After months of waiting, Generations is finally here! We catch up on a tale of twin Hulks and get the lowdown on the optimistic side of the Marvel Universe you’ve been waiting for. Don’t miss our verdict on the first of a brand new series of oneshots this week in The Marvel Rundown:
Generations: Banner Hulk & The Totally Awesome Hulk #1
Written by Greg Pak
Illustrated by Matteo Buffagni
Coloed by Dono Sanchez-Almara
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Alexander Jones: In the wake of a more dour, serious event and some fans less than enthused by recent marketing, The House of Ideas is back with Generations, a lighter series of one-shot issues that combines old and new legacy heroes of the same moniker under one comic. AJ, what did you think about the debut issue of Generations: The Strongest?
AJ Frost: Well, it really didn’t land for me, but that’s maybe because I don’t know the characters super well. Obviously, I know the Hulk/Bruce Banner, but I haven’t spent much time with Amadeus Cho. There was nothing I disliked about the characterization, but at the same time, I didn’t feel like the repartee (if you could call it that) between the Hulks was earned. It was like: no setup, huge action sequence, some odd dialogue, and then onto the next thing. Didn’t jibe with me 100 percent.
Jones: I couldn’t agree with you more. What’s weird is Marvel has been talking up this Vanishing Point coming out of Secret Empire, but it stitched the comic together in a thin, disjointed manner. I really wanted to like this issue but the dual Hulks and thin premise didn’t really live up to the potential.There’s a couple nice bits of characterization and continuity here and there but overall the comic seems to be lacking something from the narrative that would really pull it together. I have actually been thinking about the simplicity of the DC Animated Universe and how clear and concise those stories were with a short run time. I worry that there is a supreme lack of focus here.
Frost: Lack of focus and a lack of energy. I mean, it’s a weird thing for readers, right? On the one hand, here’s a character we’ve known for fifty years or so. A pop culture icon. Now thrown into a story with a contemporary version of the character with different motivations, dreams, and worldview. There’s real conflict just waiting to be explored. But at the same time, there’s a delicate balance that must be struck. I think the balance, for this issue anyway, was on the wrong side of the scale. At least story wise, as you said, there was a lot of potential that just wasn’t realized. But, then again, this is issue one. Maybe that was the way it was intended. What did you think of the art?
Jones: This issue is a one-shot and I was confused by just how Generations is going to continue. I really don’t know if Marvel is looking to tell more Banner and Cho Hulk stories or not. I like Greg Pak and just like you said there is something interesting about these two characters sitting together in the ’60s Marvel Universe. I just wanted to see the publisher and Pak do more with the magnificent premise handed to him. I liked the art but thought Buffagni’s work was a bit sparse throughout the story. I admit that he didn’t have that much to draw but there was something hollow and computer generated about his art that took me out of the story at some points. What did you think?
Frost: You know, I liked it. I think he did a good job with the splash pages more than the panels. I think when there is room to have an expansive scene, Buffagni really shines. I do think, however, that one of the missed opportunities here was to explore using a ’60s Marvel aesthetic in concert with a contemporary one.That way, besides just having the characters meet, the vision of Marvel could also be seen in tandem. I don’t know, that was just a thought that occurred while reading this issue. Do you think that was a missed opportunity, or were my expectations just off?
Jones: I agree with you. I just was really hoping for the best with the comic. I think Buffagni definitely turns in visually appealing work here, I just wasn’t sure about some of the more technical aspects about the work in general. I wish he would have portrayed the individual Hulks to look different and keying into the artist failing to follow up on the visual aesthetic of the ’60 is an especially good criticism for the title. There are a lot of aspects of this issue that fail to come together for me but I think everything that you listed above paired with the story is a great way to flesh out a more full opinion. I do however, think that Pak did write some scenes in this comic that were at the very least enjoyable, did you feel the pleasant vibe of the comic or were you bored to tears when you popped the first page open?
Frost: Did you think the comic had a pleasant vibe? That was certainly not a word that popped into my mind. Maybe “listless.” There was nothing to grab onto except the premise itself, which while interesting, doesn’t make for a primo story. I felt that with all the jumping around and the pseudo-babble about controlling emotions, there was a meandering quality to the storytelling. I wasn’t bored either, because I did want to see what was going to happen. And actually, the last beat had some things going for it (trying to be non-spoiler-y, but let’s just say there was a monster for the Hulk(s) to smash), but then kinda just… ended. No denouement.
Jones: I thought it was pleasant. I like the back-and-forth between Banner and Cho. When they both Hulk down and get in touch with each other the tone of the series loosens up. Even though the comic is criminally light on story there’s just something extremely approachable and casual about this comic I find alluring. A lot of what I’m talking about can also be attributed to Buffagni’s slick art but Pak definitely carries this side of the title as well. I was really sad at the bummer of an ending that this comic had. It felt way to abrupt and might just be part of the next storyline. Again, the marketing regarding Generations is endlessly confusing as this is not an event or an ongoing, it is a self-contained one-shot.
Frost: Hence, why I was confused. I thought this was issue 1, not just a one-shot. But alas, Marvel plays by their own rules it seems. So, Alex, what’s your final verdict?
Jones: I wanted to love this one man. I’m really sad about this. I would say that it is a browse. I don’t think that this comic book is trash just because it did have a lot of heart and some pretty pencils. I would say you can pick this one off of the rack and BROWSE. What about you?
Frost: Yeah man. BROWSE for sure. So much potential, but so much nothing happening. But, there’s a kernel of something. It just needs to be let out.
Crossing my fingers that the next one will really deliver the goods. Looks like we’ve got Generations Phoenix And Jean Grey #1 AND the debut of Christopher Priest and Phil Noto’s Inhumans book are both coming right up next week be there and whatever you do make sure to stay away from the DC REBORN ROUND-UP!