It’s difficult being a comics fan in superhero comics at times, in particular when you like legacy heroes. Be it Wally West, Bucky Barnes, or Jane Foster there seems to be an expiration date assigned these days to the idea that mantles can pass and new characters can take the lead. While Amadeus Cho is relatively new by modern standards, he first showed up relatively early in Greg Pak’s original Incredible Hulk run, and became a fan-favorite as part of the Incredible Hercules buddy comedy/action book. So while it would seem a little strange to take a character like that and graft him as the Hulk, Pak really made it work. Both as an exploration of a different flavor of trauma from Banner’s Hulk, as well as different kinds of Hulk stories, and seeing what kind of pressure you can put your lead under. But as with most of these legacy hero stories, they come to an end, and Amadeus’s time as his own lead is over. Though this issue makes it hard not to feel like there was more to say.
The last arc has dealt with the consequences of Amadeus’s repressed pride and rage finally coming back to bite him in the form of the Dark Hulk. While that’s not a new Hulk story, what makes this different is both that Amadeus’s cockiness and pride is possibly more dangerous than even Banner, and of course the friends that he hasn’t cut himself off from like Banner. Overall though, Pak captures just what qualities made Amadeus both an interesting character and a fantastic protagonist to follow. His courage, intelligence, and unlike Banner his willingness to accept himself warts and all. While he does get help, this is in the end still his story.
Carlo Barberi and Walden Wong do a fantastic job on the final issue here. Obviously a great deal of care is given to Cho’s physicality in his various Hulk stages and it makes for a great show given the action in the final issue. It also works for the quieter moments in the issue, albeit Cho is drawn as weirdly small even relative to characters younger than him. Frank D’Armata’s colors also add a great deal of energy to the proceedings which make for an explosive story. And while this is Greg Pak’s final issue of the Incredible Hulk, it’s not Amadeus Cho’s final adventure. One hopes though that Pak gets to return for another turn with his creation, it’s just not the same without him.
4 Dark Hulks out of 5