m curious what will happen next. What are they going to do with Banner? Are we being prepped for two Hulk’s on the Marvel U like we have two Spideys and two Captain Americas? I also find it interesting that in each case one version of each of the aforementioned characters is a person of color.
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artists: alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Matt Hollingsworth
Editor: Mark Paniccia
• Have you read Civil War II: Totally Awesome Hulk #7? What do you think