Written by Greg Pak
Pencils by Carlo Barberi
Inks by Walden Wong
Colors by Frank D’Armata
Letters by VC’s Cory Petit
In the previous story arc, Amadeus Cho banishes himself to outer space to spare the world from the destructive elements of the Hulk, which is raging inside him. However, Amadeus responds to a distress signal that leads him to the planet Sakaar. On Sakaar, Amadeus, the Hulk, battles a number of formidable opponents in a quest to free the nomadic clans from the Warlord of Fillia. Along the way he befriends Odinson, Unworthy Thor, and wins the trust of the nomadic tribes.
This issue begins as The Hulk lands in New York City with Odinson, who says his goodbyes leaving The Hulk to settle things with “Maddy”, Amadeus Cho’s sister. Maddy confronts Amadeus for rushing off into space and not communicating with anyone for weeks. The Hulk does not transform back to Amadeus in these issues but can talk intelligently, and does throughout. Amadeus convinces Maddy that he’s different: more considerate, and less…stupid. Amadeus explains that his biggest problem was trying to keep The Hulk locked up, which bottled him up, leading to dumb decisions. He impresses on Maddy that he’s accepted The Hulk as part of who he is and can channel his immense powers for good.
The Hulk appears to prove his point to Maddy by saving some people on a bridge and keeping the bridge from collapsing. Unlike Banner’s Hulk, “Cho-Hulk” is smart and utilizes complex mathematics combined with his great strength to help Miles Morales, who was on the scene when Hulk arrived, to complete the task. The story continues as Prince Phalkan escapes from prison and comes back to NYC to confront The Hulk. Ms. Marvel arrives to lend a hand. Once again, The Hulk utilizes his immense intelligence and strength during this struggle. However, The Hulk also demonstrates a level of rage and aggression that scares his sister, Odinson, Miles Morales, and Ms. Marvel. The final panel shows Amadeus locked in the trunk of a car prompting the question: is this the zenned-out Hulk we thought he was at the beginning of the book?
The art is strong with details provided for faces, buildings, and monsters. The colors pop off the page making The Hulk large and menacing – as he should be. However, the story is what grabs me. The writer plays on the trope of the hero’s story: if I’m a problem to myself and others a little time in the wilderness will refine and change me. The hero’s journey is a part of a number of famous comic book character’s stories. Most notably, Batman, and more recently, Unworthy Thor, to name a couple. The Amadeus Cho story is a continuation and extension of that story. It extends the narrative by demonstrating that isolation and bottling up our emotions does not get rid of our problems, rather it makes them worse. Training is good, but it won’t solve the problems we ignore or run from. This is a great story about a character I love! I highly recommend this book.