Smash­ing to­gether

The old and new Hulks col­lide in the first of this se­ries of Marvel one-shots.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Reads - Re­view by MICHAEL CHEANG star2@thes­

EVER since Gen­er­a­tions was an­nounced last year with a bril­liant Alex Ross paint­ing de­pict­ing the past and present in­car­na­tions of sev­eral Marvel su­per­heroes, fans have been won­der­ing and wait­ing to see what it is all about.

Well, the wait is over with the re­lease last Wed­nes­day of Gen­er­a­tions: The Strong­est.

Gen­er­a­tions is a lim­ited 10-is­sue an­thol­ogy se­ries that will fea­ture team-ups of clas­sic Marvel su­per­heroes with their modern day coun­ter­parts. For in­stance, The Strong­est puts the fo­cus on the two Hulks – Bruce Ban­ner (the orig­i­nal Hulk) and Amadeus Cho (the To­tally Awe­some Hulk).

The other Gen­er­a­tions books are The Iron (Iron Man: Tony Stark and Riri Wil­liams aka Iron­heart), The Spi­ders (Spi­der-Man: Peter Parker and Miles Mo­rales), The Mar­vels (Ms Marvel: Carol Dan­vers and Ka­mala Khan), The Amer­i­cas (Cap­tain Amer­ica: Steve Rogers and Sam Wil­son), The Thun­der (Thor: Odin­son and Jane Fos­ter), The Archers (Hawk­eye: Clint Bar­ton and Kate Bishop), The Best (Wolver­ine: Lo­gan and X-23), The Bravest (Cap­tain Marvel: Mar-Vell and Carol Dan­vers), and The Phoenix (fea­tur­ing the older and younger Jean Grey).

Wait a minute. Aren’t some of these char­ac­ters – in­clud­ing Mar-Vell, Lo­gan, and the older Jean Grey – dead? Is Gen­er­a­tions just a one-off “What if” story that will have no bear­ing on the main con­ti­nu­ity?

Well, ap­par­ently not. Marvel edi­tor-in-chief Axel Alonso has re­port­edly said that what hap­pens in these sto­ries will ac­tu­ally af­fect the char­ac­ters in the main­stream con­ti­nu­ity.

“These sto­ries do hap­pen, they re­ally count. They re­ally mat­ter. This isn’t some al­ter­nate re­al­ity story or some time-travel story,” Alonso said in a TV in­ter­view on ABC News.

If that is the case, then it should be in­ter­est­ing to see where Amadeus Cho’s To­tally Awe­some Hulk goes af­ter what hap­pens in The Strong­est.

The story here is sim­ple. Cho’s Hulk some­how goes back in time, where he crosses paths with Bruce Ban­ner’s Hulk bat­tling Gen­eral Thun­der­bolt Ross’s armies. Since this is set way be­fore Ban­ner even meets Cho, there is some con­fu­sion and the two end up fight­ing each other – but also team up when the army un­wit­tingly awak­ens some ran­dom sea mon­ster.

The story is sig­nif­i­cant for two things. One, Cho gets to see how his pre­de­ces­sor lived with be­ing the Hulk – hunted by the army, hated by the pub­lic, and forced to search through garbage for his next meal. Two, Cho fi­nally comes to re­alise that de­spite the im­mense power he wields as the Hulk, be­ing the gi­ant green Go­liath isn’t a gift – it’s a curse.

It’s a re­al­i­sa­tion that will prob­a­bly af­fect Cho fur­ther down the road; as of now, he has been over­con­fi­dent in his abil­ity to “con­trol” the Hulk and stay in the driv­ing seat de­spite hav­ing a “mon­ster in the trunk”. What will he do when some­thing hap­pens that trig­gers the mon­ster and he loses con­trol?

Since this is a Hulk book, there’s lots of ac­tion in The Strong­est. But the real draw of the story is when the two Hulks and their al­ter-egos dis­cuss their var­i­ous con­di­tions. Since Cho’s Hulk has never re­ally in­ter­acted with Ban­ner’s Hulk be­fore, it’s an eye-open­ing ex­change that goes to show that they aren’t re­ally that dif­fer­ent af­ter all. It also serves to give Cho’s Hulk a lot more depth, be­yond be­ing just a sub­sti­tute for Ban­ner’s Hulk.

As Gen­er­a­tions’ open­ing salvo, The Strong­est def­i­nitely gets the se­ries off to a strong start.

Poor tanks. They never stood a chance. — Marvel Comics

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