“Totally Awesome Hulk” #2 will remind some readers in incredibly short order how much fun the Hercules and Amadeus Cho comics were back in the day. Amadeus was a perfect foil for Hercules, and the character in general was a real delight to read. Now that he’s the Hulk? Well, let’s just say Greg Pak and Frank Cho know exactly what they’re doing on that front by keeping that strong sense of fun.
“Totally Awesome Hulk” #2 continues everything we saw in the first issue: Hulk fighting monsters, Hulk fighting strong muscled women, Hulk verbally fighting with his sister Maddy and Hulk having perhaps just a touch less control than he thinks he does. We learn a little more about Lady Hellbender and why she’s monster-hunting, even as a classic Marvel monster bursts onto the scene. All the while, we get another tiny flashback to just what happened to remove Bruce Banner from the scene and firmly plant Amadeus Cho into the Hulk role.
Pak’s script is as witty and sharp as ever. With Amadeus being a foil first for the Hulk and then for Hercules, having Amadeus’s sister Maddy serve as his foil is a great decision. She gets to be the new voice of reason, even as anyone and everyone else continues to plow forward regardless of the wisdom she’s bringing to the table. Lady Hellbender is a little less fleshed out, but I appreciate that Pak and Cho have brought a certain amount of charisma to the character between her dialogue and her overall strong stance at any given moment. Amadeus himself feels a little reduced this issue, but — in some ways — that’s because he’s the hurtling juggernaut that everyone else is dancing around and redirecting. You can see very quickly how Lady Hellbender is trying to manipulate him, even as it’s understandable why how she’s succeeding.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that “Totally Awesome Hulk” #2 involves Cho drawing lots of monsters. It’s playing wonderfully to Cho’s strengths, as someone who can draw the bizarre and powerful at the drop of a hat. Seeing Lady Hellbender’s menagerie on that one splash is drool-worthy, with so many different fun-looking monsters just aching to get a chance to stomp across the page. Cho is also good with strong characters in general; the Hulk really comes across under Cho’s pen as a someone who could destroy a building with just a flick of his finger. What’s more, Amadeus’s Hulk form isn’t just a green version of the same character, even as there are still some strong similarities. While I appreciate that Cho knows how to draw a female character as very strong and powerful (these are no shrinking violets), it is hard to keep from noticing (especially when they’re on the same page) that She-Hulk and Lady Hellbender look virtually identical save for a different (and, to be fair, very attractive) coloring scheme from Sonia Oback. When it comes to everything else, from physique to face, they might as well be identical twins.
“Totally Awesome Hulk” #2 cements this new series as something fun. I don’t know how long the Hulk will get to be totally awesome, but it’s an adjective I approve of. If you’d like a light-hearted and fun take on superheroes, this is the place for you.