The Totally Awesome Hulk #4

by Kalem Lalonde on March 25, 2016

Writer: Greg Pak 
Artist: Frank Cho

If anything, The Totally Awesome Hulk, has been a tremendously fun series. Amadeus Cho is a character who deserves this kind of spotlight and who better to shine that spotlight than Greg Pak and Frank Cho! The first 3 issues of this series mixed a great brother/sister dynamic with fun monster battles and issue 4 continues that formula while finally reaching the big moment we’ve been building to in the flashbacks. With that, The Totally Awesome Hulk #4 may just be the best issue of the series yet.

Something about Greg Pak’s previous Hulk work that has been brought back to this series is the central idea of monsters. Planet Hulk presented the struggle Hulk had with the idea that he might actually belong on a planet with monsters rather than humans. The Totally Awesome Hulk presents the struggle Amadeus has of controlling the Hulk’s inner monster. Throughout this series, Amadeus has been trying to tame the beast and defeat his enemies without the savage and animalistic rage of the Hulk. Here, we see Amadeus accepting it for a brief moment and it is awesome. The book is setting up a phenomenal inner conflict for Amadeus that developed very well in this issue. Structurally, it felt fitting that this ongoing struggle would reach a new height while this debut arc came to a quick close.   

The one big issue, surprisingly, in this comic is the presence of Miles Morales. Miles is a phenomenal character who elevates nearly any comic he appears in but he was simply useless in this issue. It didn’t feel like Miles’ presence was thematically justified as this was a showdown between monsters and more monsters. She-Hulk is a logical addition to the story but Miles simply doesn’t fit in that regard. And instead of participating in the main conflict, Spider-Man is essentially sidelined and reduced to playing a comic relief role in an already funny series. Unfortunately, Pak’s jokes for Spider-Man aren’t even funny and end up becoming a hindrance to the interesting main story.  

In terms of the flashbacks, this issue elevated them to a new level. Despite being brief and scarce, I have enjoyed the flashbacks exploring the passing of the Hulk baton. Here, the story comes to an end as Amadeus finds a solution to the imminent explosion. To my surprise, this scene becomes the most poignant and sad scene of this entire arc. In one small, and powerfully drawn panel, Pak is able to speak a million words about how Banner feels about the Hulk. Among a series a lighthearted moments, this became the emotional pull that elevated this issue beyond simply being fun. This scene alone is the reason this individual issue succeeds so greatly.

The Totally Awesome Hulk #4 presents the visuals of Frank Cho in all their glory. Unfortunately, this is the final issue Cho will be drawing but he makes the most of it, drawing his most gorgeous looking issue yet. The action presented is clear, dynamic, and fun while the aforementioned emotional moment is tragic and gut-wrenching. Cho’s pencils feel so synchronized with Pak’s fun and goofy tone that I am having a difficult time imagining another artist bringing this story to the page. Frank Cho will be missed after the 4 incredibly looking comics he provided us with the first arc of this series.

The Totally Awesome Hulk #4 mixes a powerful flashback with beautifully drawn action sequences and dynamic character work. Greg Pak’s return to the Hulk has been a wonderful breath of fresh air to a character who has always been hard to get right and that is exactly what this issue does.  

Our Score:


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