After weeks of errant teasing, Marvel has revealed the true identity of the "Totally Awesome" Hulk as none other than Amadeus Cho (as Newsarama correctly speculated back in June). Identified now an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cho returns to the Hulk franchise and segues from sidekick to star alongside his co-creator and former Hulk writer Greg Pak and artist Frank Cho. The formal debut of this new status quo will be with December's Totally Awesome Hulk #1.
"...We’ve seen Banner’s story for so long, and the burden that he carries, with the weight of the Hulk on his shoulders," said Axel Alonso, Marvel's Editor-In-Chief. "Perhaps the most interesting thing is to see how someone else shoulders that burden, and immediately, Amadeus came to mind for a lot of different reasons."
Alonso goes on to say that Cho's lack of an imposing physical presence -- "he's the 98-pound weakling" -- was one of several reasons he though it was a "super cool" idea.
"And secondarily is that he’s so different from Banner. He shares the monstrous intellect but he’s so different — he’s a teenage kid, who’s hasn’t lived much yet," Alonso explained. "When Banner inherited the burden of being the Hulk, he was an adult. And I think that it showed in the way that he responded to it. Amadeus is a plucky kid. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, he’s the fifth or sixth smartest guy in the world according to the official rankings, and I think he’s just going to carry himself very differently with that power."
Alonso goes on to confirm that Bruce Banner will no longer be the Hulk, but that his story is far from over.
"Just like there’s one Thor in the Marvel Universe and she’s a she, there is one Hulk and it is Amadeus Cho. But I also want to say that there is a story to be told for Banner. Banner’s story is not over," said Alonso. "And I don’t want people saying, 'Oh, these guys hate Banner, and they don’t like him and they’re sick of him.; No — we love Banner. And in fact, that was one of the things that Greg and Mark and I discussed, how fascinating Banner’s life will become now that he no longer has this weight on his shoulders. What is his story? It’s far from finished. People shouldn’t think that we’re jettisoning Banner — he has a place in the Marvel Universe, and I think it’s going to become more fascinating what that place is in the coming months."
Totally Awesome Hulk's story will work on three levels, says series writer Greg Pak.
"We’ve got the big crazy action level — the big monster hunt — that’s what our big story arc is. Which is also up Frank Cho’s alley, because if you know Frank Cho, you know he draws monsters like nobody’s business, and he’s going nuts with this," said Pak. "So, we’ve got the monster hunt, we’ve got the mystery of what happened to Banner and what’s going on with Banner, and then there’s an emotional story, of course. My favorite kinds of stories are the ones that have these big crazy genre hijinks and then a real honest, meaty, emotional story where we’re watching a character grapple with some real things. And we’re going to see if Amadeus’ dream of being the greatest Hulk ever and his total confidence of that is really warranted. And we’ve got some great supporting characters that are going to be challenging him in some interesting ways."
Totally Awesome Hulk debuts in December.