Totally Awesome Hulk #20
Author: Greg Pak
Artist: Robert Gill
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Barely any X-Men in this one…but that’s okay. Cho manages to carry it. Him and Deathstrike (who actually refers to herself as an X-Man…that was surreal) work well together.
Previously: Weapon X has been gathering mutants, and the Hulk, to use their DNA in crafting the ultimate killer cyborg. The team of killer X-Men, and the Hulk, attempt to locate the mysterious Weapon X facility to stop this. While the others pursue one lead, Cho and Deathstrike attempt to track down friends and family of the one cyborg they managed to capture. The mother was a piece of work, though.
Currently: A reporter is interviewing some natives of the Republic of Santo Marco. They get interrupted by some Polar Bears (from a former zoo) but a mutant native (Jorge) to the island steps in and fights off the bears. The reporter attempts to interview him but Jorge asks him to not print this due to anti-mutant hostility on the island. The reporter agrees to not write anything…except for his obituary! (seriously…that’s a line in the comic…it was hilarious) Turns out the reporter is a cyborg. It easily kills the mutant (they’re done with capturing) as the scientists look on. Stryker interrupts them, though. The fight only took 90 seconds and he’s not happy. But they will see what the next batch will do.
A short while later, while Logan’s group is investigating the murder in Santo Marco, Cho and Deathstrike have discovered that the cyborg they captured and his brother were both members of a new Church of Human Potential (gotta love all of these different church names). The brothers frequented a local church and Cho and Deathstrike are going to check it out. On the way, they have a nice little conversation about no killing (guess which side of it Deathstrike is on). They find the church, but it’s just an ordinary church that the brothers would sometimes use to meet in. Cho and Deathstrike find a nice lady reverend to converse with about the brother.
At the Weapon X facility, the scientists work on a Hulk Cyborg with adamantium bones. This one manages to break out but as it gets angrier, it gets bigger and suddenly the flesh rips off its own bones (the bones can’t expand due to being covered in adamantium). Time for a new subject, so they notify “Carla”.
In Texas, a young man is waiting for someone to make contact. Then he sees Cho reading a book by Reverend Stryker. They start talking and Cho tries to talk him out of joining the church. Then Carla pulls up and the shit hits the fan. Cho tries to talk Bobby out of going with Carla (this sounds like a bad episode of 90210) but then a hulked out cyborg attacks Cho. Cho manages to beat the cyborg AND keep Lady Deathstrike from killing the kid, but it’s pretty apparent the stress is getting to him. He’s sounding more and more like classic Hulk.
Thoughts/Reviews/Snide Comments: When I first glanced through this issue, I wasn’t terribly impressed. Not a huge amount of action and the art is mediocre, but when I read back through it a second time I actually really enjoyed it, for a few reasons.
First of all, this issue brings up the concept of religion. We’ve seen this broached a couple of times before, with the Friends of Humanity and other similar groups through the years (usually when Stryker is involved), but I don’t think to this degree. I’m not going to get into it. I have my own personal opinion on it but it can be a touchy subject, but the debate between Cho, Deathstrike and the reverend is fantastic, even if it is over fairly quickly.
Second, Cho does seem to be getting frustrated. He also has issues with Deathstrike’s willingness to kill and they keep having this debate. Pairing them together is fantastic and giving us some great ethical debates. And it makes me want to read more because dammit…I want to find out if Cho will reach his breaking point! (or who knows…maybe Deathstrike will become merciful…but I hope not)
I also really love bringing in the fanaticism into this issue, seeing just how bigoted and devoted Stryker’s followers are. Bobby and Cho are having a nice discussion, but Bobby immediately reverts to form when Cho reveals himself. And despite all of this, Pak manages to poke fun at people with the cheesy line the Cyborg utters earlier on. It’s a corny line and the scientists know it.
Final Thoughts: It’s a good issue. Not much action, but a lot of moral dilemmas and reminder of the racism that exists in the X-Men’s world.
Rating: 7/10. Worth picking up. Will make for some great discussions
To Be Continued: in Weapon X #5