When teenaged super genius Amadeus Cho became the title character of the new Totally Awesome Hulk series he did so with the belief that he would be able to do a better job of managing the Jade Giant’s rage and power than his predecessor, Bruce Banner. He’s discovering though that being the mightiest mortal in the Marvel Universe is no easy feat. In this month’s Generations: Banner Hulk & the Totally Awesome Hulkone-shot by writer Greg Pak and artist Matteo Buffagni, Amadeus will learn more revelations about himself and the gamma-fueled legacy he inherited as time travel brings the two Hulks face to face.

Then, this fall, Amadeus will once again face down the long shadow his forerunner casts as he’s transported to a place where the Banner Hulk experienced some of his greatest triumphs and tragedies: the planet Sakaar. That happens in October, when Pak artist Greg Land bring Cho into the Marvel Legacy era by changing the title of his series back the original and classic Incredible Hulk, and picking up the series original numeration with issue #709, the kickoff to a new arc titled “Return to Planet Hulk.”

 

CBR spoke with Pak about bringing the Cho and Banner Hulks face to face; the importance of his Generations one-shot to his ongoing Hulk saga; returning to Sakaar, a planet he introduced to the world in the original “Planet Hulk” storyline; and the new continents, concepts, and characters Amadeus will encounter in his initial exploits there.

CBR: Greg, the current “Weapons of Mutant Destruction” arc of Totally Awesome Hulk is proving to be an emotional one, full of difficult choices for Amadeus Cho. So what kind of state will he be when you pick up with him in your Generations: Banner Hulk & the Totally Awesome Hulk one-shot? How big a chapter is this story in the saga of the Totally Awesome Hulk?

Greg Pak: From the minute Amadeus became the Hulk, he loved it. He’s a cocky teenaged super-genius, convinced he’d be the best Hulk ever. Specifically, he thought he was unburdened by the anger that Banner carried around; he thought he could channel the Hulk’s massive power without losing himself. But as time has gone on, Amadeus has begun to learn more about himself — and more about the monster he’s been hiding in the trunk of his proverbial car. We’re entering the huge, high stakes climax of this big emotional arc — and there will be massive consequences. So read on and hang on!

 

Your Generations one-shot pairs Amadeus with the Bruce Banner incarnation of the Hulk, a character you wrote for many years. What’s it like returning to the Banner Hulk? And as we know from your run on the character and many others the Banner incarnation of the Hulk has been many different things over the years. What can you tell us about the Banner Hulk that Amadeus encounters in this issue?

I love Bruce Banner and I am always happy to have the chance to write him again. I’m also excited about this specific story because it gave me a chance to write Banner at a different stage in his life than any other time I’ve written Banner. I’ll say no more for fear of spoilers, but General Ross is in the story, commanding military forces in the desert, so that might be a big hint right there. I’ll also say that Banner and Amadeus coming together in this particular way is particularly important in terms of what Amadeus is going to take away from the story.

What can you tell us about the adventure Amadeus and Banner will have in this story?

Art from Generations: Banner Hulk & The Totally Awesome Hulk by Matteo Buffagni with colors by Dono Sanchez Almara

 
 

Amadeus and Banner are shocked to see each other, for reasons I can’t fully explain for fear of spoilers, but readers can probably guess at least some of them. As the preview pages indicate, they come under almost immediate attack by General Ross, who’s probably thrilled to have two Hulks to hunt. But they’ll eventually have to deal with an even bigger threat — and, of course, each other. It’s a big, fun story with massive action — but also digs deep into the differences (and possibly the disturbing similarities) between these two Hulks.

You’re collaborating with artist Matteo Buffagni on your Generations one-shot, an artist who can and has drawn all types of stories, but one of the things I love about his work is how much it adds to the overall tone of the story. What do you enjoy most about working with Matteo?

