Monday, July 11, 2016

Totally Awesome Hulk #8 Review and *SPOILERS* - Marvel Mondays

Totally Awesome Hulk 008
"Peace in Our Time"
Writer - Greg Pak
Penciler - Alan Davis
Inker - Mark Farmer
Colorist - Chris Sotomayor
Letterers - VC's Cory Petit & Joe Sabino
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: 07.06.2016

Hey, it's the Hulk... and evidently, he's totally awesome!  What he's not is Bruce Banner, because of course he's not!  Who is the Hulk?  Well, that's Amadeus Cho.  Despite having spent nearly the entirety of the previous volume of Hulk trying to reign in the Hulk Lantern Corps. (seriously, it was 10 out of the volume's, ugh, hefty 14 issues), we've now relaunched with yet another non-Banner Hulk.

So, let's check in with our... fauxhawked Goliath as we submerge ourselves in this Civil War II tie-in.  The Hulk's first Civil War tie-in, in fact... he was jettisoned to space for the last one!

I've been a Hulk fan a long time.  Like, a really long time.  When I first heard that Banner was going to be replaced by Amadeus Cho, my first response was a resigned sigh.  Another replacement hero in the name of diversiwhatever.  What I have come to find is that against my basic judgment, I'm actually enjoying this volume of Hulk.  Perhaps more than the past couple (it's depressing as hell that there have been more than a couple volumes in the past half-decade, but that's a whole nother issue).  Much of that is due to Greg Pak, who writes (and has written) damn fine Hulk comics.

In the previous chapter, Bruce Banner finally resurfaced.  This is the first time we've seen him in the post-Secret Wars-All-New-All-Different-soon to be "Marvel Then".  He is apparently completely cured of his Hulkiness.

In this issue, we see Banner face off with a threat the likes of which he's never dealt with before... the flu.  Before losing his Hulk powers, he was always able to fight off illness.  To test whether or not he was completely cured, Banner exposed himself to a strain of influenza to see if he would become infected... and he did.

The Cho siblings, Amadeus and Maddy take the ailing Banner to an underground hideout, right around the place where Banner would lock himself up when his powers were day-night cycle dependent.  The sibling rivalry and sorta-kinda competition here is very fun to watch.

The trio receive a visit from Rick Jones and Bruce's cousin, She-Hulk (what, no Marlo?  Just where is Marlo these days?  Is she still the Harpy?).  They both comment that although Bruce is quite ill at the moment, they'd never quite seen him so happy.  

We learn that Cho's main thrust for seeking out Banner was to talk about stretches of lost memory he's experiencing while in his hulked-out form.  He is unaware of whether or not he's endangering those around him, or engaging in less than legal ways.  They share a rather touching moment together, where Bruce reassures the lad that he's "not him".  With the weight of the world now off his shoulders, Bruce emerges from the hideout ready to face what's to come... and honestly, I haven't been this excited about a Marvel book in quite some time.

What I'm not too excited about is our next issue solicit... as it looks like the Avengers are coming to town.  This is one of the main reasons I'd walked away from Marvel (for the most part) a few years back.  This was during a period in which the Avengers and/or S.H.I.E.L.D. appeared in EVERY Marvel comic being published.  I get that they're the "mainstream" deals these days, but, it's really quite enough.  People would flip out during the 90's if Wolverine appeared in 3-4 books a month... but, nothing was ever said about the Avengers appearing in dozens.  

Hopefully this series gets a few more issues following Civil War II before the annual slash-and-burn.

Bits and Pieces:

As much as it pains me to say, this was a great issue.  I'm still not completely on board with our All-New All-Awesome fauxhawked fauxhulk, but I cannot deny that this was a really fun read that added to the overall Hulk mythos.  This may actually be my favorite current Marvel title.  Alan Davis and Greg Pak make an incredible (no pun intended) team.