He clearly loves both of these Hulks and has had a ton of fun with all of the action. When you tell a Hulk story, you need some smashing, right? And when you tell a story with two Hulks…

Pak Prepares for Amadeus Cho’s Journey to Planet Hulk

Your Generations one-shot is sort of the bridge between Totally Awesome Hulk and Marvel Legacy, where the title will morph into Incredible Hulk and the series original numbering will be picked up. It’s also a chance to revisit one of your biggest stories, since issue #709 kicks off a new arc titled “Return to Planet Hulk.” You’re not just returning to the familiar characters and concepts of planet Sakaar though, correct? Will this story allow you to add to and further flesh out the people, nations and cultures of this world?

It’s a huge thrill to dig back into “Planet Hulk!” I also wrote the “Planet Hulk” prose novel that comes out in October, so I’ve had “Planet Hulk” on my mind and in my heart quite a lot this year. But of course with the “Return to Planet Hulk” story that starts with Incredible Hulk #709, we’re going to shake things up a bit and do something different from the original storyline.

 

Folks who loved the original “Planet Hulk” should get a kick out of the new things we’re revealing here — throughout the original “Planet Hulk” storyline, various characters talked about the Red King’s war on Fillia. This new story takes place in Fillia, a continent away from the Red King’s domain in the original “Planet Hulk” story. It’s a shattered land, devastated by the Red King’s air war, where survivors roam the landscape in packs on jerry-rigged, motorized death machines. We’re introducing a brand new antagonist and a twisted religious culture based on the old Sakaarian holy stories of the Worldbreaker. It’s weird and disturbing and a huge amount of fun — dontcha dare miss it!

In the original “Planet Hulk” arc Banner was exiled to Sakaar and that set the stage for his adventures there. What can you tell us about the circumstances that bring Amadeus to Sakaar? How will they impact his initial exploits on the planet?

 

I can’t reveal too much for fear of spoilers, but Amadeus follows a call for help, gets pulled through the Great Portal, and ends up fighting in the deadly arena the locals call the Gauntlet. He’s not just fighting for himself, though — he’s fighting for an entire clan. And whether or not he can channel the power of the Worldbreaker may determine whether the innocents around him live or die. It’s a hugely high stakes story that goes to the heart of Amadeus’s ongoing struggle with the monster within.

Your Weapon X collaborator Greg Land is helping you kick off the “Return to Planet Hulk” arc of Incredible Hulk. What’s it like working with Greg on this particular story? What does he bring to this tale?

Art from Generations: Banner Hulk & The Totally Awesome Hulk by Matteo Buffagni with colors by Dono Sanchez Almara

 
 

Greg Land drew a tremendous Amadeus and a fantastic Hulk in our Weapon X run — he really gets the fun and energy of the character. And now he’s cutting loose with tremendous world building and action on this alien planet. This is the third storyline I’ve worked with Greg on — after Phoenix Endsong and Weapon X — and I think this might be my favorite. He’s just tearing it up and having fun.

Finally, what can you tell us about the supporting players and antagonists Amadeus will initially encounter on Sakaar? Will we see familiar faces? Primarily new characters? And will there be room in this story for surprise appearances by characters from the cosmic and larger Marvel Universe, like how we saw the Silver Surfer in the original tale?

The story has plenty of Easter eggs for longtime readers and “Planet Hulk” fans, but it’s entirely new-reader-friendly with Amadeus meeting a brand new cast of Sakaarian heroes and villains. As with the original “Planet Hulk”, Sakaar is a diverse world with folks from three different species — so you’ll see red Imperials, gray Shadow, and insectivorid Hivers. I’m having particular fun right now with a villainous Imperial lackey named Lickspit and a Shadow Priestess named Maeera.

Aaaaand YES, we will see another huge Marvel Universe character play a big role as the story progresses — buy ’em all and see who!

I’d like to conclude by saying, if you’re interested in Amadeus’s big emotional story arc, you definitely don’t want to miss Totally Awesome Hulk #23, which sets up the “Return to Planet Hulk” story and digs very deep into Amadeus’s current struggle.